This essay will contain spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. You have been warned.
For massive nerds like myself, it’s almost weird to be in a world post-Endgame. It felt as though the film was always on the horizon and impossibly out of reach, as was the case for Infinity War. But now it’s come and gone (and while I’m still waiting for my chance to see it for the second time), it feels as though the Russo brothers managed to pull out a film that had the colossal weight of the most passionate fanbase’s home-grown hype on its shoulders. Against all odds, Avengers: Endgame has come out as one of the best films the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever produced.
The film has made all the money ever printed in the first week alone to nobody’s surprise, and shot to the heights of the biggest box office opening. A lot of the time this does not reflect quality (as it seems nobody remembers more than a few details about Avatar) but the critics seem to love the film too. The divide between critics and casual fans has never been shorter when it comes to a superhero movie, and the sheer passion that the majority of cinema attendees have for the film is telling.
Endgame is the culmination of the past 11 years of stories from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it really feels like it. The 3 hour behemoth has a feeling of true finality that no other MCU film has, and while the trilogies of Captain America and the like certainly tie stories up, it’s not nearly to the degree that Endgame can achieve. The biggest confirmation of this lies in one line. Over the course of the last 11 years of romps featuring the Avengers, we’ve been waiting for the penultimate line, and when everyone suffered a dusting in the snap in Infinity War knows to return to the Avengers’ side for the cataclysmic final standoff with Thanos and his horde, we finally get the payoff of our soldier Steve Rogers utter the words we’ve been waiting to hear since 2008:
Watching everyone the Marvel series has developed into endearing, lovable representations of our favourite comic book characters come together under the leadership of the dedicated soldier who has come to be the definition of the phrase “pure of heart” is a delight that seemed so out of reach way back in the day when Jon Faverau was inadvertently creating the biggest film series in history with Iron Man. The film feeling of a story coming to an end is wildly amplified by this.
The most exciting, heart wrenching and funny scenes are littered throughout this film. The tragic and poignant death of Tony Stark, Thor intervening on Korg dealing with a troll on Fortnite (sounds too odd to be true but I’m so delighted it’s there. I missed you, Korg) and Steve Rogers leaving his stamp on the Marvel Cinematic Universe by proving his heart and wielding the mythical Mjölnir all tie into Endgame’s effortless feeling of flexibility and finality. The film hits every beat it wants to, and makes you feel exactly how it wants you to feel. The final moments of the film emit the most powerful sense of heartwarming closure for Captain America’s character and role in the universe. He finally got his happy ending with Peggy, and that’s the greatest payoff this film could have provided.
Quite frankly, after having a lot of time to reflect on Avengers: Endgame, I feel like the film could be regarded as a modern masterpiece, and in the future will be held to such a regard that grants the effect of telling the kids that you were in the cinema for the midnight showing of THE Avengers film, just as has been the case with many others and their families with the likes of Star Wars or Back to the Future. Nothing has been able to accomplish what the MCU has and I doubt it will ever be accomplished again with such finesse, passion and talent.
The characters in the comics have been gifted to the cinema audience in the perfect way and the perfect package. The finality of the film may well lead to many falling away from the MCU, but the payoff has been good enough to send those people away with fond thoughts of it, and Avengers: Endgame will be a true staple in filmmaking for years and years to come. This wouldn’t have been possible without the influence and heart of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby who had the incredible minds to bring these characters we’ve grown to love so much to life. Rest in power.