Not Too Much Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Not Too Much Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

May 2, 2019 Off By Nick Muldoon

Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Paul Rudd

So after 22 films, we finally come to the ending and it is, mostly pretty satisfying.

So let’s break it down, shall we?

THE GOOD:

Act I: The film can essentially be divided into three acts and for me, both the first and third acts are great. The Avengers films have often for me lost a step in recent years because it feels like each character’s emotional arc has at times taken a back seat to the larger world-building and narrative which can be disappointing given that characters are Marvel’s strongest element. I love that the film essentially strips the characters of that for awhile just to take us back to the essence of who all of them are as people and really begins the payoff for the emotional arcs started ages ago.

Act III: Which brings us to Act III. I rarely care about action scenes but the Russos create a closing that’s in scale and structure unlike anything really and the groundwork they do early on brings an emotional heft to it. It’s also worth nothing the decisions they make afterwards are also frequently perfect and I couldn’t be happier with this film’s closing scene.

Action Sequences: I touched on this already but beyond just knowing how to craft large scale set pieces, the Russos have found a strength by creating a lot of perfect little character moments in them that make you feel more invested.

Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Renner, & Scarlett Johansson – Speaking of that humanism, RDJ can often feel like he’s doing shtick but here they give him a massive showcase to really let him put his full talent on display. This is the best performance he’s given since Zodiac. While I love ScarJo and think she has some great moments (especially in Winter Soldier) her character has often felt kind of less primary to me and that goes doubly for Hawkeye. The film really gives them proper emotional arcs for maybe the first time and lets both talented actors get a chance to show their skill.

The humor: While it’s not as consistent as Guardians, Ragnarok, or even Infinity War – the film’s humor still mostly tips in the positive direction. There’s a lot of really witty gags and Hemsworth still has the ability to sell even the more questionable jokes. Though I do have issues with his comedic presence in this film that I didn’t in prior.

THE BAD:

Act II – My core issue with the film, and it almost completely lost me. The film takes a specific narrative decision to me that I found both confusing and kind of jarring. It’s not just that a lot of it felt self-congratulatory or like fan service but it also felt like to me that it considerably lowered the stakes. I suddenly found myself completely devoid of the tension as this act felt like a fun little lark that would happen on a TV spin-off and not what I would expect from the completion of a series. That doesn’t mean there weren’t some good moments in this, but I can’t help but feel like there could have been a better way to get from Point A to Point B.

The Russo Look: The Russos do a lot of things right. One thing they often don’t do is make a film look as visually interesting as it could. Again, there’s moments that impress but I get very tired of flat lighting, empty hangars, egg shell white buildings, burnt out landscapes – surely there has to be a way to make the films more exciting to look at it.

ALAN SILVERSTRI [film score composer] NEEDS TO FUCKING CHILL! The film has an amazing cold open that is super effective. You know part of the reason why? Silence. But the rest of the movie, our boy Alan has to amp up those violins like if 30 seconds went by without a music score than the audience wouldn’t know how to feel. Trust your audience, don’t telegraph everything. Goddamn!

Brie is an Answer, Captain Marvel is a Problem: Brie Larson is one of the best actresses working – end of story. Go watch her and it doesn’t matter the film – Room, Scott Pilgrim, Short Term 12, 21 Jump Street – she can do it all. The franchise absolutely struggles to find anything interesting to do with her character though. In a way, this is the Superman problem too, a character so powerful their lack of vulnerability makes them boring. But it’s even worse cause as the only female superhero, she also has to be a stand-in for all women, and Marvel’s mostly male writers are scared of making her emotionally vulnerable as well – but goddamn find a fucking angle. I mean it took awhile with Thor but it finally came. There has to be a screenwriter out there who can access her humanity – cause right now, you’re doing both Brie and the character absolutely no favors.

Anyway, for the most part, a very good if uneven film with some great character moments. Could potentially move up to an 8 on a second watch.

4.0 Not Too Much Guys out of 5

-Nick Muldoon (@nmuldoon)