Beginning at a quiet picnic at which Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye) is teaching his daughter how to use the bow and arrow, we learn the major direction of Endgame. The kids are playing and mom is cooking for an outside picnic on the side of an idealistic hillside when suddenly everyone disappears except Hawkeye. It’s the clue that half of the creatures in the Universe have been destroyed by Thanos (Josh Brolin) and his army of creatures. When the Avengers find Thanos and attempt to reverse his action they find he has destroyed the Infinity Stones to prevent further use of them, as a change agent. Thanos is then decapitated by Thor.
The story that follows hones in on a search for a system which can send the Avengers back in time to reverse the action which destroyed half of the living creatures in existence.
The directors carefully carry this three hour long film smoothly, carefully and skillfully through resolutions both for the Universe and each of the Avengers lives. At times they use humor to describe the changes which have occurred over a five year period. Thor, now sports a beer belly and continues to drink through much of the film. Chris Hemsworth handles this change in look as the audience laughs at the alteration in the looks of the lady killer. In another direction the story brings one Avenger to the past where he is able to meet with his father who passed on years before, but the two of them meet when they are about the same age. It’s almost heart warming, if that is possible in a film lead by a super hero. Downey’s Iron Man is the old man in the group and that shows up in time. Ruffalo’s Hulk suffers a separation from his combined Bruce Banner and Hulk and he is not easily motivated to find a way back in time to change the Universe. Captain America is freed to fight again by Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and some of the time he is the leader. That is challenged in a comical way by Thor.
Endgame is successful because it takes time to look deeply into the lives and character of the Avengers, they each have a story to tell and each have strengths along with limitations. The search for the Stones which can allow time travel, is at times prolonged but the film is never dull and doesn’t feel like three hours, it flows smoothly and enjoyably through out. Quite often super hero films spend all of their time in battle and destruction. Here we are treated to story lines for the many Avengers who have appeared in the twenty-one first films. The effects are spectacular, but that is not enough any more. Even with or without the 3D, the screen looks seamless and with a little imagination real through out.
At one point the audience will applaud. Near the climax and back in time Thanos has the main Avenger characters on the ropes. His vast forces made up of crawling and flying monster like creatures are about the crush the revolution, but suddenly all of the Avengers from the past films appear to help win the battle. The applauding reminded me of the old westerns from the forties and fifties in which the fort is surrounded by Indians and just as it is about to fall, we hear the bugle blowing the charge music and the horse soldiers come over the mountain and save the day. At that point all the kids in the Saturday afternoon showing cheered and applauded. In another bow to the early part of the 20th century the return to normal is spent in the 1940s with cars, houses and music.
Endgame brings the characters to the screen as very human, no matter what they look like, and we find they are most comfortable in a safe home family settings. Those settings are very satisfying for the Avengers. They also provide a sound ending for this successful series of films.