“Avengers: Endgame” is the epic finale to the story Marvel has been telling for the last decade, but did it end with a bang or a whimper?
CNN’s Frank Pallotta and Brian Lowry decided to figure that out. The two comic book fans, who also happen to be reporters, discussed what they liked and didn’t like about Marvel’s three hour epic finale.
The exchange that follows is filled with spoilers. If you didn’t help the film break every box office record imaginable this weekend, it’d be a good idea to turn back because… we’re in the endgame now.
Pallotta: Lowry, man, I’m still an emotional train wreck. Elderly Captain America really got to me.
Lowry: I confess to having some misgivings going in. Messing with time/history is always a minefield. But they really pulled this off, and that was a perfect way to cap (pardon the expression) it off.
Pallotta: I honestly can’t believe how touching it was! “Avengers: Endgame” did something that no other Marvel film has really ever done, which was, you know, end. There was a finality to it. I went in dubious that “Endgame” would actually have a true conclusion because there’s a ton of films and Disney+ shows set to come out, but this actually made me believe we wouldn’t see some of these characters ever again, and that was deeply emotional.
Lowry: It really did feel like closing a chapter, almost a baton pass. There’s some risk in that; you don’t shed three of your major characters (yes, I know there’s a Black Widow prequel) without gulping pretty hard. But the movie needed a sense of loss after “Infinity War,” and there were so many crowd-pleasing moments that really reflected what Marvel has built. In a lot of ways, this was a love letter to fans.
Pallotta: There was a lot of fan service, maybe too much for the average viewer even though it didn’t hurt its box office. I remember when Cap grabbed Thor’s hammer, the person sitting next to me was pretty confused. That’s a part of Marvel Comics canon, but if you didn’t read the comic books then you may not know. What was your favorite crowd-pleasing moment?
Lowry: That was it. I think I actually whooped at that, and it takes a lot to get me to whoop these days. That one little moment in “Age of Ultron,” where Cap moves the hammer, and they pay it off like that. Pretty spectacular.
Pallotta: Mine was “Avengers… assemble.” I’ve been waiting 21 films for Cap to say his signature line and that final battle between Thanos and the Avengers was the perfect time to do it. I remember watching that battle and thinking this is the closest I’ve ever seen a film getting to conveying what a major battle looks like in a comic book. It was a “Where’s Waldo?” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Lowry: Give a lot of credit to the Russo brothers. If you throw in the two “Captain America” movies they directed, they really have a knack for this. I’m sure they probably want to go direct an indie romance after this, but I’d let them direct pretty much any superhero franchise they wanted to at this point.
Pallotta: How about the negatives? What was something you didn’t like about “Endgame”?
Lowry: I thought the first hour – or rather, the stretch after the “Five Years Later” chyron – was a little flabby. They needed to set up how they were going to do it, but that was a little exposition-heavy, especially given the length of the movie overall. I felt the same way, a bit, about the Thor-Guardians scene at the end. But other than that, I wouldn’t change a whole lot. You?
Pallotta: I was not a huge fan of smart Hulk. I think it was interesting to combine the brains of Bruce Banner with the brawn of The Hulk, but I missed the chaos that the character brings. He’s an unpredictable element in a usually predictable franchise.
That said, I’m all in on Fat Thor.
Lowry: Someone actually complained to me about Fat Thor, mostly because they enjoy ripped Thor. While I can see that, it was a great visual gag. I suppose you could argue that the ending was a bit anti-climactic, but frankly, there were about six endings leading up to it. It almost felt like “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” in that respect.
Pallotta: Speaking of endings, I was really impressed with how they ended both Tony Stark and Captain America’s storylines. My bet was that Tony would retire and Cap would die, but I was shocked that it was reversed. Tony’s last words being “I am Iron Man,” which were the same as the final words of 2008’s “Iron Man” was just **Italian chef kiss** perfect. Ending on Steve dancing with Peggy after all these years was just a perfect way to go out.
Lowry: Agreed. And I’ll cut them some slack on the “So what does that mean for history?” questions. So looking ahead, what’s next? With all the resources being funneled toward Disney+, the streaming service, should Marvel be concerned about a bit of a dip theatrically after this high?
Pallotta: Yeah, I think the next few years will be transitional for Marvel at the movies. That’s kinda perfect for Disney, which needs to fill out its new streaming service. They’ll be “Black Panther 2,” “Guardians 3” and “The Eternals,” but in terms of this type of spectacle it’s going to be awhile, if ever. But thanks to acquiring Fox’s assets, Marvel has perfect candidates to fill the Avengers shoes with the X-Men now at their disposal. Not to mention, the Fantastic Four’s litany of great villains such as Galactus and Doctor Doom.
Lowry: If I’m Marvel/Disney, getting Fantastic Four right (finally) would be a top priority. From your lips to the Watcher’s ears, Frank.