Before we start, a personal note; I have been a Marvel fan since I began stealing my brother’s Spectacular Spider-Man comics aged 7. The journey of the MCU is my own, and it has been a massive part of my adolescence. Now, with that in mind, let’s begin.
There has never been anything like the MCU. Comic book adaptations? Sure. Fictional Universes spanning several films? There are many examples. But no transmedia universe has had the resounding success, depth, and following that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has. Therefore, it follows that the final film in the series is an explosive, heart-wrenching conclusion to this generation’s iteration of the iconic characters.
Avengers: Endgame starts where Infinity War left off, with our heroes living in the dust of Thanos’ snap. Our heroes are not used to losing and that is exactly what happened. The Russo brothers finally ask that aching question – what if the Avengers lost? That is the core around which the film is built. The idea that it is not always possible to win a fight and asking when you have been knocked down – what do you do?
It is no mean feat to create the delicate balance of humanity, serious world-ending drama, action, and humour that are the trademark of MCU films. The Russo brothers appear to have this balance nailed. They build on the work of previous films and directors so effortlessly. Since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Cap has been their character. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers is perhaps one of the greatest casting decisions in modern cinema. His ability to play every single level of Steve’s personality, from the small kid who never knew when to give up, to the soldier out of time, struggling to keep going after so much loss, is so integral to the Phase Three films and Endgame is no different.
But Captain America is only one piece of the puzzle. He is the film’s guiding light, its moral compass, but Tony Stark is its heart and soul. Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark was, and always will be, a stroke of genius. His words, ‘I am Iron Man’ kick-started the MCU and his powerful, tragic arc reaches its greatest heights here. Furthermore, the Russos’ took a nod from Taika Waititi and reimagined the God of Thunder in a way we never have never seen him before. Chris Hemsworth is deeply charming and hilarious, in the role he was born to play.
Endgame is indeed a long film, but it simply takes that much time to interweave and unite the disparate, unresolved threads of each character’s story. From Banner’s Jekyll and Hyde issues and Natasha’s struggle with her demons to Nebula battling with Thanos’ abuse. Each character gets a moment or two to really, truly reflect on the journey they have taken through the Marvel universe. To acknowledge both the wins and losses and, somehow, find a way to move forward. Captain Marvel even swings by to wreak havoc and remind us that we have some amazing, badass ladies which hopefully, are the future of Marvel.
As always, the technical elements of Marvel films are second to none. They have the full might of Industrial Light & Magic, as well as the skills of every VFX house money can buy. The breadth and scale of the final battle sequence is unbelievable – even for a Marvel film. Somehow, they have outdone Infinity War for sheer number of characters and amount of destruction on screen. It is a breathtaking, gut-wrenching, mix of agony and sheer spectacle that regardless of how much one cares for these characters, is unlike anything else onscreen to date. The sound and visuals work seamlessly together to make us think that this work of CGI is visceral and real.
There are criticisms that can be made of Endgame, particularly one of fan service, but it is important to remember that the film is not just a season finale, but an ode to a decade worth of films. It is only right that brilliant moments from these films are alluded to with a sly grin and a wink. That is the MCU’s way. As with anything that Marvel has presented, either surrender oneself entirely, or watch something else. Superheroes are the most powerful modern myths we have, and they are the epitome of suspension of disbelief.
The final moments of Endgame are reminiscent of The Return of the King. Personal attachments aside, many of the characters reach a conclusion that is true and honest to this specific representation of the Marvel superhero. Endgame sows the seeds for future possibilities whilst still being a true farewell to the characters we have grown to love over the last decade. Making a good film is a hard task at the best of times, especially when the stakes are this high. Avengers: Endgame does everything one could want from the conclusion to Phase 3 of the MCU. We can all rest knowing that Marvel pulled off the impossible.
by Mia Garfield
Mia Garfield has just finished a degree in Film at Falmouth University. She has written about the female voice in cinema and negotiating the position of the female director. She has just finished her first short film ‘Sonder’, keep an eye out for it at festivals in the UK. A big lover of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Mythology, her taste is varied and every time she is asked about her favourite film she gives a different answer. Today they include Howl’s Moving Castle, Memoirs of A Geisha, How to Train Your Dragon, and Big Hero 6. You can find her @miajulianna2864
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