The most difficult thing for a movie scholar/critic is to write about a film which everybody knows about. As I write this review, Delhi/NCR and the rest of India has booked close to 3 million advance tickets to watch “Avengers-Endgame” in theatres. In my calculation the film might be looking at a Rs 100 crore ($15 Million) plus opening weekend in India. Its being released in over 2500 screens across India. This should easily make it the most widely exhibited Hollywood film in India by a long shot.
The Avengers as an ensemble of superheroes has over 2 dozen till the last count. With over 5 parallel universes of their own. But they all crash each other’s boundaries in Avengers franchise. Its this cross world bonhomie developed by the late Stan Lee which has resonated with every earthling. The joy of being together, the joy to unite in one cause and to bring out the very best in each other irrespective of race, color and ethnicity. Its this signature narrative which has built a once bankrupt comic book publisher into a household phenomenon across the globe.
What is so big about Avengers and Marvel ?
I would like to point that this film is for Marvel fans largely and people who might have seen “Infinity- War” or have seen a few of the films released since 2008. To put it mildly, this film is a tribute to the fans of these superheroes and comic books. Ever since “Iron Man” burst on to the scene, Disney which acquired Marvel, has led over 22 films in what is popularly known Marvel Cinematic Universe which arguably is the most successful movie franchise in recorded history with over $20 Billion business against its name from various revenue streams such as box office, home video, licensing, theme parks and what not. So much so that now Marvel Studios is a profit centre in itself under the Disney umbrella.
To the uninitiated Disney is the planet’s largest media and entertainment corporation with presence in every major city of the world. Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Groot, Gamora, Black Widow, Nebula, Thor, Loki, Ant Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man are all part of this…..But you already know that.
For Love and not War ! (Plot)
In one of the scenes in “Avengers-Endgame” , one of the leading members of the Avengers Ensemble gives his/her life in order to secure one of the infinity stones after a gut wrenching battle with a fellow superhero on the same side. By doing so, half of the superheroes who have perished after the onslaught of Thanos can be bought back by travelling back in time. One gives his life to bring back the other from death.
In the precursor to “Endgame”, Thanos who is a inter galactic supervillain acquires the famed infinity stones and puts them together to unleash enough power to wipe off half of humanity. With more than half of the Avengers now ceasing to exist, the remaining half are pondering on how to avenge their death or somehow bring them back to life. It’s the sheer love for their fellow warriors and friends that this film hinges on.
In “Endgame”, Captain America, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Rocket, Hawkeye use a time machine developed by Ant- Man to go back in time to get infinity stones from the past so that they can use it to bring back their friends and prevent Thanos’ ultimate apocalypse. What ensues from there on is a visit to every single Marvel movie since 2008 at strategic inflection points and a roller coaster ride to the very end of the conflict.
In my mind, the underlying theme of the Avengers is ultimately love/respect for their co-warriors. The family feeling is plastered all over the story. It might look like a giant war and believe me it is possibly the biggest line up of superheroes/supervillains ever showcased in recorded history of content and entertainment.
LOVERS AND COMPASSIONATE WARRIORS RATHER THAN JUST BRUTE FORCE! ( An analysis)
Look at Thanos, he loves his idea of bringing balance to the universe. The ultimate villain is at end seen as a dominating father, a giving opponent, a die hard romantic. And he doesn’t really like killing people, he just feels the need to pursue his goal.
Tony Stark/ Iron Man shares his fatherly love for nurturing Peter Parker/Spiderman in his teens. In his last moments in “Infinity War” he is seen embracing Stark and uttering “I don’t Want to Die”. His daughter makes an appearance here.
Thor on the other hand with his undying love for Loki (killed by Thanos) wants to avenge his death and as he is the most powerful superhero in the Avengers team, he has a point to prove.
Captain America, the soul captain of the team and its spiritual head wants to lead a normal life, raise a family and live a simple life. But his love for Avengers and its institutional existence is paralleled by his love for Maggie Carter, the love of his life.
Bruce Banner/ Hulk is a dual personality but he too doesn’t really fathom hatred in his normal self. The deconstruction of Hulk is quite evident in “Infinity War” when he is struggling to get his demonic side when it’s needed for its firepower. He just wants peace and you can see that in “Endgame”.
Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff is the main lady warrior in the ensemble and her evident feelings for Hulk are also well known. She feels that she owes one last try to the ones who have been wiped off by Thanos.
The new cherry on this gigantic cake is “Captain Marvel”/ Carol Danvers who too is guided by her friendship and mentorship of Nick Fury who too passed away in the apocalypse. Her love for Fury as a guide and mentor is evident as she herself was the first recruit of “The Avengers” program by S.H.I.E.L.D.
FOR THE FANS
Avengers- Endgame is a tribute and treat for generations of fans and comic book readers/ moviegoers. Marvel President Kevin Feige and the Russo Brothers have collaborated with dozens of writers/directors to create “Endgame” as the film is a culmination of over 22 films started in 2008. So multiple story lines and epic moments have been stolen from each film to give the viewer a grand finale of this chapter of Marvel story telling. Millions of videos about the “Easter Eggs” in the film are already doing rounds on the internet.
I would give this film a 9 out of 10 for its undying passion to create larger than life characters and make them still look human as envisaged by Stan Lee. It has be the only media event in human history which has engulfed the entire human race!