It’s finally here, after 11 glorious years, 21 spectacular Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, billions of dollars in box office, and at least 5 collective minutes of actors named Chris with their tops off. Folks, I’m talking about Avengers: Endgame, the huge conclusion to the current “phase” of Marvel movies, which is in cinemas today.
Since it’s the big, exciting blockbuster conclusion, the studio and cast are all urging punters #DontSpoilTheEndgame, and because I am personally frightened of Kevin Feige I will be obeying this here for this review. I roped in Pedestrian‘s entertainment editor Matty to join me in a very top-line chat about Endgame, and I think we now have new appreciation for the actors who have to do 1600 interviews before the movie comes out but are allowed to say nothing.
JOSIE: Matty, hi. Let’s attempt to do a spoiler-free review of Endgame. This is going to be hard. I will kick things off by saying… I really enjoyed that it was very much the OG Avenger crew’s story – Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Felt like coming full circle from the first ever Avengers film.
MATTY: Spoiler-free? *sweats nervously*
JOSIE: How can we actually do this, haha.
MATTY: I will say, I am a total comic book nerd but even I had no idea how they were gonna wrap it up. I knew they had some tricks up their sleeves and in some of the interviews the actors said that we legit won’t see it coming and they were 1000% right. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The whole 3 hours and 2 minutes, mind you. I think they did a great job at honouring their beginnings (AKA Iron Man, Cap, Thor) and tying in all the films along with way (Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther).
JOSIE: Yeah, so part of the plot obviously involves playing with time — we won’t tell you HOW, but we all knew it had to be an element here if they’re trying to reverse Thanos‘ (Josh Brolin) snap! — so we get to revisit a lot of the previous films with the old footage as well as returns from some fun yet kinda underused characters. Had I forgotten about Natalie Portman‘s character Jane Foster, even I though I only re-watched Thor a month ago? Yes!
MATTY: Fuck, I know. You almost forget just how many big names are part of the Marvel Universe like Michelle Pfeiffer, Marisa Tomei, Michael Douglas etc.
JOSIE: And as someone who only managed to rewatch the first three movies (terrible effort) before watching Endgame, I’m almost glad they weren’t so fresh in my memory? It was nice to have to search through my brain’s Marvel archives to place people or storylines. I will say, it was nice to see Hawkeye in this one. He’s often kinda of a background figure but was really important in this movie. Jeremy Renner suits a full tattoo sleeve, I reckon.
MATTY: Yeah for sure! It’s funny ‘coz it was rumoured that he’d have a bigger part in this movie and I was like ‘the arrow guy, really?’ But you actually see his value in this one. Like he’s pretty integral to saving the day, I feel.
JOSIE: Can we talk about that horrific early scene. The first time I cried, the first time I really mourned. I’m talking about Captain America shaving his beard.
MATTY: Oh my god. I’m sorry but I didn’t even notice him shaving his beard, I was too focused on his rear. They knew e x a c t l y what they were doing with that camera angle. There were a lot of references to his ass actually. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
JOSIE: Was he popping his booty in front of the mirror or no? I felt personally attacked by the combo of his beard going away and his ass in my face. Thank you, Russo Brothers. Speaking of them, I enjoyed the Russo family cameos in the movie. And the Stan Lee reference was truly beautiful!
MATTY: Yes! The cameos were bloody beautiful. And fun fact: Hawkeye’s daughter is played by one of the Russo Brothers’ daughters.
JOSIE: Cute! Another important hair-related note is the fact that Black Widow goes back to being a redhead (kinda) and Thor goes back to his long locks (kinda). I enjoyed that they played Thor for laughs again. He was always a great comedic character and Chris Hemsworth has great comic timing. I think we needed a good amount of laughs considering the movie was quite an emotional journey.
MATTY: Yes, absolutely. And he brings the LOLs in a different way to, say, Iron Man who relies on sarcasm which can sometimes be annoying.
Plus we were missing Chris Pratt so Hemsworth had to pick up the slack. Ya wanna know something that kinda disappointed me though?
JOSIE: Hit me!
MATTY: I thought Okoye (Danai Gurira) was gonna have a helluva lot more screen time in Endgame considering she was one of the only characters who survived the snap and she’s the only remaining connection to the Black Panther world. Like I get that the focus was on the originals but there was a fuckload of Nebula (Karen Gillan) screen time and let’s face it, she’s the least likeable of the bunch. I wanted more Okoye badassery, damn it. I shared in the public’s fury when she was left off the original poster but I can totally see why it happened now – she’s barely in the damn thing.
JOSIE: It was very much like ‘here’s Okoye and Captain Marvel and now off they go to do something else’. We did get more Cap Marvel later but there was so little Okoye I was even wondering where she was in parts of it. Like, did I imagine that she survived the snap? It was almost like.. what was the point of her surviving the snap.
MATTY: Yeah maybe they were hoping to write her in but realised that it didn’t make sense or there were too many survivors or something? IDK. I think they nailed the post-apocalyptic vibe. It was very ~eerie~ at parts.
JOSIE: It was really awful to put yourself in that situation and imagine the reality of losing 50% of the population. A couple of non-spoilery scenes that touched on that — Captain America leading the group therapy session about how to move on after loss. And Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) slowly coming to terms with what had happened, almost experiencing in real time with him was quite affecting.
MATTY: It was! I loved the emotional scenes, particularly the one where Black Widow loses it in her office and *those* Hawkeye scenes. It was great to see such strong emotion coming from cold-blooded spies.
JOSIE: Black Widow crying over a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a forever mood. Without spoilers, are you satisfied with the way it played out?
MATTY: Absolutely. Yes. 100%. It ended way less cornier than I thought it would. Like I thought it was going to go down the v. obvious route which would’ve been really cheesy but they kept the best surprises ’til last. Endgame was such a treat. What did you think?
JOSIE: I was really happy with the way it wrapped up certain storylines. We’ve been with these characters for 11 years, seen them at their best and worst. I felt like the plot stayed really true to them and their personalities and I think it did most of them justice. Others, less so — I felt like one character didn’t get the respect they deserved. Which you and I talked about afterwards. Which I absolutely cannot discuss here!
MATTY: Oh yes. That’s a big fat curve ball that cannot be discussed. All I can say is: Brace yourselves.
JOSIE: Fucken brace yourselves and bring a family-sized box of tissues! I cried for many reason – but I am an emotional person, so that’s not technically a spoiler. So final non-spoilery thoughts from me are that I think the plot played out really well, I thought it was so cleverly done and at 3 hours and 2 minutes, there wasn’t even 1 second where I was bored in the slightest. Endgame was bloody brilliant. The cinema was clapping and cheering at various intervals, gasping in shock – it’s a ride.
MATTY: Yes, absolutely. If, like me, your fave character(s) died in Infinity War, all I can say is: Don’t worry. You won’t be disappointed. They wrap things up poifectly.
Avengers: Endgame is in cinemas from today.