By Andy Chandler
11 YEARS, 21 movies and about 45 hours of film have gone into the 3 phases of the MCU’s ‘Infinity Wars’ saga.
And what a saga it is, from risky beginnings with Tony Stark to cruising the galaxy with Starlord, the MCU has grown, evolved and even changed the very face of cinema. DC take note.
This time last year we were all reeling after Thanos snapped his fingers and decimated half of all living things in the universe.
The heartbreak felt across the world when Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Starlord and all were turned to dust by the Mad Titan was profound, matched only by the realisation that we’d have to wait for a year to find out what happens next.
So, wait we have. We’ve lapped up trailers, TV spots and teasers, we’ve scoured behind the scenes photos, interviews with the cast and even pictures of toys being released to try and work out how everyone lost to The Decimation could be restored and how Thanos could be ultimately defeated.
Endgame was finally unleashed last week and, if the box office pre-sales are anything to go off, this film might already be nearing the $1bn milestone, that’s how strong the pull of these films can be.
Now, it’s very hard to review Endgame and not talk spoilers, but I’m going to try:
Starting 21 days after The Decimation, Endgame gets the band together remarkably quickly. Remember though, everyone here has lost someone so Earth’s mightiest heroes are rather weary.
The opening scene reunites a lot of existing characters and even brings in Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel to the main Avengers fold.
After a quick jaunt through space to tie up a couple of loose ends, the team return to earth and a big 5 year time jump takes place.
At this point you get a great scene with Captain America helping other people come to terms with all of the events of the last five years, it helps ground the film as the consequences feel very real and the Avenger’s failure to prevent Thanos has broken the world and almost everyone still on it.
From there we cut across to a storage unit with an old brown van in it, the van has X-CON written on the side and the name of the person who owns the storage unit is ‘Lang’. Lights start to come on, the back doors fly open and a man in a red suit gets spat out onto a pile of rubbish….
And that’s all the plot you’re getting from me. From that point on you’re on a rollercoaster, a rollercoaster that flirts with everything from human relationships, survivors guilt and revenge to time travel.
Every member of the cast brings their A game to this, for a script that is so sci-fi and fantastical, it would’ve been easy for some scenes to have felt forced or tacked on, or even for some characters to feel out of their depth, but that never happens.
Special shout-outs have to be made for Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr. and Josh Brolin, these guys are something else. Their characters are the stuff of pure superhero stereotypes, but with those actors on board, they rise above the source material and make their characters relatable, understandable and, in Thanos’ case, ruthless and hateful.
My only gripe with this film, apart from having to wait a whole year, is that Captain Marvel felt a bit tacked on, she’s called back to earth by Fury at the end of Infinity War (something that has never happened before even when New York was invaded or Sokovia flattened) and then seems to come and go whenever they need (or don’t need) her around.
Captain Marvel’s presence, or lack thereof, seems a bit of a mis-step that’s explained by a throwaway line that ‘other planets need help too’ that kind of undermines the humanity that she was supposed to have re-discovered in her own movie.
In an ensemble film of this scale, characters were bound to fall between the cracks, it just seems a shame that a character as powerful and as useful as Captain Marvel felt a tad under-used.
But, this film is still incredible. It still wraps up a decade of film making, a decade of character building and stake-raising in the most perfect way, everyone gets their moment and an end to their story, even if you’re simply not ready for that story to end.
But as much as Endgame is an end, it’s also a beginning for the next phase of Marvel movies, whatever that may bring. 5/5