Film Review: AVENGERS: ENDGAME (USA 2019) ***1/2

Avengers: Endgame Poster
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe.

Directors:

Anthony RussoJoe Russo

Prior to the press screening of the new blockbuster most anticipated film so far for 2019, AVENGERS: ENDGAME the Disney official introducing the film made a request that the critics do not spoil the key scenes of the film and to respect the Marvel Universe fans.  As it turns out, there are many, may things that could be kept from the fans, even from the very start, on the slightest of details  So this critic will try to be as discreet as possible.

The film opens with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) having a picnic with his family.  He is teaching his daughter the bow and arrow while the wife the boys baseball.  It is a beautiful idyllic setting.  Suddenly, the daughter disappears followed by the rest of the family.  It is an excellent beginning that connects the audience to humanity despite the film  being based on super heroes.  It is soon revealed that half the Universe has been destroyed by the villain Thanos (Josh Brolin), an intergalactic despot from Titan who collected the 6 infinity stones to do the job.  This explains the disappearance of Barton’s family.  In order to say the destroyed half of the universe, the Angers band together and come up with an elaborate or impossible (but always possible in movies) scheme to reverse the damage done. 

Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)  suggests travelling through time in a quantum time machine to undo the deed.  The concept involves immense risk, which means it can be done in a movie.  Directors Joe an Anthony Russo slowly but surely introduces the other Marvel super action hero Avengers.  Iron man (Robert Downy Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans looking super dashing) are the two action heroes given the most attention and they are shown at loggerheads in terms of ideas.  Iron Man, the leader and benefactor of the Avengers is a self-described genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist while Captain America is fugitive superhero and leader of a faction of Avengers.  Almost every other marvel hero seen in films in the past decade make their appearances including Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), the Hulk (ark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth who is simply hilarious as the overweight drunk), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and a host of others in minor parts like Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Vision (Paul Bethany), Falcom (Anthony Mackie) and others way too many to mention.

The action sequences are more than aptly executed with the directors playing it smart to play up the human parts of the story.  There are moments that will bring audiences to shed a tear or two.  The logic of the story does to always make sense.  For example the logic of time travel is difficult to follow and the Infinity Stones also do not make much sense in the flow of things.  But these are fantasy elements that should be present in futuristic action films.  

Marvel and Disney make good again in their latest action superhero outing compared to Warner Brothers who seem to make one blunder after another.  Everyone at the press screening stayed to the end of the closing credits (lasting a full 15 minutes or so) hoping to see some surprise.   Is there one?  Sorry, no spoilers even for this point.  Stay to the very end to find out.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcMBFSGVi1c

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Film Review: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (USA 2018) ***1/2

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Avengers: Infinity War Poster
Trailer

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Directors:

Anthony RussoJoe Russo

Writers:

Christopher Markus (screenplay by), Stephen McFeely (screenplay by) |9 more credits »

 

The first of two AVENGERS INFINITY WAR films, this is the most anticipated super action hero movie of the year and most expensive Marvel/Disney film with an estimated budget of $300-$400 million. But much of the filming had been done back to back with its sequel.

The film boasts all the marvel superheroes led by Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).  The Avengers combine forces with the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and gang to fight the most evil of all villains, Thanos (Josh Brolin) who wants to control the Universe.  In order to succeed, he has to possess 5 infinity stones, stones that were formed with the creation of the universe during the Big Bang, whatever sense this makes.  The stones are space, reality, power, should, mind and time.  There is no need to question the names or reason for these elements but the script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely takes the story very, very seriously.

The Guardians of the Galaxy have never met the Marvel fighters, so their first meeting is done tongue-in-cheek, resulting in some humour.

There is no messing around with the Marvel superheroes, unlike the mess Warner Bros. created with the D.C. comics i.e. Batman’s identity known to everyone; Superman dying and returning to life.  Comic book and super hero fans should not be disappointed with the treatment of their super heroes in this film.  Almost every Marvel hero is present, the list too long to mention.  Of all, a few appear more (Captain America, Thor, Black Panther, Spiderman, Dr. Strange) than others (White Wolf, Heimdall).  Humour is provided by one-liners and banter resulting from enmity among the Super Heroes, like between Dr. Strange and Iron Man.  Some emotion is provided during the Thanos/daughter confrontation.

For the most expensive Marvel production, the film is stunning to look at and there is no shortage of CGI and special effects.  Needless to say, it is best to pay a bit extra to watch the film in the best viewing environment be it in IMAX or 3-D.

A satisfactory action film always depends on a good villain.  Credit is given to the impressive performance of Josh Brolin who plays Thanos, the intergalactic despot from Titan who longs to collect all of the Infinity Stones in order to impose his will on the Universe.  Thanos is in the most scenes in the film, even more than Iron Man, Dr. Strange or Thor.  Thanos is so powerful that his size towers over all the super heroes.  He does not have to wear armour and his strength and might grows as he acquires more of the infinity stones.

At the press screening, reviewers were reminded to preserve the magic of movie storytelling by not revealing any surprises and plot twists in any coverage.  The film does not have as many as in the STAR WARS films, but there are a few, including some deaths and story surprises.

This film paves the way for the final part of the storm, which judging from this film should be a hit critically and at the box-office.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZfuNTqbHE8

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