25th Apr2019

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Brie Larson, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo | Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely | Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

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Avengers: Endgame, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo is the supposed finality to the proceeding twenty-two film saga before it, while also serving as an ending to the Infinity Stone saga and concluding companion piece to last year’s sensationally fulfilling, and intense Avengers: Infinity War, that left us all on a frantic devastating cliff-hanger pining for more. That anticipated wait is now over with Endgame on the verge of opening in over 4,200 auditoriums domestically in the US, as well as a reported $1 Billion worldwide gross. It is undoubtedly a film that will smash and crush box office expectations, but what about the film itself?

Avengers: Endgame arrives in the form of a thrilling gargantuan three-hour picture – clocking in at a whopping 180 minutes – comprised of two hours of utterly ostentatious fan service and just an hour of a contradictory/convoluted story. Picking up momentarily after the devastating finale of its predecessor, Anthony and Joe Russo’s film grasps your emotional attention in the first scene. If you’re speculating this will be a breeze thinking the “dusting” is the pinnacle of emotional terror, you’ve got another thing coming in terms of powerful attentive sensation from the events that unfold. Throughout, the film holds you emotionally hostage at every corner and with that, the resulting tension and atmosphere are not only thrilling but quite daunting, and while the incessant jokes about the run time are packing pace, they’re ironically true in the context of not wanting to miss a single frame of this film. Othwerise, while you won’t be narratively lost in confusion of the plot, you won’t be able to appreciate how this is all stitched together remarkably for a three-hour film.

Each sequence is integral and not one-minute feels either out of place or inconsequential. Credit to the editors here Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt, who have stitched together what should be a monster into a Victoria Secret model (undoubtedly one of the worst comparisons I’ve ever made but true nonetheless). The edit is essentially flawless for what it is. It manages to serve a purpose for every relevant character with significant character moments, however, due to the ultra-swift pacing and ground that needs to covered contextually, the film is weakly layered with little to actually convey both emotionally and viscerally speaking, due to the poor structure exercised. Their’s just too much packed here from writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who have overstuffed this feature to the brim with fan service. Arguably it’s probably the peak of what you can squeeze into and get away within a feature before it begins to crumble under its own weight. Ironically enough to balance the film out it would have perhaps helped the overall impact of Endgame with cutting the first fifteen minutes out of it and placing it at the end if Infinity War, allowing the film to really breathe with layers that are allowed to marinate and flourish.

The result of this stuffed feature, therefore, affects the performances. To be clear it doesn’t dampen or become destructive to the impact if anything it adds to the largely agitated nature with a ferocious vigour, but unfortunately, you lose those incredibly vital transformative character pieces. That being said, there are some incredibly bizarre choices here from the writers, far beyond the absurdity of Peter Dinklage playing a giant, more so on the levels of dare i say character assassination for trying to evoke comedy, and while it will be hotly debated in the fan community it doesn’t run the train off the tracks. To balance such there are some beautifully organic arcs that succeed in their execution of audience resonation poignantly, ranging from cheers to bringing the whole house down in a river of tears.

Visually speaking Endgame is magnificent, much like Infinity War It looks stunning with phenomenal scale and scope with much of the technology in terms of production i.e. Ant-Man and Captain Marvel’s de-ageing just two examples that have led up to this for it to involved and executed exquisitely. You don’t even begin to question that John Brolin’s Thanos is motion capture and not a real person, or that these worlds and breathtaking CGI aren’t real. You can feel the roughness, emptiness and textures of everything you see on screen. That being said there is still vast improvement needed with the Russo brother’s poor camera work in action sequences. The sheer number of close-ups that shroud the image are disappointing. The filmmakers never explore wide angles that actually showcase any action in full. Made equally as disappointing is the bizarrely hyper exercising of a frantic edit anytime anyone throws a punch or kick. It just flows into an unfortunate blur.

Avengers: Endgame signals the end of a decade of evolution in the MCU and yes there is plenty in here to suggest what directions Kevin Feige and Co. are thinking in terms of Phase Four possibilities. Nonetheless, this is a CBM and nothing is ever set in certain terms within this genre, and by the end that all-important full stop – slowly but surely – morphs into a question mark with Endgame being a clear example of Marvel not really knowing when to stop when it has the chance.

Avengers: Endgame is in cinemas now.

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