It’s weird to even begin to approach Avengers: Endgame with a critical lenses. Not that the film itself is particularly daunting in its themes or aesthetics; no everything is very transparent in that regard. What I refer to is the zeitgeist around the film. What Marvel Studios was able to create with their cinematic universe is unprecedented, a setting capable of hosting films of many different genres appealing to wide swaths of the global population. Even if you are only a fan of one of the series Marvel creates, you likely feel obligated to sit through Endgame just to see the hero you love so much, even if it’s just a glimpse. It’s film as sport seasons, even if you are a fan of only one team you feel it necessary to watch the rest of the tournament. It is truly a global event unlike any other in cinematic history.
Yet how does it work as a film? In short, it’s a quintessential Marvel flick. While Marvel has produced several pieces of masterful cinema in its 11 years, its success doesn’t lie in greatness but in adequacy; the good enough. Even in the lesser films, audiences would find well defined characters to latch onto and subsequently banter to relish. The structure could be a bit wonky, the musical score not all that compelling, the themes muddled, and the cinematography bland and inappropriate for the high-concept setting. None of that matters now that the audience is attached to a character that they want to follow in future films.
Avengers: Endgame meets that bar of adequacy. As audiences are treated to essentially a heist film with a few more fantastical action set pieces thrown in, they’ll enjoy on-point character banter and the culmination of figureheads Tony Starks (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) arcs. The rest of the cast have a fair share of wonderful moments such as Clint (Jeremy Renner) and Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) gut-wrenching back and forth on sacrifice and Thors (Chris Hemsworth) turn as Marvel’s Big Lebowski generates a lot of laughs.
However every aspect outside of the script fails to meet the same high standard. While the main Avengers theme is used to great effect in the film, the rest of the score is unremarkable and lacks the dynamic range and poignant verses to elevate the scenes that it accompanies. The Russo Brothers may be able to treat the film with some interesting landscape shots and close-ups, yet every action scene outside of the ones featuring the fisticuffs of Captain America comes off as rout and uninteresting in isolation. This in combination with a color palette that smears the screen with a washed-out look and an emphasis on browns and grays makes for inappropriate cinematography given the high-concept world it tries to convey.
The film possesses all of the brands strengths and weaknesses. Yet, while this may hurt the movie as a film, it’s oddly appropriate given the cultural moment Endgame is serving. After all, what better way to celebrate your own success than to be fully yourself, wrinkles included. Regardless, despite its shortcomings Avenger: Endgame is still an enjoyable three hours. I would say go see it, but you are likely already planning on it. After all, you’re in the endgame now.
Rating: 3 / 5