Words by Max Cooper
Even given the titanic 3-hour runtime that had people joking about intermissions and catheters (I’m a fan of the former, for the record) the expectations facing the team, directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, behind Avengers: Endgame were enormous. Serving as a second act to last year’s Infinity War, but also a finale for Marvel’s cinematic universe thus far, Endgame needed to resolve not only the catastrophe that Infinity War ended with but also serve as a send-off for the original Avengers.
And, in short, it did! Mostly.
Markus and McFeely chose a much more original direction to dealing with the aftermath of Thanos’s devastating snap than they could’ve, one which gives them a chance to revisit the history of the MCU in its swan song. The MCU will go on, of course, but without many of the actors making up the original Avengers renewing their contracts.
The particular ways that they chose to wind up the character arcs for those we say goodbye to, though, vary from fitting and moving to questionable and even somewhat objectionable. Similarly, the film has some hilarious moments that manage to be surprisingly well balanced with the gravity of living in a world where half of everyone has died. And then it has some jokes which amount to laughing at fat people.
I’ll own my biases here: I’m a big Marvel fan. I was excited for this film, even knowing how team-up films can disappoint, and Endgame didn’t leave me disappointed. It had some moments that I can critically recognise as being more about fan-service than plot or craft or whatever, partly because they made the part of my brain that likes fanservice-y fun light up with joy! Honestly, after 20+ films, if people came out of Endgame without any of those moments it would have been kind of a let down.
On balance, I think even having tempered mine it would be hard for anything to live up to the expectations that swirled around Endgame, not in the least due to a marketing push designed to capitalise on anti-spoiler culture. Despite this, Endgame managed to be satisfying both as a film and a finale for the past decade or so of Marvel’s films, which even given some of my reservations about the execution is an impressive feat.
Avengers Endgame is currently showing in cinemas around South Australia.