Avengers: Endgame (2019)

I’m frankly not sure why I’m writing this one.

Nothing I say is going to make you decide not to see this movie.  I mean, if you’re like me you’ve waited ten plus years for this epic grand finale.  For what it’s worth, the wait was worth the while.

I am intent on not spilling any beans, so as much as I would like to talk about some of the science fiction, or even how a joke on NBC’s The Good Place helped me understand what was going on, forget it.

Even though I’m DYING to brag about how I said one character in particular would stand out in this battle many, many years ago and how I was right…I just can’t.  You’ve waited to long and deserve all the surprises that come along with this movie.

Even though I was only about 40% right when figuring out if/when/which characters would die, you’ll not get confirmation from me.

So if I can’t talk about the movie, and I’m not going to be able to convince you to see it or not see it, then what can I say?  There’s actually a lot.

This movie is without confusion a finale.  It may be far from the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was definitely and deliberately the curtain call on its first act.

My sister asked me, “Which movies do I need to see before I go?”  Honestly?  All of them, even Thor: The Dark World.  This movie was a three-hour love letter to the people who have been invested in these characters since Tony Stark first joked about being in the “Fun-V” before having to blast himself out of that cave.  All three Iron Man movies, all three Thor movies, especially all three Captain America movies, obviously the three prior Avengers movies, both Guardians movies, both Ant Man movies, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel—they all contribute a pivotal piece to this finale.  The strings that have been woven together over the past decade were finally tied and cut and we were left with an amazing tapestry of this huge universe, all while being assured there was plenty of space on the wall for another one.

This movie paid tribute to each Marvel installment that came before it, whether it was to tie in important plot elements, or just to poke fun at Chris Hemsworth having to appear shirtless in every Thor movie.

As with any Avengers movie, it took a little time for the team to get some “traction” as Tony once put it,  but, as with any Avengers movie, it was totally worth it when they finally took off.

Avengers: Endgame doesn’t care about people coming in blind and being lost.  It is blatant in its “if you haven’t gotten on the Marvel train by now don’t bother” attitude.  No characters are explained or introduced.  They don’t bother with any history or backstory.  You either know why Michelle Pfeiffer is standing in the background or you don’t.  They wrote this 100% for the fans.  Not necessarily the comic fans, but the wider, expansive fandom these movies created.

And it is spectacular.  As in quite literally, a spectacle.

Back in 2001 when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out I actually feared for my life.  What if I accidentally died between The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire?  I would never know how these books were translated on film!  It sincerely worried me.  But then Marvel came along in 2008 and the question became, “Will I even still be alive by the time they get to the end?”  Marvel fulfilled its promise and, after all this time, gave me closure.  I could die without any lingering questions about this franchise and that is a very tall order.  The amount of planning and painstaking attention to detail is unimaginable.  I suspect people will be talking about Easter Eggs for years to come.

I do have one criticism that doesn’t have any real spoilers that I just have to get off my chest.  In one scene, one female character has to move Marvel’s McGuffin du jour.  She is backed by several other female characters in a super cheesy “Femme Fatales of Marvel” sort of homage.  Guys…thanks for trying to showcase 90% of my favorite characters, but too little, too late.  Giving six seconds of screen time to awesome characters who’ve largely remained benched or on the sidelines does not make up for taking ten years to feature one of them in their own movie.  This smacked of men trying to be feminists and, as a man who constantly tries to be a feminist, even I found it cringeworthy.  I want to applaud them for what I’m sure was something well-intentioned, but it just struck the wrong chord.

Obsequious pandering aside, this movie is everything you’ve been hoping it would be.  If it hasn’t already broken records, it soon will.

Oh, and here’s a spoiler you’ll want to read:  when I say this was meant to be a finale, I mean they really meant for it to be a finale.  Endgame is aptly named—when it ends, it ends.  No credit scenes or stingers, although there is a nice little “picture with the autograph” portion for the main, main, main cast reminiscent of what they did in Star Trek VI.  I know I said “no spoilers,” but the movie is already three hours long.  If I can save you ten minutes I’m going to try.

Now come on Disney!  Bring my X-Men home for Act 2!


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