THE CAPTAIN CINEMAXX HAS WATCHED – AVENGERS : ENDGAME * SPOILERS *
I was 16 when the first Iron Man was released in the theatres, and I immediately fell in love with this arrogant, megalomaniac, sarcastic, tender and generous character, as well as his armored alter-ego with his incredible artillery
When I started to work, I was aiming to buy every single Iron Man goodies – who became my fictive idol – and let’s face it, is still ruining me.
Back in the day, I wasn’t reading any comics like I am doing now. The foolish ignorant that I was didn’t realized I was witnessing the creation of the Avengers and a 22 movies saga which literally changed the way the movies are produced.
Of course we can criticize the way Disney and Marvel are working on their productions, their impact on the cinematographic industry since the last decade, the model they dictated to the other studios and the quality of their movies. However, from an objective point of view, we can acknowledge the proposition and be happy with the fact that we could live such an adventure, just like for The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter or Star Wars. They are loved, worshipped, despised and hated.
Some say these blockbusters (especially Star Wars) would accelerate the fall of the 7th Art. But we can see that these franchises are gathering peoples from all over the world, and that’s part of the Cinema, a sharing between movie lovers.
So let’s just leave people enjoy without trying to make them feel guilty or impose them a purely analytic vison of the movie. By the way, the debate would be pointless, the artistic sensibility varies from one another, each and everyone has a different appreciation from its neighbor depending on its emotivity, education, experiences and story. And let’s not forget that being a fan makes us lack objectivity, it’s the opposite.
So Endgame is the end of an era, the original Avengers’ era, and the beginning of a new chapter for the Marvel Cinematic Universe whose future is now a bit blurred. However, did the Russo Brothers succeeded in concluding a 22 movies epopee with finesse and intelligence? Well, let’s see!
Avengers : Endgame is like Star Wars : The Last Jedi, a movie that will divide, and it already divides. Indeed, everyone has its own expectations regarding the development of the characters and their stories, its theories regarding the ending, so there’s no way that 100% of the public will be satisfied or convinced by the Russo Brothers’ choices regarding the scenario.
As far as I am concerned, I had the movie I wished for, the one I was expecting, so I’m not deceived at all. But there are some minor exceptions… Some of my own theories also appeared to be true and I had an orgasm from all this well-mastered fan-service, both thrilling, funny and touching at the same time which always serves and suits well the situation.
The fan-service : journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Avengers : Endgame’s plot is based on time travelling, where our heroes will have to gather all 6 Infinity Stones before Thanos in order to save the Universe where 50% of the population vanished.
With this scenario, we find ourselves sent back to Avengers, Thor 2 and the Guardians of the Galaxy : Volume 1, we saw Asgard as it was before (as well as Morag and Vormir), we experienced again some famous sequences (Battle in New York, the funny introduction of the GOTG with Peter Quill) and also references to the past movies (such as the Elevator scene in Captain America : The Winter Soldier). Some long gone characters also appeared for a last cameo such as Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Crossbones (Frank Grillo) and Hydra agents, Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), The Supreme Sorcerer (Tilda Switon), young and old Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Tony Stark’s father (John Slattery), Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) or Thor’s mother (René Russo).
This second part was, according to me, the best because as I said earlier, it was exactly what I wanted to see on screen, a throwback through 10 years of Marvel Cinematic Universe with exclusive angles or point of view on the History of these movies – I’m thinking about the « after-Avengers » where we know nothing – but also offers intense emotional moments, but I will get back to it later.
Some said that this scenario made the movie past-centered and not future-centered. But I don’t agree with that.
The fact that they came back with a scenario full of references from the past movies was an excellent idea to play with the nostalgic feelings of the public. No matter what we say, this franchise will leave its mark on the Cinema as well as on its fans lives and allowed in the same time to have heartbreaking sequences (Stark and his father, Thor and his mother), funny sequences (Stark being thrown away by Hulk, « America’s Ass », Peter Quill being knocked out while dancing, Thor’s monologue regarding the Reality Stone), and references from the movies (« I am Iron Man », « I could do this all day », the cheeseburger, etc) but also the comics (« Hail Hydra » said by the Captain).
It also allowed to conclude the Arcs, accept death, to turn the page, to take conscience of life, of love, it raised exclusives problematics (Gamora) and let us get a gist on what this future composed of new heroes may look like.
The fan-service has its limits: What about Coulson? Odin? Hela? Sharon Carter? (by the way, the epilogue of the movie isn’t advantageous to her. After kissing Steve Rogers in Captain America : Civil War, this one returns to Peggy Carter – her aunt – this is weird). Thanks Ant-Man for the time-travelling!
Peggy Carter’s Arc seemed settled, just like Thor’s mother’s one. The characters mourned, but when you see a person close to you that’s supposed to be dead, or when you have the possibility to change your past, it is normal that it brings back old memories.
Sometimes we have to analyze from the character’s point of view. Because, from me to you, if I had the opportunity to live a love story with the woman I loved, I’d do it without hesitations.
Time-travelling is a quite complex subject to work with on screen, I am no expert, but I saw that everyone knew how time-travelling works, some critics also found some inconsistencies with the scenario. Even scientists don’t know exactly how a change in the past could impact on our future – if we can even explore time which is just a fantasy born from our imagination.
Time travelling and its consequences have never been established by scientists who have only theories to present. And no movies, whether it is Terminator, Back to the Future or Avenger : Endgame, holds the absolute truth about it (or maybe they do?).
I won’t try to find plausible explanations (maybe am I making a mistake), by the way, this part really amused me. I only regret a little scene to explain the modifications on the present in 2023, but I’m sure that the Disney+ series and future movies will get back to it. Unless the Russo Brothers give us answers soon?
However, the part with the rat really disappointed me, especially after introducing the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man & The Wasp in order to raise major stakes. I expected that to be more highlighted in Endgame.
Avengers Endgame : a different kind of film ?
I can understand that this last chapter disoriented some of us, because Endgame is a different movie compared to other superhero movies, and especially Avengers : Infinity War.
Indeed, Infinity War was an epic and fast-paced epopee with brutal fights on Earth and Titan.
However, Endgame is more like a dramatic epopee emphasizing on the feelings, the emotions, the regrets, the losses, the failures and past victories of our heroes instead of focusing on them. It was an intimist movie where everyone will have to face its past where Infinity War just offered rare moments of dialogues between the characters.
The narrative structure is the best according to me, but as I said earlier, it fitted my own personal expectations, so I can’t say anything negative about it regarding the narration of these 2 parts.
Endgame is the anti-thesis of Infinity War, an emotional roller-coaster made to touch us right in the feels which will impact us more or less depending on our emotional bond with the MCU and its characters.
Regarding the humor, the Russo Brothers never failed me. I think they are brilliant in this domain, but it’s a bit the minimum we could expect from them after writing a lot of comedy series. They succeed in making us laugh at the right time with an impressive timing (apart from Hulk, but I’ll get to this later).
But did you never hide behind humor when facing a dramatic experience? When you were in pain? Because I did.
Humor is a weapon. Personal experience – beware, I’m opening myself like I never did before – whenever I was bullied in high school or else, I always chose to hide behind humor. So I don’t understand why these characters wouldn’t do the same. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the fear or that we doubt, we simply choose to silence these feelings because it’s easier than facing them.
It’s also easier to make fun of a situation in order to relax the tension of the moment instead of emitting fears before a tense mission, taking the risk to impact on the whole group with negative feelings. When the Avengers are preparing for their travel to the past, they’re all scared, and so do we. The humor that comes in this intense moment never erases the feelings of the characters. But a good vibe, a motivational speech or a pun will reinforce the feeling of confidence, essential part of the success of a mission. Being humoristic while facing our enemies will give us a feeling of might, a hero always choses to die with style. By the way, that’s what said Cyrano de Bergerac :
Panache is not greatness,
But something fluttering, excessive and a bit curly…
Panache is the spirit of bravery.
Making fun while facing danger, is the ultimate politesse,
A delicate rejection to become tragic;
Panache is the modesty of heroism,
Like the smile we use to apologize for being beautiful.
Of course, sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
And finally, let’s not forget the famous lines that will forever remain in our memories, such as « I love you 3000 » Tony said to his daughter Morgan which literally made me cry and still makes me as I am writing these lines. And when I was talking about the sensibility linked to our past experiences, that’s exactly it. I would have like to have a father with such kind words for me in my childhood.
But there’s also the « You must be between 600 and 900 » from Tony to Pepper, or the « The small one’s enough for you » from Thor to Cap.
The deceptions of Avengers : Endgame
The Russo Brothers’ movie has minor defaults. Here’s a small list:
Since Thor 3, Bruce Banner/Hulk’s character lacks depth, and the duality between the man and the creature completely disappeared with the time only to become a comical element in Ragnarok then in Infinity War to finally conclude with a pseudo-story where Banner would have found the way to combine Hulk’s body and Bruce’s mind. It’s hard to build a coherent arc around Hulk when Marvel can’t exploit this character within the Avengers and when the producers changes every now and then. Different visions are opposing, offering something interesting (Whedon) or catastrophic (Waititi/Russo).
Yet, Infinity War gave us hope to see a new complexity regarding the relationship between Hulk and Banner with Hulk refusing to come back after his defeat against Thanos. And instead of digging into this serious potential plot-material, the Russo Brothers and the scriptwriters preferred to turn this into a joke.
It’s even worse in Endgame. This Banner-Hulk is stupid and his scenes are ridiculous. Though we were used to see a Banner at ease and a bit foolish sometimes, but it’s always a deception to witness the deprivation of a character.
However, during his discussion with the Sorcerer, I found the Bruce Banner I liked in Avengers 1 & 2: a lucid and logical scientist. Too bad everything else is just a following of nonsense just to give the character a cooler dimension.
After being the comical character in Thor : Ragnarok, the God of Thunder finally found back his divine stature thanks to the Russo Brothers in Infinity War. Badass as F*ck, we rediscovered the mythological hero with unparalleled power. In Endgame, the scriptwriters made a step back to give us a – sorry for the language – stupid Thor.
Breaking apart the myth of a character one why not. But twice, hell no.
However, Thor Odinson gives the best comical lines of the movie and as I try to remain as objective as possible, I must admit I laughed every time.
Regarding his decline, it’s understandable. With the loss of Asgard, his defeat against Thanos and his failure to save the universe, his will to give up is justified. However, did they had to treat him as a comical element throughout the movie? I’m not sure about it.
If Avengers Endgame’s goal was to highlight the original crew of the Avengers for a last stand, there is some mistakes to point. And I will start with the one they were selling us for more than a year: Captain Marvel.
Absent from the movie, Carol Denvers was supposed to be the key element from Endgame, the one who was supposed to carry everything. Major part from the time travelling, the death of Thanos, none of these theories realized. On 3 hours of movie, Captain Marvel appeared just around 10 minutes if not less, just to save Tony Stark, destroy Thanos’ ship and fight him a few seconds during the final battle.
I understand that the Russo Brothers were willing to under-exploit her in order to prevent some much to evident theories to happen, however we could have used a better integration of the character in the main plot. Because I kind of have the felling we have been lied for a few months by selling us a character that would change everything while facing Thanos.
Then, let’s be honest, it would have been hard for her to be more important in the main plot. She wouldn’t stay on Earth for 5 years, waiting for a solution to fall from the skies. Her mission is also cosmic. However, she could have been apart of the time travel. But I think her almost-invincibility is kind of problematic, problem I raised for her solo movie.
Avengers, Assemble !
But the biggest dark spot of Avengers : Endgame is its final battle absolutely scamped with a hideous photography.
There is no artistic ambition in the production, no choreographic ambition in the staging. It’s often blurred out and out of screen, and where Infinity War had some beautiful moments (Ex: Iron Man vs Thanos or Doctor Strange vs Thanos), there was no duel as outstanding aside from the one between Cap equipped with Mjolnir and Thanos.
Apart from the arrival of the Avengers, the Wakanda people, the Asgardians and the Sorcerers on the field – such a thrilling moment -, the Avengers Assemble said by Captain America, Black Panther’s chase and the Female Avengers, nothing is outstanding.
Doctor Strange is under-used, just like a lot of heroes on the field. Same goes with the close-up on the Winter Soldier shooting on the enemies, nothing grandiose and this scene was useless aside from showing that he’s there, just like with Spider-Man and his scenes where he’s jumping everywhere, it lacks imagination in the staging. And we will be noticing the absence of War Machine, Mantis, Falcon or Rocket that we could spot on one or two shots barely noticeable.
The fights opposing Scarlet Witch and Thanos or Captain Marvel and Thanos are insipid despite their powers they could have used to go way further in sumptuous scenes. Since her apparition in the MCU, Scarlet Witch is the only one whose power never evolved.
Regarding the staging, it is much too simplistic, especially when we can use Captain Marvel. Regarding the 1 vs 1, if it would have been possible for every character to have its fight with Thanos, we could have used a Hulk vs Thanos Round 2, a better Iron Man vs Thanos or Doctor Strange vs Thanos.
I would have also liked to see all our favorite villains to come back for a final fight because if you’re going to make a movie with references, let’s do it right! I would have loved a SHIELD armada lead by Nick Fury (absent of the fight), a Red Skull vs Captain (or at least them meeting on Vormir), an Obediah vs Tony, a Yellowjacket vs Antman or Hela vs Thor.
Comparing Endgame’s final fight to the Lord of the Rings’ one is a joke, even if I loved this last Avengers movie. We can’t compare them. However is it not easier to make a medieval war than one with super heroes with multiple powers? I’m just asking.
For that I will always respect the Russo Brothers because we just don’t realize all the efforts they put in the logistic and the writing such a sequence requires. Especially when every actor isn’t on stage and we have to place them in specific spots of the scene. Let’s just remember that the Russo Brothers never had such a project to produce.
I still think they will learn from their mistakes and that learning with Marvel will serve them well in the future. So, some will regret their way through the MCU, criticizing their production and will always torture themselves guessing what Infinity War and Endgame could have been without them, but everything doesn’t have to be thrown away, and the rare jewels in their production are promising.
Finally, I am really disappointed with Iron Man’s new armor, it was so fun and with so much gadgets in Infinity War…
For a lot of fans, he might be the biggest heresy of Avengers : Endgame. Thanos is indeed less impressive than in Infinity War. However, let’s replace everything in its place: Thanos from 2014 doesn’t have lived the same experiences as 2018 Thanos. He’s just beginning his quest, he didn’t sacrifice anything and most importantly, his daughter Gamora is still alive.
So he’s less brutal, less philosophical (but his sentences on Time and his menaces on the universe during the final fight are frightening). We must say that Thanos from Infinity War, beside the human side of his personality, beside every ‘good intention’ behind his actions, he was just a villain willing to destroy half the universe, unlike a James Bond or Mission Impossible Bad Guy whose goal was to cause chaos to save the humanity from itself.
As far as I am concerned, the way he was treated didn’t bother me since 2023 Thanos died. I knew that the Thanos from the past would be different and without the same story. And I understand how some fans could have been deceived or frustrated for not having much ‘finesse’ in the way he was treated, his choices and actions.
His death however was splendid. We could feel in his eyes that he was not resentful. He had no fear. He just accepted his fate and that’s Thanos’ strength, he accepts what’s ineluctable with strength and courage.
The Qualities of Avengers : Endgame
Tony Stark’s Death
With my introduction, you can now understand how touched I was when Tony sacrificed himself to save the world. A death just like him: arrogant but in the same time important and noble.
A logical choice. The MCU started with Iron Man, and concluded with his death.
Tony Stark’s arc in Endgame was shattering, from his meeting with his father and his sacrifice and the last words Peter Parker and Pepper Potts said to him, as well as Rogers’ tears, his relationship with his daughter, his holo-message and the sequence of his ‘burial’, and the Iron Man 1 reference (the burgers) between Morgan and Happy.
The Russo Brothers know how to capture these intense moments of emotions between the characters without having them to say a word like for example between Hawkeye and his children, when Natasha took Clint’s hand in Japan, or the scene when Steve looks at Peggy in from behind the window. With no dialogues, they knew how to make their characters ‘talk’, how to share their feelings or their ideas.
Endgame has a lot of non-moving sequences focusing on the characters’ faces, their look, their emotions, they took the time to fully capture these moments of kindness, a tear, a discussion, a moment of the everyday life. Thanos’ death is a good example of that.
We needed those moments to understand what’s at stake, what the characters have to lose or win, what they lost, but also to share their pain, their regrets to be more intimate with the public and expose their human side often forgotten in other MCU productions. They took the time for the public to say goodbye to their favorite characters. And let’s be honest, if not, we would have blamed them for that.
Captain handing his shield
Everyone was expecting Captain America to die, but the Russo brothers did the opposite. Thus Steve Rogers had the opportunity to live the life he ever wanted, close to his beloved Peggy Carter. This was the best conclusion possible for America’s greatest hero after years of duty.
And regarding the fact that Captain hands his shield to someone else was logical. Especially when we look at the Disney+ series coming soon and aims to offer more diverse heroes to the public. With this new Captain America, Disney will be able to make him closer to the people (since he was fighting for major stakes and in space) and fight against more ‘common’ enemies, like racism whom Captain America/Sam Wilson is victim in the comics.
Natasha’s death was a big surprise, a great one. Indeed everyone was expecting Iron Man or Captain America to die, but nobody expected someone else to die, especially not Black Widow whose solo movie had been announced months earlier. It was a shocking moment, especially with her sacrifice. Very heartbreaking.
Black Widow has been a character often abandoned and even mocked. Aside from her treatment in Avengers 1&2 or Captain America : Civil War, her apparitions in Infinity War were weak and limited, both on her personal development or the action. Indeed, if Hawkeye had multifunction arrows, Black Widow doesn’t has much to fight, thus the choreographies fighting robots or aliens are limited, just like in Avengers : Age of Ultron and Infinity War.
The critics said that Nebula should have warned Natasha and Clint regarding the sacrifice for the Soul Stone. Regarding the scenario it wouldn’t have been logical, but their choice was intelligent. Warning them that one of them had to die would have taken away the emotional intensity of the scene.
I have been surprised too that Vision didn’t came back, especially when Disney announced a Wanda/Vision series on Disney+. However it was intelligent. The fight between Scarlet Witch and Thanos at the end would have been less dramatical and emotional if Wanda got to have her beloved one back before the fight.
Finally, last thing I am happy they didn’t do : include new characters in this intense last battle. No Namor, no Nova, no Adam Warlock, no Silver Surfer, no X-Men or Fantastic 4/Galactus.
Alan Silvestri’s music
brings a lot in Avengers : Endgame. Portals and The Real Hero were the most epic and touching. Portals with its patriotic and heroic feel brings a lot of strength to the Avengers arrival on the field, followed by a powerful main theme for the final battle. And The Real Hero hits us right in the feels during our farewell to Tony Stark. Splendid!
Captain Cinemaxx’s conclusion
Of course Endgame isn’t the epic conclusion everyone desired, but an emotional conclusion after 11 years of saga. Despite some easiness in the scenario (the rat, Nebula and Thanos’ location, the explanation of the 5 years in the quantum realm…), a Ronin quickly forgotten, a final battle without visual flavor (aside from beautiful scenes here and there), this doesn’t take away the global quality of Avengers : Endgame which is preparing for a new era…
And this new era should be innovative and a lot less dramatic without trying to tease for another cosmic threat on several years; I think they will most likely try to emphasize on their new heroes, bring a real identity to their future production.
I will end this with a simple Thank You. Thank You Marvel Studios for this extraordinary adventure. The kid within me really enjoyed it, and I am so glad to be born in the right period to fully enjoy this grandiose show, even if sometimes the way to it has been deceiving.
I love you 3000.
See You Soon.