‘Avengers: Endgame’ Review: Satisfying Finish To Marvel’s 11-Year Saga

Avengers Endgame review thanos

As Dr. Strange said in Infinity War, “We’re in the endgame, now.” After an 11-year, 22 film saga, Avengers: Endgame has the daunting task of wrapping up this era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did it succeed in tying together a decade’s worth of characters and storylines, but Endgame delivers a satisfying conclusion that rewards fans for their dedication.

*Note: This review will be as spoiler-free as possible. No major plot points will be revealed. I believe in #DontSpoilTheEndgame.*

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame picks up where Infinity War left off. Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, War Machine, Rocket, and Nebula were the only major heroes who survived Thanos’s snap, which wiped away half the universe’s population. Down and seemingly out, the Avengers receive a much-needed ally in the form of Captain Marvel. The Avengers seek to reverse the damage done by Thanos and bring back half the universe’s population. Sounds simple, right?

The film succeeds in the fact that it answered so many questions that have been lingering throughout the MCU up until this point. However, it’s far from perfect. My biggest gripe is the beginning of the film. The first act of the film sets the scene for life after Thanos and explains how the survivors live in a desolate world. The film has a run-time of 3 hours and 1 minute so the film did not rush at all in terms of giving the appropriate backstory. However, it wasn’t almost too much backstory and not enough planning to defeat Thanos. If this movie trimmed it’s runtime by about 20 minutes and sped up some of the beginning, it would have been perfect.

That being said, once the Avengers picked up Ant-Man and Hawkeye (now Ronin) towards the end of the first act, Endgame begins to hit its stride. The scene in the trailer where the Avengers assemble while wearing the Quantum Realm suits is where this movie took off. The final two acts were immensely entertaining and turned my theater into Yankee Stadium after a walk-off home run with all the cheering and clapping.

What impressed me the most about Endgame was the balanced mix of dramatic and comedic bits. This is a Marvel movie so you’re guaranteed to get a bunch of superheroes using their powers in elaborate fighting scenes, which is awesome. However, I didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did. In particular, Thor’s evolution from a serious, semi-charming god to a witty, fun-loving superhero has been spectacular. Huge credit should go to Taika Waititi, the director of Thor: Ragnarok, for showing that Thor can be much more than a god with a hammer. Chris Hemsworth is a movie star in every sense of the word and this version of Thor is his best work.

I keep coming back to the word, “satisfying,” to perfectly describe Avengers: Endgame. Part of the reason why fans relate to these movies so much is the films’ ability to deal with common themes despite incorporating supernatural elements. The feeling of loss and regret in Infinity War is channeled into revenge and resilience in Endgame, which is felt by not only the heroes in the movie, but the audience in the theater. Endgame ties up many storylines and gives fans exactly what they have wanted for a decade. However, it also poses new questions for the future of the MCU, which is fairly unknown at this point.

Avengers: Endgame will make you laugh and cry, but most importantly, you’ll be rewarded for your patience. I’m not sure where the MCU goes from here, but if there’s one thing Marvel needs from us, it’s trust. After witnessing Avengers: Endgame, trust is exactly what they deserve.

If You Could Only Watch One, Would You Rather See Avengers: Endgame or Game Of Thrones Season 8?

Game of Thrones Season 8 and Avengers: Endgame if you can only choose one

April is going to be an unbelievable month for entertainment. Two of the most anticipated events in film and television history will premiere within 12 days of each other. If you haven’t guessed by now, the two events on everyone’s calendar are Game of Thrones Season 8 and Avengers: Endgame.

The culmination of over a decade of movies and television seasons will come to an end over the next month and a half. That’s a lot of time to invest in two entertainment properties, but Marvel and HBO take up an important percentage of my life. These will be the two biggest viewing events of the year. “Must-see” is an understatement. The longer you wait to see them, the higher the chances it will be ruined for you with spoilers on the Internet. You can’t take that risk.

My question is as followed: If you could only watch one, would you pickAvengers: Endgame or Game of Thrones?

It’s a real catch 22. You can only watch one, and you can never watch the other. You won’t face a harder question all year. As I type out my reasons for each entity, I continue to question myself. It’s that difficult. Let’s break down the reasons to see each one.

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Reasons To See Avengers: Endgame

11 Year Culmination of The First Three Phases in MCU: The first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Iron Man back in 2008. 11 years and 21 movies is A LOT of time to invest in a cinematic universe. You make it this far and you’re just going to give up?

May Be The Last Movie For A Few Popular Actors: It’s no secret that some of the actors in the MCU may want to move on. Chris Evans has hinted many times that his time as Captain America is coming to a close. Avengers: Endgame might be Robert Downey Jr.’s last time as Iron Man as well. I don’t want to miss their final appearances as superheroes that I have come to love.

I Can’t Let Thanos Win: How is your last memory of the first three phases of the MCU going to be Thanos snapping away your favorite superheroes? The purple chin middle linebacker can’t get away with wiping out half of the universe’s population and get away with it. Not on my watch. I need to see Thanos fall.

Reasons To See Game of Thrones Season 8

Final Season: After taking close to a two year hiatus, one of the most influential shows of the 21st century is returning for 6 final episodes. Need I say more?

The Greatest Battle In Television History: Ever since the Night King and Army of White Walkers debuted on the show, you knew what was coming. A battle between the living and the dead was going to take place. Now, we have finally reached the end. Living vs. Dead. White Walkers vs. Humans. The Night King vs. Jon Snow. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Peter Dinklage said that the battle between the living and dead “makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park.” I’m not prepared for this moment.

Dragons Doing Dragon Things: I mean… come on. They’re firing breathing dragons. It’s going to bring me so much satisfaction when the dragons torch the White Walkers.

I can’t miss both of these. It’s an impossible decision, but I’ve managed to come up with a reason that makes sense in my head as to why I’m picking one over the other.

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Books.

I’m not a big reader, but both of these entertainment properties are based on books. Avengers: Endgame is based on The Infinity Gauntlet comic series while Game of Thrones is based on A Song of Ice and Fire series from George R.R. Martin. Here’s the catch. The Infinity Gauntlet was published in 1991. A Song of Ice and Fire has not been completed and at this rate, no one knows when the final two books will be finished. Although both the movie and TV series step away from their original source material at times, the major story arcs in the books are similar in the movies. So if I had to pick one of these to watch, I’m going with Game of Thrones Season 8 because I could read The Infinity Gauntlet comics and even though it would be a disappointing ending, at least it would be an ending. I can’t get that right now with Game of Thrones unless I watch the show.

I’m choosing Game of Thrones. What’s your decision? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @unafraidshow.

The 5 Greatest Second Films From Famous Directors

Movie Directors second films are often their best like Barry Jenkins Quentin Tarentino

What is a “sophomore slump?” In film, a sophomore slump is when the second, or sophomore, film or effort from a director falls short or fails to live up to the standards of its first effort. Notable examples of the sophomore slump include Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka and Sam Raimi’s Crimewave.

However, not every director suffers from the sophomore slump. In some cases, a director’s second film exceeds expectations and ends up surpassing the first film in both critical acclaim and box office gross. With the release of Jordan Peele’s Us, the follow up to the iconic Get Out, here are a few of my choices for the greatest second films from directors.

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*Note: These are all the second feature-length films from directors. The list does not count short films or television movies.

Quentin Tarantino: Pulp Fiction

You know you’ve made a memorable second film when it is widely considered a masterpiece. Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is one of most unique and original films of all-time due to its nonlinear narrative. The film depicts the lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits in Los Angeles and how their stories are intertwined. Tarantino won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and is credited with launching independent film into the mainstream due to Pulp Fiction‘s success.

John Hughes: The Breakfast Club

For my money, this is the greatest coming-of-age film of all-time. Up until this point, John Hughes was known for writing National Lampoon’s Vacation and directing Sixteen Candles. His sophomore directorial effort, The Breakfast Club, tells the story of five high school students from completely different backgrounds who spend an entire Saturday in detention. Despite being from different social cliques, the students end up forming a special bond and friendship by the end of the film. With “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” playing in the background, the film’s final scene ends with one of the most memorable shots in movie history, the Jon Bender fist pump. The Breakfast Club was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress.

David Fincher: Se7en

WHAT’S IN THE BOX? Director David Fincher is known for suspenseful films with huge plot twists. Fincher has directed some of the most thrilling films of the last 20 years including Fight Club, Zodiac, and Gone Girl. However, it’s Fincher’s second film. Se7en, that stands above the rest. In Se7en, a rookie detective (Brad Pitt) and a retiring investigator (Morgan Freeman) team up to track down a serial killer (Kevin Spacey) who is using the seven deadly sins as his motive for the killings. Brilliantly paced and full of suspense, Se7en still keeps viewers on the edge of their seats almost 25 years later.

Sofia Coppola: Lost in Translation

Bill Murray is known for being one of the most influential comedians of the past four decades. However, Murray’s dramatic turn in Lost in Translation will go down as one of his best performances thanks to Sofia Coppola, who wrote and directed the film. Daughter of the legendary Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather series), Sofia’s second feature film stars Murray as Bob Harris, an aging actor who befriends a young married college graduate, played by Scarlett Johansson, in Tokyo. The film perfectly depicts a midlife crisis as well as a quarter life crisis and how both characters deal with their unknown futures. Beautifully written and directed, Lost in Translation was nominated for four Academy Awards and won for Best Original Screenplay.

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Barry Jenkins: Moonlight

It took Barry Jenkins eight years to release his second feature-length film after his first film, Medicine for Melancholy, debuted in 2008. To say his second film, Moonlight, did not disappoint would be an understatement. Moonlight presents the story of Chiron in three stages: childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Jenkins’s film chronicles Chiron’s life in Miami, where he battles over issues of abuse and sexual identity. Moonlight received universal acclaim and received three Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Other great second films from directors:

  • Paul Thomas Anderson – Boogie Nights
  • Christopher Nolan – Memento
  • Mike Nichols – The Graduate
  • Steven Spielberg – Jaws (Spielberg directed many amateur and short films in the 1960s, but Jaws was Spielberg’s second feature film in theaters.)
  • Ridley Scott – Alien
  • Richard Linklater – Dazed and Confused

What are your choices for the greatest second film from a director? Let us know in the comments or tweet your answers to @unafraidshow.

Betting On The 2019 Oscars: Best Bets To Make

2019 Oscars Avengers Black Panther A Star is Born

The Oscars have arrived! After months of buildup, the Academy Awards will finally air live on Sunday night. The Oscars are the Super Bowl for movies. I, along with millions of other fans, will tune in to have our dreams crushed when A Star Is Born loses almost every major category. That’s the way the cookie crumbles, folks. […]

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Five Ways To Fix The Oscars and Increase Viewership

the oscars academy awards black panther a star is born

The Oscars will always be the most prestigious ceremony for films. The actual ceremony will never be in trouble. However, it’s the television broadcast that needs to be fixed. Movie fans will always tune into the show no matter what the circumstances are surrounding the length of the broadcast or the host of the show. The challenge is figuring out how to attract the average viewer to tune into the show.

Last year’s ceremony had its lowest ratings in the modern era with 26.5 million viewers. To fix the ratings problem, the Academy decided to implement new changes to the broadcast, but the upcoming ceremony has been plagued with problems for months now ever since the Academy announced and later, scrapped the proposed award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film. Then, the entire Kevin Hart controversy left the show without a host. Now, the Academy announced it will hand out a few awards such as cinematography and film editing during commercials as a way to keep the broadcast under 3 hours. Much to the surprise of no one, it has been met with serious blowback.

Luckily, I have a few ideas on how to fix the Oscars.

1. Start Earlier

Why does the ceremony have to start at 8 PM EST? The Super Bowl, which is usually the highest watched program in the United States ever year, starts at 6:30 EST. Why can’t the Oscars start earlier as well? The average length of Oscar ceremonies since 2010 has been 215 minutes, with telecasts ending between 11:43 PM and 12:19 AM. That’s ridiculous for any telecast. Most viewers are in bed by then on the East Coast. Starting the ceremony at 7 PM EST and ending at 11 PM would be ideal for all viewers.

2. Stream The Ceremony Globally

We are currently living in the digital streaming age. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon produce critically acclaimed films and television while livestreams on social media skyrocket in popularity. Why not take advantage of the digital age? Imagine if the ceremony was streaming on a platform like Twitter or Instagram in addition to ABC. This would encourage more interaction between viewers on social media. Television ads would still sell. Money would still come in. This would be just another way to view the show.

3. Introduce New Rising Star Categories

The popular film category was an example of “right idea, terrible execution.” Popular films can get nominated for Oscars cc: Black Panther. Adding popular, box office hits to the ceremony is smart, but there are better ways to implement them into a ceremony. Take the BAFTAs (England’s Academy Awards) for example. Two categories featured on the show are Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer and the EE Rising Star Award (voted for by the public). If the writing category were added to include all writers, popular stars like Bradley Cooper or Bo Burnham might receive their Oscar moment. The rising star award at the BAFTAs was won by Letitia Wright for playing Shuri in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War. If Wright won that award at the Oscars, it would give Black Panther a monumental Oscar win and leave many fans happy.

4. Announce Every Category On The Broadcast

As mentioned above, the ceremony will air categories during commercials. This is not a good idea. This is the Super Bowl for the film community. Although these categories are lesser known to the public, they are extremely respected positions in the film community. By not airing certain categories on the show, the Academy is stating that these awards do not matter. Ask anyone who has ever made a film. Cinematography and editing are two of the most important aspects of a film. Reward these gifted men and women with the ability to have their moment in the sun on live television.

5. Raise Salary For Host

Hosting the Oscars used to be a highly-sought out job. Now, it seems as if everyone far and wide are running from it. The pressure to succeed and deliver ratings as well as the low-pay for a huge workload has led to many entertainers avoiding the gig entirely. Jimmy Kimmel said that he made $15,000 to host last year’s ceremony despite ABC charging millions for a 30-second commercial. The Academy should work with ABC to significantly increase the salary for the host, which my lead to more entertainers saying “yes” to the gig. Months of work and insane stress should be counteracted with a fair, 6-figure payday.

Tune in on February 24 at 8 PM EST to see if any of my rules are implemented into the broadcast!