On Tuesday I posted my spoiler free review of Avengers Endgame. I wanted to make sure that anyone silly enough to come to my blog before they watched the film wouldn’t see anything that ruined any aspect of that film for them. But, I also have a lot of feelings and ideas about it. So, just like I did with Infinity War last year, I’m also posting my spoiler-filled post about the film. Last year I did a separate post from my TBT but I wanted to dedicate most of this week to this film. It feels that important. Plus, what film is good enough to pair with such a meaningful film? And, I want to do a final post on Friday without getting too post heavy this week. So, I hope you’ll forgive me this once.
- Story could have been better
In the year since Infinity War came out, we’ve all been trying to work out how they hell the Russo brothers were going to sort this shit out. It seemed pretty clear we’d be going back in time. We knew Captain Marvel was going to turn up. And we knew what the comics did. So, we speculated. I speculated here on this very blog. And I didn’t get it right. Well, the time travel bit was a given but I didn’t reckon on Thanos destroying the stones. Obviously, the trailer made it clear that the Quantum Realm would come into play but we still didn’t know how it would all fall into place. Do I think the final narrative was the best way to do it? No, absolutely not. Do I think it worked? Most certainly.
The first act was the greatest. Bringing Tony back, seeing the angst, the despair, everyone meeting up. Then killing Thanos? A brilliant surprise and one that left us with that same feeling of hopelessness the end of Infinity War gave us. I think the middle act dragged a little. The Time Heist plot was interesting but it didn’t really inspire me very much. It was all a bit too easy. As if it was just the first thing they thought of to get to the final battle. However, I do appreciate how much love it showed to the main three Avengers. We saw their best bits and they each got their key sentimental moment. This act wasn’t really about Thanos or the stones. It was about revisiting the MCU. And getting us to the point where we saw a shitload of Marvel characters fighting togther. The final act, though not as sophisticated as the first, was the payoff we were all waiting for. It was all about spine-tingles, the tears, the laughs. It was about the love we all have after 11 years together. So, no, the story wasn’t as good as it could have been but it was perfect for this film.
- It was more focused but less entertaining than Infinity War
I also think that, in terms of the narrative, there was a lot more focus than there was in Infinity War. I loved the fact that we jumped all over the place in that film and it genuinely felt like reading a comic book. However, it meant we cut away from areas when we should have stayed longer. There were just one too many plates spinning. Endgame didn’t make that mistake. This wasn’t about getting every character in the middle of it all. This was about taking the original 5 Avengers and giving them one final hurrah. The narrative had one goal and, along with the few side-plots, stuck to that one goal throughout. It meant everything was given more room to breathe.
However, it lacked the punch and the action of the previous film. Infinity War had so many amazing battle sequences. That fight between Dr Strange and Ebony Maw is one of the greatest fight scenes in the MCU. There were so many exciting and tense moments in Infinity War. Endgame was a more sentimental approach. It’s not a bad thing but it didn’t have the same impact.
- Killing Thanos early was perfect
As I’ve repeatedly said here, killing Thanos in the first act was a huge shock. It was underwhelming and downplayed. Thanos had been a sympathetic villian because he was trying to do something good. Admittedly it was good in a fucked up way but good. And once he’d achieved his goal, he was no longer a threat. A second fight with him would have been pointless. He was broken, tired, and not as much of a threat. So, getting him out of the way early was ideal. Because it gave us the chance to meet young Thanos again.
This Thanos is different to the one we last met. He’s angry, vicious, and even more dangerous. Yes, he doesn’t have the stones yet but he also doesn’t have the ideals of his older counterpart. He was a more formidable foe than last time and it gave the battle scenes a different feel to Infinity War. It was a clever move.
- The final battle was genuinely amazing
That said, nothing can beat the shiver down my spine when the whole of the dusted heroes turned up. That moment when every character we’ve met in the MCU was suddenly standing behind Captain America is still making me tear up even now. And, I have to say, it was a really well directed battle. We know that there has always been a struggle with these films that having so many people in one place means things get messy. Things improves with every subsequent film. The Avengers was a bit rough. Age of Ultron put all out heroes in one place. Infinity War split them up. But Endgame managed to pull off something magical. Every single character came together to face one single enemy. It shouldn’t have worked but it did. Every character had their moment. The action wasn’t distracting. The little reunions within the battle were perfectly pitched. It has everything. And it surprised me.
- Revisiting previous films was the perfect way to say goodbye
You can argue that revisiting old films and recreating old scenes shows a lack of creativity but I’d fight you if you did. Yes, I know I just said the Time Heist was the slowest of them all but I also think it served its purpose. That purpose was to give the departing cast their final moment in the sun. We revisited the characters’ former glories and were able to remember all the journeys we had been on. And it’s always nice to see things from a different side. Seeing what happened after the battle in New York was fun. Yes, part of me thinks the gang wouldn’t have been quite so chummy and banter-y but that doesn’t matter. There were some great moments in the middle act.
- Tony had to die
Okay, hear me out. I’m not a heartless bitch. I love Tony and think Robert Downey Jr, will be sorely missed. However, there was no other way to end Tony’s story. He was a hero through and through. We’d seen that. He couldn’t stop himself. Even with the birth of his daughter, there was never a situation in which Tony didn’t feel obliged to save the world. There was no happily ever after. Anything else would have been a disservice to the character. Tony’s development throughout the films has been the strongest of any character. He was a genius, billionaire playboy, philanthropist who didn’t play well with others. In the end, he was a hero who worked with his fellow heroes to protect the universe. His story only ended with his death and as sad as it was it was beautiful. I was ugly crying throughout his funeral and beyond. Letting Tony be the armour around the world at the end of it all was the only way for him to finish his time in these films. We should all be proud of him. We should all love him 3000. And celebrate the fact that he finally got to say what he needed to do his dad.
- Nat’s sacrifice was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen
Although, let’s not forget that Tony wasn’t the only one who sacrificed themselves for this cause. The strongest scene and one of the most heartbreaking moments was watching Nat and Clint fight each other. Nobody else could have gone in their place. Those two characters have a history and a love that none of the other Avengers share. We all knew what was coming but we didn’t know who it would be. And Marvel screwed us all by announcing the Black Widow movie. We all thought she’d be safe. Meaning the outcome was even more shocking and horrible to watch. I’m still not emotionally stable after watching this scene. You could sense the pain between the two and the struggle they were under. Yes, it’s not the ending we would have wanted for her and it was a massive shame not to see her in the final battle. Yes, I know she didn’t get her big goodbye like Tony. But Nat proved that Black Widow was a character that wasn’t given enough credit.
I didn’t want to do this but we need to talk about something. The other day I saw this article about how Nat had been “fridged” in this film. This is term used by comic book fans to describe a woman who is killed to inspire the male hero to get revenge. It’s a thing that definitely exists and needs to be dealt with. However, it is not a term that needs to be applied here. The writer claims that Nat sacrificed herself in an uncharacteristic move. That she decided “to make herself the sacrificial lamb rather than act like the wolf she has been for the past 11 years”. Now, I have to call bullshit. This was not a uncharacteristic move from Nat. She didn’t just lie down and wait to die. She fought to the end. She fought or what he believed was right: letting Hawkeye live to see his family come back. I know her suicide wasn’t the best way to see her leave and it was a blatant repetition of the dramatic Gamora moment in Infinity War. However, this article isn’t making a point about bad writing. She’s saying Nat died so the boys could finish the battle. We know that she and Hawkeye have a history and we know she loves his family. This wasn’t her giving in to let a man live. This was her giving up her life for the people she loved because that’s what she’s always risked. This article ignores the fact that this decision was very Black Widow and it takes away from the bravery of her choice. Nat wasn’t fridge. Nat was the bravest and strongest of them all. Rant over.
- Captain America, fuck yeah!
Now, I haven’t always been the biggest Captain America fan. I didn’t like the first film all that much. But, Winter Soldier is one of the greatest films in the MCU. Chris Evans is perfect in the role and, I confess, I love him now. So, it was always going to be tough when he finally bowed out. Especially after how shit he’d been in Infinity War. We knew he was going to something big but, after that, it had to be fucking huge. And it was. Let’s be honest, we’ve known Steve was worthy all along and, since that little nudge in Age of Ultron, have been waiting for him to wield Mjolnir. And that moment was epic. I wanted to scream in the middle of the cinema. He finally got his moment with Thanos and that fight was one of the greatest showdowns in the whole film.
Everything that Steve went through was perfect. Was it a surprise how his story ended? Not all. Does it matter? Not at all. He got the ending we all wanted and the ending he deserved. Captain America has been fighting the good fight for too long. He deserves to go out the way he did. He got the girl and he got a life. I cried but these were, at least, tears of joy.
- Thor is everything
Of all the characters in this film, Thor had the greatest character arc. He started off full of anger and self-loathing. That’s what caused him to finally “go for the head” when the gang finally catch up with Thanos. The moment when Thor finally kills the purple Titan was shocking. We had all wanted it to happen but, thanks to everything else, it wasn’t the satisfying death we wanted. And Thor knew it too. Which is why he spiralled into a deep depressive state. I’ve seen people complain that the overweight Thor storyline is “fat shaming” and I can’t even. You know I’m normally the one ranting but even I think this is too far. It’s not fat shaming. It’s just funny when a character, known as being a god with a super ripped body, turns up with a beer belly. And the fact that the character stayed that way for the whole film was perfect.
Although, not quite as perfect as his reunion with his mother. The moments that Thor shared with Friga on the day she died were some of the most heart-wrenching in the entire film. Rene Russo has been sorely missed since Thor 2 and having her back was a lovely and emotional surprise. And it was everything Thor needed when he finally needed to battle Thanos again.
- Professor Hulk
I’ve always been a Hulk fan. I’m the one who will always challenge people who say The Incredible Hulk isn’t a real Marvel film. The person who got angry when friend said they were rewatching all the Marvel films before Endgame except for The Incredible Hulk because it didn’t count. It counts. It’s not the greatest film ever but we’re dealing with a huge CGI rage monster. They don’t make the best central characters in a film. Also not the cheapest. So, when everyone started raving about him post-Avengers and post-Ragnarok I was a little annoyed. Happy but annoyed. Where were these people before?
But anyway, Endgame‘s 5 year jump into the future allows us to see how everyone’s life has changed. Tony became a dad. Steve started a support group. Nat took control of the Avengers and kept checking in with her intergalactic new friends. Clint started killing everyone. Hulk? He became smart. I loved this reference to the Professor Hulk incarnation in the comics. We see Banner and Hulk working together in harmony to combine their best features. It was a lot of fun and gave the Hulk a chance to be more than just a smashing machine. It also gives Mark Ruffalo the chance to have some fun and add some depth to the role. We see the Hulk mourn for Nat in a more measured way, though he still smahes. He also gets the chance to step up and handle the Infinity Gaunlet. This was an epic moment that shows how powerful and tragic the Hulk really is. Pretty much nothing can kill that guy.
- Why is nobody talking more about Scott missing his daughter growing up?
Do you know what else is fucked up? That Scott Lang missed out on 5 years of his daughter’s life because he was stuck in the Quantum Realm. I know that by the end there would be plenty of people in the same boat but Scott didn’t get dusted. His reunion with his daughter is played off as an emotional, touching but sweet moment. He makes a joke and it’s all good. But it isn’t. He didn’t see his daughter grow up. She thought he was dead. Why was that not a bigger deal? I think there is a strong possibility that Paul Rudd is being pushed into sticking in the comedy realm of this. He’s got the silly asides and sassy comments. But Paul Rudd can do drama and sentiment too. He should have got more of a chance to play this reunion properly. He’d been gone 5 hours and his daughter aged 5 years. That’s some fucked up shit for a parent to get back to.
Now, I’m all for Marvel putting the spotlight on its female characters. I think it’s about time that we saw women stepping up, having real development, and kicking arse. Black Widow had real emotional depth in this film and its about bloody time. Scarlett Johansson has been wasted in this role because she does very little than be sexy and fighty. Yes, I love the fighty bits but she had no character. That all changed here. And she wasn’t alone. Valkyrie, Pepper, Scarlett Witch, and Nebula all had some fantastic moments here. And I mean character development moments. Because when we talk about needing more strong female characters we don’t mean they can punch really hard. We mean we want female characters who feel realistic. Who have depth. Who have feelings that change. Who make mistakes. We just want women who are as well written and different as the male characters.
Of course, we still appreciate it when they are also able to punch really hard. This is a comic book movie after all. And I admit that part of me loved the moment that all the female heroes came together to fight with Captain Marvel. “She’s not alone” was a great callback and a great image. However, who am I if I don’t pour a tiny amount of scorn on it? That scene is great but it doesn’t make sense. Those women were all fighting other people but they managed to easily turn up where they were needed? It doesn’t make sense and screams of Marvel saying “look, we love women, honestly!” It’s a bit desperate. Kind of, methinks the lady doth protest too much. If they’d wanted to do it properly they should have done it with Scarlett Witch and Okoye because they have history. The fact that all those women came together in the middle of a battle out of some sort of sisterly, girl power move, was unrealistic. And, frankly, irresponsible. Captain Marvel is a fucking beast. Get yourself somewhere else to do something useful.
- Captain Samerica – Cut the check
Apparently, old Captain America doesn’t fancy fighting bad guys any more. He wants a break. Selfish! But that left an open spot for who would pick up the shield. I think most people expected Bucky to be the chosen one but I’ve always championed Sam. And he deserves it. That moment when he speaks to Cap’s ear was the most spine-tingling moment of the whole thing. It had to be Sam. And, yes, I know it’s definitely another part of Marvel’s “see we’re diverse” campaign but that shouldn’t detract from the fact Sam is an underused character. I just hope we continue to see him in the films and not just in the planned TV show.
- I hated the way they dealt with Loki
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m over Loki and I have been since the end of The Avengers. So, when I heard about Dinsey’s blatant cash-in TV series I was eye-rolling all over the place. But it didn’t bother me that much. He was dead so it would surely take place outside of the films. How wrong I was. The scene in which we went back to the events of the first film, Loki escaped from New York instead of being taken back to Asgard. And I was pissed. For one thing, the scene in which Tony is knocked over by the Hulk stuck out like a sore thumb. It was clearly only added to allow the TV show to exists. It’s sloppy and badly done. I image the Russo brothers were under pressure to include it from Disney and you can tell it doesn’t belong there. I hate things that don’t serve a purpose to the story and that did nothing for Endgame.
For another, it was a huge plot problem that everyone just ignored. Tilda Swinton came back to tell us, in not uncertain terms, that if the Infinity Stones didn’t get back to where they belonged there would be trouble. No problem, right? Cap took them all back. But no. He didn’t. The power stone went back to the 1970s but it disappeared in 2011. That means the timelines are still split but we’re just supposed to ignore that. Hulk knew he needed to get it back so why not drop in a line about finding Loki? Could Thor not have gone to find him? Or at least sent someone out to sort it? It’s a huge plotplot that only exists cause someone at Disney decided they neeeded to make more money out of fangirls.
- Why even have Jane at all?
Oh, Natalie Portman. I understand why you didn’t want to carry on playing Jane, I really do. She was shit character with a dreadful development. You lacked chemistry with Chris Hemsworth and you never seemed on board with the silliness of the films. I also don’t think it’s your fault that Jane coming back was so bad. You recorded new lines so I’m sure you could have found time to record a quick cameo. Instead, we got badly edited footage stuck together with new scenes to create something that looked dreadful.
Those scenes were embarrassing. They didn’t even try to hide the fact that Natalie Portman hadn’t come back. Using a scene left over from Thor 2 was fine but to then add in a headless body double was amateurish. You can tell what’s going on and there’s no need. It’s like the moments on sitcoms where they try to hide a pregnancy bump. It’s never effective and it breaks the illusion. Why did Jane need to come back at all? Rocket could have got what he needed off-screen and given Rene Russo more time. Instead, that scene was just laughable.