AVENGERS ENDGAME Review : All’s well that’s …Marvel!

  “WE ARE IN THE ENDGAME NOW”

That is where we are at. The culmination of an initiative that started a decade ago,  with a certain Nick Fury’s invitation to the Iron Man regarding bringing together a group of remarkable men (and women) to fight the battles mere mortals could not.

22 movies later, ten years down the line, we have come to an end to what was one of the most ambitious of cinematic projects undertaken in history. And Marvel studios have managed to wrap it up finally with the big finale – Avengers Endgame.

It has also been the phase in cinema where superheroes of all sizes and shapes took over the motion picture scene. Add the DC ones, and the already existing X-Men franchise, and it looked like the genre already hit the saturation point. But director Russo brothers had other ideas.

With Avengers Infinity War, the Russos went right ahead and did the unthinkable by getting the villain emerge victorious and single-handedly give a whole bunch of heroes a super villain ‘ass whooping’. So much that even though fans may have felt cheated by the deaths of many of their loved characters, they know that it must be set right in the sequel by all means using “whatever it takes!”.

Thus, we have fans from across the globe, eagerly counting down the days to the big finale to see how the mighty heroes of earth avenge the fallen and give it finally back to Thanos.

Though what follows are not mighty spoilers, they still are in the category of “might-be spoilers” .  So go ahead at your own risks…

avengers 01

 

 

WE LOST, ALL OF US. WE LOST FRIENDS. WE LOST FAMILY. WE LOST PART OF OURSELVES. THIS IS THE FIGHT OF OUR LIVES

Many of us would have expected a movie about straight out revenge. Many fans would be looking forward to it. Honestly speaking, so did I.

But Endgame is not exactly the sequel to Infinity War in that sense. The Russo Brothers again do things differently and instead goes for the head this time, that is the broader picture. Rather than just resetting the events of Infinity War, the directors wants to make the movie work as a culmination of the Marvel era. They want viewers to embark on that journey that started with Iron Man and that brought us right to this point in time.

As the movie starts off with our fallen heroes looking for revenge, the portions we have so far seen in the trailers are all wrapped up in exactly first five minutes of the movie. And the said revenge also comes like a snap!

But what follows is a cathartic view on everything life has thrown at us. It instead is contend trying to be an essay on loss, pain, and moving on in life. Russo forces the attention away from all things Thanos and instead gets us reflecting on how one copes with the loss of their loved ones and family.

The movie then furthers this by taking us down memory lane and with nostalgia, reminding us of small moments that we all would want to revisit – parents, lovers, kids, in short the bonds we have created for ourselves.

But it is not all heavy. The fact that this is after all a ‘tentpole blockbuster event’ forbids the Russo brothers from going all out with the pain. Instead they have to settle in for the demands of the blockbuster audience, which is “with great pathos, come great goofiness” . So that is exactly what kicks in with the events that happens five years later, when Scott Lang aka Antman is freed back into the real world from his quantum realm hiatus, thanks to a …er, rodent!

 With Scott landing at the front door, Cap America and Black Widow sees that there is a small window by which they could set it all right, so they go seeking the services of the two big brains of the Marvel world – Tony Stark and Bruce Banner.

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“NOTHING GOES OVER MY HEAD. MY REFLEXES ARE TOO FAST, I WOULD CATCH IT”

Drax certainly may see it like that. But as viewers, it isn’t the case.

You know it is not going to be easy writing things, especially when you throw in elements of quantum realms and time travel and a whole lot of that into your narration. You are literally creating a loop hole instead of a wormhole, thus enabling more questions than answers that you could probably provide.

The WHYs and HOWs just would not add up the more you think of how the events are lined up once the initial rush is over. Agreed this whole thing of alternate timelines is a darn good excuse, but not all movies successfully pulls it off. And Endgame exactly does not come off all unscathed either. So get ready to be scratching your heads.

The middle portions also have a lot of referencing to previous movies and events of the Marvel cinematic universe. So for the folks who thought they could skip some of the origin movies, they may seem a little caught out at times trying to figure the bigger pictures as a whole lot of characters do come back in various ways.

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I CAN DO THIS ALL DAY….

…or probably not. Let’s face it. Hats off to the various actors who has been repeatedly sticking to their characters and contributing to the marvel cinematic universe. Even if it is in cameos here and there , for they are really giving it for the fans and continuity.

This time the focus is on the original Avengers and after all these years of doing this costume drama, many of them will hang up their boots while many will ‘stream’ away in other directions. Obviously, it is certain they cannot be doing it all day. So we may have to part temporarily or forever with some of the actors from this decade long Marvel-family as we enter into a new phase.

The focus again is on the core Avengers team. Robert Downey Jr , Chris Evans, Scarlett, Ruffalo, Renner all wonderfully reprises their role and gives it emotional heft. Joining them also with significant inputs are Cheadle, Paul Rudd and the Cooper voiced Rocket. But the movie is really taken forward by the Karen Gillan’s Nebula character.

But if you want to fans of the rest of the actors from the MCU, please be ready to see very little of them in this version.

Due credit also has to be given to the FX team, for one thing they have really mastered by the Endgame is this digital age-altering technique.  The team at Lola FX, are some fine digital plastic surgeons and perfected this art in altering the character’s age and physical appearance so perfectly that we never know what surprise Marvel will throw at us with the technology at hand. I mean, compare this with WB’s struggle to get a ‘Justice League’ mustache right!

 

…I AM ALWAYS ANGRY

Obviously, the issue with so many heroes is that filmmakers may not exactly get to please all the fans alike. Personally, I have felt that this whole thing is a lot biased towards Stark, but Joss Whedon did surprise me with the original AVENGERS by being able to give the right balance to all the original Avenger characters. Russo brothers too have excelled in it especially in Infinity War by ensuring that all the names get their moment, even while giving Thanos a whole lot ‘space’ to make an impression.

But personally, felt that was not the case with the Endgame though.  Agreed Thor took a lighter turn with Ragnarok, but here they just wrote him as a big ‘joke’. Wished the writers did not make a man battling his depression to be nothing but a mere paunching bag for some laughs. The sight and gag did get tiring a few beers down. So eventually they make Captain America do all the heavy lifting this time around.

I get how Paul Rudd effortlessly works for the humor parts given Lang’s nature. But what really pisses me off is the way they have progressed Hulk’s character over the years. From being the ‘star’ of the original Avengers movie, now they have Ruffalo-fied the character so much that there is no Angry hulk anymore. Russo Brothers have banished the ‘Smash Hulk’ that we love, and we are deprived of the much touted rematch that Hulkfans had hoped for. From Stark’s big boast line ‘We have a Hulk’ in the original, things have really gone down south for the big green man.

Another character that just does not work for me is Captain Marvel. Larson did seem a little off in the original movie as well, and here too given her shockingly limited runtime, comes off like an arrogant alien ill-fit to the whole Avengers thing. Probably, it was as a result of having this in production before the actual “Captain Marvel” movie.

Thanos that was a big deal last time around seem disinterested in this version and approaches it more like a sitting duck. Thanos with no stone, is certainly not in the zone! That was a bummer.

Again, like I said, these are some personal beefs. But hey, like I said, fans have always reasons to stay angry. Cannot please ‘em all!

 

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Yes, it works better the second time when our expectations do not play havoc with what we have eventually got. It is a rather satisfying and cathartic end as opposed to the big bang one which is rather reserved for just the last forty minutes or so. So, do not expect to see major action set pieces, as this one offers very little in terms of memorable action sequences like the Thor at Wakanda scene. The grouping of all the women characters seemed organic the last time around, but here it stuck out sorely.

Bottom line, the Russo Brothers have done some astounding work. Though I am not on board with all the choices, they have surely given it all to Marvel movies. Be it their astounding work on Winter Soldier, the creative flourishes seen in CIVIL WAR, or the ambitious choices they went with INFINITY WAR, it all settles down rather well with ENDGAME.

Russos with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely shows their love for all things Marvel and therefore the running time is the last thing one would complain of. In fact, one would only be left wanting more. The writing is effective but not brilliant enough to outshine the magic created by several of the earlier Marvel movies. But loop holes aside, it was worth a ride, and looking forward to what the new phase has in store for us.

And let’s be honest. This is comic geek’s wildest dreams that have come together in Endgame. Who would have thought about a decade ago. This is a fitting thank you note to the fans across the globe.

It has indeed been a Marvel-ous so far.

Excelsior!

stanlee

 

Primary Cast:  Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Brie Larson, Karen Gillian, Paul Rudd , Don Cheadle , Josh Brolin

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

 

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