Film

Review: Avengers: Endgame

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As the culmination to more than a decade of innovative franchise filmmaking, Avengers: Endgame serves not only as a capstone to the story that began with 2008's Iron Man—the first film in what became known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)—but as a testament to the power, and profitability, of big-screen serialization.

In the years before Marvel started making feature films in-house, blockbusters, including superhero movies, might have sequels, but each one was expected to stand on its own as a complete, independent cinematic experience. Plotlines were wrapped up at the end of every movie, and characters rarely crossed over from one franchise to another.

The MCU, in contrast, was built on the same storytelling principles that ruled in Marvel's four-color comic books: serialization, crossovers, and reasonably consistent universe-wide continuity, all of which created incentives for fans to branch out from one hero to another, following not just a single character and story but an entire universe of them.

This strategy was initially viewed as risky, since an interlinked story might be confusing, or widely disliked, and thus drag the whole franchise down. Instead, when the MCU's initial group of heroes teamed up in 2012 for The Avengers, it proved more successful than almost anyone imagined. This reshaped Hollywood, with cinematic franchises from DC Comics to Transformers seeking to establish interconnected universes of their own.

Few succeeded as Marvel did—Endgame grossed more than $1.2 billion globally on its opening weekend, breaking just about every box office record imaginable—but Hollywood learned a lesson anyway: In the internet era, no storyline is too complex for dedicated fans. That goes for Endgame's knotty, referential storyline, which serves as a well-earned review of the franchise's high points and a round of self-congratulation at the project's success. It feels like a grand finale, but don't expect it to be over: Marvel's cinematic endgame is to always have another story to tell.

NEXT: Review: Child's Play

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  1. Endgame was way longer than it needed to be. I was actually getting bored until the action picked up in the second half. The whole “girl power” thing was forced and sad. Why not just let the girls be awesome without trying to score points for wokeness? I will say Captain Marvel was kick ass in this which makes me want to go see her movie. Overall worth watching but I liked Infinity War better.

    1. I agree. Endgame was great largely because it was the culmination of 20 years of movies, but the plot was messy, and product- er, Captain Marvel placement was hamfisted.

      The problem I had with the female characters was that they killed off the least shallow female character in the series. It’s annoying that there was all this talk about how “finally” girls can look up to a female hero when Captain Marvel came out. I think Black Widow was far more relate-able. Not only was she a human who just worked hard, but she had flaws. Instead she is replaced by a superhuman Captain Marvel with the character complexity and depth of a blank sheet of paper.

      1. I would agree with that assessment. Scarlet Johannson did a nice job in the series. It’s the comics though so she could reappear somehow.

    2. Girls are fans, too. And they need to be serviced.

      1. I for one, am very much ‘up’ for servicing female fans.

    3. No kidding. About the only thing the guys got to do that really mattered was a couple of finger snaps.

      OK, I exaggerate, but that one scene, (You know the one I’m talking about.) where it’s basically all women kicking ass just had me going, “Oh, come on!” Did they have to?

      Guess they did, which does not give me a good feeling about the future of Marvel’s comic book movies. Time for Marvel to “roll left and die,” I guess.

  2. I may be one of the few that have not seen Infinity War yet, but recently picked up Captain Marvel, and have a short review of it: tedious. It has a disjointed, almost interesting layout of the backstory, all amounting to the discovery of a girl who has ultimate powers, and pretty much no downside you can engage with. But that’s okay, because it’s girl power.

    Wouldn’t watch again.

    1. Yup, it was a yawn of a movie. Worth watching once, but not a second time. Captain Marvel is emotionless and has no flaws. There’s just nothing there to have interest in.

      With all the emphasis on her having no memory and lacking in emotion, I halfway expected her to snap out of it when she finally found her origin, and get all emotional and flawed as she kicked ass out of the second half. Teaching us that our true power comes from our emotions and flaws. But nope. She’s a cardboard cutout the whole way through.

    1. The remaining Avengers must find a way to recover their allies for an epic confrontation with Thanos, the evil one who decimated the planet and the universe.
      Trailer Avengers Endgame

  3. I find it interesting that essentially the female version of superman is so polarizing. I thought she was cool. Wish Wonder Woman was in this universe though.

    Thought Thor comedic effect was pretty hit or miss. Overall it was a pretty good mediocre finale to a pretty good mediocre group of movies. I can’t believe we got another spiderman, geez.

  4. Imagine if Marvel had the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four.

    1. As of March 20th, they now do — or at least their corporate overlord Disney does. I’d be astonished if they didn’t try to integrate them over the next few years.

      1. It’s already underway. Kevin Feige said they already had plans ready to go as soon as it was official. The only thing they’re not going to reboot is Deadpool. As Deadpool works fine as it is.

  5. It’s going to be awfully hard to do normal plots in the Marvel Universe for a while, now that it’s been established that half the entire population of the universe was missing for five years.

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