Iron Man- the first film in the MCU, came out when I was working in a cinema during university, my old housemates told me about Marvels grand plans as well as superheros who could control ants and how it was going to be this grand interconnected thing that was going to change movies forever.
(Even though the MCU isn’t the first cinematic universe – Universal got there in the 1940’s with their Monster universe.)
I laughed then. They’ve been laughing for the past ten years.
Because whilst I have my complaints about the MCU – too bland, too much CGI, a questionable quality of villains and indestructible heroes among others.
Also, they’ve completely wasted the post snap era because why would you want to see shows set during a time when half the population of Earth has simply vanished? Hard to imagine a setup with less opportunities to explore.
But… all of that pales into insignificance to this…. well, there’s no better word for it. Avengers: Endgame is a masterpiece.
Yes, it’s the length of a Lord of the Rings film- my screening started at 10.40 and I walked out at 2pm, and I couldn’t think of any scene to cut. Not one moment seemed to be padding or a weak link. It is long but thanks to my tried and true method of surviving a long film by not drinking my can of energy drink until the first practical effect I made it the whole way through. It tasted great on the train home by the way.
Yeah, for all the many, many wonders of the film I get the feeling that the stunt crew took a lot of tea breaks. Which, isn’t really their fault. You know how films traditionally break into three acts? Person goes up tree, person gets stuck up tree, person gets down from tree? This film has one of the clearest examples of this I think I’ve ever seen. I mean yes, the first hour could technically be done in ten minutes but then you lose all the weight and impact that so many little moments that other films would have glossed over.
There were moments here where I laughed, there were moments when I had a tear in my eye, there were moments where I wanted to leap up and punch the air. Except I’m English and as such I just smiled like a loon. There were also moments in the first two hours when the person snoring happily behind me almost woke up before going back to sleep. They woke up towards during the third act though. No-ones sleeping through that.
Whilst this is light years better than that bunch of disconnected, tension free fight scenes I was forced to sit through repeatedly last year and is arguably better than the franchises previously unassailable high point of Winter Soldier I do worry that ankle biters might get a bit fidgety given that there’s a lot less fighting and quipping and more people sitting in a room talking about plans, regret, choices and should they get the band back together for one last gig?
Then we get this massive mosiac full of moving pieces on a scale not seen since…. well, Lord of the Rings as multiple story-lines featuring multiple characters in multiple locations full of so much fan service that are juggled with seemingly effortless skill all culminating in an incredible third act.
If this is the end of an era of cinema (not the MCU, that things going to be around after the heat death of the universe) then it’s going out on a high- This film is (at time of writing) is already number 11 in IMDB’s Top Rated Movies and, unlike Snakes on a Plane which was also in the top 250 briefly- the 2000’s were a weird time in cinema, this film is going to be in there for a long time.
Will some of the CGI look dated in a few years? Yes.
Would I have like a practical effect or 2? Yes.
Would I change a frame of this film? Not on your life.
Your going to have to deal with the runtime (which flew by for me but may not for sugar rushed kids wanting a big fight every ten minutes). This feels like a more grown up MCU film. I mean it’s still got plenty of light moments to even out all of the emotional gut-punches, incredible fight scenes and for my money Thor steals the show but as the culmination of a seemingly impossible dream that was told to me all those years ago?
It’s cinematic perfection.
My Score- See It Now!