How do you accurately sum up a film that’s taken 11 years, 22 films, over 30 feature characters, and a whole lot of mind bending storytelling to make? For the juggernaut that is Avengers: Endgame (“Endgame”), that is no simple task.
Over the course of the past decade, Marvel Studios didn’t just cultivate a franchise but an entire Universe, filled with a slew of films that introduced film-goers to a range of noteworthy characters, many of whom have become household names in the world of entertainment.
Starting with Robert Downey Jr’s entry into the Marvel Universe with Iron Man in 2008, Marvel has taken us on a roller coaster of a journey through the convoluted Marvel Cinematic Universe. Endgame brings that journey to a conclusion of epic proportions, taking the thrilling adventure of the past eleven years and neatly tying it all up. In many ways, it was the perfect, well,…end.
Endgame follows immediately after the events of Avengers: Infinity War, a powerhouse film of its own accord, and is set post the infamous Thanos snap that essentially removes the Earth of half of its living inhabitants. What ensues is, naturally, how the remaining survivors deal with such catastrophe.
While elaborate and highly sophisticated for a film of its kind, Endgame’s narrative manages to link together and illustrate connections between all twenty-two Marvel films over the past eleven years. Throughout the film, historical references are made, playing on audiences and long time fans’ recollection and emotional bonds with the previous films. The feeling of reminiscence, familiarity and attachment to the events of the many Marvel films of the past triggers an emotional response, with thoughts of “I remember that!” or “wow that’s from that movie” no doubt being echoed throughout the cinema.
This personal connection extends beyond just the films but to its individual characters, personalised narratives and of course links to comic book history as well.
The characters have always played an important role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With The Avengers film in 2012, Marvel managed to pull off something no other film had managed to do and do so in a way that felt completely natural. That something, was having heavy-hitting, larger than life feature characters coming together as one collective group, without stepping on each other’s toes. Unlike other films, Marvel successfully managed to continue this trend with subsequent Avengers films, adding even more characters with each film. Endgame was no different, and saw a host of leading characters work together in a way that didn’t distract audiences nor detract from each character’s own personal journey.
Each character in Endgame was given equal focus and screen time, allowing audiences to build on their already established kinship with their favourite characters, embracing the struggles that each face. In many ways, the film allowed audiences to share in the emotions the characters faced post Thanos snap and the journey toward overcoming such adversity. To put it simply, Marvel managed to make us feel as if we were watching our dearest friends experience a traumatic moment and all we could do, as audiences looking in, was feel deep empathy and hope that they overcome their respective challenges.
Not only did each character (and there were several) get their own screen time, but there was also a strong focus on the dynamic and connection between each character. With Endgame set eleven years after Iron Man, with several films bringing various characters together, it’s important to remember that these characters have had a long history and therefore have built a strong relationship with one another. The friendship between Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff, the paternal love Tony Stark has for Peter Parker, the recently developed sisterly bond between Nebula and Gamora; all these bonds were clearly evident and the weight of Thanos’ actions was strongly felt in Endgame.
As mentioned above, summing up Endgame is no easy task, especially in a way that does not divulge key plot points and surprising moments. The entire duration of the film is filled with twists and turns that audiences and fans could never have guessed. Nods to controversial comic book story-lines, the way in which the surviving members overcome their plight; all of these were so unexpected that Marvel Studios and the team behind Endgame should be given a great deal of praise for keeping it so secret.
Whilst many films in the superhero film genre ultimately includes some form of predictable narrative, Endgame manages to without predictability in a way that I, personally, have never experienced in film, not in a very long time anyway. The shocking twists and surprises are a true testament to the creativity of the talent behind the film and kept audiences on the edge of their seats. Where at first, having a three hour long film without an intermission felt daunting, for Endgame, it felt necessary to not have any breaks and the duration was sufficient to portray such an epic conclusion.
Ultimately, Endgame is a huge game-changing film that showcases the breadth of the Marvel Universe. Not only does it neatly tie up the entire eleven year history of Marvel but manages to piece together each of the twenty-two films in the franchise’s history to bring everything to a satisfactory close. The conclusion of the saga paves the way for the next phase of Marvel, which from what we know, will include brand new stories featuring characters never before seen on film.
If you thought Endgame was just another superhero film, think again. The entire film acts as an experience that will leave you riding through a roller coaster of emotions. Without a doubt, this is one of the biggest and most impressive cinematic experiences audiences will have and the ending will leave you feeling a sense of justified closure. Well done Marvel on creating THE film of the ages.