SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
In the spirit of if you cannot beat them, join them, I watched Avengers: Endgame last night. I have lived with Marvel fanatics for years but somehow avoided catching more than a glimpse of it so far. As a self-proclaimed highbrow cultural snob, I never had much time for comic book derived entertainment. Except Spiderman, I like Spiderman. All that changed last weekend when I found myself in Sutton Empire sitting through Captain Marvel with my dear husband. Having seen two Avengers films in the space of three day, I now consider myself perfectly qualified to give an opinion.
My biggest fear about Endgame was its, already legendary, length. I have a perfectly healthy bladder, but I feared the sinking feeling of things dragging on interminably; Tolkien cinematic trilogies still give me night sweats. I needn’t have fretted. Surprisingly, Endgame finished before I felt the first twitchy urge to check my watch, sneakily, so as not to invoke the wrath of Thanos in my slobbering emotional wreck of a husband in the seat next to me. It all hurtled towards an emotional finale at brisk and steady pace, and did not feel like it was too long, even for a massive sceptic like me. One star earned already.
I am awarding the second star for humour. There was enough of it to lighten the mood, but not too much to turn it all into a Deadpool style farce. Yes, I watched Deadpool, both of them. They were okay. Back to Endgame.
My second biggest fear when it comes to deep space blockbusters is that it will all feel like a massive pile of laser beam nonsense with no substance beyond the crackling sound of supersized steroid-pumped creatures flexing their techno muscles and stretching their rubberised suits to breaking point. True to type, Endgame does have its share of big guys sulking and posturing in intergalactic wasteland, but it is kept within tolerable limits. Thanos is the biggest offender here, and he made me want to shout, what is your bloody problem, man!, a couple of times, but then I looked at his face, a grim warning what might happen to your upper lip area if you carry on smoking into middle age, and I just felt sorry for the guy.
Third star goes to the relative brevity and award-winning clarity of the final battle scene. I am aware that complex multi-species battle scenes are unavoidable in films featuring interplanetary conflict scenarios and this is another reason why, by and large, I stay clear of such productions. Endgame’s be all end all battle is kept mercifully concise and to the point, the stone studded glove is being kicked about in a fashion akin to fast paced football game. Nice.
An array of characters in full fancy dress come to the rescue at the crucial point, which I appreciate can be an emotional moment for those who know exactly who the Masai warriors like people are. My husband recognised their silhuettes before they even came into focus, and melted with joy accordingly.
The turning to dust process was visually pleasing and seemed like a neat way of tidying up your spacecraft rubble.
Fourth star, yeah, let’s go crazy, goes to the way all the emotional stuff is dealt with. Even without getting many references to the previous fifty films in the series, the film has enough of its own tear-jerking content to pull at a newcomer’s heart strings. Personally, Black Widow’s last, tenderly spoken words, before she plummets to her death, will probably stay with me the longest, with Iron Man hugging his dad close second.
The final, fifth, star goes to the feel good factor, which I realise ties in with the emotional stuff, but I really feel like giving this film five stars, so will keep it separate. My review, my rules. My favourite feel good scene came when all the female characters lined up to help each other with whatever task was at hand. True girl power moment.
Don’t get me wrong. There were oodles and oodles of it that went straight over my head. Like what’s the deal with Thanos’s blue tin daughter? Why is she drifting through space with Iron Man at the beginning of the film? Where does the Chinese girl with pink butterfly antennae fit in? Or the talking (only just) dried up piece of reed? I am happy to file these questions away as unsolved mysteries of the Universe.
So there. Five stars. Good entertainment all along.