As the numbers start pouring in for a movie primed to break every box office record there is, it’s finally time to express my thoughts on the blockbuster of the century. My initial reaction was that I loved it. Why shouldn’t I? Critics came out days before the release to praise the spectacle that is “The Avengers”. Marvel has more than earned their 3 hour masterpiece. With over 20 films set before Endgame, Marvel has not only achieved an amazing Cinematic Universe, they have also set a precedent for film making.
In case you’re one of the 2 people who didn’t see Endgame opening weekend, I would advise you to stop reading here. As much as I like to give general thumbs up or thumbs down reviews, this movie could really benefit (or hurt) from an in depth look. So let’s get into it!
Endgame, at it’s core, is a time travel movie. It makes sense, right? Thanos dusted half of the universe’s population in Infinity war, including half of the Avengers. The only “realistic” option to bring everyone back is for the remaining Avengers to go back in time and reverse the events of Infinity War. We’ve at least seen the Time Stone at this point, so we know it could be possible. Only, that’s not how Endgame plays it at all. Instead, we learn that the Infinity Stones have been destroyed by Thanos and the Avengers must live with the guilt of losing their friends and family for the next 5 years. In that time we see the Avengers at their lowest points, each character dealing with grief in their own way.
But as movie magic would have it, Ant-Man returns from the quantum realm, only noticing 5 minutes have passed. With this information, he seeks out the remaining Avengers to pitch his idea of time travel. Upon meeting up with the Avengers, The Hulk explains that while time travel may be possible using the quantum realm, they are unable to reverse past events. “What happens always happens”. There is no time loop like Back to the Future, or Butterfly Effect; instead, if you make changes in the past, you create a new parallel timeline (See Multiverse Theory). Oh yeah, and the Hulk is talking now as some hybrid version of himself and Bruce Banner.
So because the Avengers can not reverse the events of Infinity War, their plan changes into gathering the Infinity Stones for themselves. The idea being, if Thanos can snap away billions of people, surely they can use the stones to snap billions of people back into existence. Next, they discuss the logistics of their plan. The Avengers have had several run ins with the Infinity Stones, but only have a finite amount of Pym Particles (AKA time travel juice). Once everyone knows their mission, we see them time travel back to different moments in the MCU and that’s when the fun begins!
The character interactions with their past selves and family leads to hilarious high jinks. Of course everything doesn’t go as planned and the Avengers are forced to adapt, but that’s definitely to be expected. I will let you experience these events on your own, but you should know that they are great! All of this buildup is leads to a climactic battle involving past Thanos following Nebula back to the future with his army. The fight contains some of the best moments of the movie, possibly of the entire MCU, and I’ll just leave it at that.
I do have some gripes with Endgame, however. When I left the theater I was in awe of how much I loved this movie, but the next day I had plenty of questions keeping me from holding it up as high. While time travel is a focal point and I’ve done my best to explain it here, the movie gives us no such courtesy. The Multiverse theory is briefly mentioned and accepted right away, but never gets explained adequately. Maybe it was explained and I missed it, or maybe 2 decades of cinema has conditioned me into thinking of time travel as a loop (thanks Back to the Future). I will definitely re-watch this movie with a better understanding, but going home to do online research isn’t my idea of soaking in a great film. Another negative is how Tony Stark (Iron Man) figures out time travel in less than a day. We know he’s a genius, but really?! This is a minor flaw for me, but ultimately the movie benefits from the quick advancement of this plot, so I will allow it. My next issue is probably my biggest and I can’t quite seem to wrap my head around it. The Hulk explains that making changes in the past creates parallel timelines that don’t effect the main timeline they are on. So it’s like any other time travel movie, except without any of the repercussions of their actions in the past. Convenient much? Maybe, but the characters are made aware of these alternate timelines and the plan becomes about returning the Infinity Stones to their proper places in time to avoid creating those parallel timelines altogether. Slightly confusing, but with my newfound knowledge of the multiverse, I can see that as a possibility. My issue is that we don’t see any of the stones get returned. We see Captain America time travel one last time with the intent of returning all the stones, but that’s it. And if you’re asking me to go along with this version of time travel, at least give me some closure as to how those loose ends (parallel timelines) get tied up. I’d think returning the stones would prove to be just as difficult as getting them in the first place, but apparently not.
All in all, I think this is a brilliant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only do time travel movies have great replay value, but since Endgame involves time travelling into other Marvel movies, I bet people will be more inclined to re-watch those earlier entries as well. So don’t let my negative points deter you. Endgame has incredible moments and delivers a fun, action packed, once in a lifetime experience. For that, I give it a solid A! So what are you waiting for? Happy Watching!