Avengers: Endgame [Celluloid Hero]
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Okay, so here's the thing. I've said many times before that since Baby Varacchi has grown up a bit, it's harder to watch "grown-up" movies. Add in the fact that I go to bed early, and my wife works a weird schedule but we wanted to watch it together, and the fact that this is a 180-minute movie...we just never found the time. Excuses, excuses, I know...but it's the truth, and it's the reason it took me 6ish months to see a movie I wanted to see.
The issue I've had with Marvel for the past few years is pretty much encapsulated by "Endgame" itself: too many characters, too many tie-ins, too much build up. The first "Iron Man" came out in 2008, and I've followed this storyline for 11 years across 21 movies before I even got to "Endgame". And despite what gravitas the MCU tries to create, it still sits in the back of my mind that these are comic books movies, thus no one has to stay dead for long, nothing can't be undone, nothing is permanent, and it makes this apocalyptic finale feel a bit less sever.
Since I'm pretty sure I'm the last person to watch this, there are plenty of spoilers to follow.
After Thanos snapped half of the universe out of existence, the leftovers are struggling to move on. Tony Stark and Pepper are living in a cabin on a lake, Steve Rogers is leading support groups, Natasha is in charge of what is left of SHIELD I guess, Thor is getting drunk in a fishing village, Bruce Banner is Hulk all the time...it's actually a pretty good representation of what each of these characters would have done during the five year gap in MCU-time between "Infinity War" and "Endgame". The rescue plan begins when Ant-Man (who had been stuck in the Quantum Realm at the end of "Ant Man and the Wasp" pops back into reality, and realizes that the five years of "real time" only lasted five hours in the Quantum Realm, and time travel is possible and can be used to go back before the Snap. This is all super comic book-y, probably more than any other movie in the MCU before this. So what's left of the gang gets back together, bouncing through time into the 1940s, the 1970s, and the 2000s to prevent the Thanospocalypse. I'll admit I got lost a few times trying to figure out the in-universe ramifications of time travel.
As a slight aside, time travel is one of my favorite genres. I've mentioned it before, but there are typically two schools of thought (1) Back to the Future - any slight change in the past can drastically alter the future, and (2) Twelve Monkeys - the future is the future, nothing will change. Other movies twist the rules, and create their own paradoxes. "Endgame" references a bunch of time travel movies in an attempt to clarify their rules, but I still didn't exactly follow it all.
The time travel plot works, and everyone is un-Snapped back into existence. In a sequence that actually made me say "this is awesome" out loud, 99% of the MCU returns to wage a final battle against Thanos and his army. The team works fluidly, with assists and saves and tag-team action. Everyone gets a moment or two to shine. They even took a moment to bring all the of super heroines together, which honestly felt like pandering; it would have been better to just integrate the females in with the males rather than have them form their own mini-Avengers unit. Spoiler Alert: the good guys win!
I'll admit that parts of this movie hit me, and it entirely has to do with the fact that I'm a father. I know I pull that card a lot, but it is what it is. When Tony is spending time with his five-year-old daughter, it hits me. When Hawkeye loses his wife and three kids in the Snap, it hits me. When Ant-Man comes home to see his daughter spent the past five years thinking he was dead, it hits me. I'll always give credit to Marvel for being able to keep those emotional moments balanced throughout the action.
I know this is far from the end of the MCU (in fact I'm still waiting to see 'Spider-Man: Far From Home') but as far as an end to the 'Infinity Saga' or whatever, I think it was a fitting finale. It balanced action and drama, and even if three hours is way too long, it was still an enjoyable experience.
[Celluloid Hero] gives "Avengers: Endgame" an 8 out of 10.