Avengers Eh-Game (No Major Spoilers, Read at own Risk)
Fans have been raving about it, but that’s no surprise. What’s more interesting is how middle- to highbrow papers have jumped on the bandwagon. Climbing down from their ivory tower of Wes Anderson whimsy and Tarantino pop culture references, every Chateau Margaux slurping journalist has spewed gushing intellectualization over Endgame.
‘A galvanising victory lap and the ultimate love letter to superfans’ – ugh, the Guardian can’t even be relatable properly. Either way, the question is whether or not Avengers Endgame deserves the praise being heaped on it. The answer to that question is no.
The movie was off to a good start for the Edgar Wright crowd, making mention of a ‘Blue Meanie’. Beyond that, knowledge of obscure psychedelic Beatles references won’t get you far – there was one oddly forced Mungo Jerry quip, though – and the movie instead relies on devotion to previous instalments. Endgame, being the grand finale to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the direct sequel to Infinity War, has all right, and a duty really, to build on what came before. Fans deserve to take away more from the film than just casual viewers do, but making you feel lost isn’t the movie’s biggest shortfall anyway.
You can forgive the lack of character development, that’s what the solo movies are supposed to be there for. The infallibility of the characters, however, is an issue. It makes them un-relatable and uninteresting. One of the protagonists goes off the rails – Yes! Finally! – and… kills a Mexican drug cartel and Yakuza members… ugh. At one point two heroes actually fight each other over who should sacrifice themselves. Even in their darkest moments they’re still being heroic and it’s just boring. Which is the last word you should use to describe an all-out action movie.
Then there’s the writing. Jesus Christ, the writing. ‘Tell my family I love them’ – ‘Tell them yourself!’ should be grounds for immediate firing. The script is more cliché-ridden than a 90’s rom-com, it fluctuates between telenovela level over-emotionality and jokes as fresh as a Catskills routine. Chris Hemsworth manages to get a few smiles, because he isn’t afraid to laugh at himself, whereas the rest of the cast, most egregiously Chris Evans, constantly purse their lips and squint into middle distance like Zoolander at his peak. It’s three hours of glory shots: the actors pose like they’re in a cologne ad, the electric Audis are parked front and center, and phony feminism is shoe-horned in the last minute as the female characters line up for a gratuitous squad selfie.
Avengers Endgame is supposed to be a fun, dumb summer block-buster that the whole family can enjoy and that’s great. It doesn’t need Kubrick in the director’s chair, Woody Allen’s dialogue, or Meryl Streep’s acting. It needs to be entertaining, but because it tries too hard, jumping from one climax to the next, it doesn’t take the time to set up one coherent storyline. BS pseudo-scientific babbling comes off as forced exposition, makes characters even less likable, and certainly does not replace storytelling. Also, say what you will about Phantom Menace, but they managed to make Jar Jar look far more lifelike almost 20 years ago than purple Josh Brolin. And Chris Evans.