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AVENGERS: ENDGAME | Film Review

“Whatever it takes”

RELEASED: April 25th 2019
DIRECTED BY: Joe & Anthony Russo
WRITTEN BY: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
PRODUCED BY: Kevin Feige
MUSIC BY: Alan Silvestri
STARRING: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow & Josh Brolin

When I walked out of the screening of Avengers: Endgame on Tuesday night, I was conflicted. I knew what I had watched was good, and I enjoyed a lot of it, but something didn’t sit right with me. I’ll probably have to watch the movie again (at which point I’ll amend anything in here that’s off) and I may even do a spoiler review at that point, but here are my initial thoughts…

Avengers: Endgame sees a world where the bad guys won. After snapping his fingers and wiping out half the life in the universe, Thanos has retreated to a distant planet to live out his days, while the Avengers are left on Earth to pick up the pieces. But after discovering Thanos’ location, the Avengers reunite and decide to take one last shot at retrieving the Infinity Stones and bringing the fallen back to life.

I had a fairly decent sense of how this movie was going to play out. Between set photos I’d seen a year or two ago, and the trailers (which show even less of the movie than you’d think) I had a reasonably good idea of what the various beats of this film would be.

And while I wasn’t wrong, I think for most this film will hold a lot of surprises. The first ten minutes quickly let you know that things aren’t going to go the way you think, before the movie proceeds to do a hard right turn into ‘bonkers’ territory. The tone is a lot more upbeat and goofy than what the trailers promised, and at times, that can be a bit jarring when compared to the expectations you enter the cinema with (that’s not the fault of the film-makers of course, so much as it is the audience and marketing). There’s a lot of humour, and from some characters, in particular, it can seem like a little much.

But there’s also a lot of heart. This film is a very emotional journey, but unfortunately, for me, on first viewing – not all of it resonated. There are some pretty hits, and I was watching them knowing I was meant to be feeling more than I was (or at least something) and coming up short. Maybe that was down to the offbeat tone. Or maybe I’m just soulless. We’ll see after I’ve watched the film again.

However, in spite of both that and the fact we all know Spider-Man: Far From Home is coming out in a few short months, and the MCU will continue, this very much does feel like the end of the story, regardless of whether or not all these ends resonate with you. Marvel Studios could just stop here, and the series, as a whole, would work. There’s not a lot in the way of set-up for the future, just a focus on making sure what’s on the table now is taken to the wholesome destination it needs to go.

In this regard, praise should be heaped upon screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. Here, they’ve managed to write a three-hour movie, full of fan-service and pay-off, and yet at no point does it feel like a drag, nor overly rushed. The character work is generally quite strong, with every character getting their time in the spotlight. Along with the directors, they’ve managed to make a movie that’s both breezy and epic, yet without being as action-packed as it’s predecessor. Instead, it’s filled with love for these characters and a desire to tell a very different sort of story to what’s come before.

But when the action does come around, it’s great. Although I felt a bit conflicted about the film as a whole, one thing that I am 100% certain on is that the action is fantastic. In particular, there’s one particular one-on-one fight that continues to display the excellent choreography on the Russo brothers’ previous films, and there’s one particular sequence later in the film that’s even more spectacular than ‘the airport scene’. I’ve seen someone describe it as something like ‘the most epic superhero battle of all time’. They’re not wrong.

Overall, this isn’t the best Marvel film of the lot. In my opinion, it doesn’t quite reach the heights of Winter Soldier, Civil War or Infinity War. But maybe that’s not the point. It’s like watching a TV series. The penultimate episode is usually the most exciting – the one where the stakes are the highest. The final episode, in contrast, is more about closing things out in a satisfying way. And in that respect, I’d say Endgame succeeds.

All-in-all, for now, I give it:

As some of the negatives about this film, minor though they are, can only be discussed with spoilers.

I also feel like this is a similar feeling to how I felt about The Last Jedi. At first, there was a sense of melancholy (maybe I’m just depressed about the fates of some characters and I haven’t realised?), but as I continued to think about all the various factors in the film, the more I grew to love it. This is a very dense film, and I’m still processing it the next day, and for every **** bothered me a bit, there are five more instances of but I loved it when ***** did *****. But I’m confident with each subsequent rewatch I’ll grow to love it even more.

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Posted by on April 25, 2019 in Marvel Studios

 

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INFINITY | ‘New to Comics’ Review

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic books; explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is a reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

Avengers: Endgame hits cinemas tomorrow night, and in our lead-up to the blockbuster, we’ve reached a comic that very heavily influenced the film’s precursor, Infinity War. Today, we’re looking at Infinity

Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Jim Cheung, Leinil Francis Yu, Mike Deodato, Jerome Opeña & Dustin Weaver, 
Year: 2014
Pages: 592

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

THOR

Real Name: Thor Odinson
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Journey Into Mystery #83 (August 1962)

Before Captain AmericaSpider-Man, or the Fantastic Four – the world had a different type of hero, the mighty Thor! Son of the almighty All-Father Odin and sworn enemy of his own half-brother, Loki, Thor – the Norse ‘God of Thunder’ – hailed from the Golden City of Asgard, and would often come to Earth seeking adventure and glorious combat. But when his arrogance proved too much, Thor was stripped of his power and his enchanted Uru hammer Mjölnir and cast down to Earth under the mortal guise of the handicapped doctor, Donald Blake. There, he was forced to learn humility, which he did so with the help of his love Jane Foster, and in turn, reclaimed his Godhood and thunder-casting weapon, becoming one of the greatest and most powerful heroes in the universe.

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Posted by on April 23, 2019 in Comic Books

 

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Avengers: The Last White Event | ‘New to Comics’ Review

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is a reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

Today continues our run-through of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers saga on the road to Endgame (two days to go!) with volume two of the main Avengers series, The Last White Event

Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Dustin Weaver & Mike Deodato 
Year: 2014
Pages: 136

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

IRON MAN

Real Name: Anthony Edward Stark
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963)

Genius. Billionaire. Playboy. Philanthropist. Former weapons designer Tony Stark often found himself at the centre of all heated conflicts across the globe, providing munitions to the military and more covert organisations like S.H.I.E.L.D., alike. But when that heat proved too extreme, and Stark was mortally wounded and kidnapped by terrorists, he teamed with fellow captive Dr. Ho Yinsen and used his genius to build himself a suit of armour that would keep him alive, and allow him to escape captivity. Returning to the western world a changed man, Tony Stark, aided by his butler Jarvis, his assistant Pepper Potts and his chauffeur Happy Hogan, started continually upgrading his armour, forgoing his former bloody path as an arms dealer, instead hoping to make the world a better place as the invincible Iron Man.

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Posted by on April 22, 2019 in Comic Books

 

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Avengers: Avengers World | ‘New to Comics’ Review

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is a reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

Today, the countdown to Avengers: Endgame continues, and with the core roster of Avengers covered – I’ve decided to read through Jonathan Hickman’s epic Avengers run that has, no doubt in part, inspired the two blockbuster movies Infinity War and Endgame, starting with volume one: Avengers World.

Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Art by: Jerome Opeña & Adam Kubert
Year: 2014
Pages: 152

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

CAPTAIN AMERICA

Real Name: Steven Grant Rogers
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)

As it became obvious America was destined to join the war that had consumed the world in the late 1930s, Steve Rogers became determined to do his part for the war effort. Continuously rejected due to his sickly stature, Steve was eventually found by Dr. Abraham Erskine, and enlisted into the army under ‘Project: Rebirth’. Injected with a serum of Erskine’s own design, Steve was transformed into a super-soldier; his body and mind enhanced to the peak of human potential. But tragedy struck, as Erskine was assassinated, leaving Steve the first and only in the proposed wave of super-soldiers. Fighting on the front lines as Captain America alongside his sidekick Bucky Barnes, Steve was eventually lost at sea, and frozen for several decades. Eventually awakening in the modern era, Captain America returned to the spotlight as a symbol of hope and American power; his new mission – to protect both America and the world, from any and all threats as the leader of the Mighty Avengers! Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2019 in Comic Books

 

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Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon | ‘New to Comics’ Review

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is a reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

With less than a week until Avengers: Endgame, I’m taking some time to do an N2C review on some of the core cinematic Avengers that we’ve missed, and today it’s Hawkeye.

Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Matt Fraction
Art by: David Aja, Javier Pulido & Alan Davis
Year: 2013
Pages: 137

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

HAWKEYE

Real Name: Clinton Francis Barton
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #57 (September 1964)

After the death of their parents, Clint Barton and his brother Barney Barton ran away from their new foster home to experience a happier life by joining a travelling circus. There, Clint apprenticed under two ‘acts’ known as the Swordsman and Trick Shot. After discovering both men to be criminals, Clint also fell into a life of crime as Trick Shot’s brief partner, and later became the new partner of Black Widow. After clashing with Iron Man numerous times, Clint hoped to turn over a new leaf, and defected to the Avengers, confessing his crimes and asking for redemption. Armed with numerous trick arrows, unmatched skill in archery and a rebellious and determined nature, Clint became the stalwart Avenger Hawkeye. In later years, he would form strong bonds with his teammates, experience a doomed marriage to Mockingbird, and become a mentor figure to the younger Hawkeye, Kate Bishop.

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Posted by on April 20, 2019 in Comic Books

 

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Black Widow: S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Most Wanted | ‘New to Comics’ Review

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is a reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

With less than a week until Avengers: Endgame, I’m taking some time to do an N2C review on some of the core cinematic Avengers that we’ve missed, and today it’s Black Widow.

Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee
Art by: Chris Samnee
Year: 2016
Pages: 136

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

BLACK WIDOW

Real Name: Natalia Alianovna Romanova
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964)

In the early 1900s, the young Natasha Romanoff was taken to a covert operation called the ‘Red Room’. Here, the young girl would spend her childhood being brainwashed by the KGB, and trained to become a merciless killer by Russian operatives like the Winter Soldier. In this ‘Red Room’, Natasha had her biology enhanced, making her stronger and faster than the average human, while also extending her lifespan. Graduating from the ‘Red Room’ as one of their top agents, Natasha joined the KGB and was later assigned to infiltrate and bring down Stark Industries, which of course led her to clash with the American superhero Iron Man. Black Widow’s continued clashes with Iron Man would lead her to team up with a partner in crime; an archer named Hawkeye – whose love would lead her to fight off her brainwashing, and defect to the U.S.A. There, she was hired by Nick Fury as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., forging romantic entanglements with heroes such as Iron Man and Daredevil, as well as long-lasting friendships with heroes such as Captain America and Wolverine. However, for all her good intentions, her dark past his never far behind.

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Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Comic Books

 

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Shazam: Origins | ‘New to Comics’ Review

New to Comics is a segment where I look at various comic books, explaining their background, reviewing them, and breaking them down for readers unfamiliar to the medium. The title is a reference to a former university project that I carried on as its own site for several years before laying it to rest.

After finally getting around to watching Shazam!, today’s post looks at the comic book it’s based on; the New 52 reintroduction of the character: Shazam: Origins, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. 

Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Geoff Johns
Art by: Gary Frank
Year: 2013
Pages: 192

SPOTLIGHT CHARACTER:

SHAZAM!

Real Name: William Batson
Affiliation: The Justice League
First Appearance: Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940)

After being orphaned at a young age, Billy Batson moved from foster home to foster home, becoming more and more standoffish with each transition. Growing into a combatant young teen with little in the way of family bar Tawny the Tiger at the local zoo who featured in his earliest memory, Billy found himself welcomed into the loving Vasquez family – home to five other foster children (Mary, Freddy, Eugene, Pedro and Darla). At first, Billy’s confrontational nature made it hard for him to fit in, but after a fateful encounter with the wizard ‘Shazam’, Billy was gifted the powers of the Champion of Magic; able to transform into a superpowered adult version of himself (possessing the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury). Learning to control these powers alongside his new family, Billy found peace, purpose and a sense of belonging. Now, as a member of the Justice League and protector of magic, Billy operates as the ‘World’s Mightiest Mortal’, Shazam!

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Posted by on April 11, 2019 in Comic Books

 

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