Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow
Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, (based on the Marvel comics) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and (comic book) Jim Starlin
Running Time: 181 mins
Release date: 25th April 2019
As you may have noticed in my reviews, they follow a format, giving a brief introduction, a short synopsis of the plot and then a few lines about what was good or bad in the film with a quick comment or two about performances and a final summary. Having just stepped out of a screening of the most highly anticipated movie of the year, nay the decade, I think the whole format will be thrown out the window. One thing I will try to do is not to give away spoilers, and if I do, then I apologise right now. Avengers: Endgame, the final part of what Marvel called the Infinity Saga, is a film that manages to break the mould. A spectacular, emotional rollercoaster that will leave you breathless. A three-hour behemoth which needs to be seen to be believed.
The Avengers are defeated. Having failed to save the world from Thanos’s “snap”, they have no idea what they can do next. For five years, they are in the wilderness, desperately trying to find a clue that could put all wrongs right. Friendships are on edge, fallen heroes are suffering from the effects while others just want to move on. Then an unexpected arrival brings new hope.
That is as much as I am willing to say right now. Let’s talk about the movie as a whole. The Russo brothers and scriptwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely set the bar incredibly high with the outstanding Infinity War, a film that pulled your emotions all over the place. How are they ever going to better it? Given a longer running time at just over three hours may help but as proven in movies like The Hobbit, lengths can affect the overall contents, and it could be bum-numbingly boring. Thankfully this is not the case with Endgame. This is three hours where every moment is used to full effect.
Split into three distinct acts, the first is a wordy, sombre affair where the remainings heroes are left picking up the pieces and trying to cope on what has gone before. Instead of giving us action set pieces after action set pieces, it allows the audience time to see different sides to the characters we have lived with over the past 10 years and 22 films. Act two is the juggling act where, instead of keeping everyone together, they split into teams and where most other movies would struggle to give each character enough story arcs and screen time to maintain the attention, the Russos keep all of the balls in the air. They also throw in surprise after surprise, whether it be character developments, subplots or, and often more exciting for those who love the MCU movies, cameos from characters from the past who have come back one more time.
By the finale, which as you would expect is going to be bigger and more stunning than anything that came before, it doesn’t disappoint. What really works well is how one moment you can be feeling sad, then belly laughing, then making the hairs on the back of your neck raising to sobbing your heart out (and trust me, one young lady at my screening seemed to be crying uncontrollably). It will pick you up, shake you, and drop you like a stone. It is a masterclass of emotional manipulation.
There is no point in saying anything about the performances. These are characters who, over the years, have seen the good from the bad, the heartaches and pains to the triumphs and joys. The likes of the original Avengers, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner (returning after being absent from Infinity War) have become almost like old friends. The newer members of the team have only just started there trip into the realms of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s exciting to see what they will deliver in the future.
One of the biggest surprises is the absence of an end credit sequence. Marvel’s signature move is a short extra scene or two after you have spent 10 minutes watching the names of the technicians who have created the films. Apart from an impressive way of celebrating the original characters, the film doesn’t have an end credit scene. The main points for future films are added in the final few minutes, so once the actors have been given the nod, you can leave and not miss a thing.
Avengers: Endgame is a masterpiece. A fitting finale to a franchise that has become a staple of cinemas year in and year out. Those who have stuck with the series will be completely satisfied, while those more casual viewers may wonder what all the fuss is about but you cannot deny the craftsmanship, the impressive nature of the film and an ending that will leave you exhausted. Marvel may not be for everyone, but they certainly know how to put on a show. This is one hell of a show. Outstanding.