[Movie Review] Avengers: Endgame (2019)


USA | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 13+ | Directors: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo | Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely | Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Karen Gillan, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Josh Brolin, Brie Larson, Bradley Cooper | English | 181 minutes

A culmination point of a mega-franchise after more than 10 years of build-up. 'Avengers: Endgame', in spite capable of delivering emotional connection even towards the most casual viewers, is definitely something addressed for the hardcore Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) lovers who've been patiently following the path of each OG Avenger from the very beginning. For sure the movie would be confusing for those who decide to just blindly jump in into the finale hype train without actually watching previous MCU products since 'Endgame' has no business to be savored as a completely stand-alone narrative. It's meant to be the end of a journey which connects every single thread from all crucial events happened during the entirety of the franchise's 22 films.

Following the mass purge conducted by Thanos (Josh Brolin) in 'Avengers: Infinity War', our remaining heroes Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and Okoye (Danai Gurira). While at some other places, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) has to deal with his own raging inner conflict following the 'snap' and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) who's been stuck in the quantum realm in the aftermath of 'Ant-Man & the Wasp' is having a hard time processing what the world has come to be in present days.

The Avengers are trying to have a second go at Thanos, hoping to undo what he has done after the ridiculously strong Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) joins them as their new powerhouse. You could've guessed things don't go well, and they are forced to refigure out their plan. To kick this review up a notch, let's say that 'Avengers: Endgame' has a superbly polished script, and I'll go as far to say it is indeed one of the bests in the entire comic-book movies history in terms of characterization. This is the kind of character-writing quality that you would expect from a saga finale as it carries out a mesmerizing job in handing out closure for each significant role (especially the original six Avengers).

Marvel's resolution to rename the second part of the finale into 'Endgame' from 'Infinity War Part 2' is proven to be a proper judgment because even though it has the same energy as 'Infinity War', 'Endgame' is pretty much a completely different being compared to its predecessor. It has more humanly aspects thrown within the mix to make our heroes look more vulnerable, wounded, or in other words, they managed to bring these superpowered creatures down to the same realm as common people. They aren't segregated anymore because the film performed spectacularly in highlighting the point that no matter how otherworldly the heroes are, they are nothing different than us as long as they could feel emotion. It's the one thing that makes them closer as a unit and it's exactly what fuels their sense of urgency.

This kind of direction allowed the casts to produce some of MCU's best actings. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. were born for their respective roles, and you know they are the real-life Steve Rogers and Tony Stark because of how great they were in the previous movies yet you haven't seen their absolute best until you witness 'Avengers: Endgame'. Both Jeremy Renner and Paul Rudd are also given a fair share of the spotlight to repay their absence in 'Infinity War'. Markus and McFeely gave enough respect through their writing so these characters that we've grown to love aren't blandly put together and lost in the swarm of figures appearing on the screen.

Albeit the praises I've mentioned above, the writing doesn't come without a downside. While it's undeniably great in characterization, it has a noticeable weakness in plot pacing and structuring. You've heard people saying the build-up is too slow, and note that I don't have a problem with slow-paced storytelling, especially knowing it's a 3-hour long movie. But behind the slow build-up, there lie some awkwardly placed transitions in-between the occurring events thus the first hour of the movie feels jumpy and scattered as things happened one by one with no appropriate and consistent plot tempo. Fortunately, it picks up itself after entering the second half.

The amount of action presented might also be a problem for some, since putting on more emphasize on emotion-grasping drama means they had to sacrifice the frequency of action. Rest assured because I could guarantee you they were fully conscious of this potential problem and they balanced it out by going big with every single action set piece they got. The highly glorious ultimate battle is utterly worth the wait (and the ticket money). In the end, 'Avengers: Endgame' is sincerely a righteous end and reward for all the fans. It's a movie made with a genuine intention to look back and pay respect to the empire that Marvel Studios and Disney have built together since the first 'Iron Man' movie hence it explains why the film is lacking a glimpse of what the future holds for MCU (it sparks a question in me because I don't know how they are going to top this in the next few years). Enjoy 'Endgame' and have fun, folks!

Review written by: Dysan Aufar

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