The year’s most highly anticipated film is finally here. Opening in Hong Kong and China today and on Friday in the US, AVENGERS: ENDGAME has shattered box office pre-sales records all over the world and is well on its way to becoming the highest grossing MCU film and most likely the highest grossing film period of all time. (AVATAR currently holds the top spot with a worldwide gross of US$2.78 million according to Box Office Mojo with AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR sitting at #4.) So is it worth the hype and its 182-minute running time?
Before I answer that question, a bit of recap. If you haven’t seen AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR yet, there are going to be some spoilers for that film so just skip down to the next paragraph. When we last left our superfriends, Thanos (Josh Brolin) had put on the fully-bejewelled Infinity Gauntlet. With the snap of his fingers, half of the lifeforms in the known universe turned to dust and blew away. Gone were Spider-man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and a few others. Meanwhile, Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) found himself trapped in the Quantum Realm when Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) disappeared too, while Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) were stuck in space with limited fuel, food and air.
As AVENGERS: ENDGAME opens, it’s now three weeks later and the surviving Avengers – Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Hulk/Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and War Machine/James Rhodes (Don Cheadle) – are in an understandable funk… until Tony and Nebula return. The two are joined by a new ally, Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson). Fast forward five years and Scott returns with an idea to use the Quantum Realm as a time machine (cue lots of quips about movies about time machines) to get the Infinity Stones before Thanos does and bring their friends back. Tony, though, thinks the idea is too risky so the group turns to Hulk to science the shit out of it. He does, with Tony’s help in the end, and before they use it, Hulk heads off with Rocket (Bradley Cooper) to New Asgard to bring Thor back. The king has been busy these past five years and he may not be up for what is expected to be a good fight.
I was not a huge fan of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, calling it “one long, bloated film”. ENDGAME is 30 minutes longer (so think twice before buying that large soda!) and I was sure this would be more of the same, where everyone gets their five minutes of screen time. Happily, I can say that my worst fears were not realised. For a three-hour film, ENDGAME is surprisingly lean, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo (INFINITY WAR) move the action along at a good pace, tying up at least a half a dozen story arcs in the process. It took us 21 films to get here and the brothers were respectful of everything that came before.
Dare I say that I actually enjoyed ENDGAME? Who’d have thought? It’s not going to win any Oscars but it is well done popcorn entertainment. There is so much more that I could say about the film but that would spoil it. All I will add is go see it. It’s well worth the crazy ticket price.
Watch the review recorded on Facebook Live on Thursday, April 25th at 8:30 am HK time!
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