Avengers: Endgame (PG-13) –
Hollywood Revue—2019! Everybody but Busby Berkeley is in this wonderfully built film. Much of it is quiet and almost pastoral, but that is to set up the almost unbelievable sequence at the conclusion of the film.
But the film does not end with the end of the fighting: There has to be at least one funeral, and it is a doozy.
This film ends the 22-movie run of the franchise, but don’t despair. It’s made quite clear by the structure of the funeral scene that there will be more Marvel action entries in the near future; that next series couldn’t have enjoyed a more spectacular introduction than “Avengers: Endgame.”
I’ll not bore you with the entire list of stars, but suffice to say that Robert Redford has a cameo, with others including Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Tom Holland (Spider Man), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) and Evangeline Lilly (The Wasp), among many others. Most of the extras have a history with the Avengers’ franchise and several members of the directors’ (Anthony and Joe Russo) families have background roles. The plot seemed to be designed to get as many crowd favorites as possible into as many roles as possible, and it is a riotous good time that they have, too!
Boiled down to simple terms (a disservice to a three-hour movie with no breaks), the plot involves finding six stones that will allow villain Thanos (Josh Brolin) to do pretty much whatever he wants to do with the universe. The Avengers re-form in order to capture the six stones and preserve the future of the Universe for the Good Guys and Gals. Central pivotal actors for the task are Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (played full size for the entire film by Mark Ruffalo), and Iron Man (Tony Stark).
All of the characters we meet have changed somewhat in the 10 years since they were last together: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has become a huge-bellied slob who is still funny (his hammer is not always responsive to his needs) while Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is busy building a family as is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). This pattern of family-building adds to the pathos of the story since, for really the first time in the series, we are introduced to the environment the lead heroes live in. It is also a highly feminist film with the spectacular Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) leading the way.
The film is one long crescendo of violence and passion and laughter, culminating in the final battle scene that pits everybody good against the Bad Guy Thanos and his seeming millions of minions. Familiar faces pop into the frame occasionally enough to make veteran fans of the franchise reach for their IMDB accounts to see who is who.
The extensive and creative credits solve a lot of the questions, but the credits are very long and (spoiler alert) there is no post-credit promo for the inevitable new franchise with many of the same characters.
Unless your children have an intense reaction to movie violence, they shouldn’t be frightened—and you parents should probably take your kids along to identify who’s who as the film careens along. Any film that drops in Michael Douglas in a five-second cameo needs somebody who knows movies! This is the romp that was expected from Marvel. More is on the way with different heroes and villains, but the same result: the saving of the world as we know it.