It begins and ends with Iron Man. That is as spoilery as I will get in this look at the conclusion of the Infinity War saga, Avengers: Endgame. The Russo brothers were always going to be up against it trying to top Avengers: Infinity War. Not only is it an epic film, story, and piece of filmmaking, it also has one of the best endings in modern cinema.
Though pretty much every MCU film has been guaranteed to bring the audience back, the anticipation for this movie has been off the charts. Endgame has only one, albeit slight, problem. You know, because of the nature of the genre, they are going to win.
Obviously, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyone of a certain age will remember the frustrating, unsatisfying, endings of many an episode of the visually impressive Michael Mann show, Miami Vice from the mid-eighties. Life is hard and, at times, unfair enough. We want to see our heroes win.
The knowledge of them winning is one thing, how they are going to win is another. Having watched the film, I am confident that even that one smug person you know, who always knows what’s going to happen, will not be able to second guess this one.
There are so many elements at play, so many things one just could not have guessed at, no matter how many comics you have read or how many times you have seen the twenty-one previous films. All of the rhetoric and theorising is over now. Most of it is wrong.
The script by Christopher Markus and Stephen Mcfeely is masterful. There are nearly fifty speaking parts in the film. Fifty. To have so many characters interacting, without the feeling that some are just getting lines because they are on the screen is hard. Just ask any of the actors in Fox’s X-Men films how that feels.
The Markus/Mcfeely script has humour, emotion, suspense and still manages to tell a compelling story that one is invested in. At three hours long, the film is a test of one’s bladder if you are foolish enough to enjoy that giant Coke whilst watching the trailers.
Truth be told, the film does not feel three hours long, the set up from Infinity War giving Endgame an oppressive urgency that does not let up until the final act. The film answers just about every question you could possibly have had about the story arc over its twenty-one film run.
As much as there are those who like to know what happens before they see it, I promise this film can only be truly enjoyed if you see it spoiler free. It would be a massive disservice for me, or anybody else, to reveal any of the plot points if you had any intention of seeing the film.
As one would expect, the film looks magnificent. You should see this film on the biggest screen you can find. The Russo’s, unsurprisingly, really added to their reputation as masters of the genre, having directed four – including Endgame – of the MCU Infinity War arc films.
That they directed the best of all the films is also a case that could be made for the brothers, having helmed two Captain America films, Civil War and The Winter Soldier, as well as the Avengers pair.
Music also plays a big part in the film, setting the mood and scene, different melodies denoting different heroes. A veteran of some one-hundred-and-twenty-six films, Alan Silvestri is the man behind the music, a name familiar to just about anyone who watches films.
The MCU, behemoth that it is, might seem, with all of the money and star power, to almost be bullying the competition, with any other film released around the same time as their films getting completely overshadowed.
What the MCU films have done is raise the standard expected from a blockbuster and, even more relevantly, multi-strand story telling. If others who follow can do half as well as the MCU have, cinema could be very interesting over the next decade. Go and see Endgame.