And there Shall come an Ending
The Long and Winging Road
Before we get going, let us all try to remember that this film is no small feat, 10 years, 21 films, 44 hours and 47 minutes later, we have reached the culmination of the longest-running, sustained storyline in cinematic history — encompassing some 70+ continuous and/or recurring characters, as well as adapting nearly 60 years of comicbook history spanning thousands of comics. This is it, we are finally here, with 3 more hours and 1 more minute of Avengers Endgame, we will finally have reached the conclusion of that epic storyline, and let us tell you, it was well worth the wait.
An Epic Epic of Epic Epicness
Yep, you read that right, this was a truly epic epic of epic epicness. Granted, our love of not just comics, but the comics on which these films were based (as well as the films themselves) are well-known to those who have been reading our writings over the past 30+ years, so it is perhaps true on some level that we were already predisposed to thoroughly enjoy this film, but seriously, this was a monstrous feat and it was pulled off with an amazing degree of coolness and finesse.
A Gathering of Heroes
The Fans are Crazy
Okay, having said all that we will proceed with our spoiler-free film review. To be sure, given that the film is based on comics written some three decades ago, and that there was half a dozen or so trailers out there (and endless fan theories most of which were spectacularly wrong — there are some things that are already known or suspected (and yes at least one involves Ant Man and no, it doesn’t require him to get small, clamber up Thanos’ butt and then grow. Seriously, some of these fanboy theories, while passingly funny and sometimes even mildly entertaining, are enough to drive this writer off the internet for good.)
Ant-Man & Thanos
Stop Us Before We Sub-reference Again
Anyway, some of what we are about to write in regards to this film are not so much actual spoilers but stuff that is (as stated) already known or at least strongly suspected. So, please stop us before we sub-reference again.
The End is Coming
No Spoilers Ahead!
Needless to say, after the horror of the ending to 2017’s of Avengers Infinity War, and the upbeat first mid-credit trailer to Captain Marvel. Endgame itself starts off a little slow, first by showing us where Hawkeye was and what he was doing while the rest of the team was getting its collective tail whuped by Thanos and half the universe disappeared. This was followed by an extended look at the scene from the trailer with Tony Stark in space.
And so it Begins
The Mad Titan
From there things start getting interesting as the team begins assembling in order to go after the mad titan, seeking the Infinity Stones in order to set right what Thanos had rent asunder. Only, only that doesn’t go quite the way anyone expects. Time passes, and the team formulates a plan to “fix” it all by…oh, but that would be telling. After that, time passes, the team goes about doing stuff, then hits on an idea that they believe, again, will work, ultimately bringing about the film’s denouement along with a…again, that would be telling, but be prepared to be amazed (we will go so far as to say that there is the most amazing battle scene that — if possible — is even more exciting than the one at the end of Infinity War).
Everyone's on board.
Well, we can also say this, virtually everybody who has been anybody of any importance in any one of the 21 Marvel films over the past decade puts in an appearance (yes, even Stan, in what has been announced to be his final cameo). Think I’m exaggerating? There is even a blink-and-you’ll miss-it cameo of Ty Simpkins (Harley; the kid from Iron Man 3 who helped him with the suit). No, we’re totally not kidding!
A battle Royale
Still, for all of the slam-bang action that occurs over the three-plus hours of the film there are not only some genuine, heart-felt moments as the various members of the team adjust to the new Thanos-induced reality, the loss of their friends and family. There moments of personal character growth (a rising and advancing of the spirit, if you will), as well as pain, loss, suffering, humor, plus more than just a few cleverly-written plot twist or three, as well as an underlying understanding that the folks who have spent the past decade or so developing these films have had what few people before them have had when bringing comicbooks to the silver screen — not just vision for the long haul, but actual respect for the source material.
Tony amid the rubble
Respecting the source material
Comics (as well as the movies based upon them), have been derided as kiddy fare. So much pablum for the emotionally-stunted and those developmentally arrested. Man-children living in mom and dad’s basement, who are not mature enough to interact with the world on an adult level with, well, adults, but from this reviewer’s perspective, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, sure, we personally love this stuff, but be aware that there is a level of writing in these films that transcends stuff we’ve personally seen in so-called “grown-up” films.
Visions from Our Youth
Think about it. Much of the events that occurred in this (and other MCU) films have been plotted out and orchestrated over a decade ago. None of what you are going to see on the screen just “happened”. It was planned out, based on stuff that appeared in what our own beloved uncle used to call funnybooks. While this film isn’t necessarily for kids, it is based on the stuff that we read as a youth, while sitting on the newsstand of our uncle’s grocery store.
Comics from Our Youth
The Hero's Journey
So, yes, it is inspiring. The colorful characters wearing spandex and leather are more than just “heroes” they are superheroes, and these stories are a powerful collection of stories forming a modern-day mythology that will outlive the people who originally told them. They are stories that teach us about Joseph Campbell’s Hero's Journey. They let us know that standing up for the little guy or the underdog is important, that the needs of the many outweigh the wants of the few. This is a lesson that we need to learn again and again that, yes, Virginia, more often than not it is better to plant ourselves by the river of truth and say, “No, you move.”
The Way of the Hero
We are a Heroist
As for our self, we are a Heroist. That is to say that we believe in the cult of heroes, and that if heroes did not exist, we would have invented them. Stan said it best, “With great power, must also come great responsibility.” And what better way to show this than to pen even more stories about colorfully-clad men and women standing against a great evil in order to defend the greater good.
With Great Power...
There Can be More than Just One
Finally, no Bill, this isn’t just a story about someone chasing a bright shiny thing, but a magnificent epic about people willing to stand up against all odds to do what few are willing to do, and fight for those who have no voice. This is the kind of story of heroes that we told our children, and hope to one day tell our grandchildren.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
If you are looking to watch every film in the MCU in chronological order, here is a handy-dandy guide as to how to do just that.
The Avengers: Start Here Digital Comics Sale!
- Marvel: Avengers Start Here Sale! - Comics by comiXology
Avengers by Kurt Busiek Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and More Avengers by Jonathan Hickman Avengers by Mark Waid Ultimates Avengers Masterworks Avengers West Coast More Great Starting Points