The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Avengers: Endgame, the End of an Era

Theater etiquette is usually the unspoken rule that no one talks, no one moves around, and everyone just ignores the others around them until the movie is over. Any who breaks those rules are usually a pain in the ass for the rest of the viewing audience. It takes a very special type of movie and a very special day for those unspoken rules to not only be broken, but for them to be thrown out the window entirely by every person in the theater.

Avengers: Endgame is one of those movies, and last Friday was one of those days. The energy of the crowd, cheering, crying, bursting out laughing, some jumping out of their seats, popping off like they just won the lottery. It was intoxicating, and sure, some lines were lost in the screaming, but no one cared.

In order to get tickets for the opening day, everyone there had to be the most dedicated of fans. The site was down when I woke up early that morning, three weeks ago when tickets first went on sale. Me and my roommate Adam spent the morning waiting for a crashing site to load as to not miss our chance.

We were sitting among the hundreds of people who crashed the Cinemark site with us weeks ago. We all knew who we are; Geeks. Hyper comic book movie super fans who have been tearing the trailers apart frame by frame, delving into theory videos on YouTube of what was going to happen, making side bets of who would live and who would die. This was the pay off we’ve been waiting for since some of our favorite characters got snapped from existence last year.

So, no one was mad when people cheered, and no one sat out the boughs of applause that broke out several times. The laughter wasn’t hushed, and at times it didn’t die down until the following scene was over.

It’s a rush I haven’t felt in a movie theater since the last couple of Harry Potter movies came out, an energy and connectedness to fellow movie goers that only comes from a global phenomenon like the MCU.

All that said, is the movie actually any good, or was it simply fun to be there in the theater?

Well, I saw it again the next day, in a much smaller theater, with much younger kids asking their parents what was going on every other scene. Most people didn’t get the jokes and obeyed the norms of theater etiquette which were so much fun to break the night before.

And despite that I can still confidently say this is one of the best movies in the MCU. Its humor ranks up there with Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarök, and its emotional moments rival its direct prequel, Infinity War.

It’s well deserving of the 1.2 billion dollars it has already made and is a fitting end to the third chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

*Caution: if you wish to precede further there are spoilers ahead*

Endgame does its best to challenge your expectations. It gives you exactly what you want to see in the first half hour; Thanos dead and Captain Marvel as a part of the team.

However, it immediately does its best to show you that’s really not what you wanted at all. It feels hollow, empty. They didn’t save the day, they Avenged it. That’s in their name of course, but actually saving the people Thanos killed seems to be impossible.

Critics of the movie may point out that the next 60 percent of the film is slow going. I am not one of them. Fat Thor playing Fortnite may just be the funniest thing to ever be put on screen, and every second of him throughout this movie is amazing. They took the “strongest Avenger” and made him so much more human than he ever has been.

I understand if people don’t like the direction they took him in, but I think it’s a perfect way to show the emptiness of vengeance. Avenging, killing those that did wrong, doesn’t bring back the people they took from you. He went from a God to the 30-year-old who never moved out of his mom’s basement.

This movie is also good at giving the side characters something to do. Iron Man 2 and Avengers 1 are the only movies Black Widow really gets much to do in, and even then she wasn’t a main character. In this, she takes charge of the remaining Avengers, running the business, calling the shots while Iron Man and Pepper are off raising their daughter. Hawkeye, War machine, Nebula, even Thor’s mom, all these characters who have been sidelined in former movies really get their moments to shine here. I guess being part of the 50 percent Thanos didn’t turn to dust has its perks.

Speaking of Thor’s mom, yeah there’s time travel. They go back to the times of Avengers 1, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thor: The Dark world, gathering the infinity stones throughout history.

And huge credit to Endgame, they make you want to go back and watch Thor 2, the worst of the MCU movies. Don’t actually do it, by the way, it’s not worth it. Christopher Eccleston brings his C game as the villain, and it’s long before Ragnarök where they decided to make Thor funny like the rest of the Avengers.

Anyway, the time travel might disappoint those who want realism in their movie about gods, mutants, talking space raccoons, genius billionaire playboy philanthropists, and a random guy who’s decent at archery. But it works as a way for Endgame to be a love letter to the 22 movies that have led us up to this point. Some it goes into directly, others it heavily references. This is certainly not a movie for someone just starting out and wanting to see a cool superhero movie. The plot is deeply woven in to the movies which came before. But the MCU has enough fans they built up over the last decade, so they don’t have to pander to newcomers who don’t know what’s going on.

You see Peggy Carter from Captain America 1, the hydra agents from Winter Soldier, The Ancient One from Dr. Strange, even Natalie Portman comes back for a split second as Jane from the Thor movies, despite having quit the MCU movies a long time ago.

It’s kind of like getting a commentary on those old movies, Nebula and War machine share some quips at past Star Lord’s expense, Captain America fights his former self, making fun of his “I can do this all day” catchphrase. Ant man admires “America’s Ass.” It creates some amazing situations with characters we’ve never seen interact before.

What we don’t see is a little disappointing. There’s perhaps a total of 12 minutes of Captain Marvel in the whole movie. She fights Thanos, but it isn’t much of a fight. She’s untouchable, takes a punch that one shot Captain America in the last movie and all that happens is a little cartoonish *dink* sound effect as it bounces off her forehead. It’s a few seconds of the badass overpowered Carol we all wanted to see, followed by a second, power-stone enhanced punch that one-shots her.

If you read my review of Captain Marvel you know I was disappointed that the villains were so easy for her to defeat. When the bad guy is the stronger one, it’s so much more cathartic when the hero finally takes them out. And I said back then that this movie would give us that catharsis, pitting Captain Marvel against an equally matched threat. We still didn’t get that, and I hope Captain Marvel 2 can deliver.

But if my biggest complaint towards a 3+ hour movie is I wanted to see more of it, then it’s not much of a complaint. They had a lot of what I wanted, and a lot more I had no idea I wanted but totally do now.

Captain America steals the show in the final climactic battle. Sure, every character in the MCU is there. Thor, Iron Man, and newly un-snapped Scarlett Witch all get their chance to fight the mad titan one on one. But in the end Cap is just… amazing. And that’s one bit I wont spoil for any who for some reason read this far without having seen the movie first. Captain America brings something out in that last fight I never saw coming, it is legendary.

Anyway, I can’t go further without spoiling who dies and exactly how the movie ends. I know practically everyone reading this has already seen it, but even so my words don’t give it justice. It’s a perfect end to a series that started with Iron Man and Captain America. And while some may be sad that chapter is over, I for one can only think about what’s coming next.

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