REGARDLESS of your reasons for going to the movie theatre to see “Avengers: Endgame,” whether it was to see Stan Lee’s last cameo, to find out the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or to learn of the fate of your favourite superhero, there is no doubt that you got your money’s worth. The film, though flawed in the presentation of its female superheroes, still manages to come across as a sprawling, tear-jerking epic that serves as a worthy culmination to this particular wave of superhero films that have emerged from Marvel over the years.
The film picks up right after “Avengers: Infinity War,” when Thanos (Josh Brolin in good ambiguous performance) acquires all of the infinity stones and wipes out half of the world with a snap of his fingers. Gone in this 50 percent are some of the best-known heroes in the world, including the Black Panther, Spiderman, Dr. Strange, and Scarlet Witch. The remaining Avengers: Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and others work together to find a way to reverse time and bring their comrades and all of the other souls that were lost, back to the world.
The first thing that needs to be commented upon when talking about superhero films is the concept of spectacle. Spectacle is the only appropriate word I can think of to convey to the majesty and cinematic glory of everything that is conveyed on screen – whether it is the awe-inspiring design of an alien planet, the beauty of Scarlet Witch’s powers or Dr.
Strange’s portals, or the arrival of alien spaceships, the alien themselves, or well-executed fight scenes. The climactic scene in the end of this film, in particular, which brings together a multitude of characters who, when seen together, really impart the power not only of the superheroes, but of the movie studios and of franchises that are able to bring together that amount of star-power in one movie at the same time. “Endgame” may, in fact, be the most star-studded film of all time. Never before has this amount of well-known actors been seen in the same place and, truly, we must thank “Endgame” for putting Robert Downey Jr., Scarlet Johannsen, Chris Hemsworth, Angela Bassett, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rene Russo, and all of the others in one place for us.
Among the stellar cast, there were definitely a few standouts who are worthy of note. Robert Downey Jr. turns in one of his best and most emotional performances ever that has already started to generate some awards whisperings. Tom Holland is so sincere in his role that it is really hard for the audience to not be happy when he’s happy or sad when he is sad. Elizabeth Olsen is powerful in the film and her standout scene in the climax is one of my favourites. Karen Gillan as Nebula is one of my favourite performances in the entire franchise. Chris Hemsworth has always been underrated as an actor, and the role of Thor in “Endgame” allows him to highlight both his comedic and dramatic skills; and he is a joy to watch onscreen.
The film’s major problem undoubtedly has to do with the way the female characters are sidelined. One of the franchise’s most prominent female characters dies halfway through the movie, and while this move may have been meant to shock, it just came across as abrasive and unnecessary. It hurt because it was emotional, sure, but unfortunately, it hurt more because we had a situation where the filmmakers killed off one of the few prominent female characters when there was a multitude of men who could have served the same role. Furthermore, most of the female superheroes were only relegated to the end of the film, and even there, their characters did not seem to be developed, and they did not contribute much to the story being told at all. They just seemed to be there to take part in the fight and to have some amount of female representation. There was definitely a gender imbalance, and maybe it was something that could not have been avoided, given the limitations of the story, but one still can’t help being slightly disappointed by this aspect of the film.
Regarding the future of the MCU, things are still unclear at this point. “Endgame” does seem like a definitive end, but it might be the end of the current wave of superhero films more than anything else. After all, Marvel still has a lot up its sleeve for the future, including an “Eternals” movie starring Angelina Jolie. In any case, “Endgame,” in the end, allows us to reflect on the fact that the superhero genre has come a long way since the “Ironman” film in 2008; and if there is anything we know about Marvel, it is that it will ensure that we still have a long way more to go.