After months of anticipation, I finally got to see the culmination of eleven years of Marvel Comics movies: Avengers Endgame. I think it’s fair to say that it was the most enjoyable evening at the cinema I’ve had for years.
The Marvel cinematic universe has taken the magic ingredients of over fifty years of comics and introduced a far wider audience to Captain America. Thor, the Black Widow, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Doctor Strange, the Hulk, the Black Panther, Iron Man and dozens more heroes and villains.
Starting with Iron Man back in 2008, the various movies painted a joined-up (if complex!) landscape of the Marvel Comics. And as a life-long fan, I was along for the ride as soon as the first film was released. But not even in my most fan-boy feverish dreams could I have envisaged what was to follow.
I was thrilled to see Iron Man on the big screen. I squirmed with excitement watching Steve Rogers get transformed into Captain America. I smiled with quiet satisfaction as I spotted the many, many on-screen ‘easter eggs’ aimed at the die-hard fans. A mention of Steven Strange here, a reference to Wakanda there. And tantalising sightings of various infinity stones.
All hinting at significant movie magic to come.
Fast forward to 2018 and we saw the Avengers pitted against the mite of Thanos, the mad Titan. They ultimately lost the battle, Thanos clicked his fingers, and half go the sentient universe was wiped out. The end of Avengers: Infinity War left a lot of viewers stunned, but also super-excited for the second part of this immense story.
I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone reading this – especially as I had to experience 24 hours of online agony as I worked hard to avoid stumbling over any detail, however small, that might spoil the storyline for me.
That said, I wanted to share some of the elements of Avengers: Endgame that this comics fan enjoyed so much. There were laughs aplenty, thanks to Rocket, Thor, Hulk and Spider-Man.
There was incredible action, culminating in some pretty epic battles scenes that actually managed to eclipse those of the previous films. Any of them. And a number of heart-rending, emotional story-points that left even this hardened cynic feeling a little misty-eyed.
The storyline was complex – as it had to include so many characters, locations and…contexts. But for those of us who had seen every one of the other Marvel films, it was a payoff beyond expectations. With callbacks to almost every single other movie, it was as much a brain teaser as a straightforward story.
Endgame was even better than I’d imagined it could be. I’m serious. I left the cinema feeling elated, excited and satisfied. And ready to watch it all again. The final thirty minutes were incredible and yet I didn’t want it to end. However, as it was already after midnight, it was time to head home and dream some Avengers-themed dreams.
Honestly, I’m not sure if a non-fan would enjoy it as much as I did and, at three hours, it’s a bit of a marathon experience. But even without the requisite geek-knowledge, it’s a superbly enjoyable romp through the world’s best comics universe.
The ending was heart-wrenching but also the perfect closing chapter for this phase of Marvel’s cinematic journey. There were tears aplenty where I was watching it.
It also leaves the door open to incredible future adventures and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
Finally, if you can’t be bothered to watch all of the other Marvel films but want to see Endgame, here’s a handy summary of all that has gone before.