‘Avengers: Endgame’ marks the end of the current phase of the MCU. A decade of Marvel blockbusters over 22 films has culminated to this melting hotpot of a final stand against a villain who in his arrogance believes himself to be ‘inevitable’. Over these films, which started with ‘Iron Man’ and was always building towards this, a grand plan unfurled in front of our eyes, and MCU took on the proportions of a modern-day saga. Naturally, it garnered a fan base so massive and strong that the film has transcended from the very medium of cinema to become a pop culture sensation and phenomena. The moment something becomes transcendental, especially art, critiquing it and even approaching it, takes a degree of nuance. Thus for ‘Avengers: Endgame’, I shall approach it as a fan of the Marvel movies, and as a fan of cinema. The two approaches yield surprisingly different reactions to the film that marks the grand masterpiece of directors Anthony and Joe Russo. SPOILERS AHEAD.
To understand ‘Avengers: Endgame’ one must first realize that it is the continuation of ‘Avengers: Infinity War‘. To refresh your memory, ‘Infinity War’ was about Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Stones coming to an end. His goal was to ensure balance in the universe by wiping out half of the universe’s population and despite the Avengers coming together valiantly to try and stop him, they failed. In one fateful finger snap, Thanos achieved his goal, and the film ended with half the population gone, including many of the Avengers.
‘Endgame’ picks up from where ‘Infinity War’ left off, except we see the effect of the snap from the perspective of Clint Barton or Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner. Fans will remember that Barton quit the group of heroes since he had too much to lose once he became a father, and his family started growing. Thus, to lose his family in front of his eyes was a smart way to microscopically portray the feeling of pain, loss, and helplessness that must have echoed across the universe when Thanos snapped his fingers. Next up we see Tony Stark, and Nebula, who changed sides recently, struggle to survive in outer space. They suddenly run into none other than Captain Marvel.
Now people might wonder how this happened, especially since the post-credits of the ‘Captain Marvel‘ film showed her answer Nick Fury’s pager and meet the remaining Avengers. However, even in a film with an expansive runtime of 3 hours, there is so much ground to cover, that timelines are sped up. We realize that Captain America had assigned her on this mission, and Danvers is not one to fail. With all the surviving Avengers reunited, they decide to make good on the sentiments expressed in the first ‘Avengers‘ film – if they cannot defend the earth, they will be sure to avenge it.
Surprisingly, in the very first half of the film, the heroes confront a Thanos who has given in to agrarian life and brutally defeat him. However, this does not change things as Thanos has already destroyed the Infinity Stones, making the reversal of his actions impossible. Faced with an insurmountable problem, the scriptwriters fall back on the most obvious way out, that is, time travel. Ant-Man, who in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ was trapped in the Quantum Realm, comes out five years later.