Ten years ago, the very notion of a cinematic universe was laughable. Another huge gambit made by Hollywood to make a quick buck. But, above all sense and reason, Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios were able to pull it off. Inadvertently creating the most lucrative and ground-breaking cinematic franchise of the 21st Century. And now with twenty-two releases to its name, as well as a handful of Oscar nominations, it would seem that the MCU has reached its climax. And yet, in some ways, Avengers: Endgame feels more like a beginning than any of the previous Marvel instalments.
Set only twenty-three days after the apocalyptic events of Avengers: Infinity War, we see our surviving heroes having to wrestle with their failure of being unable to stop Thanos. However, with the help of newcomer Carol Danvers, they manage to rescue Tony Stark from an icy death in space and even capture Thanos for his crimes. However, this minor victory soon sours into defeat when Thanos reveals that he has destroyed the Infinity Stones forever – prompting to an emotionally broken Thor chopping off the purple Titan’s head. All this chaos takes place in the first twenty minutes of the film, leaving you staring at the screen in disbelief.
However, there is more to come, as the screen fades to black and a title card reveals that five years have passed since the last encounter with Thanos. It is in the following sequences that we see some of the more heart-wrenching elements of the film. From Scott Lang returning from the Quantum Realm to learn that his daughter is now five years older, to Natasha’s forlorn attempts to keep the world in once piece. However, it is the reaction of the MCU’s holy trinity that really does pull at the old heart strings, as we see the prodigal sons trying to find purpose in this new broken reality.
Steve Rodgers tries to help people come to terms with their new existence, helping them in the only way that he can now that he is no longer needed as a superhero. While Thor rules over the surviving Asgardians from a small village in Norway, where he has allowed himself to sink into an alcohol-fuelled depression. Word of warning, if you go to these films simply for some Hemsworth muscle, then you may be disappointed at the route everyone’s favourite lightning god has taken. Let’s just say this Thor isn’t the eye candy he once was. But it truly is Tony’s story which brought a tear to my eye, as he has seemingly moved on from his defeat, choosing to settle down with Pepper and have a child – giving up the hero façade that he never truly believed suited him to begin with. However, maybe there is a chance to save the universe, and maybe time-travel could be the way to do it.
What follows is a loving tribute to over ten years of superhero flicks, accumulating in several battle scenes that would make even Peter Jackson stare in disbelief. The special effects and fight choreography are enough to make you shuffle to the edge of your seat, and everyone comes prepared to give the performance of their lives. Each and every cast member do amazing jobs, even though some are given very little to do in the overall narrative, they still make it work with impeccable acting. However particular standouts include Robert Downey Jr. who simply owns the film every time he is on screen. Chris Evans, who plays his signature role with more dignity and charm than in any other instalment. Scarlett Johansson, who injects her performance with some truly raw emotion. And of course, Brie Larson, who continues to emphasise why Captain Marvel should now be considered a formidable force for any future Marvel villain – here’s hoping we see Danvers in another feature film soon. But again, every performance in this film is strong, showcasing an expansive cast of talented actors who are all proud to be a part of this block-busting phenomenon.
The sheer scope of this movie is enough to take your breath away, leaving you wondering how they will ever top this movie in future? And maybe they won’t. Who knows what Marvel has planned next, but they have already confirmed the continuation of the cinematic universe, with Spider-Man: Far From Home set to hit cinemas in July. There has also been reports regarding sequels to not only Black Panther, but also Doctor Strange and Captain Marvel as well. Even though this film is called Endgame, it doesn’t mark the end of anything, except maybe only one period of this franchise’s ever-growing history.