I’m writing this so I must still be alive, though I’m surprised I’m able to string a sentence together seeing as I just got my head blown off. We’ll see how legible this next bit is (I’m not confident).
A swansong is so called because of an ancient belief that swans sing beautifully just before their death, having been silent most of their life. If this movie is a song, it is indeed beautiful, but the Avengers films have been anything but silent. Hulk in tow, they’ve blown a hole in the superhero genre and changed the game forever. Endgame has well and truly shown audiences that this is how it’s done.
Opening and closing with truly heartbreaking scenes, the film took us on an array of exciting, surprising adventures that were both nostalgic and sparkling new. I found myself constantly proven wrong as all my predictions vanished like the victims of Thanos’s snap. I felt like I was on the same urgent journey as the characters and that their losses and wins were my losses and wins. Nothing happened the way I expected and the stakes seemed so much higher because of it.
One of the things Marvel does best is packing all kinds of emotions into their movies. One minute you’re nursing a stitch after a belly laugh and the next your eyes are glassy and you’re trying to pass sniffles off as allergies. If you felt like you got a hefty dose of hormones every few scenes in Endgame, you’re not alone. The laughs were constant but the humour didn’t eclipse the drama, nor the anguish. Though I did feel like I had emotional whiplash at times.
We got to see more of certain characters this time around – like Hawkeye, Ant-Man and Nebula – though less than we’d like of others. There were so many players in action that sometimes one would enter a scene and there was a strange kind of “Oh yeah! They’re still here!” moment, but the feeling didn’t linger. So many stories interlinked and they were flawlessly executed, which was a huge feat with such a large cast of characters. Even if it wasn’t done well, I was distracted by the amazing surprises and reunions scattered throughout the story. A particular one featuring Captain America was so much more than an easter egg, it was the whole damn chicken.
Bulk (Banner/Hulk) was a major standout in terms of CGI (I’d say it probably took up a quarter of the billion dollar budget) and it was so natural at times that I forgot humans aren’t naturally green. Some of his scenes went on just a little too long and could’ve benefited from a tighter edit, but it was the best iteration of the Hulk so far. Black Widow and Hawkeye’s interactions were a joy to watch as the actors have so much chemistry, and one of their combined scenes was incredibly well done, showing both their mutual love and respect as well as their willingness to sacrifice for eachother.
Captain America was another standout as a lost but optimistic leader at the end of his rope. In fact, all the Avengers and the surviving wildcards had their fair share of story, and more importantly they seemed like a believable team. A ragtag team filled with both friends and former enemies, but a team nonetheless. I can confidently say that it was a crossover to beat all crossovers. I’d even go as far as saying it’s better than anything done before; yes, even Kingdom Hearts and Rugrats Gone Wild. Fight me.
I didn’t know what to expect from Carol Danvers, but I liked what we saw of her. I wasn’t the biggest fan of her character after seeing Captain Marvel (it’s not a great sign when the side characters all eclipse you), but I was happy with her role in Endgame. She wasn’t over-utilised, and as she’s so much more powerful than everyone else, that was initially a real concern.
The main battle was what everyone was waiting for and it was nothing short of breathtaking, the kind of majestic scene fans of the comics expected and hoped for in Civil War. We didn’t get it then but this time we got exactly what we wanted and it was a true treat for the eyes. Nobody could watch the events play out without a smile on their face. I challenge you to try.
Although the story’s solution to a pretty large problem essentially amounts to a cheatcode, you really don’t care because watching is just so much damn fun. Films like Endgame are more than just entertainment. They’re full of life lessons, they’re just a whole lot more colourful than most. They teach us how to be strong, to be brave and to be selfless, to know that good and evil isn’t always so black and white, and that sometimes it is. They teach us we can change and be forgiven, and that it’s never too late to do the right thing. They’re beloved by audiences of all ages because whether you’re fourteen or forty, sometimes you need to be reminded that even when things seem too terrible to be put right again, the impossible can be done.
In short, Endgame is a lovesong to the 22 movies of the MCU. Reminding us of some of our favourite moments while forging new ones, it was nostalgic and gave us closure without doling out too much fan service. It wasn’t too much or too little, it was just right.
I don’t believe in perfect, but if I did, Endgame is as close as it gets.