After a good first and second innings, the third is not a charm for the Avengers saga. How can Marvel’s writers be esteemed for what essentially boils down to a bad back to the future type narrative veiled by the irony of its own self-reflective acknowledgement of lazy writing? Why is this film 95% positive on rotten tomatoes? What is wrong with people? Am I living in a world now where we accept this level of lazy writing as profound and good? No, this film deserves to be condemned for tainting the other two in its series by the complete nonsense of arbitrary scenes and lazy structure.
The first hour and a half of the film is essentially devoted to the misery loves company trope, as a bunch of defeated, angsty avengers mope into position for the main part of the story line. ONE AND A HALF HOURS. I am not averse to a slow and ambling plot, as long as we get something from it, but there exists nothing in this space that either provokes emotion or intrigues in any sense at all.
Then we arrive at a plot which is as complex as going back into the past to get the infinity stones before Thanos does. Despite being an exceptionally trite and overdone concept – the writers, also realising this, given the multitude of self-conscious comments built into the script for characters – it still encompasses the entire plot of Endgame, and drags us across the well trodden mulch of past (and better) time travel plots.
The teams are split into four groups, one to travel back to New York where in that year three infinity stones reside, one to the planet where Quill first finds the power stone in Guardians of the Galaxy, another to the planet where the Soul Stone resides, and another to Asgard where a further lives.
Of honourable mention of these subplots for being utterly ridiculous, lazy and worthless, is the Black Widow/ Hawk Eye battle to chuck each other off the cliff to get the soul stone. Not to mention the absurdity of this laboured battle of lemmings, it might also be worth mentioning that we’ve seen this once before. Gamora already died by Thanos’ hand, an emotional and important moment, ruined and made cheap by a slight deviation, but general adherence to its predecessor. They don’t even make the effort to use a different tragic song from the one they did for Gamora as she falls. It’s the same damn song, in the same damn way. It’s cheap, awful, and for such a high budget film, absolutely detestable. Is this the level of writing we accept from a blockbuster now? Unacceptable…
Secondly, we’d need to raise the topic of Captain America, who features way too often in this film without actually providing anything useful or interesting (as always) apart from a few fight scenes towards the end of the film. He had a couple of funny quips here and there, but nothing memorable. He also takes up considerable screen time dribbling over Peggy who’s been dead for a long time now. GET OVER IT. I’m not just talking about in the past either, he makes it a point of always being struck dumb by this woman who we barely even know EVERY SINGLE MOVIE. It’s getting my goat.
Not only are we assailed by this morose moron’s laments for a long lost Peggy, but the final scene in the film is dedicated to him and her in a seemingly unrelated and inconclusive nonsense close. He time travels back to place the infinity stones in the correct timeline (a theory which is poorly explained and probably poorly thought out) but decides to stay there to ‘live a little’. When he returns, he’s an old man. Good. No more stupid narratives for you, the one decent thing to come out of this movie.
Now it’s not all bad. I actually enjoyed the Hulk as a zen, balanced, karmic force for good, who now occupies a middle ground where he remains the Hulk but also retains his intellect. The harmony is amusing and refreshing amidst the rest of the film’s chaos. Mark Ruffalo is naturally a very funny person, so this essence carries through in his performance and is enjoyable. Thor, too, provides some good laughs. He’s become fat and depressed you see, experiencing a crisis of purpose. Again, Chris Hemsworth is a naturally funny human being, so he brings this along to all of his performances which is great.
Personality is not enough to save this film though, and the plot grates and goads from start to finish. Thanos inevitably realises the plan, and time travels to the Avenger’s future, beating them back and taking the gauntlet, almost returning us to square one where we started. Prior to this, the Hulk snaps his fingers and brings everyone back from the dust, the universe restored to its rightful way. Hulk-Banner-hybrid-zen-green-being decides that he’s the most able to carry out the task as the infinity stones ‘mostly emit gamma radiation’ or some such bollocks, and that’s really the best the writers could come up with. Really?
The whole team assembles including all the avengers who were brought back and a large scale fight takes place. Some cool fight scenes including the now worthy to wield Mjolnir, Captain America, take place, and another Frisbee show ensues with the infinity stone gauntlet, as they attempt to keep it out of the baddies’ hands. We’ve seen this before, in the likes of Scooby Doo 2 for Christ’s sake. Passing the gauntlet, passing the baton, we get it, you’re a team, but it’s still trite and lazy and completely unforgivably bad.
Eventually they overpower Thanos and Iron Man uses the gauntlet to destroy his armies at the cost of his life. We love Iron Man, so killing him off was about the only thing that made me feel anything in this film, and it was more of a feeling of grief for the franchise that on top of erasing a personality like Robert Downey Jr. from the Marvel Universe, we had to watch such a parody of good cinema to get there.
Overall, Avengers Endgame is probably one of the worst films I’ve seen this year, and certainly doesn’t maintain the standards credited to it by critics or in comparison to the first two films we saw from the franchise. I can’t emphasise enough how utterly terrible it was to you in such a short review, but it was all that and more (but, like, in a bad way), and I never really feel the need to voice my opinion on these things. I was invested in this series, but I never would have expected such a dislocated third film. What an absolute flop. At least we’re through with Captain America though, or are we? Maybe there’ll be a super original time travel plot in the future that can bring him back…