The movie’s titled “Endgame” not only because it’s a continuation of the previous MCU movie “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018) (which you should absolutely see to understand what’s going on here), but a wrap-up of existing franchise that started with the first “Iron Man” (2008). I don’t know where it’s gonna go now and which directions they are about to explore with future movies, but it’s definitely the end of the era.
The tone and action
The movie starts rather slow and dark, exploiting the consequences of the previous film. For the first half it leaves an impression more of a DC, than of Marvell, but I guess it’s reasonable given the storyline and what the characters are trying to deal with. It looks a bit overextended and I’m sure that first act (or even two) is not why most of the audience came to the theatre. It’s understandable they are trying to build up the pressure and the responsibilities the heroes have to take when acting in accordance with the decisions taken. But it’s very very slow paced, and combine that with the fact that the movie is about three hours long. By the third act you really feel that you deserve a huge pay off.
And you get it for sure. The final part of the movie is absolutely brilliant and one of the most epic in the series. The action, characters and twists are pure masterpiece. You get that childish fast-paced adrenaline-packed action that we all value in Marvell movies. But it’s not only about the action scenes, but also about the decisions our heroes have to make, the decisions that were built up during the first two-thirds of the movie and also in all their previous films. That what makes this movie and this act so important.
As previous Avengers movies the film focuses mostly on Stark and Rogers relation and interactions. Besides that other characters have their own B-stories. And while some are amusing to watch (like Thor and Rocket or Ant-Man and Hulk), the others seem a bit artificial and forced (Black Widow and Hawkeye).
As for the actors, I should say that they all brought their A-game, especially Robert Downey Jr.
They gave each main character references to their past so that can have some closure in the end. It only supports the idea of the end of current Marvell movies chapter with these characters as we know them.
On the downside many great characters were given so small screen time. Maybe that’s the idea of the film that we should miss them and be glad when they appear, but still even in the final epic battle we deserve to see them more.
And a couple of words about Captain Marvell. She’s also given a small number of scenes with a total of about 10 minutes of screen time. For the most part she acts as a deus ex machina. Which raises some questions, like why didn’t they invite her to the “Infinity War”. But at the same time her longer appearance would’ve made a movie much shorter. But in general her involvement looks so bland and forced and they could really pull it off without her overcoming the difficulties in some other ways.
WARNING: spoilers below!
The idea of using time travel to solve the problems it so overused. Both in other movies and in comic books. It’s so obvious that they even joke about it in the movie. Although they are trying to make it sound reasonable and “we are not doing what other movies were doing”, it’s still a cheap trick. And they are breaking the rules of the time travel they just established. Parallel timelines, interactions with past and meeting past self is amusing, but all this doesn’t hold up. You just need to accept it and live with it. On the other hand, it’s not a science fiction, but a superhero movie.
Some important scenes that were supposed to be plot twists were rather predictable: the end of the first part of the movie; Black Widow and Hawkeye “choice” that we all knew how would end (also what if other characters were sent there?); Avengers base attack.
Besides that the movie holds very well. It’s full of great and unexpected turns that sometimes are also fun. The build-up in the first parts of the movie, the references that explain some characters past, all this helps to fully appreciate the finale.
It’s a decent finale to a decent franchise. It doesn’t top, but definitely goes into my “good” MCU movies list together with the first “Iron Man” (2008), “The Winter Soldier” (2014), “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014), “Civil War” (2016) and several others.
I am Iron Man
Of course the review would not be complete without the reference to a central hero of all the franchise, a genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist. The built-up to his finale started long before this movie. And I think Tony himself knew that. Throughout the series comes a central idea of his fear that he “hadn’t done enough” that climaxed in his vision in “Age of Ultron” (2015). And this movie clearly states that he was preparing for such course of events and he was definitely ready for that making his arc complete in every way.
The series started and ended with the same phrase: “I am Iron Man”.
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