When Marvel released “Avengers: Infinity War” last year, I thought the movie studio fully destroyed any hopes I had that it would show mercy on its beloved characters. My theory, to my chagrin, proved correct, as “Avengers: Endgame,” the final movie in the 10-year, 22-movie series, proved itself as a movie filled with tears, pain and even more heartbreaking scenes than its predecessor.
With the “Avengers: Endgame” trailers, the Russo brothers managed to captivate both Marvel fanatics and skeptics alike with their use of black and white film with red accents in major scenes from past movies. Throughout the film (no spoilers until the warning), the Russo brothers continue to play with this idea with color. In sadder scenes, the usual vibrancy Marvel movies tend to have greatly diminishes, adding a gloomy sense of foreboding to an already depressing scene. In scenes where I want to scream with joy (there were many), the film makers use bright colors to enhance the elated feeling many viewers likely experienced.
Additionally, Marvel’s use of music only heightened the emotions viewers were intended to experience; from dramatic music adding to tense scenes to classic songs Marvel fans should catch onto, Marvel sure knows how to hire talented individuals who know how to make even the most stonehearted viewer tear up. I even started listening to this flawless soundtrack while doing homework (something that has caused me to turn in the occasional tear-stained assignment).
Like “Avengers: Infinity War,” Marvel kept its lips sealed with “Avengers: Endgame,” allowing only Robert Downey Jr., who portrays Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man, to read the entire script. In fact, directors and brothers Joe and Anthony Russo pretended to film clips as the actors acted out different versions of the same scene to make sure no one accidentally revealed any major plot elements (#thanosdemandsyoursilence).
Because of the Reddit incident in which someone who previewed the movie recorded a major spoiler, I decided I made the right choice in purchasing tickets for opening night Thursday, April 25 to avoid spoilers for the movie which I have waited so long to see. However, in order to properly review the movie, I believe I need to analyze certain moments in the movie, so if you haven’t watched “Avengers: Endgame,” continue reading at your own risk. Without further adieu, prepare to go on the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced while watching this end-all-be-all movie.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW
The movie begins immediately after the events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” with Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), spending time with his family when suddenly, everyone except Barton begins to fade away due to Thanos’s snap
Leave it to the Russo brothers to create a dramatic opening in one of the biggest movie events in history. Although this scene certainly catches the attention of movie goers from the get go, this introduction lead to a murmur going throughout the crowd in the movie theater and someone even shouting at the movie operator to turn it back to the beginning (a sentiment shared by a large number of Marvel fans who later discovered the truth).
The scene then shifts to Stark and Nebula (Karen Gillan) trying to survive long enough to somehow return to Earth, only for Stark to later record a heartfelt message for Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) describing how when he “drifts off, I’ll be thinking of you,” bringing about the first of seemingly infinite rounds of tears.
Although the prospect of the iconic Tony Stark dying choked me up, I knew he likely was going to live long enough to face Thanos (Josh Brolin) again (Marvel is cruel, but not that unjust). However, when Tony reunites with Steve Rogers, a.k.a Captain America (Chris Evans), for the first time since “Captain America: Civil War” and chokes out that he “lost the kid,” referring to Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spiderman (Tom Holland), tears began to well up in my eyes.
After many heartfelt reunions, the team formulates a plan to bring back the half of the population Thanos killed. However, the team’s planning ended up unsuccessful, with a “Five Years Later” message popped up onto the screen.
In these opening scenes, viewers see the widely varied reactions to the hero’s failure. Perhaps one of the most unexpected parts of the movie involved Thor, or rather his physique. The results of failure after failure lead Thor into a depression temporarily curbed by food, beer and Fortnight, reflected by his larger figure. In true Marvel fashion, the Russo brothers managed to make this a comedic scene without using any offensive terms, allowing viewers to laugh without crying for the first time in the movie.
Just when all hope seems lost for the greatest heroes in cinematic history, the plot shifts to San Francisco, where Ant-Man, a.k.a. Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), escapes from the quantum realm. After learning of what transgressed while in the quantum realm, Lang comes up with and presents the idea that can undo what Thanos had done: time travel. With a plan in mind to retrieve the stones, the Avengers split up to different parts of their history.
Initially, I was strongly against the idea of time travel and all of the headache-inducing paradoxes involved with it. However, Marvel managed in a way only it can to turn this tricky subject into one that offers a solution without turning the whole ordeal into a chain reaction of negative events. I found myself pleasantly surprised at the way Marvel leads up to the main fight scene (although I don’t know why I doubted the studio in the first place).
Perhaps the funniest part of the stone collection occurred at the Battle of New York, where Ironman, Captain America, Hulk and Ant-man visit to retrieve three of the six stones. With classic, Stark-style one-liners, Hulk continuing to grapple with the both his personas as seen in “Avengers: Infinity War” and a present-versus-past Captain America showdown, this chapter of the movie that I particularly enjoyed allows viewers a reprieve before the inevitable heart-wrenching scenes later to come, as well as sets up future scenes in the movie.
If the Battle of New York section was the funniest, then Black Widow and Hawkeye’s trip to Vormir certainly had the audience in tears. As mentioned in the previous film, in order to retrieve the soul stone, one must irrevocably lose one that they love, leaving the two best friends to battle it out for the role of sacrifice. The Russo brothers intricately combined humor and sadness, and when Black Widow finally took the plunge to save Hawkeye, the scene was nothing short of heart-breaking (time to crack out the tissues I brought in anticipation of scenes like these).
Although each scene provided different theatrical experiences, a common theme throughout all of the stone retrieval scenes was the reliving of the past. Through multiple encounters with past characters (or, in Thor’s case, his beloved hammer Mjolnir), Marvel turns an easily frustrating concept (time travel) into something worthy of an Oscar (in my unbiased opinion). The interactions between characters also turned these scenes into a novelty, with many Marvel fans understanding the subtle jokes and comments the movie provides.
After successfully collecting the stones, the next step for the Avengers involved a gauntlet to harness the stones to bring everybody back. Although the Hulk succeeds in snapping his fingers, the sudden bombing attack from past-Thanos overshadows his near-fatal injuries. While the teams separates to recover and protect the gauntlet from past-Thanos, the original three male Avengers, Ironman, Thor and Captain America, line up to face Thanos, the result being a breathtaking, heart-stopping shot.
When the battle between Thanos and the trio begins, my first thoughts were that a) someone is going to die, likely either Ironman or Captain America because their contracts expired after this movie, and b) this is it; this is the scene we’ve all be waiting for. Marvel didn’t disappoint, making this scene forever iconic.
With all three tackling the greatest foe in history, the greatest part of the fight centered on Captain America and his refusal to give up. The fight scene hit peak excitement when Captain America remained the last Avenger still standing, with Thanos pressing Thor’s ax into the God of Thunder’s chest. Suddenly, from the corner of the screen, Mjolnir, only wieldable by someone with a worthy heart, strikes Thanos, saving Thor’s life.
When Mjolnir returned to the person who threw it, the theater went wild; with impeccable form, Mjolnir returned to Captain America, the Avenger with the strongest moral compass in the team. Cue tears of excitement and rioting.
Although the use of Mjolnir improved Captain’s chances of winning, eventually the more experienced Thanos defeat the Avenger, breaking his iconic shield. However, true to his word that he “can do this all day,” Captain tightens the straps of his jagged shield, ready to defend Earth against the foreboding galactic army with his final breaths. Showing a lot of pain and weariness getting up, Captain America prepares to make his final stand when he hears “on your left,” the first line he ever says to Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), who disappeared in the snap.
In a scene so heartwarming my eyes are beginning to well just thinking about it, Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) begins to portal in other fallen heros, including Bucky (Sebastian Stan), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and, of course, Spiderman. Now with an army of the strongest soldiers behind, Captain America regains enough strength to finish what he started. When I saw this, I knew this was it; this is the moment Marvel worked 11 years to create.
As the battle progresses and characters reunite (Spiderman and Ironman’s was particularly special), it becomes clear that this is the one out of 14,000,605 chance Dr. Strange saw in which the Avengers beat Thanos. However, as the battle rages on, Tony realizes why Dr. Strange was willing to exchange one of the stones to save him in “Avengers: Infinity War”: Tony must use the gauntlet to disintegrate Thanos and his army the way Thanos did to them.
When I made this revelation, my heart stopped for the gazillionth time during the film; if the gauntlet nearly killed Hulk, what was it going to do to the mortal-even-though-he-doesn’t-act-like-it Tony Stark?
Yielding the gauntlet, Tony turns to Thanos and delivers one last iconic line: “I am Iron Man.” Tony manages to successfully disintegrate every opponent his team faced, but at the cost of his own life. While I was expecting a death, the scene absolutely destroyed me (I’m full on crying as I write this right now), with Tony, nearly dead, receiving goodbyes from the team he played such a vital role in. When Tony takes his last breath, he rests well knowing that he achieved his goal since the first “Iron Man” movie in 2008, the beginning of the MCU: “peace in our time.”
Just when I thought Marvel really outdid itself in terms of heartbreak, the Russo brothers jab viewers in the heart again through the return of the stones back to their proper realities. As Captain America comes back from his mission, he lands on a bench overlooking the lake rather than in the correct landing zone. When Sam approaches him with Bucky’s slight nudge, it becomes clear how Captain America will conclude his time in the MCU: as an old man who decided to stay back in time to live out the rest of his life with his true love Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell).
With the perfect ending to Captain America’s story, only one question remained: who would take over the shield. Extending a wrinkled hand, Steve unzips his bag to pass over his intact shield to Sam, suggesting his role as the next “Captain America.”
Of course, with Disney’s recent acquisition of Marvel, more movies will grace the big screen. July 2 promises the release of “Spiderman: Homecoming,” the second movie in the Spiderman saga. Analyzing the movie more now that my emotions aren’t as haywired as they were thinking about my beloved heros, I have a theory that “Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume Three,” slated for 2020, will follow Starlord’s quest to retrieve his Gamora back, with Thor along as a companion as the God of Thunder is last scene on their ship.
While the mere thought of certain scenes causes me to choke up even if I’m doing something unrelated to Marvel, the Russo brothers managed to create an unforgettable movie worthy of the multigenerational journey. Because of the all the inside jokes only true Marvel fans would understand, this movie was especially enjoyable (and absolutely gutting) for me, as I have seen each movie at least once (yes, even the horrendously bad “The Incredible Hulk”). With all the foreshadowing and planning leading up to this absolutely incredible movie, “Avengers: Endgame” will live in the hearts of Marvel fans for years to come.