After a decade, it's time for the Endgame.
The MCU's latest installment of their superhero epics is here and it's everything you didn't know you wanted it to be and more. While I have been the major comic book snob who hated to give the whole cinematic universe a shot - "They ruined the books," I would say - I couldn't help but appreciate the intricate work done in this movie.
The Russo brothers are masters of weaving complicated timelines and bringing out more than the usual two-dimensional 'save the day' attitude of our heroes. You can tell they read comic books, just saying. Take a look at Winter Soldier.
This shall be a spoiler-free review but the one thing I can tell you is that everything you read, every theory floating around the internet is wrong.
Endgame kicks off right after the disasters that took place in Infinity Wars, with Thanos making the snap and eliminating half of the population of the universe. This is the first time our heroes have drastically failed to save the world and the guilt and self-blame is what carries this movie forward.
This is where the movie shines the most, save for the battle sequences which you always know will be great. We've seen Captain America as extremely self-righteous, Tony Stark as emotionally distant and Thor as larger than life. Now we see them as humans, dealing with emotional trauma. Not just trauma of loss and failure but also a case of survivor's guilt.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) shines here. To err is human but he is a god. A god who made the mistake of not going for the head. His guilt, anxiety and grief takes him on a journey that might seem odd to a lot but to me it was a successful portrayal of a person with anxiety disorder.
It sounds simple and predictable, of course they would mourn, but it's the treatment of it all that makes it commendable. The remaining Avengers aren't giving up on saving the world but with this new anguish, how will they move forward? While we all see our favorite superheroes and their powers, what we see more are their own journeys and growth. Considering that this is what brings out the best of these heroes in the books, it was refreshing to see that translated in a movie for once. There is a lot of heart in the movie and it's well needed.
This is not to say that the entire tone of the movie is somber as the Russo brothers have woven in that iconic Marvel humour in just the right doses to keep you going. Sure, it's not Guardians of the Galaxy level of ridiculous jocularity - and thank goodness for that because it would ruin everything - but it gives you a good laugh.
In a way, Endgame does move away from Marvel's staple formula for a blockbuster movie by showing us an emotional roller coaster within each character and how they all cope. And I do mean every character, as the movie gives ample screen time to characters that did not get the respect they deserved in the past decade of the verse and that screen time finally shows what they are capable of. And those who got less were still given some very significant moments. The way they usually are in comic books.
Endgame cannot cut it as a stand-alone film and is definitely a movie for the fans, be they of the books or movies. Knowledge of the previous MCU is important to not only understand but enjoy the movie. This also means the Russos had a lot of ground to cover and while to an extent they carried it all too well, even three hours wasn't enough for them to pull it off seamlessly as there were some messy moments - and shockingly, some jumpy edits - that were... inevitable. You'll get it when you see it.
That being said, the directors also executed scenes to perfection and we get the epic battle we always wait for in a Marvel ensemble movie, with moments hitting you harder than Hulk's smash and copious amount of fan service that no one can complain about. Don't worry, no spoilers here.
It's obvious that while the Russo duo made their Marvel debut with Winter Soldier - and proved they know how to make a comic book movie - the plan for Endgame was in motion since Civil War. Compare the Russo's work to other directors and you see an intricate balance rare in other Marvel movies. The Russos had started bringing the the characters and tale to their timeline, which is why Civil War is... rocky. And now they have brought out their vision in a way which makes us wonder how it will be topped.
No matter what, fans will be left emotional as this is the endgame, with this latest installment of The Avengers being the last Russo duo directed movie - according to them - and the movie being the second last film of this MCU arc, Spider-Man's Far From Home being the last movie.
Marvel's Cinematic Universe is definitely like no other, towering over Hollywood the past decade, watching multiple attempts at cinematic universes crash around it. And also growing on those who refused to give it a shot because of the commercialism that led to ideas straying away from the original source.