Okay. We’re good?
This movie was captivating. It was an epic. It wasn’t just plain epic… it was AN epic. The scope of this movie is so vast. I mean, I say it after most Marvel movies, mostly Avengers movies, but this is another step deeper into being just like a comic book, and I think the main reason this time is that it’s so perfectly imperfect.
Now then, a recap of the whole thing front to back, so #seriousspoilers:
The movie starts off with Clint losing his family in the dusting (called it). Cue Marvel logo. Change of tone as we find Tony and Nebula playing paper football to some tunes aboard the Benatar. The two are basically stranded in space until Captain Marvel shows up and tows them home. Tony goes on a tirade over their failure and abandons the Avengers. The remaining team learns through Nebula where Thanos is hiding out, so they go to his planet, the Garden, and make short work of him. Turns out he used the stones to destroy them, and so in a fit of rage Thor beheads the Mad Titan and then-
FIVE YEARS LATER.
The team is scattered and doing their own thing. Black Widow is trying to retain some semblance of an Avengers life, working in tandem with Rhodey, Carol, Rocket and Nebula on Earth and throughout the cosmos, while Steve is heading a support group (ala Sam Wilson) for those still affected by the dusting.
Enter Ant-Man. His van is in a storage unit, and when a rat stumbles upon the controls to the quantum tunnel he’s brought back into the world. After reuniting with his daughter, Scott goes to Avengers HQ where he pitches the concept of time travel to Steve and Nat.
Time to get the band back together.
Turns out Tony did good on following Clint’s lead in getting himself a cottage out in the woods to start raising a daughter with Pepper, and so when Steve and the gang show up with the pitch he’s not too eager to join in the task. However, after they’re gone he ends up cracking the code to time travel the way Tony does.
Bruce is now what fans would call Professor Hulk, as he’s successfully merged the brains and brawn of his egos, though whether or not he realizes it does seem to have some sort of effect on his personality. Mark Ruffalo sells it real good.
Clint is in Tokyo under the guise of Ronin, butchering gangsters in his desperate flight from the past. It’s no surprise that Nat turns up to bring him home, and he goes relatively easy at the first sign of hope.
Thor… well, Thor is in New Asgard, in Norway, where the remaining Asgardians have built a new life, and our God of Thunder has become a bloated drunkard. His failure to stop Thanos clearly messed him up, but after some deliberation he goes along with the team.
So that’s the premise. I’m not gonna go into excruciating detail from here, because I’ll be here all day, but in short:
The Avengers go in separate teams into the past to retrieve the infinity stones to bring them back to the present so that they can resurrect everybody. It goes as successful as it can, but in the process of it all the younger Thanos learns of the plot and so intervenes by swapping his Nebula with the future Nebula before she returns to the present.
Back at the Avengers compound, Tony, Rocket, and Bruce collectively build their own Infinity Gauntlet. Bruce wears it, snaps his fingers, and returns all of the life that Thanos dusted. Yay! Happy ending! WRONG. Bad Nebula warps Thanos’ ship from the past into the present and the Titan launches an assault on Avengers HQ, rendering it to rubble. I was a little unsure about the concept of the final battle being against a younger Thanos, but the moment he basically turned full villain I was sold.
It becomes a race for the gauntlet under the debris, but on top of it Cap, Iron Man, and Thor fight Thanos head on, and it’s one hell of a spectacle. The highlight of course is Captain America wielding Mjolnir (yeah, Thor brought that back from the past, too). It’s absolutely insane. He juggles the hammer and the shield beyond pro, and it’s arguably one of the biggest fan services of the entire movie (the theater I was in completely lost control of their vocal chords).
Thanos ends up briefly getting the upper hand in breaking Cap’s shield to pieces, and all seems dire as his armies march upon our few heroes, and then it happens: all of the dusted return. Mystic portals open up all over the battlefield and just about every hero you can think of turns up, from armies of Wakandans and sorcerers, to Pepper sporting her Rescue armor. THEY’RE ALL HERE. For me, it’s one of the most highly invested fictional war scenes of all time, because you know every single person taking part in the fight, and they are enough for a small army alone.
And yes, Cap finally says it: “Avengers Assemble.” Thus the battle ensues. There is so much fan service in this movie, let alone this grand battle, that I can’t even name it all, but on a couple of notes: Cap calling Spidey Queens, Spidey activating instant kill mode, and Cap and Thor swapping weapons casually are just among the few things that occur.
So all the heroes take part, some of them going toe-to-toe with Thanos, and in the end Iron Man delivers the final snap that dusts all the bad guys (though I assume they were just returned to their own timeline with their memories wiped, because time travel rules, right?). The power of using the gauntlet completely drains Tony and he dies surrounded by all of his friends and loved ones.
The movie takes a cue from Return of the King and actually takes time and care to wrap things up after this long journey we’ve been on. Tony is laid to rest surrounded by all of the major players of the cinematic universe (even the kid from Iron Man 3 makes an appearance), Thor leaves Valkyrie as ruler of New Asgard as he ventures off with the Guardians into space, and Cap… after returning the stones to their proper places and timelines… yeah, he claimed his happy ending. When he doesn’t return moments later after disappearing into the past, Bucky and Sam discover an old Steve Rogers waiting on a bench. This moment is so impressive. The old age make-up on Chris Evans is so convincing, but even more so is his performance. He ends up handing the shield off to Sam, however reluctantly the guy takes it.
And at last, we finish on a flashback to Steve and Peggy dancing together in their home as they share a kiss.
I mean, just while we’re talking about it… as a purist I’ll say that I’m a little peeved about Steve running away to the past. That’s not the Captain America I’ve been reading all these years. BUT. This is a different Captain America; it’s the MCU Captain America, and honestly, it’s satisfying to see him get that happy ending, furthermore because that’s how the movie ends. It ends with Steve’s story, arguably the one that started the MCU to begin with if we’re speaking chronologically. I loved it. The only nitpick besides that I can make is in terms of time travel does this mean Peggy had always been married to Steve and that any time she mentioned a husband (notably in Winter Soldier) it was all a cover for the truth? It better be, because the idea of Captain America being selfish enough to steal another man’s life is almost the worst thing imaginable.
All in all it’s a great movie. I think the rules of time travel tarnish it a little, because there are SO many questions it leaves. I get that they return the stones to their proper times, but there are things that happen that should have an impact on earlier Marvel films, such as Loki silently escaping with the Tesseract, or Cap posing as a Hydra agent. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the Hydra Cap moment. The callback to the elevator scene was awesome, and the fact that he actually said “Hail Hydra” was hilarious and brilliant all at once, but it does beg the question, what do guys like Rumlow do having experienced that?
Anyway… I’ll take my own advice and suspend disbelief, mainly because it’s not necessarily about the rules of time travel that makes this movie, but the celebration of the universe that Marvel Studios has come to create. There are dozens of callbacks and nods and easter eggs that it’s almost too much to handle, but it’s fun all the way through. I don’t know where I’d rank it on my list of MCU movies, but I don’t think it’d be low. For a three hour movie it goes by pretty quickly, and it’s just sheer joy, even when it hurts.
I might have to do another post after seeing it a few times just to list all the little things I loved, but all in all the movie was solid and fulfilled a lot of dreams I didn’t know I had, just like most Marvel flicks do. I hope the Marvel hype will slow down over the next phase, because the past couple of years have been intense and I feel a break is necessary, but I’m definitely anxious to see what comes next. It’s amazing that these movies have now progressed so far that like the comics there are jumping on and jumping off points. Is this a jumping off point for others? Possibly, but not us.
TL;DR Score: As big and amazing as this one is… I’m still worried we haven’t seen how big it can truly be.