This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Samuel’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I've been a Marvel fan since before I could read. I used to have this little Marvel sticker book I would play with. Then I had a Marvel comics character book where I would (literally) marvel over the superheroes and their powers. And after all of that, years and years of growing up with these characters, having them shape my childhood in ways I didn't think were possible, we are here. The Endgame.
Before we get started I should say some things. Not everyone loves the MCU. Obviously Letterboxd is full of film lovers and some people don't consider the MCU "cinema". Well then you should've seen the five star rating on this review and clicked off hopefully. As I stated in my BvS review this is all my opinion. These reviews are not to change your opinion. They are to explain why I love a film or why I hate it. I love this movie. I will congratulate it on every single detail if you have a conversation with me about it. I've seen it about 15 times and it's still my second favorite movie. So if you get mad at me and want to unfollow me on Letterboxd and go scream at children then you have been warned.
Where to start. Let's begin with the characters.
Iron Man is the core of the Infinity Saga. His eleven film arc comes to a more than incredible end here. In every film he has been slowly growing. In Iron Man he is a cocky playboy who learns what he's really been making money from and tries to change his ways. In The Avengers he's still cocky but he is willing to fight for people now and almost sacrifices himself doing so. In Age of Ultron he's so blinded by helping people he creates something that does the opposite. In Civil War he faces the consequences of his actions and will do anything to make sure they do not happen again, even if it means fighting his best friend. In Endgame he will do anything to help people. He sacrifices himself even after he has a daughter and a wife. Even after he has finally found a purpose in life. This film is the absolute peak of one of the greatest character arcs ever put to screen. It would've never been complete without the legendary Robert Downey jr playing this role perfectly. I personally think it's because he has a connection with the character. After having terrible times with drugs he then faces the consequences and is now devoted to putting his family first and helping others. Oh and also he's insanely rich. There are no flaws in his performance throughout the MCU. It would be impossible to try and find one. His death in this film is considered one of the saddest movie deaths of the past decade because of the emotional attachment the many fans of these films have developed. Like me they have grown up with this monumental character and losing him feels equal to losing a father figure, because that's what he feels like. Watching Spider-Man sit down in front of him, to see the pain on his face, is heartbreaking for one reason: Because he is all of us.
Thor is also a big emotional part of this story. Throughout the MCU he loses everything. In Thor his brother. In Thor The Dark World his brother. In Infinity War his brother. Oh and also his mom, dad, best friend, group of friends, sister, home world, girlfriend, and he blames the death of half the universe on himself. Thor in this film is represented as overweight and depressed. This has been the topic of discussion for a lot of people. While some people think that they displayed him horribly and he was only used for laughter others believe that they showed his PTSD and his depression really well. Of course I fall into the latter. I personally believe that they represent how Thor in real life would've responded to his past trauma. Throughout the MCU the Russo Brothers and Taika Waititi have really given Thor moments where he rises up through his pain. In Thor Ragnarok he meets Odin in the Afterlife, Thor thinks that he can never be as strong as Odin but Odin proves that he is stronger. Thor overpowers Hela with the wisdom he has been given. In Endgame Thor is given one of the most impactful scenes in the entire MCU. Thor has lost just about everything. But then he goes back in time with Rocket and meets his dead mother who he had one of the biggest relationships with. Last time he saw her she was being stabbed through the heart by a dark elf. She gives him an incredibly uplifting speech with these words "Everyone fails at who they are supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are." He then goes on to prove that throughout everything he has been through. Even though he has seemingly even up on himself. He is still... WORTHY. I think that that shows exactly what the heart of Marvel is. They aren't just the soulless cash grabs that people make them out to be. They are proof that everyone is a hero, and that everyone has the power to do the right thing no matter what. To put other people before themselves. That is what I've learned growing up with the MCU. Seeing Thor prove this himself is nothing short of inspiring.
Last but the opposite of least would be Captain America. Cap is of course my all time favorite MCU character and one of my favorite film characters overall. He is such an inspirational and interesting figure and is just such a joy to watch. I feel like every single moment he has is just absolutely incredible. From his jump off the bus in The Avengers to his entrance in Scotland to him finally wielding Mjolnir. He stops at nothing to save everyone no matter the cost. Even if one life is lost everyone has lost. He will always put everyone above himself no matter what and it's just awe inspiring. Throughout his ten films he proves his worthiness more than anyone. Even at his lowest point in this film he is still doing his best to bring people up by running therapy sessions with survivors just like something his fallen buddy Sam Wilson would do. If you ask me what my favorite shot in the entire MCU would be it's the shot of Captain America getting up to face Thanos' entire army. Captain America is beaten half to death by Thanos, his friends either knocked out or greatly wounded, so what does he do? He gets up, straps close the huge gash on his arm with his shield, and walks towards the ginormous army without hesitation. He is ready for a fight he knows he can not win. To quote the breathtaking panel is it based off of "As long as one man stands against you Thanos, you will never be able to claim victory". This single shot right here demonstrates everything that Captain America stands for. He will never back off from a fight and will defend humanity until his last dying breath (literally). In The First Avenger as a skinny kid he still sticks up for himself against the strong bully. He does the same thing here. Proving that there will always be the strong bully, and cap will stop at nothing to defeat him. One of the greatest film parallels of all time. Captain America has undoubtedly one of the most beautiful endings of all time. He gets exactly what he wanted. No, what he DESERVED, a life. He finally gets the dance he's wanted since the 1940s and his incredible arc is completed in the most emotionally impactful scene I've ever watched. I cried and I don't regret it.
The final battle is of course breathtaking. Anyone who's anyone knows that my all time favorite movie scene would be The Portals scene. It is one of the most uplifting and utterly breathtaking sequences ever. Everything all eleven years of the MCU have been leading up to comes to a massive and more than satisfying climax when every single hero comes to the aid of the captain. The blaring score from Alan Silvestri takes this scene from a 10/10 to an 11/10. He creates such a powerful scene atmosphere that causes my heart to beat forty times its average beats per minute. Right when you think it can't get any better the greatest film moment of all time happens. Captain America does what every single Marvel fan on Earth has been waiting for for years. He says AVENGERS... assemble. Two lines that will never leave any movie goers mind for the next year at least. The Russos accomplish what should be impossible: Giving every single Marvel fan exactly what they wanted and much much more. Everyone runs at each other and you forget you are in a movie theater and think you are on a battlefield fighting alongside your favorite heroes. Every single team up moment feels just perfect. Spider-Man flies through the air on a web attached to Mjolnir, he then gets thrown up by Iron Rescue up to Valkyrie on a Pegasus who then drops him onto the ground when he is rescued by Captain Marvel. That happens in two minutes. To know you have a world so well developed with so many characters that something like this makes sense is one of the greatest accomplishments of 21st century Hollywood.
The emotional impact of this film is really what does it for me. I've never seen a film combine so many emotions and still work so well. I felt like I was tearing up every ten seconds. They end every main characters arc flawlessly. Even Black Widow gets an emotional ending. She sacrifices herself and gets the redemption she's always wanted. After killing so many people she finally finds a purpose where she can really help people. Even if it means ending her own life in the process. Tony Stark ends his journey by finally doing something more than himself. As I said earlier even though he has finally gotten a life he is willing to give it all up for the lives of others. He finally makes the sacrifice play Captain America never thought he would. Captain America passes his shield on to Falcon. This scene really meant so much to me. Falcon has proven himself so many times. He is a strong person and a good fighter, but he also cares deeply about people. He devoted himself to talking to veterans struggling with PTSD and helping people overcome tough times. He feels just as worthy as Steve was in The First Avengers. Steve then goes on to live his life the way he always deserved. He gets the chance to go back with the love of his life and finally be human again. It works so well because after such a long time we want thi just as much as Cap does. After the dream sequences in Age of Ultron we realize how truly alone Captain America is. Everyone he's ever known is dead. But now he has a chance to start over and I can't think of a better ending.
The film itself is beautiful. It has some of the best shots out of all of the MCU films. Vormir is such a stunning location. One shot in particular I would point out is the last shot we see of Hawkeye on Vormir. The camera shows a wide angle of Hawkeye mourning the death of Black Widow. They show how alone he really is. He wishes it was him more than anything. After they return to present day it leans into one of my favorite scenes of the film. All the remaining original six Avengers mourn the death of Nat. Each of them grieving in different ways. Cap is silently crying, Thor is in disbelief arguing with Hawkeye, Tony wanting to know if she had family, Professor Hulk is in rage. He wants to make her death worth it. He won't let her sacrifice go to waste. It really is an emotional scene.
To rap it up no it isn't a flawless movie. But after growing up with these films and characters it feels like everything I could've wished for. I feel like they treated every character with respect and completed their arcs in incredible ways. The MCU seems to be ending but in reality it is just beginning. And trust me, I can not wait.