Salisbury Press

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Movie Review: ‘Endgame,’ or is it?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by Paul Willistein in Focus

It is called “Avengers: Endgame.”

To quote the rock band, The Who, “Don’t get fooled again.”

There will be plenty more to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe even though some of the main characters may be gone.

At the risk of being attacked by “Avengers” fans, we say no more.

Fans will relish “Avengers: Endgame” for its panoply of Marvel characters, quippy dialogue between characters, and huge action scenes, especially a concluding battle that recreates an armageddon of Biblical proportions.

The casual movie-goer might think “Avengers: Endgame,” which clocks in at three hours and one minute, refers to a particular part of the human anatomy, for which the end is not near, but rather numb.

It’s that final minute that is most bothersome.

After seeing the movie in the Imax format, which was akin to having my face pressed against the inside of a car windshield, I said to Michael “Movie Maven” Gontkosky, “The film was so long, I feel as though I aged years.”

Technically, of course, we are aging every minute. The big question is: Am I older and wiser, having seen “Avengers: Endgame.”

That’s debatable.

Another part of the anatomy that was numb after seeing “Avengers: Endgame” was the brain, after trying to figure out the back-and-forth and forth-and-back in the “Avengers: Endgame” plot. No spoilers here. You need to be a true fan to follow what’s going on here.

Fans who haven’t seen “Avengers: Engame,” if there are any who have not seen the movie at least once and probably several times in 2D, 3D and Imax formats, will not want the fate of several of the “Avengers” characters revealed. Suffice it to say it’s all there in the “Avengers: Endgame” Imax poster. Can you sing the Four Tops’s Motown hit “This Old Heart Of Mine”?

“Avengers” Endgame” abandons any seriousness in selling its time-travel plot device with jokey references to the movie, “Back To The Future” (1985).

Moreover, those blasted Infinity Stones are key to the time-travel gambit. The six gems (Mind, Power, Reality, Soul, Space and Time) become a tug-of-war between the Avengers and the ultimate bad guy Thanos.

“Avengers: Endgame,” 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and touted as the final chapter in “The Infinity Saga,” is a sequel to “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018), “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) and “The Avengers” (2012).

“Avengers: Engame” is directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, who co-directed “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Captain America: Civil War“ (2016) and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014).

The screenplay is written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who co-wrote the screenplays for “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Captain America: Civil War,“ “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Thor: The Dark World” (2013) and “Captain America: The First Avenger” (2011).

The characters are based on the Marvel Comics by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin.

The soundtrack has some well-timed pop songs that form chapters of sorts for the film, earmark scenes on the time-travel continuum, and set the emotional mood effectively: “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (1967), Traffic; “Supersonic Rocket Ship” (1972), The Kinks; “Come And Get Your Love” (1973), Redbone, and “It’s Been A Long, Long Time” (1945), Harry James and His Orchestra.

The ensemble cast is as vast as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you are a Hollywood movie star and didn’t book a Marvel movie, you might want to switch agents.

It’s fun to see the characters mix and mingle.

Robert Downey Jr. shows why he’s Tony Stark-Iron Man with an incredibly strong screen presence.

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers-Captain America is so darn handsome and forthright that he even out-Supermans Superman.

Brie Larson is a winning and winsome presence as Carol Danvers-Captain Marvel. She owns every scene she’s in.

Josh Brolin is incredible as Thanos. Through the CGI enhancement, he projects a troubled visage that makes you empathize with the destroyer of the universe. Well, not quite. But Brolin is amazing.

Mark Ruffalo is his usually goofy, charming self as Bruce Banner-Hulk, here merged as a big nice guy who seems to have successfully completed Anger Management Classes.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor has spent too much time in front of the TV, watching sports and guzzling beers in Tønsberg, Norway. He’s very humorous in the role.

Scarlett Johansson is more somber than ever as Natasha Romanoff-Black Widow.

Jeremy Renner is terrific, providing so much depth in one of the film’s most heartfelt performances as Clint Barton-Hawkeye.

In what often amounts to not much more than cameos, there’s also: Don Cheadle (James “Rhodey” Rhodes-War Machine); Paul Rudd (Scott Lang-Ant-Man), Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange-Doctor Strange), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa-Black Panther), Tom Holland (Peter Parker-Spider-Man), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne-The Wasp); Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Rene Russo (Frigga),

Also: Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff-Scarlet Witch), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson-Falcon), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes-Winter Soldier), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Danal Gurira (Okoye), Benedict Wong (Wong), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Dave Bautista (Drax), Letitia Wright (Shuri), John Slattery (Howard Stark), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Marisa Tomei (Aunt May),

And: Angela Bassett (Ramonda), Michael Douglas (Hank Pym), Michelle Pfeiffer (Janet Van Dyne), William Hurt (Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Winston Duke (M’Baku), Linda Cardellini (Luara Barton), Chris Pratt (Peter Quill-Star-Lord), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury). Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), Bradley Cooper (Rocket voice) and Vin Diesel (Groot voice).

They’re all here, and more in “Avengers: Endgame,” which really feels more like a new beginning for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Avengers: Endgame,” MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language; Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy; Run time: 3 hrs., 1 min. Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: “Avengers” co-creator Stan Lee appears (digitally enhanced to appear younger) driving a car in 1970. The sound of a hammer banging at the very end of the film is said to be Tony Stark making his suit in “Iron Man” (2008).

Box Office, May 10-12: “Avengers: Endgame” made it a three-peat at No. 1, with $63.2 million, $723.7 million, three weeks, keeping “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” searching for the top spot, opening at No. 2 with $54.3 million, one week, and out-hustling “The Hustle,” opening at No. 3, with $13 million, one week.

4. “The Intruder” dropped two places, $7.1 million, $21.5 million, two weeks. 5. “Long Shot” dropped one place, $6.2 million, $19.8 million, two weeks. 6. “Poms,” $5.3 million, opening. 7. “UglyDolls” dropped three places, $4.1 million, $14.5 million, two weeks. 8. “Breakthrough” dropped two places, $2.5 million, $37.2 million, four weeks. 9. “Tolkien,” $2.2 million, opening. 10. “Captain Marvel,” $1.8 million, $423.8 million, 10 weeks.

Unreel, May 17:

“John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum,” Chad Stahelski directs Keanu Reeves, Asia Kate Dillon, Jerome Flynn and Ian McShane in the Action Thriller. John Wick, the hit man, is the target of hit men and women.

“A Dog’s Journey,” PG: Gail Mancuso directs Dennis Quaid, Abby Ryder Fortson, Betty Gilpin and Kathryn Prescott in the Adventure Comedy. A dog returns to live with several families.

Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes