Entertainment

Avengers: Endgame

Setting box office records around the world

By David Josselyn

The end is here. “Avengers: Endgame” is truly the end of a 22-movie volume spanning the last eleven years beginning with “Iron Man” in 2008. Director Joe and Anthony Russo left no stone unturned in wrapping up the saga in a most satisfying way for fans of the Marvel Movie Cinematic Universe (MCU). Since I have a personal favorable bias as a fan, I am applying my Best Picture rubric which may alter my final score in fairness as a movie.

The Plot (Spoiler Warning)

The movie picks up just before the Snappening (This is what I call Thanos’ snap at the end of Infinity War. I refuse to use the Russo’s official title of The Decimation, because that is mathematically wrong. A decimation is a reduction of one-tenth; the Snap was a reduction by one-half. I guess you could call it The Halving, but that doesn’t have as much pizzazz.) showing Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker,” “Wind River”), and his family and what happens that causes Hawkeye to go off the deep-end taking on the murderous Ronin persona. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. (“Sherlock Holmes,” “Tropic Thunder”), adrift in space with Nebula, played by Karen Gillan (“Selfie,” “Jumanji”), is rescued by Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel (although she is never given that title in her stand-alone movie), played by Brie Larson (“Room,” “Kong: Skull Island”), and brought to Earth where a grateful Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love,” “Mortdecai”), is waiting. The remaining Avengers: Thor (who is in deep depression blaming himself for failing to kill Thanos), played by Chris Hemsworth (“Men in Black: International,” “Snow White and the Huntsman”); Bruce Banner, aka Hulk, played by Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are All Right,” “Foxcatcher”); Rocket, aka Rabbit, voiced by Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born,” “American Hustle”); Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson (“Her,” “Lost in Translation”); and Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, played by Chris Evans (“Gifted,” “Before We Go”), live up to their Avengers name and go to the planet Thanos, played by Josh Brolin (“Deadpool 2,” “Milk”) is camping out on to kill him. Their mission is successful, but does nothing to reverse the Snappening, so the remaining heroes must figure out how to live their lives now that half of all life is still gone. Five years later, Scott Lang, aka Ant Man, played by Paul Rudd (“I Love You, Man,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), is rescued by an unexpected hero from the Quantum Realm where he was trapped after the Pym family were reduced to particles of dust, and presents a possibility to reverse the halving. And so, the Avengers hatch a plan to retrieve the infinity stones from specific times in their past and snap people back into existence. The only problem is a past version of Thanos discovers their plan and is heading to Earth to destroy all life.

Plot Criticisms

Captain America’s choices at the end of the film are not consistent with his character. He breaks some rules set up earlier in the movie by choosing an easy route instead of making a hard choice.

Acting

The main cast give fantastic performances which communicate volumes in just a glance, a smile, or a shaky gesture. All the pain, depression, anger, and anxiety come through without words.

Special Effects

Most of this film uses green screen and motion capture for settings and creature effects. Perhaps there were moments that could have used a little touch-up, but it was never enough to take me out of the moment. The special effects are on-par with what we have seen before in the MCU.

Editing

For a three-hour film, editing plays a huge part making the length sensible in terms of plot and audience engagement. The editing is 99 percent there, but I think multiple viewings will reveal one or two spots that could have been trimmed.

Costuming

The costume department did an excellent job of creating outfits appropriate to each character in terms of personality and period. There are several costume changes throughout the movie and each one makes sense for the scene.

Sound

The sound mixing was practically perfect. I was able to understand every word; the music swelled appropriately, the battle noises were balanced, even the footsteps were done well.

Adult Material

The film is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language. I would not be surprised if the original cut was rated R for violence and blood which was later cut down, but not out. One character’s use of profanity is surprising, but in reflection, also reveals his conformity with modern culture. In story-telling terms, this makes sense, but I wish he had not conformed. The plot works either way, but it was an interesting choice.

Music

Alan Silvestri scores the film and utilizes theming and motifs to accent the characters and the impactful moments. His score is sweet, serene, romantic, anxious, and exciting. Listening to it alone conjures all the emotion I felt while watching the movie (yep, made me cry… lots; and cheer… lots).

Meaning

There are several meaningful things to take away from this film. Family, regardless if you are related or not, is an important uniting factor and worth fighting for. The greater good is more important than your own personal desires. Do not allow the failures of your past prevent you from moving forward and doing good things. As a leader (hero), you have a responsibility to all people, not just your friends from work. Working as a team can achieve greater positive results than doing things on your own. Preemptive action is morally and ethically dangerous and should be handled with care. Make love, not war (RIP Stan Lee).

In Summary

This film is epic. It handles character development, story, and action with the precision only seasoned film-makers can achieve. MCU fans will hold this film up as practically perfect in every way. Unlike Infinity War, “Avengers: Endgame” cannot stand on its own. If this were the first MCU film you saw, you would be confused, for it depends rather heavily on the plot points of previous films (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Thor: Ragnarök,” and “Avengers: Infinity War”). In terms of the Best Picture rubric; the film is marked down (slightly) for Plot, Editing, and Adult Material and my score would be 4.95 out of five (or 9.9 out of ten if you prefer). But who are we kidding? I am an MCU fan, and so are the wonderful folks I saw it with. So here are our MCU ratings: my friend Katy rates it five out of five; her sister Abby rates it five out of five; my daughter rates it 3000 out of five; my wife rates it 11 out of five; and my rating is five out of five.

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