Part Of The Journey Is The End: A Review of ‘Avengers: Endgame’

By The Collectress

I have done my best to keep this spoiler-free (and it wasn’t easy, believe me), and will tag any potential spoilers with**. 

I don’t really know what to say about this film, the closing act of a story arc that has captivated us for eleven years. In 2008, before Disney bought Marvel, before superhero swag was omnipresent in stores, before most of us knew what a “Mjolnir” was, Marvel took a risk, and produced its first self-financed film: Ironman. 

11 years and 21 films later, the same studio, now backed by Disney, has brought us the finale to the story that began with just Tony Stark in a cave, a bucket of tools, and an idea.

Iron Man (2008)
Robert Downey Jr

Last year, when I wrote my review of ‘Infinity War’, I wondered if the payoff in the fourth Avengers movie would be worth the wait. I also described Infinity War as ‘the most ambitious superhero movie ever made’, and, well, if Infinity War was ten years of ambition, Endgame is the culmination of that ambition.

I texted my brother immediately after leaving the cinema, and he asked me to rate Endgame on a scale of Daredevil (2003) to Deadpool (2016). I told him that the scale no longer existed, that it had been snapped out of time itself. Whatever you may think or feel about the fourth Avengers movie, it is hard to deny that this franchise has changed everything about how we view pop culture.

In my review of Infinity War, I also questioned whether or not anyone knew that Tony Stark would lead us here, 11 years later. Perhaps Kevin Feige hoped, but who could have predicted the profound change these films would have on pop culture? Arguably, this is bigger than Star Wars, bigger than The Lord of the Rings, bigger than any franchise we’ve ever had.

**There is very little I can say to summarize the film without revealing crucial plot points, but I will say this: the team is not what it was in The Avengers (2012). The fractures of Captain America: Civil War are still felt, and remorse and regret are not so easily turned aside. Eventually, a plan is made that brings the Original Six together again, and yeah, I can’t get more specific than that because **spoilers**. The Avengers will do whatever it takes to restore what was taken away by Thanos.

Whatever the cost.

Though no one will be seeing this film for its artistic or cinematic mastery, it really was more of an experience than a film. At moments (and you’ll know exactly which ones I’m referencing) I felt that I was staring at a panel straight from the comics. The cinematography could not be described as anything less than “epic” and neither could magnitude of just how much Marvel has accomplished in the narrative structure of Endgame.

There is so much I want to say about this film, but, let me pare it down to this:

“A… definition of a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being, and will go out of his or her way to help them—even if there is no chance of a reward. That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.” -Stan Lee

Heroes aren’t perfect–the Avengers have proved that–but heroism, according to Stan Lee, is doing whatever needs to be done for the greater good of somebody else. And there is no greater example of this than the last half of Endgame, no greater examples of heroes than the Avengers. I sit here with tears in my eyes as I type this, and my eyes are dry and puffy from openly weeping during the final act of the film. (The only other time Marvel has ever made me feel like this was when I read “The Confession” from the Civil War arc). I wish I could describe to you the narrative beauty of the full-circle endings our heroes receive, but really, you need to experience it for yourself.

This film is a finale. It is closure. It is a farewell. It’s the end of a journey–Frodo carrying the Ring to Mount Doom, or Katniss destroying the Hunger Games, or the Starks regaining Winterfell–and with the ends of journeys like these comes a kind of sadness. There is loss, there is sacrifice, and there is the bittersweetness that comes with saying goodbye.

But, as Tony Stark says, “part of the journey is the end.”

And, trust me, it’s one hell of an ending.

Excelsior.

Avengers: Endgame is now playing in U.S. Cinemas. 

 

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