Review/Synopsis - Avengers: Endgame

I'm really struggling for an accurate description of Avengers: Endgame. It is...aggressively bad. Endgame is a horrendous dumpster fire of a film that takes lessons on screenwriting from Rian Johnson and ensures that the last ten years of the MCU dies not even with a whimper but with a three hour long fart noise. Endgame is clumsy, inept, mawkish, cheesy, tonally inappropriate, ill-conceived, ill-executed, poorly written and poorly crafted. It is insulting. I don't think I can even quantify just how much I hated this movie, but I'll give it a shot. I guess I should say spoiler alert but frankly you should never watch this film and just pretend it all ended with Infinity War. I'll be spoiling everything because I found every revelation in this film to be so utterly disappointing that it can't escape censure. I've previously praised the MCU team and Kevin Feige for the tight ship that they run and the consistency that they've maintained across a score of films. They've had some hits (Avengers, Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy) and they've had some misses (The Dark World, Black Panther) but the general cohesive cinematic universe has remained intact across an unprecedented number of films. They always knew what they were doing. I take it all back. Endgame takes everything Marvel has built over the last decade and smashes it against the wall in a Tommy Wiseau level incompetent tantrum. Avengers: Endgame can hardly be called a movie. It's a 182 minute long clip show/blooper reel that feels like it should have been the extras disc of Infinity War instead of the cinematic culmination of the MCU to date. Approximately 50% of the film is a direct appeal to the mawkish nostalgia of its demographic - instead of offering anything new or engaging to the audience it is instead a Sisyphean exercise of trotting out the greatest hits and saying to the viewer "hey, remember when that happened? That was cool wasn't it! How about we see it again from a slightly different angle!" You disgusting, pandering hacks. So if that's 50% of the film, what about the other half? Does that provide a cathartic resolution to ten years of storytelling and a fitting ending for characters we've come to know and love? Fuck no. The portion of Endgame that isn't a masturbatory rehash of better films is such a complete tonal about-face from Infinity War that it's actually jarring. It is a clumsy and constantly failing attempt at bathos that feels like it was taken directly from a Rian Johnson fever dream, the plot stolen from his crayon-written notes on the back of Happy Meal box. Endgame picks up directly after Infinity War. Infinity War was, for all of its numerous faults, actually a pretty good film (I softened on it after watching it a second time and forgave some of its failings). It was an appropriately dark and sombre event that brought the entire MCU together to combat the greatest threat the universe has ever seen and it was always the first half of a two-parter. Thanos wins, half the universe dies. That isn't a film, that's two acts. Endgame was supposed to be the resolution to that story, the second half of the movie, the end of the hero's journey. Endgame has a shaky start. We see Clint Barton enjoying time with his family, resolving my main issue with Infinity War which was lack of Clint Barton. All good so far. Barton is teaching his daughter to shoot and when she hits a bullseye he calls her "Hawkeye", the first time that Barton's code-name has been used in the entire MCU. This was the first "uh-oh" moment, the first sign that this was going to be a fan service pander fest. Then Barton's entire family dusts away from Thanos' snap, which wiped out 50% of life in the universe. Now I've studied the math of probability and I know that on a universal scale it's entirely possible, however improbable, that 80% of Barton's family could be dusted in a 50% extinction event, leaving only the member of the family that is an Avenger, but this just feels so forced. It's a sign of things to come. Endgame doesn't give a fuck about making sense, it's all about the fan service. Then we cut to Stark and Nebula adrift in space, trying to get back to Earth, both resigned to death. This is nice. This is a continuation of the plot from the previous movie and it shows Stark's wit and Nebula's continuing journey to becoming an actual person. Then Stark delivers his final words as we saw in the trailer as he resigns himself to death. This is the tone we expect. Half of everyone has just died, wiped from existence. This is the lowest point of all of the low points. This film is definitely not going to be a screwball comedy, right? Right? Then, just as Stark looks like he's about to die, who should show up but CAPTAIN MARVEL! Of all the gin joints in all the universe etc. This is the first Marvel Ex Machina of the film and definitely not the last, a problem that was always going to occur when they made an overpowered character and ret-conned her into the story. It is clear that everything that happens in the MCU is by the grace of Carol Danvers and she is a capricious god. They try to hand-wave her absence with a single line of dialogue but her admittedly brief presence in the film is always a problem. Here is someone who is demonstrably more powerful than the main villain and could have saved the universe at every point in the past 30 years but chooses not to. She seems to save her powers for when she can make the most dramatic entrance. She is the Poochy of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So anyway the gang gets together. Stark suddenly turns into a dick and rails at Rogers, even though he expressed regret over this in the previous film. It's like Infinity War never happened. The Scooby Gang, sans Stark, then locates Thanos because of their convenient Thanos-finding computer. They go to Thanos' farm in space-Thailand and interrupt his recreation of the last scene of Gladiator. Captain Marvel again demonstrates her power and how she's directly responsible for the death's of everyone by never being around. They beat Thanos and find that he has destroyed the Infinity Stones, which somehow has not also destroyed the universe. Fuck the plot, whatever we need to keep the ball rolling, right Russos? Thor cuts the gauntlet off Thanos' hand and then removes his head, a charming nod to the internet forums which pointed out the plot-holes in the previous movie. So there's no Infinity Stones, no Thanos, no way to return the universe to its rightful state and no hope. Cue the somber music as everyone mopes around FOR FIVE YEARS. Five years! Five years in which the only thing happens is that Captain America starts a support group, Nat Romanov decides to grow out her natural red hair, Clint Barton is apparently a serial-killer based on a single line of dialogue and Captain Marvel alludes to doing a lot of important super-hero stuff but finds time to get a haircut. Woo! Suddenly Scott Lang shows up because of a rat - that's actually what happens - and now even the most irreverent character in the MCU is morose in this OBVIOUSLY SAD AND SOMBRE MOVIE. He says some science babble that doesn't make any sense, then everyone goes to see Stark, who is still a dick for some reason, and he says some science babble that doesn't make any sense and the plot is now established - we're going to fuck around with time travel because that's Screen Writing Cop-Outs Lesson 101. It's also a good chance for the characters to do list comedy about time travel movies because that's absolutely how you're supposed to do bathos. We introduce Hulk, who is now Professor Hulk because reasons, and he gets some one-liners because this is somehow now a comedy. We then double down on the comedy where Scott Lang makes a pee-in-your-pants joke that is hilarious because you wouldn't expect it in such a dark film. Oh Russos, you comic geniuses. No wonder Arrested Development was so good. We also need to bring Thor back, because he's the God of Thunder and all that so we cut to New Asgard, which Rocket and Hulk drive to in a truck instead of taking one of their numerous spaceships so we can make a joke about how the Hulk is too big to fit in a truck. We see that fan-favourites Valkyrie and Korg survived both the Snap and the Asgard purge, which is nice, although it's never explained how and why they weren't present in Infinity War. Don't worry though, we won't really see them again. Just a bit of useless fan service. We then cut to the big reveal of Thor and... THOR IS FAT. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHSHSADHDBIFEBFIUEF IFFBIHDI)OWS JHKFOUHNB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!1!1111!!!1!!@12!123%Ra5t4ty64u3jyk Hilarious. Thor is a fat, mopey, bitch-man. He sits around drinking and playing Fortnite, which absolutely won't date this movie at all in the future. He even threatens a small boy over the microphone while playing Fortnite, just so everyone can fill out their comedy stereotype bingo card. It's good that we've established this because Thor's weight problem and incoherent ramblings will be the fulcrum on which the rest of movie hinges. I'm fairly certain the Russos tried to get Richie Cunningham to do a narration to this film but were vetoed by sounder minds. Meanwhile Stark has invented time travel while sitting on the couch. He weighs up the pros and cons of saving 50% of all life in the universe or living in a cabin with his wife and daughter. It's obviously a tough decision for a character we've seen grow into a hero over the last ten years. Tone is leaning towards doing nothing until he sees a framed photograph of a teenage intern he knew for one summer and once used as a living weapon in a battle against Captain America, and whose legal guardian he wanted to bang. Obviously this teenager means more to him than his actual child, so off he goes to save the universe. What follows is over an hour of callbacks as the Brothers Russo take us down memory lane, revisiting iconic events in MCU history through the wonders of time travel, something they don't really understand or explain and the rules of which change constantly depending on what they need the script to do at any given point, even directly contradicting themselves at multiple points (Loki and the Tesseract, and why the tension of "we've only got one shot at this" when you firmly establish you can just go back in time to get more Pym particles whenever you like anyway completely invalidating the...fuck me this movie is bad). It's the MCU equivalent of a high school reunion where, bereft of anything substantial to talk about, the film devolves into awkwardly saying "hey, remember such-and-such? That was fun right?". For good measure we throw in some comic "sneaking around to avoid your past self" that's straight out of Back To The Future, even though Captain America fighting Captain America is fine, because we get to make some jokes about his arse. It's a dark, morose, serious film that's packed wall to wall with zany hi-jinks and butt jokes. The culmination of this Four Yorkshiremen of the Avengers is a truly bizarre sequence in which Captain America and Iron Man take a detour to the 1970's. Tony has a heart-to-heart with his estranged father and Steve stares mournfully at Peggy Carter in a scene that was clumsily shoe-horned in to justify their decisions at the end of the film. Meanwhile we see Michael Douglas doing a Steve Jobs impression while everyone makes fun of hippies and beatniks because that's completely on point for this movie. This comedy gold is cut in to sequences of Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff, the very best of friends, having an emotionally heart-wrenching scene as they debate and then come to blows over which of them is going to sacrifice their lives to save the universe. Naturally the one who dies is the one who has further movies in the pipeline because we threw logic out the window hours ago. Oh to be a fly on the wall when they locked down having this scene cut together with multiple jokes about beards. Fuck convention and tonal consistency, we're auteurs. With the Infinity Stones intact Bruce Bannulk snaps his fingers and brings everyone back, he's the most qualified to do it because the Infinity Stones emit Gamma Radiation, something every important object does when you need to bring the Hulk into a story. Remember in The Avengers when Bruce was asked to track the Tesseract because of the gamma radiation blergablerg... We're not done breaking the time stream yet though as past Thanos shows up in the present and I don't even know if this breaks the rules any more because no one ever knows what the rules were in the first place and the goalposts have been shifted so many times we're not even playing the same fucking sport any more. Past Nebula, who is now Present Nebula, is killed by Present Nebula who is now Future Nebula. Don't interact with your past self, except if it's in their future but your past, which is also their future, but you're both in the present, which for one of you is the future....fuck this movie is bad. Thanos does a bit of villain monologuing before the big fight scene because we've decided to go back to convention right at the end. Thanos has the upper hand until suddenly Captain America can wield Mjolnir because this section of the script was stolen off some poor kid's Reddit fan-fiction. Even that isn't enough because Thanos' yo-yoing plot armour means he needs to be winning at this point. But wouldn't you know it, everyone is back. Everyone. Every single character. Falcon does a callback to a line from Winter Soldier that only imbeciles would enjoy. Portals open everywhere and all the MCU characters come pouring in. T'Challa nods towards Captain America like he had any fucking involvement with what just happened. Spider-Man is given way too much dialogue, like always. Captain Marvel shows up from outerspace and obliterates Thanos' huge battlecruiser in a single blow, making you ask once again where the fuck she's been. Valkyrie shows up on a pegasus because why the fuck not? Benedict Cumberbatch reminds us of just how much he carried Infinity War and how sorely this film was missing him. I would heartily endorse a script where Dr Strange uses the Time Stone to travel back and single-handedly stop all this nonsense from occurring. Pepper Potts shows up in her Iron Man suit which never existed before in the MCU, having never established Rescue up until this point. Whatever, I don't care by now. She also has super strength and can breathe fire but we're all supposed to pretend Iron Man 3 didn't happen. This triggers all of the female characters in Marvel to find the time to come together and pose for what looks like a Spice Girls album cover, I'm guessing having them all say "girl power!" was a bit on the nose even at this stage. The only time I laughed during this comedic masterpiece of a film was when Jacques Barrett took this moment to whisper that one of the Chitauri Leviathans was a metaphor for Harvey Weinstein. Then Tony Stark grabs hold of the Infinity Gauntlet (somehow managing to Prestige ) and, as he snaps Thanos and his armies into nothingness, and as he dies from the strain of using the gauntlet says "I am Iron Man" - the line that kicked off the entire MCU. I predicted over a year ago that this was going to happen and said that I would be incredibly disappointed. Well it did and I was. What utter tripe. We have a funeral for Stark, which is fitting, and Captain Marvel shows up, showing her fucked up priorities yet again. She even wears a nice black tracksuit, even though she can manifest some formal attire on a whim. What a character. We close out with Captain America traveling back in time to put the Infinity Stones back where he found them and close all of the plot holes with a single line of dialogue. Although this makes one wonder why he couldn't have been the one to grab them all in the first place and thus more plot holes are born. Whatever, Rian Johnson nods approvingly from a crystal palace built from the tears of real writers. The whole Captain America send-off sequence breaks continuity about a dozen times and frankly I just don't give a shit at this point. Fuck this movie. Fuck the Russos. Fuck everything about Endgame. There's more to hate in this film but I'm out of vitriol. It just broke me. The fact that people enjoyed this makes me not want to write or perform any more. You people don't deserve nice things. Avengers: Endgame is one of the worst films I've ever had the displeasure of watching. It is obscenely bad, as if it were intentionally trolling the audience to see exactly how much it could get away with, to see how many digits it could insert into the anus of the audience before they began to protest. Judging by the reactions I've seen so far they could have gone wrist-deep at the very least. This is a steaming fucking turd of a film. It gets the tone wrong constantly, it handles bathos almost as poorly as The Last Jedi and is generally a nonsensical mess of disgustingly saccharine nostalgia in lieu of a real plot. As far as closing off the most amazing cinematic experience of all time, over the course of a decade, it's a surprise kick to the balls as a way of saying "fuck you being alive". If you liked Endgame we can never be friends. It's so poorly conceived, poorly written and poorly delivered that I've lost whatever faith in humanity I had left. All I can do is hope that everyone involved in the creation of it is as miserable as I am for having seen it. I wish I were as strong as Dr Strange, because he watched that shitstorm 14,000,604 times more than I did and somehow he's still sane.