Avengers: Endgame - Review
Avengers: Endgame – April 26, 2019
I’m going to start this review spoiler-free. The mass-majority of this review will be a discussion of what happens. But I will separate all that information below in the spoiler section. It’s hard to talk about anything in this movie that would be considered spoil-free. I’m going to try my best to let you know about the movie without telling you about the movie. Honestly, even telling you if the movie is good or bad could be considered a spoiler. So, here is my best attempt at not spoiling the most spoilery movie ever made.
First of all, you have to go see it. I can’t imagine needing to see someone’s spoil-free review to determine whether you’re going to see this or not. I really don’t want to mention anything. I think everyone should see this with just the knowledge they have from the trailers. But the best I can do is just list some of my reactions.
Much like the movie Us, Avengers: Endgame makes you question some plot points. You can either just go with it, or be distracted by it. I can’t help but fall into the distracted category. I just prefer movies that completely create the mask of escapism. Every time I take a step back and ask myself “wait, what?” or “why don’t you just do it this way?” then I’m no longer having the fun that I should.
Now, that’s not to say that it’s a bad movie. But I didn’t particularly like it either. There were too many moments that I fundamentally disagreed with. Some characters, set pieces, plot points and direction of the story all felt wrong to me. Now I don’t expect everyone to have the same reaction. This entire “Infinity Saga” is personal to everyone and everyone has different expectations and desires for what they want to see in the finale. This just didn’t align with what I personally enjoy about movies and storytelling. Just like in television, sometimes the series finale is not as good as the rest of the series.
Alright, that does it for spoil-free stuff. If you’ve seen the movie or simply don’t care about what happens in the biggest finale in movie history, check out the spoiler section below:
There was something weird, questionable or disappointing in almost every scene in this movie. So, I’m going to go through this entire film almost scene for scene and describe the problems that I had with Avengers: Endgame. So, this will be more of a discussion (with myself) than a traditional review.
The opening scene with Hawkeye and his family was a great way to start the movie. It carries over the emotional weight of Infinity War and reminds the audience that people dying is sad. This sets the tone for what the Avengers are up against in this movie.
Next, we see Tony Stark and Nebula stuck in space. The trailers made it seem as though this may be Tony Stark’s final moments, or at the very least, a scene that had a bigger emotional impact than it turned out to be. Captain Marvel shows up rather quickly and safely carries the entire spaceship back to Earth. Oh, so none of the moment mattered? That’s probably why the recent TV spots dumped the whole “what will happen to Tony Stark in space?” mystery and decided to just show him working together with everyone instead.
The gang then quickly figures out where Thanos is hiding and then almost immediately travel right to his doorstep. Also, this moment in the trailer seemed like a bigger deal and may have happened later in the movie. So right off the bat, the two biggest moments from the trailer take place in the first 20 minutes of the movie. That isn’t a problem, but it screwed with my emotions faster than I was expecting. Thanos used the infinity gauntlet again to destroy the stones, which almost kills the guy. The Avengers track down the almost dead Thanos and Thor chops off his head.
At this point I thought the movie was over. I thought “Well, they did it. What’s next?” The screen then fades to black with the title “Five Years Later.” The screen comes back up and we see the director! Joe Russo is sitting around next to Captain America! I immediately thought “Woah! Is the movie really over? Am I watching a round table discussion with the director and cast about the making of the movie?!” Then I quickly realized that the director just wanted to put himself in the movie as a character dealing with loss caused by Thanos’ snap.
We also discover that Bruce Banner has half-Hulked himself. This is where he is simply big and green but still acts like Bruce Banner. Which is absolutely pointless. It seemed as though the directors were responding to complaints that the Hulk never showed up at the end of Infinity War, and decided to only give the audience half of what they wanted (even though they probably already made that decision before Infinity War came out). But Bruce Banner never goes full Hulk in this movie which is also very disappointing. The Hulk is beloved for his brute force and the only time we see that in this entire finale is in his initial failed fight with Thanos at the beginning of Infinity War. It’s just disrespectful to the character and disrespectful to the fans. Hulk fights matter.
Ant-Man escapes the quantum zone by what appeared to be a rat brushing up against some controls. This somehow makes him believe that the quantum zone can be used to travel through time. Ant-Man shares his plan with Tony Stark, who isn’t interested because he has a kid and doesn’t want to do anything to compromise his new family. But later, the hero inside himself can’t help but test to see if this plan could work. So, he runs his computer time travel scenario and it shows that it will work.
Then before or after this scene, we are introduced to fat Thor and a shameless plug for Fortnite because there is a real-life crossover in the game where you can play as Thanos. So, you have to get the kids excited by having them watch people play Fortnite in a movie.
Then we see Black Widow travel to Japan to recruit Hawkeye. It makes sense to get all the help they can. But why is Hawkeye in Japan killing random Japanese people? Is this how he is grieving with the loss of his family? Killing the Japanese?
Tony Stark changes his mind and decides to help with the plan to go back in time and steal the infinity stones before Thanos gets them. But I found it odd that he never questioned whether doing this would impact the existence of his daughter. Wouldn’t changing time change how and when your kid is born? Would it even be the same kid?
Now this sparks the great time travel debate. The audience clearly must have questions about the logistics of going back in time. It’s also a good thing that the characters question the same logic. War Machine smartly asks why they can’t just go back in time to when Thanos is a baby and kill him, thus making everyone safe because he couldn’t exist to make the inevitable snap. Then Bruce Banner (aka lame Hulk) says that is not how time travel works and makes this statement: “If you travel to the past, that past becomes your future. And your former present, becomes the past. Which can’t now be changed by your new future.”
Now, I want to take a moment to talk about what he is saying just in case it’s confusing to anyone. This basically translates to “You can’t change the past if you’re in the future.” Which makes sense, but it doesn’t apply to what they are doing. Of course you can’t change the past if you’re in the future. But they aren’t traveling to the future, they are traveling to past. Unless they are going to an alternate universe (which they aren’t), then whatever they do in the past will influence the future.
If you break down what he is saying, it’s actually nonsense that tries to redefine what is actually past, present and future to justify what is about to happen. “If you travel to the past, that past becomes your future.” No, if you travel to past, that becomes your present. “And your former present, becomes the past.” That part may sound correct, but it’s actually misleading. The former present doesn’t become THE past. It becomes their personal past, but it’s not “the past.” For example, if I traveled back in time, Banner is saying that everyone else would be living in the past. Which doesn’t make any sense. And finally, “Which can’t now be changed by your new future.” This goes back to the translation of “You can’t change the past if you’re in the future.” But all Banner did was redefine those moments in time. He made past equal future and future equal past. So by that backwards logic, then it works for this movie.
Then again, time travel doesn’t exist, therefore there are no real rules and anything can happen. I’m arguing over make-believe things. I could simply just ignore all this and just go with it. But that would be so uncharacteristic of me. This whole description of time travel from Banner serves only to make the movie longer. If they could simply go back and kill baby Thanos or go back and have Thor aim for the head, then this movie would only be 30 minutes long. Which makes the purpose of this story seem like a waste of time.
The only reason this movie exists is to enjoy a trip down memory lane. Which is exactly what happens next. The Avengers figure out where the infinity stones are before Thanos gets them, which turns out to be Avengers 1, Thor 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy 1. So, let’s have an adventure in old movies! Remember the first Avengers movie? Remember when they captured Loki? Woah, Captain America fights Captain America? How fun! Remember when Star Lord was singing and dancing in the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy? Well what if he got knocked out instead? Hahaha! Fun! We are having fun!
Now why would I be dismissing fun? What’s wrong with fun? Are you ok, Peter? Do you need some professional help? Probably. But that’s not why I’m knocking this aspect of the movie. Having adventures in old movies is simply lazy because you can’t think of a new adventure. Infinity War took big original risks that paid off spectacularly. Endgame could have been 30 minutes long if they went back in time and chopped off Thanos arm and cut his head off like they did to him in the first 15 minutes of this movie. But that doesn’t make for an adventurous movie. This serves only as a high school yearbook, where you look back at all the fun you had over the years. Which is probably why a lot of people are in love with this movie.
Anyway, back to this crazy time travel nonsense. The only thing that had a payoff for me was retrieving the time stone from The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). The reason for Doctor Strange giving away the time stone to Thanos is finally explained in a clever way. Basically, giving it away is sign that The Ancient One needs to give it to Banner. Cool, I get it.
Iron Man and Captain America travel to 1970 to get more time juice because they screwed up getting the Tesseract. This was only designed so Tony Stark could give his dad a hug. Sure, make the movie longer, whatever (maybe I do need some help).
Hawkeye and Black Widow have to collect the soul stone, which requires one of them to kill themselves. Hawkeye seems pretty adamant about killing himself. I thought that was odd because then he would never be able to see his family again, which was his whole motivation for going in the first place. But they had to make that scene dramatic. Remember how sad it was when Gamora died there? Let’s do that whole scene again and make it sad again! Remember?!
Then the gang finally returns with all the stones and they put them on a new glove. Then lame Hulk puts on the glove so he can snap his fingers and bring everyone back who died. How convenient that the glove has gamma radiation? This also creates a new question of how the snap works. Wouldn’t snapping your fingers kill another 50% of people? Can you control who dies and who comes back to life with the snap by just thinking about it? Also, by simply returning with the stones mean that everyone should be alive because Thanos never snapped his fingers? No? Because the past future self can’t future past? Oh, that’s right, I forgot.
(UPDATE) My favorite movie reviewers, RedLetterMedia, brought up another good point about this scene that I didn’t think about. The Infinity Gauntlet is supposed to be the only thing powerful enough to wield all the Infinity Stones. Peter Dinklage made it from the sun or a star. But apparently that is either a lie or the filmmakers forgot about that because the Avengers were able to put all the stones on an Iron Man glove and it worked just fine.
Then sneaky Nebula brings Thanos through the time portal thing for an epic battle, because at this point, we need that. Then Doctor Strange brings the whole crew back to fight because oh so exciting! Consequences from Infinity War? No! Just bring everyone back, who cares! Pepper Potts in an Iron Man suit? Sure! Whatever!
Captain Marvel shows up and annihilates almost everyone. Cool, thanks. Then Iron Man gets to snap his fingers with the new gauntlet, because all these movies are about Iron Man in one way or another. He started this journey, so it’s only fitting that he finish it. But oops! That was too powerful, you’re dead now. Thanks, but we could have had the lame Hulk do that. Once again, snapping rules? Was Tony Stark thinking “Kill Thanos and his entire army” and then snapped?
Then after Stark’s funeral, Banner has Captain America go back in time to put all the stones back where they came from because if he doesn’t then it could create alternate realities. Wait what?! So, changing the past does influence the future?! But I thought past future can’t future past?! It seems as though Captain America would have to do a lot of traveling. He probably would need to jump back and forth a few times to get to all the locations, especially since some are in space. Also, if you return the soul stone does that bring back Black Widow? At this point, nothing matters anymore.
Then Captain America decides to bail on all his friends to go live with his girlfriend. But would he run into himself when his past-self gets unfrozen? What about creating alternate realities? How selfish of him. Then old man Captain America shows up to tell everyone that he wanted to be with his girlfriend instead. So, does changing the past influence the future again? No Peter, because past future can’t future past! Then we cut to Captain America kissing his girlfriend. The end! Oh, so was all of this Captain America’s journey? Whatever, it’s over now.
At this point you’re probably exhausted with all my complaints about the movie. Well, thank you for reading this whole thing. You might be thinking, “What would you have done differently?” I’m glad you asked. The only way to get around all this nonsense would be to never make Avengers: Endgame and instead use the final battle in Endgame as the final battle in Infinity War. There, done and done (with some minor tweaks including Thanos never using the Infinity Gauntlet in the first place).
I didn’t hate Endgame. There were of course some fun moments and I laughed a few times. But this was my worry before I saw the movie: Bringing everyone back from the dead is a cop-out and shows that there are no real consequences. What’s the point of storytelling if you’re just going to undo everything you just did? But much like Star Wars, “No one’s ever really gone” and sequels need to get made.