The ULTIMATE Crossover Film!
Unprecedented in so many ways, Endgame is a culmination of ALL that came before it, the Russos conduct it like a perfect symphony, to its last note.
By Tym Stevens
What do you do when all that is good has past?
What holds you together when instant revenge proves empty, after loss has gutted you?
When hope is lost, all falls. If Infinity War is The Two Towers, then Endgame is Return of the King; the first a devastating battle, then followed by a sense of doubt that undermines the last chance left.
Capping their yin/yang films, the double duo—directors: the Russo brothers/ writers: Markus+McFeely (RM2)—make the boldest, best choice to deal in-depth with the aftermath of Infinity War. Each of the three hours is a step toward redemption; processing, resolve to action, rallying again. Indie character drama, chrono-heist, apocalypse redux.
Endgame refocuses on the original core six Avengers processing the ultimate grief crisis, with all worlds and souls shorn in half. The brave first hour quietly navigates them through an anguish that paralyzes, a shame that despairs. The second sutures them together, retracing themselves, using their past experiences to rewrite possibility. The third is reassembly, a galvanization through united strengths, the final summation with new transitions.
While the film refers to certain comics instances*, this time its story’s main source is its own unique 11–year, 22–film history. As the apex of all of them, this is a singular juncture in cinema, and RM2 channel the huge cumulative expectations for that zenith confidently through a reflective prism. It’s a tone poem about memory and destiny, for both the characters and the audience, angling memoirs into new meanings. The result is a work of genuine poignancy, by turns contemplative, severe, irreverent, everting, bittersweet, and always tacitly mature. Where pain is absolved, destinies are refined, and love fills the dance card.
* (Special note: George Perez was the quintessential comics artist of both the classic Avengers and the classic JLA, and his complex tapestry layouts for battle scenes are reflected spectacularly across the film’s entire finale.)
Marvel Studios has triumphed because of faith in the audience. Most obviously, by respecting the print material and the hardcore fans. But their revolutionary insight is in knowing that there are no archaic and classist divisions like “nerd” or “mainstream”: there’s actually only an all-ages wave of people who came up across half a century loving every variant of Speculative Fiction, Fantasy, Magic Realism, avant cinema, graphic novels, anime, illustration, cosplay, extreme sports, and video games, a diverse mega-stream supportive of smart creative films telling contemporary moral myths with heart and craft. The proof is that this film made $2 billion in five days worldwide to universal acclaim, smashing all puny records. And with that, any naysayer is now ash, consigned to the dustbin of histrionics.
When hope is restored, all follows.
Role-over/rollover. These films beautifully sum up the classic ‘60s and ’70s Marvel Comics heroes, but the actors’ contracts are up. Meanwhile, on the comics page, all of their hero mantles have been taken up by young diverse people from around the world. It’s time for the next decade of films, and the audience, to now catch up to the new heroes of the present: Jane/Thor, Ms. Marvel, Cho/Hulk, America Chavez, Spider/Miles, Spider/Gwen, Ironheart, Viv Vision, Kate/Hawkeye, Moon Girl, and The A-Force. Assemble!
What do you do when all that is good has past? Take the hard blow, make the tough moves, seize the hereafter.
Make way for tomorrow today.