The Epic of Will Lang Jr.
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Will Lang Jr.
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A fresh take on sports: the biggest news and most entertaining lists. The only place to satisfy all of your guilty pleasures. The surviving Avengers gather to work out what — if anything — can be done to seek justice for the fallen, or even reverse the catastrophe. How will they do it, you wonder? For a few suspenseful minutes you're left wondering if a clever solution awaits, and then someone comes up with that evergreen plot loophole — time travel.
Of course. Paint a superhero into a corner and trust a writer to provide them a free pass, usually involving some spurious physics. Anyway, maybe this isn't the point. As the Avengers divide into small groups to travel back in time and seize the Infinity Stones before Thanos gets his hands on them, the film explores themes of grief and nostalgia. On these road trips into the past, and into scenes of previous movies, characters encounter their younger selves, but also parents, children and lovers who have passed.
Often, in the most moving of cases, their paths cross only fleetingly with loved ones — Captain America Chris Evans spies his sweetheart through an office window, Tony Stark Robert Downey Jr. The one protracted encounter that has real emotional heft is between Thanos and his daughter Nebula Karen Gillan , a spectacularly toxic parent-child clash, but overall the constraints of Marvel's simple storytelling conventions don't tend to favour deeper character development.
So much is going on in the film there's barely time, anyway. So many characters, so many plotlines. Layer upon layer. By the explosive final act — and it's only a spoiler to reveal HOW they get there, not that they get there at all — Spiderman Tom Holland is sharing a battlefield with Valkyrie Tessa Thompson on her winged horse, and gigantic space ships are battling armies of African warriors from Wakanda, and frankly it's a miracle the film makes any sense at all.
Directing brothers Joseph and Anthony Russo, now on their fourth Marvel film all written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely , have painted a cluttered fresco, but at least their pace is steady, and the obligatory comic moments leaven the mix, in particular via the self-deprecating Paul Rudd as Ant Man and the endearingly goofy Mark Ruffalo as Hulk. Chris Hemsworth is also useful as a gone-to-seed Thor who's been drinking heavily since the last film — though the fact he doesn't meet an earlier, toned version of himself seems like a missed comic opportunity.
Undoubtedly, however, the film's action sequences have been pruned back to make room. There are only a couple of any note before the major ending — the most memorable featuring an Avenger fighting with his younger self and free-falling through glass stairs. But you have to wait until the second half of the three-hour film for the full throttle spectacle. Endgame explores the rebellion of those forced to submit to the authoritarian moral power of a patriarchal tyrant, and a reaffirmation of Marvel superheroes as symbols of both individualism and human fallibility.
And so it is that they eventually appear in their hundreds, a spectacular resurrection from all the corners of the MCU, on a battlefield of apocalyptic dimensions. Again, there's little time, even at three hours long, to engender any strong emotional attachment if it's not there already.
The Epic of Will Lang Jr. eBook by John A. Lang Kobo Edition | jiwopumo.tk
How much you are moved will likely depend on how invested you are in Marvel's various franchises. Certainly the Russos — who are aiming here for the bombast of opera, but settling for the histrionics of hair metal — don't achieve any moments of show stopping brilliance. In all the noise and spectacle, the predictability of their filmmaking is at best comforting. The close shaves and lucky escapes, the righteous violence and sweet revenge are all underscored by the recurring, bassy thud of explosions and lasers, sending pleasurable low-frequency vibrations into your rib cage.
But it's also true that Endgame holds a few surprises. It's a film that marks a transition phase in the MCU, and certain characters are at the end of their storylines, just as certain actors are at the end of their contracts. There are a couple of genuine curve balls, and to the studio's credit it seems like there's a desire to take the MCU further into the 21st century by pushing into terrain that's less dominated by white men. Naturally, the film takes the opportunity to reach for a few tragedies, though it mostly falls just shy of any reach-for-the-tissues moments.
A funeral scene midway through — in which a who's-who of Marvel characters gather in golden afternoon sunlight to farewell one of their own — is an example of its failings. You wonder how so much talent, underwritten by such an obscenely large budget, doesn't trigger more pathos. They look like extras in a Whitesnake video, and it's a pity. Marvel's resurrection fable leaves most of the studio's beloved characters standing, but no one looks to be in particularly good shape.
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