My wife told me that I had to write a review for “Avengers: Endgame.” With a big Hollywood tentpole movie like the final film in Marvel’s Infinity Saga, many critics aren’t given opportunities to view the movie in advance. I had to purchase a ticket like everybody else. Keeping all of this in mind, I told my wife that it would be very difficult to write a review for a film and to get it in within a reasonable amount of time.
What I didn’t realize is that this task would be near impossible, given the fact that I can’t talk about any spoilers.
There has been a major push to avoid spoilers with this film. About two weeks ago, there was a report of a leak, revealing a crucial part of the film. Friends of mine abandoned the Internet. It was a mass exodus. I can’t say that I blamed them. I refused to read anything about “Avengers: Endgame” except for the early review summaries. It was an odd time to be a nerd.
I understand why the Russos, the directors of the film, put out a message to Marvel fans worldwide to avoid spoilers. The film is one giant spoiler. Anything I really say about the film is really teetering on making the movie-going experience somehow lesser. Could the movie be enjoyed with some knowledge of what was going to happen? Definitely. I try not to hype movies up too much, but “Avengers: Endgame” is a triumph in every sense of the term. Cinematically, it feels on a scale that I haven’t seen a superhero movie really attempt.
But going into the movie without spoilers? That’s the real goal. For most of the viewing audience, this should be pretty easy. As much as this is a triumph for the Russo brothers and Marvel Studios, I don’t think that I’ve ever been so impressed by a marketing push before. Everything that is in the trailers is either vague enough or somewhat misleading. “Avengers: Endgame” is a masterclass at misdirection. Whenever people expect the movie to turn left, it turns right. Every time the movie changes the stakes, it goes all that much further with the next gambit.
It’s funny, yet bleak. It’s dramatic, yet light. The characters are well-written, and the scenes are well-shot.
But this shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know that many people don’t necessarily care for the Marvel movies, but they have a wide and impressive fanbase. “Avengers: Endgame” feels like the perfect cap on one very long and impressive storyline. It feels like the best series finale that I have ever seen. The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t even over; it is simply shifting to another storyline.
As an aside, I want to mention that there are some themes in those film that will be especially interesting to Catholics. But I can’t really talk about them. Sorry. Spoilers.
So what can this review really offer? All I can do is to offer some tips for getting through three hours of cinematic closure.
1. AVOID SPOILERS: The first round of people have seen this movie. My sister-in-law was babysitting, and the first thing I wanted to do was tell her the works. Remember, people mean well, but there is something remarkably satisfying about telling someone a spoiler under the guise of not telling spoilers. If you find yourself saying, “This isn’t a spoiler, but…”, it probably is a spoiler.
2. GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFOREHAND: I come from an era where “The Lord of the Rings” movies were meant to be watched multiple times in the theaters. I find it odd that so many people are concerned about making it through a three-hour movie. But it was nice not having to shift in my seat and wait for the movie to end so I could run to the potty.
3. WATCH / RE-WATCH THE MARVEL MOVIES: Like other water-cooler worthy media involving characters named “The Starks”, “Avengers: Endgame” shouldn’t be the first entry into the franchise. The movie pulls from many of the films, often making references to some deep cuts. You’ll feel better if you are fresh with the material.
4. BRING TISSUES: As the title suggests, this is a film about resolution. Some of the tears are happy tears. Some of the tears are sad tears. Tissues will take care of any kind of tears.
5. INVITE A MARVEL SHERPA: If twenty-something films is a lot to take in, you probably have a friend who knows the series pretty well to answer questions. NOTE: Use judgment when choosing your Sherpa. Trivia once in a while is nice. An in-depth explanation of the Korvac Saga might be too much.
6. SIT IN A REASONABLE SEAT: While the movie isn’t all action, the action sequences are epic. I can’t imagine being stuck in the front row for this one. There is a lot happening on screen, so sitting back is a good idea.
7. COMIC BOOKS ARE GREAT, BUT THEY AREN’T NECESSARY: There are a few comic book exclusive references in the movie. Your indoor friends might snigger a bit. Goodness knows that I did. These moments aren’t even worth explaining, but rather are tiny dopamine rushes for the few who get the reference.
8. HAVE FUN: As dark, as the movie gets, remember that this is one of those communal moments with friends. Some things are different from the comics. That’s fine. “Avengers: Endgame” is an entertaining film that should be enjoyed for what it is, a culmination of over twenty movie storylines.
9. BE VULNERABLE: I think this is advice for any movie-going experience.
If there was one thing that I could spoil, it’s this. Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel know what they are doing. I sincerely believe that even the least impressive Marvel movie is still pretty impressive. I haven’t had my expectations surpassed so well to date, and I absolutely adore this film.
Also, there’s one scene. There’s this guy that the camera focuses on. You’ll feel like you should know who that person is. It’s the kid from “Iron Man 3.” He’s all grown up, so he looks different.