Endgame starts at Infinity War and still goes even darker. I’m glad we get to see a little bit of the world post Snap for regular people. I would have enjoyed even more but I guess if I really want to I can watch all three seasons of The Leftovers. I think Robert Downey, Jr. loves playing Tony Stark this desperate.
There is some action business up top but Endgame really lives in the aftermath, whether it’s exploring the tragedy or generating solutions. That itself raises an interesting philosophical question too. If Thanos succeeded, does further resistance to him only embolden a villain to do something even worse?
It still has the same Marvel irreverence dealing with all the new possibilities. So it’s not like it gets all serious, and the Hulk is a highlight in this regard, but it’s dealing with serious things in this world. It really lets Tony toil over his decision too.
Endgame introduces some new sci-fi rules which are fun and it has a lot of fun with callbacks to the previous movies. You’ll be able to follow along for the ones you missed, but they mostly choose the most popular entries to call back anyway. In addition to sci-fi, Endgame flirts with other ensemble caper genres which give it a fun tone too.
The climax is probably the biggest live action splash page we’ve seen. Earlier, there’s some hand to hand combat with an elegant camera move swirling around the combatants, so there’s both big effects driven action and intimate practical action.
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say Endgame is not setting up any future movies. These heroes will surely have other adventures, but this is the first time the MCU has taken a breath and lived in a moment. I hope its success will embolden Marvel to do this more often. Sequels can set themselves up now. They don’t need previous entries to do that for them all the time. That’s what’s so great about franchises. The established history gives you more material, not the other way around.
I wasn’t restless for any of the three hour run time, although I imagine some of the exposition will feel redundant on repeat viewings. Even with three hours, Endgame has to be as judicious as other entries in giving each character the appropriate amount of screen time. There’s no bloat, but then some folks might have wanted even more bloat to spend a little more time with certain characters.
Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) may not be in it as much as you’d hope after her debut film. I’d estimate she’s in Endgame a tad less than Black Panther was in Infinity War, and definitely less than Spider-Man was in Civil War, Maybe about what Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) was in Thor: Ragnarok. That’s part of the fun of these interconnected films. Huge stars can do significant scenes or entire supporting roles.
Terms like full circle, resolution, conclusion, satisfying, rewarding and more are applicable. That’s not to say the saga is over. That’s why storytellers shouldn’t be afraid of making big moves. There will always be more story to tell, but let’s enjoy this one for at least the summer.