It is finally here, perhaps one of the most anticipated films of a generation has finally made its way to the big screen, as fans arrived in hoards to be among the first to experience Avengers: Endgame. Before we begin with this review, here is your obligatory SPOILER WARNING. If you do not want to have any details revealed before you get the chance to tune in, now is the time to look away.
There had been so much hype leading up to this film that it would be very likely the movie would fall short of expectations. However, quite the opposite happened. The film was able to rise above these expectations and present a surprising, hilarious and totally heart-breaking series of events.
I entered this film with a strong understanding of what I believed was going to play out: Infinity War Two, the second attempt at besting Thanos. But this was quickly put to rest as Thor beheaded the ultra-villain in the first ten minutes of the film. So where to from here?
Time Travel became The Avengers weapon of choice but was done in such a way that put the plot holes and inconsistencies of the X-Men series to shame. Watching characters re-visit their pasts, fascinating locations and characters long since gone was both satisfyingly nostalgic and ended up opening a variety of doors for future plots.
There were three stand out moments in this plotline, which will be reviewed in exceptional detail and emotion.
Firstly, Hulk meets The Ancient One. Tilda Swinton is back in all her awkward glory as Bruce Banner attempts to take the time stone for safe keeping. Obviously, she is unwilling to hand over the stone, as it would go against her duty to protect it. However, the standout moment comes when Banner reveals that Doctor Strange handed over the stone in the past (future?) fight with Thanos. The Ancient One is immediately taken aback and offers Banner the stone without future argument. It is heavily hinted at that if Doctor Strange handed over the stone to Thanos is was ultimately to protect it. Maybe the Avengers haven’t lost after all? What does Doctor Strange know? We are reminded of his interaction with Iron Man in Infinity War where he shared that there were only two scenarios which could see them victorious. Back then we, or at least I, assumed that he handed over the stone because neither of those scenarios would come to pass and he was sparing Iron Man’s life. This was a very clever twist from the film and demonstrated their ability to rekindle plots from previous films.
The second moment was rather subtle but opened up an enormous door for future plotlines. As Iron Man and Ant-Man travel back to the time of the first Avengers film, they attempt to retrieve the blue infinity stone. However, things don’t quite go to plan, and they end up losing the stone as a handcuffed Loki snatches it and vanishes. At first, it seems that this was simply a device to further their search and lead them back in time further. However, with a past version of Loki vanished this means that somewhere in the universe this little trickster is still alive, un-strangled by the devious Thanos. Did someone say Loki spinoff?
Finally, the most heart-breaking moment of the film. Black Widow and Hawk Eye arrive to retrieve the Soul Stone, and if we cast our memory back to Infinity War, we know that only one of them will be leaving alive. There is a dramatic standoff where both try their best to sacrifice themselves for the other. It seems that Hawk-Eye has succeeded as he slow-motion throws himself off the cliff, slow motion always preludes to a sad death after all. But it was the ultimate fake out as Black Widow swoops in at the last second and forces him to safety, leaving her falling to her death. Seeing her mangled body at the bottom of the cliff was a real tear-jerker, only topped by the response of her loved ones back home. Black Widow had been such a core member of the Avengers since the Phase One films, and her death was brutal, inglorious and ultimately unavenged. Why are you crying? I’m definitely not…
Following the back in time stop the Avengers manage to successfully resurrect the half of the Universe turned to dust by Thanos. Thus, a dramatic showdown ensues between the full Avengers gang and a past Thanos, who has been tipped off about their actions and has arrived to put it to an end.
The battle is glorious, each character got their moment to shine (which would be difficult to do with so many to include) and the gang appears to be winning. Captain Marvel arrives to finish the enemies off and moves to fly the stones back to the past to destroy them. However, she takes a massive blow from the stone-wielding Thanos, and suddenly things look dim. Doctor Strange let out a gasp, and we know that if he is concerned, we definitely should be. Strange turns to Iron Man and lifts up a single finger, signalling that with that blow their chances of winning have been cut in half. The moment was heart-stopping and was a subtle way to communicate with the audience. There is now only one series of events which could see them victorious. Iron Man takes the signal and thrusts the stones into his suit, clicks his fingers and destroys Thanos and his army. However, the battle is sorely won as the stones take Iron Man’s life as payment.
Iron Man was the ultimate Avenger so knowing that this was his final moment was devastating, and entirely unexpected.
The battle is won and what followed was a dramatic and lengthy funeral scene for Stark, the farewelling of Captain America (who travels back to return the stones and be with his one true love) and no post-credit scene, which was the real twist.
There you have it. Endgame. There was so much content in this almost here hour film that we could not dive into, including Nebula’s star moments, a new generation of Starks and fat Thor. The film combined so many storylines with excellent pacing, satisfying resolutions to fan favourite characters and some boss action sequences.
Perhaps the best part of the film was the doors they have opened for future plotlines. With so much of the past changed there will inevitably be consequences. We will have to wait and see what Marvel has to offer next, but for now, we are all just basking in the glory of this cinematic masterpiece.