Avengers: EndSHAME - A critical review
Words by Alex Rabeau
Ok, it’s been about 2 weeks since one of the most highly anticipated culminations of any cinematic universe hit screens worldwide. The dust has settled (pun intended). The initial rush of geeky awesomeness has lifted, and we are now in a place where we can objectively critique this film for what it is; a bit of a disappointment.
Quick disclaimer! This review will be littered with spoilers so if you haven’t managed to check out this film yet please avert your eyes.
I feel like this review may ruffle some feathers amongst the diehard MCU fandom as I’ve struggled to see or hear any negative comments about this film since its release. There is perhaps an argument to be made that my levels of hype, as I entered Bondi Junction Event cinemas Screen 1 last Tuesday, were too high. I was perhaps always going to be left feeling a bit disappointed. Having given it some proper thought though, much to the dismay of my assignment deadlines, I’m convinced this film was actually well not that great.
I think people are always going to want to love this movie. The build up to this film was massive. 21 films released over 11 years increasingly teasing this plot until finally Thanos decided to get off his golden throne and treat us with his psychopathic rhetoric. So naturally even the suggestion that this film isn’t the epic conclusive finale that its 21 predecessors deserved is going to seem a bit criminal. I truly wonder though how many more plot holes and character misdirects would have to be included before people start to alter their predetermined opinions of this movie. If we all take a minute to flirt with the idea that Endgame could potentially not be amazing I think some of you may agree with what I have to say.
First of all, time travel sucks. It’s a bit of a cop out and I truly believe it is a sneaky strategy implemented by Marvel to confuse its audience and force them to watch their movie several times to attempt to understand it. No wonder this movie was the fastest to bring in $2 billion at the box office. Furthermore, what does this mean for the MCU films on the horizon. Can earth ever truly be threatened again to the point that we need exciting spandex clad heroes to defend it if we can just go back in time and fix it? It also almost always leaves a film peppered with plot holes, which is exactly what has happened here. How did old Steve Rogers get back to his original timeline if he decided to stick around his new one to have a long-awaited boogie with Peggy Carter? Where did Captain America get a new shield to give to Falcon? How is Hawkeye’s wife able to call him after five years of not paying her phone bills?! I will say that incorporating time travel into Endgame’s plot made for a nice way to honour previous marvel films. A fitting way to say goodbye to many past character arcs as this phase of the MCU comes to an end.
Another issue I had with Endgame is how they managed to ruin some of my favourite characters. Fat Thor is a not for me I’m afraid. It just seemed like a tacky ode to the comedic facets of this character revealed in Thor Ragnarök. I loved what they did with Thor in that movie, but they took it too far in Endgame. They reduced one of the mightiest characters in the MCU to a lazy Sunday, beer bellied gamer boy. If only Oden could see you now Thor. I was also not a big fan of Professor Hulk. I actually think what they did with Hulk across both Infinity war and Endgame wasn’t great. From getting Hulk stage fright and suffering from some pretty crucial performance issues to becoming the supposed “best of both worlds” as a Hulk and Banner combo. For me, the charm of the Hulk is that he is recognised widely as invincible whilst also operating on the IQ of an infant. To make him into a totally humanised version of the green humanoid entirely removes the misunderstood veil surrounding this character and the intimidating rage that was exploited so well in the first two Avengers movies. Hulk has no allegiance. He is a lone agent constantly in conflict with others and himself. The introduction of Professor hulk robbed this character of any interesting narrative.
This movie also somehow felt way more crowded than Infinity War even though the population of the entire universe was literally halved. Directing an ensemble of this scale is never going to be easy however I think the Russo brothers achieved a far better balance in the first instalment of this cinematic goliath compared to the latter. A misbalance that, when projected to the final battle (i.e. the great return of the lost heroes), made it feel like every single Marvel character ever mentioned over the last 11 years and their uncle were on screen. A really clever trick implemented by the Russos in Infinity War was to assume everyone watching the film had at least partially seen the build-up of individual character movies. This allowed them to waste no time establishing any of the heroes and meant they could shift the character development of the movie onto Thanos, effectively making a Thanos movie. In Endgame, Thanos was killed in the first 10 minutes of the movie! Thus, scattering the protagonist focus all over the place and making it feel like a real clusterf***.
A dangerous trap that a lot of longstanding movie or TV series fall into is to refuse to stray away from totally saturating your plot with easter eggs and in jokes much to its detriment. A trap that I believe Endgame categorically fell into. Don’t get me wrong,I did enjoy this film. I was thoroughly entertained and I even shed a few tears as we said goodbye to Robert Downey’s Iron Man. I just don’t think it was the epic finale that it has so passionately been revered as.