Helmer vs. Holmes: “Endgame”

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Helmer vs. Holmes: “Endgame”

Alex Helmer and Alex Holmes

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Alex Helmer:

Rating: 9.2/10

“Avengers: Endgame” is the culmination of 21 previous MCU (Marvel Comic Universe) films and lives up to the hype by delivering many hysterical and tear-inducing moments, and the best ever comic book film climax. All of this is enhanced by leads Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, who transform Iron Man and Captain America into comic book and real world icons.

Arguably, the best feature of “Endgame” are the characters. As an avid fan of Captain America, I couldn’t be more ecstatic with his role in the film. His summoning of Mjölnir had me jumping out of my seat while his melancholic dance with Peggy had me crying tears of joy. This film emphasizes what I relish about the leader of The Avengers. I couldn’t think of a better send off for the character and Chris Evans. The same could be said for Iron Man; Tony Stark is the character who started the MCU and his transition in this film from disgruntled war veteran to a father and hero is fantastic. His sacrifice and somber send off is the ultimate tear-jerking moment for casual and hardcore comic book movie fans.

I never thought that I’d say this, but in “Endgame,” we witness fat Thor for the first time! This new side to the character is the result of him not going for the head which adds to his complexity and adds more comedic relief to counterbalance the heavy material in the film.

The entire plot of “Endgame” beholds three very distinct acts. The first being the aftermath of “Infinity War.” The somber tone sets the stage as the Avengers attempt to move on. The second act of the Avengers heading back in time to retrieve the infinity stones is extremely entertaining and well constructed. The way in which time travel is incorporated into the plot with our heroes encountering some fan favorite MCU moments and characters is delightful.

Then there’s the third act: a geek’s ultimate dream comes to life as Thanos squares up against the big three Avengers in a fight for the ages. Alan Silvestri’s score plays as the fallen Avengers are revived and Steve yells “Avengers assemble!” and Tony makes the ultimate sacrifice which concludes in the saving of earth, the ironic dusting of Thanos and his army, and the death of “The Earth’s mightiest hero.” This act was simply breathtaking.

We’re lucky to be living in an age where films like “Endgame” can be so mainstream. It’ll be movies like these that in 20 years we’ll present to our children as we reflect on what it was like to come of age alongside these characters in the golden age of comic book films

 

Alex Holmes:

Rating: 7.5/10

“Avengers: Endgame,” the conclusion to more than 10 years of world-building and avenging, isn’t your typical movie, and it certainly isn’t your typical superhero movie: it is an event. As a regular movie, the ending is subpar; but as the end to an era, it is marvelous.

To get it out of the way, there was one blatant miss on the part of the filmmakers: the humor. The script doesn’t perform a great balancing act between its many jokes and frequent somberness, resulting in a somewhat oddly toned movie that bounces back and forth between humor and heart.

Also handled somewhat clumsily is Thor’s character arc. While the groundwork is laid, his grossly exaggerated physique is treated like a joke.

The movie is very clearly divided into three acts. The first is a slow, almost artsy evaluation of denial, guilt, and the aftermath of “Avengers: Infinity War.” It’s refreshing precisely because it’s slow, allowing you to breathe after the near non-stop action of 2018’s “Infinity War.”

The second act is very tedious. The New York sequence is great, as is the sentimental Garden State romp, but everything else feels like a chore to sit through. These sequences also abruptly put a stop to the appropriately depressing mood of the first act. That mood is replaced by garden variety Marvel scenes that trick you into thinking they’re good because of the “innovative” time travel. It is mostly a dull, rote trip down memory lane.

The third act is a mixed bag. One major problem is the obligatory final battle scene. While the lead-up to it is appropriately invigorating, the actual showdown itself is a messy let down. It is a maelstrom of computer generated heroes flinging themselves at computer generated villains, with no tactics, thought, or plan.

After the smashing, reaving, and laser beaming is done, come two of the most incredible sequences ever filmed in the history of superhero movies. Captain America and Iron Man get perfect endings. Their arcs are complete. It is the pay-off for eleven years of filmmaking.

The studio has endured its fair share of criticisms, but one of the biggest complaints is that there doesn’t seem to be an end. Where’s it all going, the casual viewer may wonder? And here, finally, is an ending. A Marvel move that, while not perfect, isn’t a commercial for a future installment, but a reflective look at the franchise’s past.