By Jonathan Reed
Video supplied by Marvel Entertainment©
The end is just as much a part of the journey. After 10 years of Earth’s mightiest heroes battling to save the Universe, the Endgame has arrived, and even we weren’t prepared for what was in store.
Avengers: Endgame has been arguably the most anticipated movie event of the last few years and The Russo Brothers have proven again why they are the celebrated movie-making masters we all know them for. From the opening sequence, where the remaining Avengers struggle to understand how they can save their disintegrated colleagues, to the final Marvel redefining moments, Endgame doesn’t pull any punches.
What is apparent throughout the spectacle that is Avengers: Endgame, is this is a movie which is designed to reset the Marvel Universe. Over a decade of superhero films have led to this epic finale and there was always a fear over whether it would live up to expectations. It doesn’t. It surpasses them.
Ram-packed with the usual humour, action and peril, there is a refreshing feel to Endgame. This time around the Russo’s have focused on emotion as their story’s driving force, encapsulating on the ordinary struggles of beings with extraordinary abilities. Earth’s mightiest heroes suffer emotional hurt, and as the film jumps 5 years into the future, we see the full extent of why.
The Earth, still coming-to-terms with the obliteration of half of its population by Thanos, has slowly begun moving on. We see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), no longer Captain America, hosting weekly therapy groups. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) has married Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and have a child. But not all have been able to move on. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is still organising a group of heroes, including a short-haired Captain Marvel (Brie Larson). Thor (Chris Hemsworth), whose physicality is somewhat limited, shall we say, is struggling with his failures. And Hawkeye/Ronin is pursuing villainy in revenge for the loss of his family.
We see the Avengers disassembled and dejected, unable to understand or live with the failure of stopping Thanos’ indefinite work. It is from here where the movie truly begins. With the re-emergence of Antman (Paul Rudd) returning from the Quantum Realm, those willing for one-last-shot at bringing back their lost comrades are given a glimmer of hope. And it is one that takes fans flying down memory lane.
Throughout the movie, The Russo’s directorial skill shines. They perfectly navigate the elements of action and emotion ensuring that the more silent, reflective elements of the story are as impactful and important at the grand sequences. The humour so beloved by Marvel fans is here in abundance – especially Thor – yet it doesn’t dominate the entire narrative. This is ultimately a film about self-sacrifice, family, identity, understanding and embracing the humanity in all of us. And to ensure no spoilers, there a two moments, which embody this potently. So much so, it is hard not to shed a tear.
These characters have been on-screen for nearly a decade and yet as the end approaches, they never feel regurgitated. This is a skill which Marvel performs perfectly, ensuring that their beloved characters always feel fresh and never complacent. In part, this is down to the actors who have captured the fanbase’s hearts as much as the heroes they portray. And whilst the entire cast bring their A-game, Endgame belongs to Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, and perhaps most importantly, the man who started the whole franchise altogether, Robert Downey Jr.
He utterly shines here, reminding us all why he is Iron Man. And Endgame reminds you of how far Tony Stark has come from the self-promoting playboy billionaire, to the godfather of the Avengers.
As the finale gathers pace and the curtain falls on this phase of the Marvel Universe, it is evident that there is a finality to this story arc. Nothing truly will ever be the same and although we say goodbye to some characters, we’ve welcomed new ones to steer the helm of the awesome Marvel ship.
What becomes apparent as the credits roll, is the sheer impact these movies have made. It goes beyond Box Office takings or ticket sales. These are stories and characters which have captured the imaginations of both adults and children. They have reminded us of the complexity of innocence and villainy, and with Avengers: Endgame, prove that the ending is just as much a part of the journey. And, my goodness, what at Endgame!