Endgame Rewrites Its Own History

After the sour note of “Infinity War,” the Russo Brothers end this chapter on a high note.

Eleven years and 21 films for one moment.

For the actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s saying goodbye to the characters that have defined them.

For the rest of us, it’s closure for years of patronage and the possibility of what’s next. Most importantly, for everyone involved, it’s about sticking the damn landing.

Mission. Accomplished. All hail our Disney/Marvel overlords

Avengers: Endgame is the rarest of films that serve as an extremely satisfying Venn Diagram. Solid present-day storytelling that requires nostalgia. It gives all the fan service while pushing the next MCU phase forward. Tears and laughs, shock and awe in equal measure. Essentially, everything hoped for and nothing feared.

Describing the script as tightly-wound and efficient sounds like a left-handed compliment for Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. But it’s truly a marvel (see what I did there), for the writing duo uses every second of the three-hour runtime to sew up all loose strands. Especially for a film that requires for all the seams to be shown. It was the right choice to focus on existential loss in the film’s opening. Not only to acknowledge the previous film with yada-yadaing all over it but to establish the stakes and to make room for the bigger emotional pivots moving forward. A perfect goodbye with surprising hellos.

The Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, deliver their fourth MCU film. They’ve done a spy thriller (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), a straight-ahead action film (Captain America: Civil War) and an anti-hero film (Avengers: Infinity War). As great as those are, Endgame ”finally did it. A legit comic book film so imbued with its elements that it almost looks weird not having panels.

Tony Stark kicked off the MCU for Disney so it’s fitting that Endgame is by and large a Tony Stark film. For Robert Downey, Jr., it’s his last chance to play Stark, but more importantly, one more chance to act without all the Stark snark. That’s no easy task considering so much RDJ is built into that role. Comic books aside, this is the most human we’ve seen Stark to date.

Hemsworth also gets a few chances to act. After becoming comedically self-aware in Thor: Ragnorok, we see him tragically self-conscious in Endgame. The God of Thunder lost his shape in the grieving process and we see him come to terms with himself. For all the Shakespearean flourishes the character started out with, this was the most dramatic and grounded we’ve seen Thor to date, which says a lot for Hemsworth being in a fat suit in a three-hour movie. Also, where we’re left off with the character is a great starting point in a new chapter. I hope to see more of him.

Captain America’s last film gives the sweetest of fan service to those who have been waiting years. From wielding (finally) Thor’s Mjolnir to leading the battle in one of the most iconic battles ever, to the ending we all wished he had, “America’s ass” gave us everything we wanted. Evans has been looking for a way out of the franchise for years; you couldn’t ask for a better ending. Ant-Man gave us the much-needed comic relief to cut through the all the heavy emotion. Rudd, the ageless wonder, looks the part of a superhero. More importantly, plays straight-man to all these superheroes with precision.

We needed Professor Hulk earlier and they need to handle Carol Danvers better than being a Deus Ex Machina.

Nebula was the MVP. Karen Gillan had exponential screen time and came through. So much screen time well used. She’s up with Downey and Hemsworth for keeping the dramatic stakes in the film. With the plot devices the film uses, you can literally see the growth the character has taken from 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy to now.  

Shout out to Scarlett Johansson and Black Widow for being the secret MVP. Moving exposition along and being the glue guy. They both deserved more pomp and circumstance…maybe the only thing missing from Endgame.

This film is not only required viewing but will warrant multiple watches to truly appreciate the immensity of this film. Job well done.

 

JP Spence
JP Spence

JP Spence is a writer, screenwriter, and improviser living in Los Angeles. He previously served as the media critic for the Topanga Messenger and as Editor-In-Chief for the LA Valley Star. You can find Josh @JP_Spence on twitter or at any press screening.

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