Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Avengers: Endgame (2019) & Infinity War

I never fully reviewed Avengers: Infinity War, opting to wait until the second part was out to weight my feelings on both films at once. Now that Avengers: Endgame is here, I feel like I can finally do a review. Note: I might also have been lazy too, but that is neither here or there. There will be spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the movies yet, please don’t read this review yet.

For those that might have missed the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), these two films represent the culmination of 11 years of filmmaking that started with Iron Man back in 2008. It brings the Avengers together with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Black Panther and others to fight an alien threat in the name of Thanos, who wants to bring balance to the universe by killing half of all living things. For the longest time, Thanos has been doing this by hand, but now he wants to hasten the results. To do this, he has been collecting the Infinity Stones, six magical gemstones that have incredible power—especially when brought together and used at the same time, mounted in a glove called the Infinity Gauntlet.

In Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes sought to stop Thanos from collecting all of the stones and completing his mission. As you can imagine, due to the fact that there is a direct sequel, they failed. Thanos obtained all of the stones and with a snap of his fingers, snuffed out half all living things throughout the universe. This included many heroes and the ones remaining were devastated by the loss.

Then they sought revenge. In Avengers: Endgame, the heroes go on a suicide mission to the planet where Thanos vanished to so that they can retrieve the Infinity Stones and revive their vanished comrades. They also want to kill him. Upon finding him, they learn he has destroyed the stones and with it, their one hope of restoring what was lost.

However,  the surprise return of Ant-Man from merely being lost in the Quantum Realm when he was presumed dead gives our heroes a way to undo what Thanos has wrought—if they can find a way not to collapse time and space in the process.

The first of the two films sets up a desperate fight for the universe. And while the second continues with the repercussions of such great loss, it bypasses a lot of it in favor of humorous hijinks that wouldn’t be out of place in an Ant-Man film. Indeed, holding him out of the first film allows his presence to be felt that much stronger as he not only provides the way to save their friends but supplies a lot of heart with his optimism and humor. Even with half of the universe gone, the cast of the movie is pretty big, yet for the most part, they all get a chance to shine, be it Captain Marvel blasting onto the scene to save the day several times or the small heart to hearts that Hawkeye and Black Widow have before one of the movie’s many sacrifices. That said, Avengers: Endgame belongs to Iron Man and Captain America, the brains and heart of the team. That’s fitting, as the movie serves as a swan song for now for both characters as their growth has brought them to points in their lives when the thought of them hanging it all up isn’t unfathomable. We will miss them, but they have earned an honest goodbye.

Infinity War is the stronger of the two films to me. It has a concise mission: stop Thanos. Everything done in it by the various heroes moves them closer and closer to this goal. In contrast, Endgame, while it  has a similar mission, takes many asides that do little other than offer fan service and showcase just about every actor that has been in a Marvel movie. While neat, it does pad and already long movie and one can’t help but think that those moments could have been spent better in service of the plot. Even with those deviations, the movie aims to please and does that just, especially in the final battle between the heroes and Thanos that is a visual treat to behold with everyone in on the action. It also offers a scene we’ve been waiting for since the first Avengers film. It also sets up a shaken up world thanks to the events of the first movie that should add new twists to future movies.

All in all, each movie stands alone but together they make each other that much stronger, much like the Avengers themselves do with each other.

Check it out.

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