By Alex Austin
Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame is ostensibly a culmination of hundreds of lessons learned and practiced regarding character development, world-building, compelling action set pieces, light-heartedness, balance and caring about your audience. No other film series has managed to pull off a final opus as grand as this, though some have tried (I’ll leave Return of the King out as the single exception here).
From a narrative standpoint I was most interested to see which marvel films actually did the most heavy lifting for endgame. I expected it was a
Ant-Man and the Wasp and it’s setup of the quantum realm, but was surprised to find that the story was crafted in such a way that many various call-backs to past events in the MCU also helped propel the story forward. It’s not necessary to have seen all the previous films to understand what’s going on, but seeing all the previous films would certainly maximize your enjoyment of Endgame.
I often say that I judge these films based on how well they elevate their source material both narratively and emotionally. Endgame manages to transcend this expectation in virtually every way, the end product of which is extremely visceral and carries emotional heft. There’s really not even a point here in trying to build up the overall quality of the individual elements of this film as Review hype - This is the best film of its kind ever made, hands down, hard stop.
One would assume (and correctly so) that the inclusion and conclusion of so many narratives would result in a hot mess of confusion and subversion... However, the film never really melts down on any one of these points. On the contrary, the Russo Brothers have somehow managed to cram EVEN MORE narrative and character development into a film that should be entirely about conclusions. In the end, this felt like a world where things begin and end, and other things begin anew and others yet continue on. I’m literally in awe of this level of story-telling. It’s never been done before, not anywhere close to this and certainly nowhere close to this scale and scope. Even non-fans of the MCU and comic story-telling should be able to appreciate what has been achieved here narratively.
Endgame is one of the most utterly joyful and emotionally fulfilling (and often times devastating) films made in a long time. The Marvel Studios team and the Russo brothers have crafted something that is unparalleled in its scope, both from a narrative standpoint and an emotional investment standpoint. What we’ve seen with Marvel since 2008 is ostensibly the future of grandiose story-telling, and I’m just thankful that now they also own the 20th Century Fox/Marvel properties so we can get so many more of our favourite heroes with this kind of emotional weight behind them. Kevin feige has proven himself to be a true visionary, and has provided the industry over the last 11 years a master-class in world-building.
Lastly - I truly believe that Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko would all be so enthusiastic regarding this realization of their vision of creating characters who were distinctly and recognizably human in their flaws, actions, emotions, and motivations. In the end, this was always meant to be a story about the most basic human elements that tie us all together and break down ethnic, political and cultural barriers - Endgame isn’t about super-heroes seeking to defeat a great evil, it’s about trust, true friendship, family, love, and creating a better future for all through personal sacrifice.
See this film. You are only doing yourself a GREAT disservice if you choose not to do so.