As good a super-hero blockbuster as I have seen in a decade at least.
Director: Anthony Russo Joe Russo (Avengers: Infinity War)
Screenplay: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (Avengers: Infinity War)
Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlet Johansson (Under the Skin)
Runtime: 3 hr 1 min
By: John DeSando
“It's not about how much we lost. It's about how much we have left. We're the Avengers. We gotta finish this.” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)
Don’t believe for a minute that Marvel’s Comic Universe is finished after Avengers: Endgame. It may be curtains for archenemy Thanos (Josh Brolin), but a multibillion-dollar MCU franchise has much yet to accomplish. In Endgame, playing with time like a time machine allows the heroes a chance to reverse the “inevitable” work of their nemesis to save the world.
The more important time motif here is the three hours of viewing, from which no time machine can spare us. Yet, the genius of the directors Russo and their writers is to make the time go in warp speed, filling the screen with engaging characters and their actors, witty lines not forcing sarcasm but dishing soft irony. The visuals are equally almost underplayed so that it’s an organic whole with no element, even music, dominating.
What does dominate is the abiding humanity where love and hate, empire and home, and collaboration not individualism are evidenced in fleshed-out characters and universal themes carefully but never overpoweringly used. The motif of people working as a team for the communal good underlies heroic actions while searching for home and family is the motivating sympathy binding almost all the major characters.
The honor roll includes Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Downey Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Okoye (Danai Gurira), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), and Captain America (Chris Evans). And too many more to list, the point being these actors have become the heroes; kudos to successful casting directors.
Although I must allow the usual tropes to bind us in sci-fi sympathy, I will always complain that the final act has too many explosions and fist fights (really, with the super tech available to these star travelers, why must the ultimate decider be old-fashioned brute force?). Despite that complaint, I find the movie thrillingly entertaining, a great example for the uninitiated into the genre. I must say there are fewer explosions in the first two acts than usual. Hooray.
For those of us who have seen much sci-fi, Avengers: Endgame has just about all the best qualities we have seen and loved. The humanism dominates:
“Even if there's a small chance that we can undo this, I mean, we owe it to everyone who is not in this room, to try.” Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com