A Year On
Just about one year ago, I was lucky enough to be in Vietnam on business when Avengers: Infinity War was released there 24 hours before the West. A rescheduled meeting and an early morning taxi ride through Hue got me to a multiplex where I paid the princely sum of about $2.50 to see that glorious movie unfold with Vietnamese subtitles.
This was to bring my Goblins an early review, which you can read for posterity here.
This time around I am not so lucky. I am back in my usual stomping ground of London and the surrounding area. However, I am on paid paternity leave, as a new member of my family arrived a little over a week ago.
When I found out a few tickets were still available for the early showing of Avengers: Endgame at the local theatre, while our US Goblins are sleeping soundly, I got special day-release from Daddy duty to get my ass down there to bring you this review.
Enough with the background, lest anyone mistake this for a Ginger Groper’s review. Let’s crack on.
Fanboy, Or Aloof?
I have become a fanboy. I was always a DC kid in both movies and comics. But what Marvel Studios have done is a staggering achievement and I respect that immensely. Even bad Marvel, the weaker entries, are better than most of the movies other studios have pumped out in an effort to catch up.
The original Avengers was one of the best times I had in a theatre, other than the time I went to see Mannequin as a teenage boy with a girl from my town who was very — shall we say — accommodating… plus it had prime Kim Cattrall in a swimsuit or lingerie.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron is in the weaker entries list, but Infinity War was on point.
So where are we with Endgame?
Yes. Oh my God, yes! I have literally just got back 20 minutes ago from the theatre and I am still feeling it, thinking about it and dissecting it.
Its a different movie to Infinity War. That movie was very action heavy and rock ‘em sock ‘em throughout the entire long runtime. This movie is slower and much more thoughtful.
After the cold opening that is a surprising, but perfect choice to underline the horror of the snap and push you right back there to the end of Infinity War, it’s quite a while until we get a major action sequence again.
However, the movie never drags and it demonstrates the confidence of the Directors. It underlines a studio at the top of its game that didn’t have interfering suits sending notes to whiz-bang it up a bit.
These quieter moments nicely serve to invest you in the plot and outcomes entirely. By the time it does really gather pace towards a finale all the characters are perfectly balanced and blended without anyone feeling too short-changed by the size of the cast or the enormity of the plot required to bring the conclusion.
Old friends, maybe forgotten or unexpected, get a chance to return and weave seamlessly into the action. There is a lot of payback and pay-off. Some reviews have called this fan-service but it doesn’t feel laboured. 11 years and 22 movies, actually it feels earned.
And actually thanks to the makers for including this service to fans. If only some other franchises clearly cared so much for giving their fans some of what they really want — cough — Star Wars.
Yes. Very much so.
Look, you know and I know not everyone can make it through this the way you might want them to. I have cried twice openly in a theatre in my life. ET and Star Trek II. I was a child both times. As an adult, I admit to a wobbly bottom lip and something in my eye both courtesy of Pixar. The opening scene from Up, and the end of Toy Story 3.
Well, during the big emotional punches I had something in my eye again this time. There were plenty of sobs around the theatre and one lady near me was openly in floods.
This was a UK audience as well. Stiff upper lips and a lifetime of repression means we don’t clap, cheer and whoop like a US audience. But there were loud laughs, tears and a round of applause at the end.
And what an ending! There is no post-credits stinger in this so you can go and drain that aching bladder as soon as the titles roll. The lack of this means that it suffers from minor Return Of The King style multiple endings in order to show what may, in other entries, have been in a credits stinger.
A very minor quibble.
The other minor quibble is an unearned moment purely put in as a Girl Power pay-off in the final battle that feels contrived as it’s so obvious.
But these minor annoyances are the only small hiccups in an otherwise flawless experience.
Premier League. Up there with Iron Man 1, Avengers, Winter Soldier and Infinity War.
Go see it, in 2D on the biggest screen you can find. Train that bladder first as it’s 3 hours 2 minutes and you don’t want to miss a second. Loved it. I am just a little sad it’s all had to end.
Bravo Marvel. Fucking Bravo!