Sunday, May 19, 2019

Movie with Abe: Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
Released April 26, 2019

This film is arguably the biggest movie ever made, drawn from twenty-one films that came before it and purporting to be the end of a saga that’s clearly going to continue long past this. I’ve only seen fourteen of the feeder films, and the fact that I missed an important one from a few years ago led to my waiting a long time to see last year’s two big lead-up entries, “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” It’s hard to separate this film as I usually do from the large franchise it culminates, judging it on its own merits rather than merely as a sequel or summation. No matter how you look at it, it’s an experience all its own.

After the devastating impact of Thanos’ snap, those left behind have immense trouble moving forward. Five years later, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is ejected from the quantum realm and proposes a daring new idea for how to restore the universe to what it once was. Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) works with Captain America (Chris Evans) to convince a reluctant team including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to step up and risk everything to travel back in time and locate the stones they need to defeat Thanos. Old allies and new villains emerge during their treacherous journeys, threatening even more devastating consequences for those he didn’t eviscerate the first time.

Expectations are understandably high when it comes to this conclusion of four different phases of Marvel films released in the past eleven years and after the spectacular offering that was “Infinity War.” Breaking down the aftereffects of the events contained within that blockbuster is a tall order, and this film has the benefit of an extended runtime of just over three hours, allowing plenty of plot development as its characters pick themselves up and find a way to correct course. As in the past with ensemble superhero entries like this, the biggest payoff is seeing so many familiar faces from earlier films and the reintroduction of beloved players, both significant and minor, at the most unexpected and crucial moments. These films know how to incorporate many, many characters without any of them feeling extraneous, which is not an easy feat.

This film’s cast is so incomparably large that it’s almost impossible to survey all of its members. Its two undeniable standouts, however, are Rudd, joining this film after sitting out the last all-hands entry, and Ruffalo, each infusing tremendous comedy into their roles in exactly the way that this franchise has popularized. There are serious moments, especially considering the natur eof the narrative material, but this film is great fun when it wants to be. This particular chapter closes itself out with gusto, with important sacrifices and extremely memorable battle scenes, and the best part is that there’s room for more in the future with dozens of superheroes to choose from for the many next iterations. This concept evidently works, and even if this film can’t match the dramatic excitement and power of “Infinity War,” it’s a fitting semi-conclusion that isn’t a disappointment to its fervent fans.


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