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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 29, 2019


“AVENGERS: ENDGAME” concludes Marvel Cinematic Universe’s saga of its superheroes that introduced all their top stars in about two dozen pictures. Running for more than 3 hours and with the most star-studded cast you’d ever see in one movie, it’s nothing like any Hollywood studio has made before. It’s a much awaited cinematic event, especially for excited superhero fans, and they won’t be disappointed, so we write this review avoiding to make any serious spoilers like revealing who survived and who died.

It’s been a year since “Infinity War” where supervillain Thanos (Josh Brolin) succeeded in getting the complete set of six Infinity stones and, with just the snap of his fingers, decimated half the population of the entire universe, including some of the superheroes.

Since then, Marvel fans have been given enough time to feel sad and grieve over the loss of Spider Man, Star Lord, Black Panther and Dr. Strange who disintegrated into dust or ashes, and to speculate on what will happen next. Maybe, those superheroes aren’t really dead, after all? Maybe, the surviving Avengers would succeed in retrieving them? Will it still be a happy ending?

“Endgame” does get to resolve many problematic plot points with a sense of closure and with satisfying pay offs to relationships established in the past films. But it also demands that viewers be familiar with what transpired in the previous films to be able to fully appreciate the ending given to some of the well loved characters. It would be a big help if you’d review the preceding films of these superheroes.

“Endgame” is really aimed to be a crowd pleaser deftly balancing emotion with visual spectacle by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who earlier directed “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War”. It does manage to shuffle back into the action a lot of important characters seen in various Marvel movies as some sort of homage, also for some nostalgic effect and to neatly wrap up the epic story. But there are many unpredictable moments as the story progresses that make you feel uneasy.

There are times when you think it’s going to this direction but then, it turns out that the writers and directors have lots of twists and turns in store for you, just to remind the viewers how familiar they are with the superheroes who they obviously admire and care for. They even try their best to give all the heroes equal or ample screen exposure.

“Endgame” starts some years after Thanos wrought havoc worldwide. Thor has become an alcoholic, Tony Stark has become a father, Hawkeye goes berserk after he lost his family and turned into a vigilante to kills thugs, and Scott Lang aka Antman, who was stranded in the Quantum Realm, finally regains freedom with the help of a rat and suggests resorting to time travel to retrieve the Infinity Stones and bring everyone who perished back to life.

We get to hear the song “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and we see how the surviving superheroes get despondent over what happened to their colleagues, until Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, the latest addition to their list, appears and give them a pep talk.

The tone in “Endgame” is definitely more somber than previous Marvel movies. Some of the characters show a sense of their mortality, confessing that they feel they’ve come to the end of something, like Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth who, as Thor, has neglected himself and is shown with a paunch.

There are a lot of action-filled showdowns but what makes this different from past Marvel films are the times of doubt, uncertainty and even regret in some of the characters who seem to be experiencing identitiy issues. They seem to be ready to face their end, giving the film a darker tone. The gravity of their previous defeat seems to be really weighing down on the Avengers. But just when things get too grim and gloomy, Robert Downey Jr. as Ironman comes along with a device for time travel, along with his humor-laced performance.

Also providing some comic relief is Mark Ruffalo as The Incredible Hulk who is often asked to do the most demanding work because of his sheer size. But their biggest challenge, of course, is how to reverse Thanos’ success in getting hold of the powerful stones. The time travel device has been used before in such films as “Superman”, “Back to the Future”, “Happy Death Day 2” and “The Terminator”.  If they’d succeed in doing this logic-bending nonsense, then they can get back the stones from Thanos and save the future of the entire universe.

Expect the usual spectacular climactic battle sequence between the forces of good and evil, but there’s also a series of compelling emotional scenes showing callbacks from earlier films that are calculated to elicit applause. The superheroes display a spirit of personal sacrifice made in behalf of their team and also the universe in general. It points out that family and friendship matter, especially when forged by the call of duty for a greater cause.

Being a superhero isn’t just having great powers or abilities but being ready to give one’s self up for the greater good, leading to a more cathartic conclusion that will not fail audience expectations.   You will cheer, applaud, even shed a tear or two.  It’s a long goodbye but it’s better than the conclusions of other franchise films like “Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “Matrix” and “Twilight”. And as Tony Stark’s daughter says: “I love you 3000”.

But even if it shows the death of a major character (whose funeral is attended by so many famous names), still and all, the mortality rate is very low because, let’s face it, although they call this “Endgame”, we don’t think this will really be the end of Marvel Superhero flicks franchise. As you will notice, many heroes have been retained and many seeds of new adventures are manifestly planted along the way.

So we can expect more superhero movies to come in the next few years to further send the cash registers ringing merrily in the future and it’s business as usual for Marvel and Disney. And we cannot wait to expect and see where things will be going from here as they evolve into new directions. You’ll love it 3000.