WARNING: There’s some Avengers: Endgame spoilers in here.
Prior to being dragged kicking and screaming into the “MCU” about half-way through the current crop of 22, I wasn’t particularly interested in finding out what all of the fuss was about. I could see why they were doing so well – a series of well executed, interconnected series of Marvel films was well overdue – but it just didn’t draw me in (the cynical part of still sees it as a licence to print money over an artistic endeavour, but whatever).
However, once I started watching the films I swiftly converted to being a casual fan. Predictable as the underlying stories could be, the huge arc that the series followed was what kept me going back. Getting all of those A-Listers to bend to your schedule is a superhuman feat in itself, and winding so many characters and stories together without creating farce is always something to commend.
I still haven’t got my MCU die-hard badge (and I’m still pretty sure Nolan’s Batman hasn’t been beaten as a franchise), but I thought Avengers: Infinity War played great in the cinema, and set up Avengers: Endgame as a must-see for most film-goers this year.
So… the movie
Avengers: Endgame sees everyone’s favourite gang of superheroes attempt to right the Infinity War wrongs of big baddy Thanos. For this they travel through time using the quantum realm first seen in the Antman films. For most movies, resorting to time travel is asking for trouble. For Endgame, it’s well within artistic licence and fan service. If you’ve suspended your disbelief enough to allow for everything else Marvel has to offer, then you’re well beyond needing to look too close at how Endgame manages to bend space and time. Over-explaining it would get in the way of a one-liner or an explosion anyway, so…. who cares? It doesn’t matter. Just enjoy it for the big, loud, bright bit of bombastic fun that it is.
Same goes for the film’s relentless fan service and callbacks. Somewhere there’s a big list of things people would have moaned about if they weren’t included. This almost breaks the fourth wall enough in points to be grating (see: the latter stages of Friends), but Endgame manages to know itself well enough to avoid crippling itself with the will of its fandom.
In the cinema, it became clear that the it was Mission Accomplished for Marvel. In both showings I attended, audiences reacted to the big jokes and “fuck yeah” moments in the same way, as well as falling solemn in exactly the same spots. That tells you everything you need to know about the how well pitched Endgame is.
Avengers: Endgame is a victory lap for the MCU at the end of a record breaking championship winning season. Regardless of whether the relentless success of the series can continue, it will be remembered as a watershed moment for action cinema.