Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Avengers: Endgame


Reeling from the loss of half the universe’s population after Thanos’ genocidal snap, what remains of the Avengers find a new ally in Captain Marvel. Together they draft a plan for vengeance in an effort to undo what has already been done, except that they are caught off-guard by the reality that they might already be too late. As the years pass them by, they all try to move on, albeit with a great deal of difficulty. When a faint glimmer of hope brought about by a crazy idea presents itself, the team reassembles one more time to accomplish one last mission, but not everyone agrees. Some consider taking a chance on the remote possibility of regaining what they have already lost, while some have already made peace with making do of what they already have and are not that receptive to taking the risk. In a post-apocalyptic world unjustly judged by a despotic tyrant with a cause, do you move on, or do you avenge the fallen?

Nah, we’re not going to talk about spoilers. I won’t do that to you. Instead, let’s discuss the impact of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large on today’s ever globalized world. I live in Manila and reserved a seat for the 6 AM screening. It’s April 24, this is probably one of the first worldwide screenings for this movie. The cinema was jam-packed. On a Wednesday workday. At 6 AM. Movie theaters here do get filled up like that. But NOT at 6 AM. It is, without a doubt, a big event. A culmination one decade in the making.

Is the movie really three hours long? YES. Do yourself a favor and take a piss before you enter the cinema, for your kidneys' sake and for your own. Since we are in Manila some people decided to observe Filipino time and entered late. They got booed. The film starts right after the trailers WITHOUT warning, which is all the more reason why you should come on time. You will probably not miss that much, but you don’t want to be the one to ruin the communal experience. So how does Endgame compare to Infinity War?

IW was shorter, action packed from beginning to end, yet there were moments where it felt a bit dragging and over the top. Endgame has a way longer run-time and considerably less action, but you don’t really notice that you’ve already spent three hours sitting down. The deaths in IW felt like a gut-wrenching punch needing to be nursed even months afterwards. The deaths in Endgame do not seem to be as impactful, maybe because they were already expected, and we just need the confirmation and closure.

The first hour had some indie kind of vibe due to its prevalently solemn and brooding nature, with a smattering of action here and there. Anti-climactic, really. The second hour felt like a heist movie with all the comedy and missions involved, a bit complicated but well-executed. Fun and exciting overall, with a lot of Easter Eggs. The last hour is where most of the action scenes are concentrated, but they pale in comparison to those that you’ve already seen in IW. IW is the ultimate superhero team-up film of all-time. Endgame is an end-of-an-era kind of thing, a feeling it shares with Game of Thrones’ final season.

What about audience impact? IW brought the house down with Captain America’s first appearance in Edinburgh and Thor’s landing in Wakanda. Both Cap and Odinsson have their own moments in Endgame that make the crowd go wild, for reasons you’ve probably never imagined. Thor has become a full-fledged comedian; Hemsworth should consider doing a sitcom. Along with that, there are also several scenes that are pure fan service, some previous what-if scenarios perfectly immortalized onscreen. There was no shortage of applause in the cinema. The public was amazed AND amused.

Most material already shown in the teasers are contained within the first 15 minutes of the movie. Do fan theories that floated online add up? Some of them do. Most of them don’t. I don’t agree that Endgame is a standalone film. It’s not. If you are totally clueless about the MCU and this is the first film you stumble upon, you’d have no idea what’s going on. And since it also serves as a homage to the original Avengers team, the feeling won’t be the same if you haven’t really emotionally invested in them in the last 10 years.

There are NO mid and post credits scenes. You can leave as soon as the credits roll.

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