The Marvel Cinematic Universe (or the MCU, as the kids say) all started back in 2008 with the release of Iron Man. Since then, Marvel has produced 21 more films based around the characters from this specific Marvel Comics world. This expansive chain of films have been superlative at the box office – grossing close to $20 billion worldwide. That’s an average gross of almost $1 billion per film!
With that being said, all good things must come to an end. This weekend, Avengers: Endgame, the highly anticipated MCU finale, hit the theaters. In fact, it hit the theaters harder than a blow to the gut from Hulk. No other film had a chance this weekend to top the box office sales, nor did they expect to. To be honest, Avengers will most likely run the box office charts for the new few weeks.
In fact, here are some staggering early figures proving how much Avengers “Thanos’d” the box office. It has already broken the record for a Thursday premiere making over $60 million, beating the previous record holder Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which earned over $57 million. It is projected to make over $300 million domestically, which would beat its own record of $257.7 million held by its predecessor, Avengers: Infinity War. It is projected to gross over $1 billion worldwide in its first weekend, which is unfathomable.
And there’s no excuse for not seeing this movie, since it’s being shown on 4662 screens across North America, which is also a record. We potentially could see Avengers: Endgame become the highest grossing film of all-time.
The film picks up where Avengers: Infinity War left off. Thanos (played by Josh Brolin) has fulfilled his promise of wiping out half of the world population, including several Marvel heroes. Now, it’s up to those left behind to pick up the pieces and avenge (pardon the pun) their fallen partners.
The “who’s who” crew that has the unenviable task of destroying Thanos consists of Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, War Machine, and a few others.
The star of the film could differ, depending on who you ask, but I would say that distinction belongs to Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr.). Although, I could see a case being made for any of the aforementioned characters being the focal point in the film – which is a credit to the writing team, which equipped all of the characters with depth, a strong story arc and lengthy on-screen time.
The writing team also did a remarkable job of bringing the “human” out of these superhuman beings. I think this is what made Endgame so special. It would be easy to create a live-action comic book on-screen with these characters (see Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and/or the absolute failure of Batman and Robin for specific examples of this). Endgame, as well as the other MCU films, use this model of imposing reality into a fantasy world seamlessly.
As I mentioned above, not only did the Avengers finale tug at box office records upon its release, it also tugs at your heart, which is what makes it so successful. A lot of emotions come out of you as you watch Endgame. There are parts where the audience cheers (literally), and there are parts that bring some to tears.
I will say the length of this movie irked me. I don’t see the need for this, nor any other movie like it, to be three hours long. A shorter film would’ve increased the action and “can’t miss” moments, which would’ve made the film even more breathtaking and spectacular. Not only that, but good luck to the parents out there who take their kids to see this movie and have to keep them in their seat for three hours. Making a kid do anything for three straight hours can be a tall task.
Endgame felt like it was broken down into three acts. Act 1 focused on recruiting back the remaining Avengers to fight Thanos and somehow bring back their fallen friends since some of them had tapped out psychologically after their defeat in Infinity War. I thought this first hour of the film was slow and lackluster. I get that they are setting up the rest of the film, but it was kind of a snooze fest, in my opinion.
Act 2 basically showed the team going through trials and preparations to set up the perfect plan to take the fight to Thanos and the rest of his evil minions. I won’t give away spoilers, but their idea is very predictable, yet still effective. I enjoyed watching the plan come together and my interest sharply turned from cavalier to intrigue.
For me, Act 3 was the money shot. This is where the war happens. This is where the cheers and the tears come into play. The Avengers bring the war to Thanos in such an incredible way that it could only be rivaled possibly by Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen blitzing on the Night King (Game of Thrones reference for those who live under rocks).
A victory of Endgame is its special effects. The film had an insane budget of around $400 million, and I am certain they used every penny. From the battle scenes, to the epic CGI work (including a scene making Michael Douglas appear 40 years younger), Endgame’s uncanny special effects could make it an early favorite for an Oscar win in the category.
The main victory of Endgame, though, is its conclusion. The film’s end, which also serves as the series’ end, is perfect. The writers of Endgame were the biggest heroes of the entire project, along with the special effects team. The plot, although somewhat predictable, was plausible and emotional. It’s hard to write a script for a superhero film and make it realistic and relatable, but Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely and the rest of their team did a great job. The arc of showing the Avengers’ transgressions as people and evolving it into their triumphs as superheroes was credible and unique.
Ironically enough, although too long, Avengers: Endgame does get better with time. As someone who is not a Marvel buff in the slightest, I can honestly say Avengers: Endgame hit the spot for me. The creators did an awesome job of making the story end where it began. The running time of the movie can be a little bit of a mountain to climb for some, but once you reach the climax it’s well worth the journey. I thought at first that Infinity War may have been a better movie overall, but the powerful, satisfying ending of Endgame makes it the king of the two and behind Black Panther as the best movie of the MCU.
MATTER RATING: 8/10
OSCAR SCALE: 9/10 (Best Popular Film, Special Effects, Original Score)
BY: CHRIS GUEST