This is a ‘thoughts’ post, not a ‘review’ post; largely ‘cuz I can’t muster up the strength to comprehensively review every aspect of a THREE HOUR MOVIE. Let alone one as action-packed and emotion-packed as Endgame. There was . . . just . . . an awful lot going on, guys.
But I loved pretty much every second of it, and that’s saying something.
If you’ll recall, I wrote a post beforehand which basically said, “I would like a serious exploration of human mortality and the cost of war, please and thank you.” I was getting real fed up with Marvel refusing to permanently kill anybody important. Like superheroes can somehow cheat death because they’re Too Cool to Die™??? I don’t think so, buddy.
BUT ENDGAME WASN’T LIKE THAT. Endgame broke the streak. We lost two of our core Avengers, and I don’t think we’re ever getting them back.
Yes, it hurt. A lot. But it was time.
I will not pretend to be anywhere near as emotionally devastated by Tony Stark’s death as a lot of fans were, since a) I knew it was coming and b) I’ve just never . . . connected to the character. I respect him. I don’t much like him. But you know what? He died a hero, and I salute him. Rest in peace, Iron Man. ❤
Natasha’s death, on the other hand–
*SCREAMS IN RUSSIAN*
YOU PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND
HER LAST WORDS WERE “IT’S OKAY”
BUT I AM NOT OKAY AT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
That scene where Nat throws herself over the cliff to get the Soul Stone–after fighting off Clint to keep him from sacrificing himself–that scene stabbed me. Right in the heart. Them Russos know how to hit me where I live, baby. I absolutely, totally, 100% did not expect to lose Black Widow in this movie. I was in shock. I couldn’t even cry. I just . . . stared at the screen, gasping for breath. “What? Natasha?”
But it was right, and it felt right, and it made sense. Natasha Romanoff died saving the people she loves. “I used to have nothing, and then I got this family.” Greater love hath no man–or woman–than this: that she lay down her life for her friends. That’s what Jesus said, right? Nat’s sacrifice beautifully proves how far she’s come, how VERY far, since the days of Avengers 1. Those days when she claimed love was “only for children,” when she described her relationship with her closest friend as “I owe him a debt,” when she was haunted by the need to “wipe out the red in my ledger.” That Natasha Romanoff lived in a world of guilt and payment and trade-offs. But this Natasha Romanoff has made peace with herself; and the world she lives in is a world of warmth and light.
And the way she saved Clint Freakin’ Barton from his own freakin’ self . . . *collapses to the floor in a flailing heap* I HAVE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE BEAUTY AND THE TRAGEDY.
Because Clint, you see–Clint wanted to die for the Soul Stone out of guilt. He lost his family in the snap, he became a bloodthirsty assassin with a kill list a mile-and-a-half long, and he just didn’t think he deserved to take up space on Earth anymore. “I’ve thrown my life away already. Just let me be the sacrifice, Nat.”
Except Natasha wouldn’t. Because once, not so long ago, she was a brutal assassin in her own right; and Clint was the man who gave her a shot at redemption. “I don’t judge people on their pasts,” she tells him. “You didn’t.”
And then this happens:
Who gave you the right, Russos?!?! Who gave you the bleeding right????????
[Btw, nobody can convince me the writers weren’t trying to hint that Clint married Laura before he met Nat and has been torn between the two women ever since, but is committed to honoring his wife nevertheless; OR that Natasha’s last words, “You have to let me go . . . it’s okay,” weren’t dripping with emotional subtext about as subtle as a kick in the shins.]
Now, some fans have raised the concern that Black Widow’s death was an example of ‘fridging’–i.e., randomly killing off a female character to motivate a male protagonist–and I respect their concern; but I don’t see this as fridging. In any way. Think about it: Black Widow wasn’t randomly killed. In point of fact, she wasn’t ‘killed’ at all. She chose her own death. She FOUGHT for the right to make that choice. Just as Tony Stark gave himself up so his friends could live, so did Natasha Romanoff. Her womanhood does not, and SHOULD NOT, bar her from heroic self-sacrifice.
Now, if she were the only woman on the team? Sure, I’d be side-eyeing the writers for eliminating her. But the beautiful thing about Marvel’s recent story development is, Nat is no longer the only prominent female character. She no longer bears sole responsibility for representing her gender. Remember that shot in the final battle, where the women Avengers team up to get the gauntlet away from Thanos? Remember how BIG that crowd was??? Captain Marvel. Scarlet Witch. Okoye. Shuri. Pepper Potts. Valkyrie. Gamora. Nebula. Mantis. The Wasp. The new stage of the MCU is simply crammed to the gills with powerful women, and I love it.
Speaking of the final battle:
IT. WAS. EPIC.
I’ve never been one for battle scenes. I usually find them ridiculously boring, so I just zone out. Not this battle scene, though. I can tell you everything that happened! Watch me!
The team came back [minus Black Widow 😥 ] to Avengers headquarters and tried the ‘reverse snap,’ but before they had a chance to see if it had worked, Thanos bombed the headquarters. Ant-Man, Hulk, Clint, and I think a few others were all trapped in the rubble below, while Cap, Thor, and Tony stormed out to kick Thanos’ rear . . . knowing, of course, they’d probably lose cuz it’s just the three of them against THE MAD TITAN. They put up a flippin’ awesome fight, though. And Steve picked up Mjolnir!!!!!! and used it!!!!! and zapped Thanos with blue lightning!!!! and the whole theater was screaming!!!!
We always knew he was worthy. ❤
Of course, though, there came a period where it was just Steve left standing, and Thanos was about to kill him . . . when, out of nowhere, a Familiar Voice™ crackled over the speakers.
“On your left.”
A flash of silver wings, and Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, aka one-of-the-fallen-of-Infinity-War, swooped down out of the sky. And THAT was our first inkling that the reverse snap had worked.
I don’t know about y’all’s theaters, but the audience I was with LOST ITS COLLECTIVE MIND.
Because it wasn’t just Falcon . . . everybody who’d turned to dust in the first snap came pouring back, sizzling with pent-up rage and ready to fall into battle formation. Dr. Strange. Black Panther. Shuri. Bucky Barnes. The Wasp. Scarlet Witch. All the Guardians of the Galaxy. PETER EVER-LOVING PARKER. PLUS THE ENTIRE WAKANDAN ARMY. I have never felt such electric, palpable relief emanating from a crowd of human beings, and I never hope to again. That was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for sure. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. *happy sigh*
But, of course, the battle wasn’t over yet–and Thanos, after all, nearly won. There was only one way to stop him for good; and Tony Stark did it.
He snapped the gauntlet, turning Thanos and his army to dust. He knew the shock of the snap would kill him–and it did kill him–but not before he uttered his final, most fitting boast,
“I . . . am . . . Iron . . . Man.”
What a legend.
Him and Natasha, both. Legends never to be forgotten.
I promise I’ll be wrapping up this post soon (what did I tell y’all?? Three hours!!!), but before I go on to talk about the absolutely STELLAR ending, I have to say real quick: Captain Marvel deserved way more screentime in this movie. It’s like the writers shoehorned her in at a few key spots, as an afterthought? Not cool! She deserves more than that!! I also gotta say, Chris Hemsworth as Thor blew me away in Endgame with his realistic, warts-and-all portrayal of depression and PTSD. Thor’s been through a ton of crap in the past few films, the consequences of which ain’t pretty. They shouldn’t be. And as an actor, Chris went all in. But it just made me love him more. ❤ I have every confidence he’ll move forward to heal, though; and I’m excited to watch that process. (Also: excellent choice to have him hand over the kingdom to Valkyrie and join the Guardians of the Galaxy instead. Thor was never really cut out to be a monarch.)
Now, that final scene . . .
“The war’s over, Steve!
“We can go home!
He really Did That. He found the strength to walk away. Walk away from the job, walk away from the war he’s been fighting since 1945, and go home to the girl he loves.
I just. I can’t explain how much this ending means to me. Without question, it is the best idea the Marvel writers have ever, ever had. To take a character like Cap–a character defined by self-sacrifice and constant service and punishingly high standards–and finish off his story arc by making him put his own needs first . . . that’s a beautiful, beautiful thing; and many people (myself included) badly needed to see it play out.
Happy endings are NOT overrated. ❤
Side note: I know there’s a controversy of sorts raging right now about whether Steve temporally-displaced Peggy’s ‘other’ husband and kids, or whether he was her ‘other’ husband the entire time; but personally, I don’t give a darn. I just care that America’s Sweethearts are together again. God’s in His heaven and all is right with the world, if you ask me.
Oh, and Sam Wilson is the new Cap, an honor he richly deserves. *high-fives him*
Have you seen Endgame?
What did you think of it?