Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘Endgame’ concludes saga of superheroes

In 2008, “Iron Man” debuted at the box office with sales of more than $98 million. Just last weekend, “Avengers: Endgame” premiered at the box office with a record breaking $1.2 billion internationally, the largest opening for a movie ever. 

It is clear that superhero movies are not just for nerds and have clearly become a very central part of the popular culture. 

With 22 movies leading up to this installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, people are very concerned with plot spoilers so I will do my best to avoid them in this review.

“Avengers: Endgame” picks up where last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War” left off. The powerful space titan, Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, had acquired the six infinity stones and killed half of all living beings in the universe. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk/Bruce Banner, Hawkeye, Black Widow and many more heroes must pull together and try to undo what has happened and restore order in the universe.

“Avengers: Infinity War” was a superhero movie unlike any other that came before it. The finale shocked audiences when several fan-favorite superheroes floated away into ash and left moviegoers waiting for post-credit text that would say “The Avengers will return.” 

The first act of Endgame is about that loss and how the heroes deal with their failure. It is a very somber start that includes long stretches of silence as everyone slowly tries to pick up the pieces. 

These moments make the characters feel human and it gets the audience invested in their cause because you understand how they are grieving. 

Once we are about an hour into the three-hour runtime of the film, which goes by faster than one would suspect, the second act kicks in. The Avengers start to formulate and carry out a plan, which I will not spoil. What can be said is that this plan is not the most elegant and does spark up plenty of issues that can be read into online through fan analysis. 

But, it is able to use nostalgia in an entertaining and emotionally satisfying way.

Despite facing extinction and the “endgame,” this is one of the funnier Marvel movies in the series. This could be problematic for some but we haven’t had this group working together since the earlier MCU films so it is nice to see them in the same room and getting some levity out of these situations.

The last hour is when directors Joe and Anthony Russo outdo themselves. 

It really feels like the moments are coming from the heart and it could be labeled as fan service, but it is executed in a way that is entertaining. 

Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans bring the most emotional moments in the film. Downey Jr. still has the same sarcastic wit that Iron Man always had and Evans still plays Captain America as the tender super-powered Boy Scout. 

But this time around, they both have a sense of melancholy.

We all know that there’s going to be another “Spider-Man” movie this summer and a third “Guardians of the Galaxy” film is being written but this feels like the end. 

This is Marvel’s victory lap and with this many characters and plot lines, it is a miracle that they stick the landing.

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