Avengers: Endgame is the Emotional Family Reunion We Needed (Review)
Avengers: Endgame is an epic, goosebump-worthy, emotional ride in which our heroes become who they were meant to be, and a worthy farewell to the Avengers family.
What happens when 50% of the population of the entire universe suddenly turns into dust? In the aftermath of such a catastrophic event, how can the living pick up the pieces? Infinity War ended with one of the most shocking cliffhangers in Marvel (and movie) history, and left us with no silver lining to hold onto. In the previous instalment of the Avengers saga, Thanos managed to decimate the entire human population with a single snap of his infinity gauntlet-covered hand: his plan worked, which means the Avengers failed. It’s unusual for a superhero film to end with a defeat, but that is exactly what made Infinity War so unique: in a few minutes’ time, we witnessed the tragic death of a series of beloved characters – from Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, The Wasp and most of the Guardian of the Galaxy (Star Lord and Groot included) to S.H.I.E.L.D. members Nick Fury and Maria Hill, and let’s not forget that we had also lost Loki, Vision and Gamora a few hours earlier. Avengers: Endgame picks up right where Infinity War left off: it acknowledges all the loss and shows us a world that doesn’t quite know how to function.
It’s a world of improvised support groups, impersonal war memorials and new cities with painfully (but also hilariously) familiar names. There are abandoned neighborhoods, but there are also those who survived, and that includes many familiar faces. As we already know from Infinity War, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor are still alive, and so are most of the original Avengers. But who are the Avengers if they don’t need to be Avengers anymore? Avengers: Endgame shows us our favourite heroes like we’ve never seen them before: the loss they suffered left a series of invisible scars on them, and, most of all, it made them so very human. And with humanity comes emotion: some are consumed by anger, others have lost all hope, others have withdrawn completely into themselves. They are tired, helpless and disconnected from the world, and, underneath their snarky comments, they are still hurting. The Avengers have lost, and this defeat has changed them all.
Avengers: Endgame is pure emotion, but it’s also so much more than that. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who also gave us Civil War and Infinity War, recognised that part of what makes fans get so attached to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that they love its well-developed, multifaceted, charismatic characters, and gave us an “endgame” that is full of moments we will remember. There are moving reunions, blasts from the past and unexpected encounters with old and new faces, but there are also epic monologues, meme-worthy sequences and hilarious dialogues that will make you either burst out in laughter or clap uncontrollably, or both. In what feels like a Marvel marathon in itself, with its many subplots, every single character gets a chance to shine, even the newest members of the MCU (such as Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and The Wasp) and those we haven’t seen in a long time (such as Hawkeye, who finally gets to show his personality as a complex, powerful character who is so much more than a good archer). It’s a farewell to the Avengers, and it’s as emotional and goosebump-worthy as it should be.
Captain America and Iron Man are at the very core of the film. The relationship between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark has evolved immensely since their first meeting in The Avengers (2012), and all these complicated dynamics are explored in great detail in Avengers: Endgame. Their friendship took a toll after Age of Ultron and Civil War, as the government enforced the Sokovia Accords to keep track of all “enhanced individuals” and the two heroes took different sides. Their issues haven’t been dealt with in Infinity War either, as there was a bigger threat at hand, so the two friends are still somewhat at odds with each other. But Captain America and Iron Man are undoubtedly among the most iconic and beloved characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it makes a lot of sense that the final film would give them room to grow.
The Avengers are a team, and Endgame does nothing but remind us of that. Every single member is important, and, as everything comes full circle, our characters become who they were meant to be. And so, Ant-Man gains confidence, Hulk deals with his demons in the most unexpected of ways, Black Widow and Hawkeye look into their pasts to find important realisations and Nebula becomes the kick-ass heroine we didn’t know we needed. Captain America reestablishes himself as the leader of the group, while Iron Man is reaffirmed as a relentless father figure who doesn’t just provide the brains but also becomes the glue that keeps them all together. And then there’s Thor, who not only provides us with a huge deal of comic relief but also delivers some of the most moving and surprising scenes in the film: the God of Thunder might be a little lost, but his quest enables him to realise what kind of person he wants to be and unexpectedly turns him into one of the most layered, complex characters in the film.
From the original Avengers to the newest members of the team, all our heroes turn from emotional wrecks into the best versions of themselves, and that is what Avengers: Endgame is ultimately all about. This moving farewell to the saga favours screenplay quality over action, and the result is an impressive series of events that involves a huge number of characters, unfolds slowly and still manages to make sense after all. In the end, it’s not just about our heroes uniting to save the world: it’s about the Avengers fulfilling their destinies and finding their own identity.
Avengers: Endgame is not a perfect film. It’s hard to create a three hours long film with a consistently original storyline and the same quality as Infinity War when there is not only so much hype, but also so many theories and expectations. The truth is that, although it does get off to an excellent start that is moving, exciting and so much better than anything we could have imagined, there are also moments when it doesn’t flow exceptionally well. But if Endgame sometimes tries too hard to please with jokes and twist that aren’t entirely unexpected, it also keeps us genuinely entertained for three hours. This final chapter takes the best from the previous instalments of the Avengers Saga, with clever dialogues and hilarious moments that remind us of the first Marvel films we fell in love with, action-packed sequences that have both quality and purpose, music that warms our heartsGuardians of the Galaxy-style and more than one unpredictable turn of events that make a whole lot of different storylines fall into place.
“Part of the journey is the end”, and this end has all the emotion of a family reunion and all the momentum of an adventure that lasted for over ten years. Avengers: Endgame is one of those films that gives you goosebumps and makes you cry at the same time. It winks at you with clever references, it keeps you entertained with a story that you wish would go on forever and it makes you smile with a series of trips down memory lane. Most of all, it’s a memorable, emotionally charged, epic farewell worthy of all the characters we have come to love.
Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame will be released on April 26, 2019.
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