By Adam Brannon
Film Reviewer from Movie Metropolis for What’s On Hub
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that Avengers: Endgame is the best movie of the MCU, because frankly; it isn’t. It’s not even in my top three. However, as a culmination of everything Marvel has been working up to since 2008, it has to be applauded.
From a technical standpoint, Endgame is like nothing else we’ve ever seen come to the big screen, with a cast that pushes the film to breaking point, characters we remember from movies past and some we had perhaps forgotten about hit the screen in epic fashion. But how good is the finished product?
Adrift in space with no food or water, Tony Stark sends a message to Pepper Potts as his oxygen supply starts to dwindle. Meanwhile, the remaining Avengers – Thor, Black Widow, Captain America and Bruce Banner – must figure out a way to bring back their vanquished allies for an epic showdown with Thanos – the evil demigod who decimated the planet and the universe.
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who have by this point, helmed four MCU movies including the brilliant Captain America: Civil War are a safe pair of hands for this incredible feat of film-making, even if the movie feels overstuffed from time to time.
The film starts off exceptionally, with beautiful cinematography lending itself to some intriguing character development. Let’s not forget that we’ve been growing with some of these characters for 10 years and yet Endgame still manages to surprise and delight with new facets of their personalities.
This is helped of course by the tightly written script, but is mainly down to the actors who portray these icons of cinema. Robert Downey Jr is the best he’s been since the solo Iron Man movies and both Chris Evans and Hemsworth are immensely likeable as Captain America and Thor respectively. Unfortunately, Thor’s character arc here is a little disappointing as the Russo’s turn him into the butt of too many jokes.
Where the film does suffer however, is with some of the newer characters. Brie Larson’s irritating Carol Danvers gets far too much screen time for someone so new to the franchise, and this sometimes feels at the expense of better, more established fan favourites. There’s nothing particularly wrong with her Captain Marvel, but she’s wooden and remains unlikeable, as she did in her solo outing earlier this year.
One character that does standout however is Karen Gillan’s, Nebula. Always a secondary character up to this point, it’s fantastic to see her blossom and fully embody the personality of the troubled cyborg. In fact, she’s probably the best character across the entire running time.
Josh Brolin’s Thanos is as intimidating as ever, though perhaps not as much as he was in last year’s Infinity War. And while the script-writing and humour are as spot on as you can imagine for a movie baring the MCU badge of honour, the Russo brothers are forced to re-write some of the franchise’s own rules – for plot reasons of course. For fans of the entire universe, this proves unnerving but as with any series that’s lasted this long, some artistic license needs to be taken to keep it feeling fresh.
One thing that can’t be criticised however is the pacing. For a film a little over three hours long, Endgame never feels dull. Sure, there are moments that could have been trimmed down, but from thrilling set piece to thrilling set piece, the film steamrolls itself into a final hour that will have your jaw hitting the floor numerous times.
From a special effects standpoint, Endgame deserves praise. It would be easy to criticise the film for being overflowing with CGI rather than the practical effects that the Star Wars and Jurassic franchises rely on, but this would be doing a disservice to the wonderful work the effects teams have done on this film. At no point are you under the illusion that this is all real, but it’s the best the MCU has been, especially towards the finale.
Nevertheless, the sheer scope of the film proves to be its undoing at times. Moments that should have more poignancy don’t get the respect they deserve and the number of characters vying for screen time naturally means some sacrifices needed to be made here and there.
Overall, Avengers: Endgame is a fitting tribute to the 21 films that came before it. It’s action packed to the point of being exhausting and is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a technical marvel, but it doesn’t quite hit the same heights as Infinity War and dare I say it, Thor: Ragnarok.
Our score: ★★★★
Watch if you liked: Anything from the MCU.
Avengers: Endgame is showing now at Odeon Luxe Cinema, Hull