I haven't been this hyped for an event since my eighth birthday party at Showbiz Pizza (a better version of Chuck E. Cheese, FYI, #BillyBob4Life). That was a magical day filled with friends, pizza, video games, pizza, prizes, pizza, crowns, pizza, and cake. My excitement for that day had an enormous payoff, and I still think of it as one of the few things I got [over] excited about that STILL exceeded my expectations.
Avengers: Endgame was even better... Even without the pizza and cake. Hell, I'm an adult now; I can buy pizza and cake whenever the hell I want, but it's not every day that a movie comes along that perfectly finishes up a 22-movie serial that was itself pretty damn impressive on an individual film level.
I was so incredibly hyped for Endgame, so thrilled and eager for it to come out, and it STILL outshone my expectations. How the fuck did the Russo brothers do it?
Well?... How DID the Russos do it?
They did it by paying attention to every single movie that came before Endgame, building upon every relationship that we've seen before, and by giving us more character development than anyone would have ever expected for over 10 main players in a single flick.
Honestly, when I look at Infinity War and Endgame, and I compare it to Warner Bros.' failed Justice League movie plans (they originally planned to stretch out and make the JL storyline a two parter to compare and compete with Marvel's two-part Infinity movies), it makes it clear just how special Marvel Studios is when it comes to finding some of the best actors, writers, and film-makers in the industry and let them do what they do best. Sure, there have been a few movies in that 22-series run that weren't utterly magnificent, but none were outright bad. Hell, even Thor 2 is enjoyable enough on its own to be considered "okay."
My point is that Kevin Feige (uber producer and Marvel Studios president) had a game plan for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, gave control of certain brands within the MCU to super talented creators, and trusted them to do their thing while keeping the whole story fluid enough and episodic enough to keep audiences coming back with every new movie and revelation. Because of his (and the Russos') visions (no pun intended), Marvel and Disney have been rolling in mad money since Robert Downy Jr. first got suited up in 2008's Iron Man 1. Hopefully they can continue this trend into the future with their new properties like Black Panther, Dr. Strange, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. #HopesAndDreamsOfDoom
Was Endgame the best Marvel movie ever made???!?!???!!!!!1111!ONE!???
No. Not the best. But still, it was a better ending to a story 22-movies-long than I could have hoped for. I still find the original Avengers to be the most entertaining, and Winter Soldier is perhaps the best in terms of story and character development, but Endgame is a very loose movie that goes in a lot of different directions before the final credits roll. It's not as tight and focused a film as say Infinity War, but it does SO MUCH and wraps up so many plots, character arcs, and emotions that I love it all the same. It was so fulfilling. That's my main defining word for it: fulfilling. #InfinitelyFulfilling
Anyways, now it's on to SPOILERS!
As to the plot, We start off with the direct aftermath of Thanos' Snapocalypse, as the remaining heroes gather their forces, Captain Marvel just appears and rescues Tony and Nebula from deep space, and everybody tries to figure out what to do next. Some decide to go after Thanos and try and steal the Infinity Stones from him and undo his halving of all life in the universe, but Thanos has already used the power of the stones to destroy them all so that his "Snap" cannot be undone.
Then we jump five years into the future and see how humanity has just wallowed along in its own misery, still not able to forget what it had collectively lost. The remaining Avengers just spend their time talking via 3D holograms about inconsequential shit, and then Captain Marvel and her new haircut abruptly leave the movie and head off into deep space for some reason.
Then, all of a sudden--
And what about Captain Marvel? Wasn't she AWESOME in this movie! Didn't you LOVE her character?!?! (And if you didn't, then you're a misogynistic pig-man!)
Ugh... Captain Marvel's role in this movie was so very unnecessary. She comes in AFTER Thanos killed half of all life in the universe, and then leaves almost instantly. The main bulk of the story then happens and she's nowhere to be found, even though her ultra-powers could have been super useful in act two. THEN she appears out of nowhere for the big finale, and after a grand entrance she just gets beaten down by [SOMETHING] quicker than any other hero who already stepped up to [THE BAD GUY]. It was like the Russos didn't really want her in their movie, but were forced to because hey, Disney already made the Captain Marvel flick and she now existed in this reality. #CaptainMarvelWasShoeHornedIn
They could have just left her out completely and NOTHING would have changed, and in fact the movie would have been a lot tighter and more focused on the original core-members of the Avengers. But oh well. Look, it's her, she's here, deal with it. Let's move on.*
(*Did you see what I did there?)
Okay, whatever, man-pig. What happened next?
Then, all of a sudden, in some impound warehouse in San Francisco, a rat breaks into Scott (the Ant-Man) Lang's truck, walks across the Quantum Realm Generator keyboard, and forcefully boots up the machine and kicks Lang out and back into our reality. #ThankYouSuperLuckyRat
After figuring out what happened during the time he was stuck in the Quantum Realm (from the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp), Scott takes his van and his wacky idea to the remaining Avengers. After some convincing they decide to use the Quantum Realm to "Back to the Future II" earlier MCU movies and collect the Infinity Stones before Thanos did, and create a new Infinity Gauntlet somehow and then wish everyone who was snapped-away back into existence.
Wait, why did they need to create a new gauntlet? Didn't they have Thanos' from the first act? Do they have to go back to the space-dwarves' forge to create a new one?
I guess they forgot about the gauntlet that they already had, but it turns out that they didn't even have to go back to get the Tyrion space-dwarf to make a new glove for them. Apparently Stark-tech is the equivalent of super space-dwarves' magic tech, since all they plan to do is put the stones on an Iron Man mitten and be done with it... But I digress.
This is where the super fun and emotionally moving part of the story takes place. During the #TimeHeist, the remaining Avengers jump back in time and sneak through previously seen parts of older MCU movies (a la BttF2), run into characters who are no longer with us, and sacrifice a whole lot in order to get the stones so that they can restore order to the universe... but because it's a movie that needs a third act, something goes horribly wrong and then the heroes have to fight with everything they have in order to prevent a fate worse than Thanos' Infinity War snap from ever happening. Cue ENORMOUS, giant, immense, overpopulated, never-see-anything-like-it-again fight scene in order to end this ten year and 22-movie serial. Then comes the funeral scene for [*REDACTED*]. Tear. #AvengersNeverDie
That sounds... Interesting and BIG.
Oh yeah. The Russos went fucking gang-busters in the final act of this behemoth of a movie. But it's the smaller moments that really hit home for me. I'm just reminding you that we're still in spoiler territory here before I tell you that Tony's scene with his dad and Thor's scene with his mom (who got more lines in this movie than in both Thor 1 and 2 combined) were the best parts of this entire flick. I even really liked the final scene with ScarJo and Hawkeye. Well-written, emotional scenes will always get more praise from me than more mindless, over-the-top fights created on a computer ever will.
Honestly, the final battle of this movie looked like my 8 year-old self took his entire Marvel action figure collection (which was quite impressive at the time), threw them all in an empty cement mixer and turned it on. It was amazing and insane to witness, but still kind of hollow compared to the great emotional beats of the story.
Was there anything about this movie that you didn't like?
I didn't outright HATE anything in this movie, but saw a lot of missed opportunities. Yeah, I cheered with everyone in the audience when all the shpadoinkley events took place, but afterward I thought about all the easy grand-slams they could have put in to make things even more amazing.
For example, I was kind of hoping that Nebula would have donned the new Infinity Gauntlet at least once to mimic her famous scene in the comics. I mean, they even gave her ample opportunities to do something to thwart her purple-Shrek space dad, but alas, earwax. I thought that poor girl earned the right to help undo the madness, at least in some way. Maybe not have her "snap" her fingers with it on, but at least let her wear it for a posed shot or something.
I also didn't like how the Russo's apparently didn't like having Captain Marvel in their movie. I mean, I get it, Disney forced them into it, but they didn't really DO anything with her. They didn't even show her introduction with the Avengers! Yeah, we got a quick stinger at the end of her own movie showing her abrupt appearance at Avengers HQ, but we never saw this cosmic god first meet Cap or ScarJo or War Machine in this movie. Or hell, even when she saves Tony and Nebula's ass, Tony doesn't come out of the Guardians' ship and thank her or introduce himself. That's just lazy.
What were your favorite parts of Endgame then? Should we settle down and get comfy for this?
I love how the reason Thanos won in Infinity War was because he was ready and willing to make sacrifices, and the heroes lost because they were not. Then in this one, the heroes step up to the plate in numerous scenes and die so that everyone else can live.
I was also impressed how they got pretty much every single person who had a role in a Marvel movie in the past to show up in Endgame for just a 10 second cameo in some cases! Well, except for Liv Tyler (who was a total no-show). Seriously though, what's she even doing nowadays?
And I love the implications left to our imaginations as Cap goes to return all the Infinity Stones to their proper places in that penultimate scene. Does that mean that he had to give the scepter back to the Hydra agents as if he made a mistake, stab Natalie Portman in the ass with the red stone, and then meet up with der Red Shkull on Voramir and be all like, "Heeeeeey, don't I know you?" as the crimson-faced one tries to hold down his hood and say, "I don't know vhat you are talking about! I vas never in Nazi Germany! I vas on vacation between 1939 and1945!"?
And finally, Dual-wielding Thor, Cap and Mjolnir, and having Thor stay fat for the whole movie were some of my favorite parts of the entire MCU... And if James Gunn does not have Thor in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, I will be PISSED. #AsgardiansOfTheGalaxy
Is that it? You done? I honestly thought you'd ramble for another 5 - 20 more paragraphs.
One last thing. I don't know why the remaining Avengers didn't just use their "limited supply" of Pym Particles (needed for shooting themselves into and through the Quantum Realm) to just go back in time and steal more Pym Particles from the beginning, so that they had more than enough juice to try for each stone more than the one single time that they did in the movie. But whatever.
And so it is done. The mighty, mighty main Marvel Cinematic Universe is over... Save for Spider-Man: Far From Home, which is like, whatever at this point.
I enjoyed pretty much everything they shit out, except for Captain Marvel. Not because I'm a misogynist, but because of how predictable it was, what they did to the Skrulls in it, and how they made Nick Fuckin' Fury lose his eye. Pathetic and unforgivable. I will never watch it again, unlike every other Marvel movie, which I've already seen around 4-5 times each by now, and at least 2 times drunk.
But we're here for Avengers: Endgame today, and I hope you'll join me as I raise a glass to those who fell and to those who chose to step down from their duties after kicking Thanos' ass and saving the universe again. Hear, hear! Thank you, Captain, Tony, Thor, Doctor Banner, Natasha, and Clint! I think I will love you guys more than Luke, Han, Chewy, Leia, and Lando. That is quite impressive, let me tell you.
Sleep well, dear princes and princess. You've earned your rest/afterlives.
Oh, I just wanted to tell you a story. So, everybody and their grandmother went to see Avengers: Endgame this past opening weekend (with a record-breaking $357million made in just the US box office, despite its 3-hour runtime which limited the number of showings in a day), and so my sister Jaime called me up to ask if it was too scary for her 9 year-old.
"Well," I said, "Did he see any of the other Marvel movies? It's about the same scary-level as those."
"No," Jaime replied. "This will be his first one."
"Wait, you mean to tell me that you're going to let him see Endgame before he's had the chance to see ANY of the other Marvel movies?! He won't know what the fuck is going on! It'd be like letting somebody 'jump in' to the Lord of the Rings movies by showing them the last 30 minutes of Return of the King! That's insane!"
"Oh," Jaime responded. "Well, he's already at the theater with his friend, watching it now."
".......Why did you even bother asking me then?" I pondered out loud to the universe.
Anyway, Sunday afternoon I was at Jaime's house, and her kids had some friends over at the time. They had all seen Endgame at this point, and my 9 year-old nephew was so excited about the experience that he kept bringing it up to his friends (who just wanted to eat pizza or play Smash Bros.). The following is one of their conversations as best as I can recall it:
9 year-old nephew: Man! That movie was so great! My favorite part was when that guy with an ax cut off the pink-guy's head and then he said "I like to chop off heads!"
Friend #1: What? You mean Thor? And the guy who's head he cut off was purple, and his name is Thanos... And Thor never said that, he said "I went for the head."
9 year-old nephew: Whatever... Oh! And remember that big green guy! He was all like "ROAR! SMASHIE SMASHIE! I'll eat some hotdogs and burgers! YUM!" He was so funny!
Friend #2: You mean the Hulk? (to friend#1) When did he say he'd eat burgers?
Friend #1: Did you see any Marvel movie other than Endgame?
9 year-old nephew: Um.... Yeah... I just got confused. Oh! But my favorite character was that blue robot! That thing was awesome!............ But when there were two blue robots I got really confused.
It's not my nephew's fault (I blame his father! If the kid was old enough to watch Endgame then it was his dad's duty to make sure he saw all those movies in the proper order! Shame on you, Kiff!). I just simply found his enthusiasm refreshing, despite the fact that he had not a clue what he had just seen.