Directors Anthony & Joe Russo Does Whatever It Takes To Bring 21 Movies and 11 Years Of Marvel’s Infinity Saga To A Breathtaking, Emotional & Three Hour Epic Climax In “Avengers: EndGame”.
It was May 2nd, 2008 and Robert Downey Jr was about to make the biggest comeback in Hollywood history (after having years battling drugs and alcohol), giving him the film role of a lifetime. Appearing as Marvel’s Tony Stark in actor & director Jon Faverau’s “Iron Man”, which set in motion what has been deemed the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) or the Infinity Saga. Here we are 21 films and 11 years later and it all comes down to this, or as they say in the film “Whatever It Takes” this is it for the Infinity Stone saga. Following the devastating outcome of 2018’s “Infinity War”, the best just maybe have been saved for last. Directors Joe & Anthony Russo return for the fourth time as they play the maestros to a movie designed that is meant and will please its target audience. “Endgame” is as much of a love letter to the fans of the films who have been invested in these characters, as it is also a true comic book fan’s dream come true.
Reviewing a film like “Avengers: EndGame”, can be a tricky proposition and a hard film to approach when your trying to give a review of the film that has anticipation jolting to a 1000%. “EndGame” has it’s anticipation spiked to the point that it’s become less of a movie and more of a movement or let’s just call it a cultural phenomenon. So much so that “EndGame” has become the biggest pre-sale title ever on Fandango and Atom ticket sites, causing them to crash minutes after the sales were announced. It accomplished this in only six hours. Theaters across the world had so many sold out showtimes on opening weekend that Cinemark, Regal, and AMC theaters have chosen to stay open for 24 hours so they’d be working around the clock to accommodate extra shows.
For once in a very long time Marvel and Disney has gone through great pains to cut vague trailers to promote “EndGame”. Where as usually by the week’s premiere Marvel & Disney would have about a dozen trailers and tv spots out for the film. Thankfully with “EndGame”, they have decided not to mention much about the film and have the directors Anthony & Joe Russo begging those who see it early to not give anything away.
As they did with “Infinity War”, the Russo Brothers wrote a letter to fans, asking them not to spoil anything about the movie, as part of a viral campaign on the internet. Marketing the film with hashtags: #DontSpoilTheEndgame and #ThanosDemandsYourSilence. I will do the same and not give anything away on my end, and make this review just like the trailers….vague as possible.
Coming in at 3 hours (which it never feels like it is as it’s over as fast as a Thanos snap) with nearly no dull moments or a stumble in plot development. “EndGame” has a crisp direction from Anthony & Joe Russo with a funny, well-paced, smart and expertly rendered screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. “EndGame” does not feel like their giving us an “Infinity War 2”. It just does its own thing and stands on its own. “EndGame” goes for as much genres as possible: comedy, sci-fi, action, romance and drama by rounding out the character arcs in a way that’s clearly designed to bring this Marvel saga to a close.
“Infinity War” was a double-barrelled and high-powered shot to the heart epic, that built itself up to the ultimate battle against the ultimate foe who proved unbeatable. The ending of “Infinity War” was ballsy as the Avengers lost within a deadly snap. Boy they lost bad. Here we are with “Endgame”, which has moments of undeniable greatness and some of the most cinematic comic book moments. “EndGame” is about our favorite heroes coming to grips with their failure. The first half is about finding ways to channel, grief and anger and if it’s possible to move on with so many loved ones perished in the dust.
The original 6 Avengers get more time together than we’ve seen in awhile and it serves to remind us how well these characters and actors interact with one another and how far all of them have come. As a continuation of the risk-taking Thanos saga. “EndGame” isn’t quite as daring as one should expect, especially coming off of the bold outcome of “Infinity War”. There is a lot of setup here within the first act, and while much of it serves as character development, there are moments that are both heartbreaking and comical.
Act two is filled with a bounty of jokes about classic pop culture films. While “Endgame” then actually becomes an adventure inspired by a 1989 film for most of it’s second act. The films third and final act, is so phenomenal it easily ranks as one of the best film climaxes of all time. I never felt adrenaline the way I did during the third act of “EndGame” in a very long time. When “EndGame” gets going it’s like everything a Marvel fan could ever dream of. The Russo’s bring a gigantic war eleven years in the making. We get characters we always wanted to see together and fights we always desired for. Whether Thanos loses or wins the fight, he’s going to go right up there as one of the most badass comic book and movie villains of all-time. “EndGame” shows us a different side to him and Thanos remains one of the most well-rounded characters to appear in both films.
Some of the Avengers are given major chunks of screen time; while others have a line or two at the most. Yet they all make a lasting impact. Scarlett Johansson, whose “Black Widow” has changed in many ways since we first met her; finally gets the screen time her fans have been clamoring for, as she always gets sidelined as a bench warmer. Chris Hemsworth who provides a surprising amount of comedic relief is terrific as a very different version of “Thor”. The man who started the whole MCU Robert Downey Jr., whose Tony Stark has always been the most fascinating, complex, multi-layered, charismatic persona of any superhero universe. Hey Motion Picture Academy why was Robert Downey never recognized for his great acting who is completely deserving of an Oscar nomination. Here he is again doing great acting in a great film.
Getting some of the biggest, best and earning the scene stealer award in “EndGame” is Paul Rudd’s “Ant-Man”. Finding himself to being a pivotal role, not only in the sense that he comes up with something for them to do, but the way it’s done itself owes to the heist mentality of the “Ant-Man” films. Legendary composer Alan Silvestri, plays with that heist movie-style soundtrack in his score which plays back to composer Henry Mancini’s work and his own work with Marvel, and a film of deep pop culture respect that he famously scored in 1989.
There is a delightful but all too brief, 30 second sequence where we see Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and other female characters, all stepping up to the plate to show the boys what they got. The MCU may have been slow to give us a film with a female headliner, but it was amazing to see and hear the power “Captain Marvel” has on the world right now. As she made her first appearance on screen in “EndGame”, she got a big round of applause and “Whoo-Hoos” from everyone in the audience men & women.
Marvel knows their formula and they stick to what works and in “EndGame” the formula is there because “EndGame” really works. In a movie filled with terrific performances, amazing visual effects, well choreographed action, laugh out loud humor and a real emotional depth. Every decision they make is so crucial, everything must be done exactly right. We can’t ignore it or forget about what happened after Thanos gave his deadly snap, and that makes the moments of revenge, redemption and in how hard they fight back that makes us stand up and cheer, all the more fulfilling.
Directors Joe & Anthony Russo ensure to give you the best experience you possibly can have. The brothers are so good at what they do and how they direct these films that they should be the only ones allowed to make them. Fans who’ve been invested on this journey for the last eleven years won’t be able to help getting emotional by the time the credits roll and that’s understandable. While I was in love with “Infinity War”, I walked out more in love with the 3 hour gut-wrenching finale that is “Avengers: EndGame”. It was neat to see the 6 original Avengers get montages of their characters during the end credits. While the actors who played them get their names displayed along with their autographs being signed on screen, representing them as a signing off from their characters.
The film runs 10-15 minutes too long, but it’s every bit worthy of the highest star rating and grade. It’s a fitting and satisfying farewell, to the Oscar winners and nominees who have embraced our hearts, our tv and movie screens for the past eleven years. It’s a hard thing to say goodbye but thankfully their goodbye to legions of fans is a cinematic experience for the ages.
GRADE: ★★★★★ (5 Out Of 5)