Avengers: Endgame (Anthony & Joe Russo, 2019)

What's it about? After the events of Avengers: Infinity War (*lawyers in attendance begin shuffling nervously*), the Avengers (many people in Hollywood) and friends (everyone else in Hollywood) set about dealing with, (*lawyers frantically making cutthroat motions*), undoing, (*lawyers signal for hired goons to move in*) and somewhat undermining the impact of things that went down in that film (*humble reviewer beaten mercilessly for spoiling film*).

Is it any good? In my reviews of previous Avengers films, I likened them to Band Aid and Live Aid. Well, I thought it was funny at the time. And I am nothing if not consistent, so to labour that musical analogy, I suppose this is a bit like Glastonbury festival. It's big, there's something to please everyone, anyone who is anyone is involved, and there are some good highlights. But it also goes on a bit too long, has a few dull supporting acts and some people really do take the whole thing a bit too seriously. (*pauses to nail some more boards across the doors and check the tripwires around the house*)

There is no doubt this is blockbusting film-making on an epic scale. The Russo brothers have the onerous task of not just tying up the story begun in Infinity War, but also completing several character arcs which have been developed over the past decade or so as Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) moves to a conclusion. And they manage to pull it off for the most part, affording each of the vast array of characters a turn in the limelight, with moments of drama, humour, action and pathos patched together in crowd-pleasing fashion. The loyal, starry-eyed acolytes in the MCU temple will find much here to reward their faith. However, if one were inclined to risk heresy in the temple, one might point out that the behemoth they worship is not all that solid and is certainly less interesting now that focus has shifted away from the villainous Thanos to the somewhat boring heroes. The second act here is particularly wobbly, leaning to a large degree on previous constructions to keep things from collapsing. Indeed, for a movie that dares to disparage Back to the Future, there's a distinct whiff of BTTF2 in the plot mechanics of this section, which plays out in rather rushed and unsatisfying fashion. It does stabilise itself to some degree in the final act as the plot is largely forgotten in favour of CG action and emotional fallout, the impact of which will depend on your personal investment in these characters and stories (best brush up on those if you want maximum effect). Elsewhere, there's a few other memorable bits, including a good Fortnite gag and a bad Girl Power scene. Overall, it assembles the Avengers and friends to entertaining effect, but I'm not sure I would camp out in a field with no toilets to see it.

I don't trust you. What do others think? It is both amusing and a little frightening to see the vicious bile that get sprayed across the internet as people argue about the relative merits of the film. Look folks, if Iron Guy and Captain USA can learn to get along, why can't you? (*pauses while hard-drive explodes from volume of apoplectic emails*). Nevertheless, the hype is real, with fans stumbling bleary- and teary-eyed from cinema complexes, variously declaring themselves as 'shook', 'cried out', 'nostalgic' and 'emotionally wasted', while others have taken to the internet to decree that the film marks the greatest cultural high-point in human history. Replies suggesting such people 'read a book or something' have of course brought social media a step closer to DEFCON 1. Meanwhile, up in their ivory MCU Towers, the studio bosses gleefully watch the box-office numbers whizz around on their monitors as the film breaks all records by powering past $1billion in the opening weekend alone, as it makes a valiant attempt to knock Avatar off its perch at the top of the box-office tree. For them, that is the real endgame.

What does the Fonz think? I'm afraid to say anything. Blame the guy above who made me give it...

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