It is the endgame of a group of heroes whose adventures we have been following for over eleven years. AVENGERS: ENDGAME is a swan song of the bombastic variety – and to allay your fears: We won’t give anything away here, but we do assume that you know what happened in “Infinity War”! If you don’t want to know anything at all, just check out our review after the movie…
The Plot Summary
The story of “Avengers: Endgame” begins after the terrible defeat of the Avengers, after Thanos, finally in possession of all the Infinity Stones he coveted, had imposed his twisted and deadly will on all of humanity. According to this, Thanos wiped out half of Earth’s population, including many members of the Avengers team, in a purely arbitrary act. In the wake of this unprecedented destruction, the surviving Avengers face their greatest challenge. They must regain their old resolve, resume the fight and find a way to defeat Thanos crushingly and forever.
Avengers: Endgame Movie Meaning & ending
The fact that a film series can be successful and endure over a period of many years sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy at first. After all, franchises are generally only continued if they are a success and are scrapped as soon as the financial outlay no longer seems worthwhile. Over the years, major studios have therefore had to lead a few cash cows to the slaughter. What was once a box office magnet and an object of affection many years ago is not automatically profitable forever. “Transformers”, for example, was immediately dropped in both respects when part five was only just able to recoup its budget and the enthusiastic fan voices failed to materialize. The “Star Wars” saga, on the other hand, can still build on a die-hard fan base, but in the case of “Solo”, it also suffered its first financial losses last year – something that would have been considered impossible some time ago. As a rule, a successful project is fleeced to the last cent. But there are also counterexamples. Series such as “Harry Potter”, “Twilight” or “The Hunger Games” came to a definitive end at some point; as in the case of the world-famous sorcerer’s apprentice, their stories can only be continued if they remain in the film universe but focus on other characters.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was born in 2008 with “Iron Man” and, together with “Avengers: Endgame”, comprises 22 films. If you believe comic blockbuster mastermind Kevin Feige, then everything was planned exactly like this from the start. And regardless of whether this is actually the case or whether some things have only developed in this way over the years: At least with the final game now being widely touted as the finale, you at least make it look like it was. The question remains as to how it can be that a single franchise not only remains successful over such a long period of time, but even manages to surpass the success of previous films at regular intervals (“Captain Marvel” and “Black Panther” recently shot to the top of the most successful MCU films from a standing start, while some other solo adventures were unable to achieve this feat). Perhaps it’s because the Marvel universe is a hybrid of two different models for success: on the one hand, it consists of stories that are always freely retold (sometimes more, sometimes less based on existing comic episodes), in which you can experiment as much as you like in terms of staging and narrative – according to the motto: Let’s see what works and what people are up for; the results have included light-hearted heist movies (“Ant-Man”), high-tension political thrillers (“The Return of the First Avenger”), silly high school comedies (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”) and playful space operas (“Guardians of the Galaxy”). Ultimately, however, all of these stories are tied together by one big story arc: the Infinity saga. This is exactly what the Russo brothers Anthony and Joe are now bringing to a close, proving how unique, necessary and dramaturgically valuable this mixture is, because for their “Endgame” they can now pull out all the stops that they have built up over eleven years and 21 films.
If you are unsure about the events of “Infinity War” at this point, we would like to quickly point out once again that we assume that you know about it. So if you’ve been saving “Infinity War” to enjoy it together with “Endgame”, please be warned that there are spoilers for “Infinity War” below.
As expected, “Avengers: Endgame” picks up exactly where “Infinity War” left off. The status quo: with the help of the Infinity Stones and a snap of his fingers, Thanos has wiped out exactly half of the Earth’s population, which includes large parts of the superheroes we know. The first half is all about them – and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (both of whom also wrote the script for “Infinity War”) give them plenty of time to mourn their loss. It becomes apparent early on that “Avengers: Endgame”, despite its evocative title, is far less interested in final end battles than in showing what past events have done to the characters. In particular, the introduction of the characters Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), who were absent in “Infinity War”, is highly emotional, as their experiences of Thanos’ act of madness, which shook the world to its very foundations, give the whole thing a new perspective. The integration of Captain Marvel, who was only established in the MCU a few weeks ago with her first ever solo film, also feels absolutely homogenous; not least because she is given much less space than skeptics feared in advance.
It doesn’t take long for the remaining heroes to meet Thanos again, but equally slowed down by an act that can just as easily be seen as a statement as an understatement, it takes over 75 minutes to reach the first real action scene and a good hour longer to reach a setpiece that even begins to do justice to the title “Endgame”. Although the Russo Brothers fulfill every promise to Marvel fans that the universe has made to fans at some point in the past eleven years with breathtaking panoramic battle sequences, what is most interesting is what actually happens before that. Regardless of who fights who in the end (because of course we won’t go into that!), the path to the endgame finale is particularly exciting. The authors resort to a theme that is not risk-free in order to bring the heroes back into the world-saving action in a way that is both smart and funny. This could have gone really wrong; films with a similar premise prove this time and again – and this year too. However, the script not only constantly maintains its internal logic, but also avoids all other pitfalls (including references to those films that have already stepped into them). What follows lends a completely new perspective to what has already been seen.
This unconventional structure (a final battle takes place in the final third of the film, but apart from that, “Avengers: Endgame” remains pleasantly unpredictable dramaturgically) also makes it immediately clear why the 181-minute running time is absolutely necessary. The material covered here simply cannot be squeezed into fewer minutes. Especially not if you want to finally give the emotional scenes the time they deserve. The script allows rousing reunions, farewells and touching monologues as well as declarations of friendship to stand and work; the criticism that has been repeatedly and rightly levelled at the writers and directors of late that they sacrifice emotions in favor of a snappy one-liner doesn’t apply in “Endgame”. However, this does not mean that the viewer has to do without the typical Marvel humor; on the contrary. Despite the gravity of the conflict, including some momentous story developments and decisions, many situations result in light-hearted moments between the characters. Be it that some Avengers deal with the situation differently than they expected, or through various absurdities within the rescue mission, in which a fight between two men can be so horribly balanced that it’s downright hair-raising. To put it plainly: “Avengers: Endgame” takes obvious situational comedy and transforms it into successful punchlines without the makers deliberately forcing it. Above all, this prevents the drama, which increases steadily towards the end, from losing any of its impact.
This also applies to the few, but expansive and varied action scenes; from the short martial arts fight in the rainy streets of Tokyo to the epic battle and the rock-solid man-on-man brawl, “Avengers: Endgame” features strong, handmade fight sequences, all of which unite something that, within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “The Return of the First Avenger” and the first “Avengers” film from 2012 have so far been able to boast: We’re talking about clarity. Cinematographer Trent Opaloch (“The First Avenger: Civil War”) concentrates on the essentials in his work and thankfully does not rely on the shaky-cam look that has become standard in the multimillion blockbuster business. There is no impressive one-shot like the one in “Marvel’s The Avengers”, which combines the work of all the cooperating heroes in one flow. But there is probably the most spectacular shot in Marvel history, when good and evil come together for a single image and stand face to face. Here, “Avengers: Endgame” generates an epic that does justice to this term and also eclipses everything previously seen within its own universe. In the same way, composer Alan Silvestri succeeds not only in varying his own Avengers theme again and again, but also in at least briefly intoning the themes of all the heroes. “Avengers: Endgame” is above all a “Best of Marvel”.
The fact that there are still two or three aspects of “Avengers: Endgame” that are slightly lacking in quality doesn’t matter, mainly because the Russos still resolve them too conclusively so as not to permanently damage the story. For example, there is a storyline directly linked to Thanos’ actions, the offshoots of which drag out the action unnecessarily in some places, but are also necessary to steer the story in the direction it ultimately takes. At the same time, one could theoretically take issue with the path the Russo brothers choose for their finale, because we think it’s entirely possible that not everyone will like this thematic path. But it is probably the only way to reconcile two things that seem incompatible at first glance: a consistent conclusion and the confidence that things will continue somehow.
Verdict: “Avengers: Endgame” is not a three-hour battle trying to outdo itself in bombast, but a respectful, quiet farewell to 11 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a vibrant affair of the heart, a movie full of love for its characters with the courage to end things and the sincerity to inspire hope for further adventures. Despite minor narrative flaws and a story gimmick that might not appeal to everyone, this is the best movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Avengers: Endgame” can be seen in German cinemas nationwide from April 24 – also in 3D!