Avengers Endgame: The spoilery reaction review!
As mentioned in my previous review of Avengers Endgame, I have omitted various plot points, surprises and opinions because unlike many critics both professional and especially armchair, I am sensitive of those who have yet to see the final conclusion of Marvel's Phase One saga. And a conclusion it is!
Now, I'm about to go balls deep into what I found great and not so great about Endgame. Let's get to it!
Beginning of the End
Endgame begins with a good prologue or as the hipsters nowadays call it, a “Cold open” where you have Clint Barton (Hawkeye) giving his daughter Kate arrow lessons while enjoying a cookout with his family. We haven’t seen Hawkeye last year’s Infinity War, so of course this scene take place prior to the “snap”, you right away you know what’s about to happen. It’s a great setup for Clint’s transformation into Ronin later on.
After the catastrophic outcome from Avengers Infinity War, surviving team members, like Tony Stark and Nebula who is drifting into space is saved by none other than Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel, who apparently got Nick Fury's "Cap signal" during the post credits scene of Infinity War.
Life goes on
Meanwhile Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner who is now " Professor Hulk" Rocket and James Rhodes manage to cope with the loss of half the Earth's population. Rogers is now seen as a Counselor of group therapeutic meetings, that his friend and partner Sam Wilson used to conduct. No doubt, Steve, being the most noble of the Avengers, was honoring the passing of his friend by assuming this position and to me, it was already off to a great start.
This brief scene is memorable because of two cameos, Director Joe Russo who is the first openly gay character in the MCU (Aside from the ad ambiguous Valkyrie. ) and most importantly, Jim Starlin, not only was he the Man responsible for the Infinity saga, but wrote and illustrated one of the best Space operas ever! (See Starlin's Warlock: The complete collection. )
I immediately noticed him off the bat and applauded when the "normies" had no fucking ideal why I gave a double clap.
Pissed off and bitter, the Team manages to track down Thanos and "avenge" the earth, however, they still can't bring back the dead especially since Thanos has destroyed the stones post "Snapocalype". It's amusing to see Thanos resuming a "normal life " by farming after he was responsible for mass genocide. "Hey, wiping out half the population, works up a big appetite. I'm gonna make some stew out of the crops I harvested"!
You can feel a bit of empathy for a guilt ridden Stark when looking broken and emaciated after suffering a major loss and of course, he's still upset about his falling out with Rogers to the extent of blaming him for Thanos getting the upper "hand" sorta speak.
So, fast forward after five years after Thanos' defeat we see the brooding Avengers move on with their lives, Tony has a five year old daughter Morgan, Banner is content with his new Hulk persona (which I guess he finally resolved his "changing" problem. ) where he is now celebrated as a hero and taking selfies with kids. Thor has founded New Asgard in a small town and sports a huge belly from too much beer consumption. Drowning away his sorrows, I guess.
A New Hope
By fate or grand design, Scott Lang escapes the "quantum realm" and notices how everything has changed afterwards and shows up on the Avengers' compound with the batshit idea of going back in time via quantum physics. Banner is all in, but Stark after finally finding solace and happiness, is like having an "aw, hell naw" moment. Of course, he reneges on his word and co-develops this time machine thingamajig so now we have the great "Time Heist" used as a means for going back in time to retrieve the sacred stones?
Sure it’s some far fetched McGuffin but then again, this takes place in a world of hammer wielding gods, flying armored suits, a futuristic nation sealed off from the rest of the world's population and so forth. The Avengers going back in time plays as an MCU playlist, when they are transported to the Chitarui attack in New York City and at SHIELD headquarters where Steve is once again, riding the elevator with Brock Lumlow and later, forced to fight himself. Gotta love that "Hail Hydra" callback.
Now the slight problem I had during the third act, was the assembling of what consists of all the female heroines minus Black Widow of course. That scene not only looked like some throwaway Vanity Fair photoshoot, but a throwaway moment that came off shoehorned.
Now had most of the male heroes were temporarily defeated by Thanos and his army only for Shuri, Danvers, Iron Pepper, Gamora, etc to step up, then I would've applauded this scene, but as it stands, I see it as more pandering to the female demographic than being properly utilized within the story construct. Its virtue signalling fan service, plain and simple.It was Natasha who did the heavy lifting while the ladies showed up to strike a pose. She was the real heroine out of the film, her sacrifice and finding redemption was an emotionally packed
I didn't really care for a bloated Thor either, was it a subliminal message of fat acceptance or how overweight superheroes can still be relevant ?
If I could put Time in a Bottle
Endgame's narrative of time travel was for the most part exceptional, however, the 1970's scenes dragged on just a wee bit. Tony Stark running into Howard Stark who is about to be a father and Cap's little caper could have been trimmed down a few minutes or so.
While speaking of Cap, that was a clever albeit predictable twist with him going back in time to hide the stones never to come back since he was robbed of that dance since The First Avenger. A very poignant ending for one of comic's greatest Superheroes! Cap always sees himself as a Man out of time, so what better way to close his act aside from being sacrificed?
The needs of the many outweighs the needs of a few, or the one.
Things wasn't all fun and hijinx during Endgame, because not everyone makes it out alive, courtesy of two noble sacrifices. One being Natasha Romanoff who competed against her partner and old acquaintance Hawkeye Clint Barton of who gets to dovetail off the cliff in order to retrieve the Soul stone.
Just when it appears as if Clint would take the plunge, Natasha interrupts and does the deed herself.
Its the first sign of a major casualty which there ain't no coming back.
I guess Nat had the least to lose due to her checkered past ergo the heroic defining moment. RIP
Not to be outdone, in a last ditch effort, Stark uses the stones on the make shift gauntlet to perform his very own "snap" but not before saying the iconic words; "I am Iron Man"! Thanos watches him army deteriorates before he becomes chimney dust. Stark succumbs to his wounds and dies, what started as a narcissist prick since the first Iron Man movie, developed into a true hero who heeded the call, since the first Avengers film.
It's a shocker but a very brave move from both Marvel and Disney. Tony leaves behind a Wife and a 5 year old daughter in order to protect their future while resurrecting his other family and the rest of the world.
It's Hammer time!
Biggest scene stealer aside from Stark pulling a switch, then dying, would go to Thor's hammer Mjonir striking Thanos, however, the one who threw it at the mad Titan wasn't the out of shape god of thunder. It's Captain Muthafuking America!
As previously hinted during that infamous scene in Avengers Age of Ultron, Rogers manage to slightly budge Mjonir, that's why "Bloathor" yelled "I knew it"! Cap was worthy after all and its one of the few great callbacks in this sequel! Not to mention that he finally shouts the iconic battlecry-"Avengers, assemble "! It's a crowd pleaser and a big payoff after 7 years since the Avengers debuted.
Passing the Torch
After Stark's emotionally charged funeral scene, Thor Odinson humbly suggest that Valkyrie become the new Prince, King or rather Queen of Asgard, while he goes off into space with the Guardians. Afterwards, an aged Steve Rogers vouches for Sam Wilson aka the Falcon, as his successor . It was a very humbling scene regardless if some would think its another play on identity politics.
Sure some would say that Bucky should be the new Captain America even I thought he would be the one, but from a narrative perspective, it makes sense why Wilson got picked over Barnes. While James was running around as a brainwashed Hydra terrorist, Sam had more than proven his loyalty to Rogers since The Winter Soldier, Avengers, Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame!
When it came to having Cap's back, Sam was all in!
Endgame was an amazing love letter to the MCU and its many fans who was there circa 2008.
I for one am glad to experience the incredible journey.