Now on Blu-ray: The Sprawling Superhero Epic ‘Avengers: Endgame’

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Avengers: Endgame Review

At the conclusion of Avengers: Infinity War we saw the superteam of the Avengers as we’ve never seen them – defeated. Thanos (Josh Brolin) had achieved his dastardly plan to wipe out half of existence with a snap of his fingers having collected all of the Infinity Stones. It left fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the characters trapped within this interconnected movie world wondering just what was next. For their part, Marvel Studios weren’t exactly eager to start laying out clues, even going as far as to withhold the title for its epic conclusion until the first trailer debuted. The hype paid off big time as Avengers: Endgame was an absolute cultural phenomenon, a blockbuster that dwarfed other blockbusters on its way to becoming the biggest worldwide grosser in movie history as fans rushed to the theater to see the sprawling superhero spectacle before all its secrets spread like wildfire on the internet. Now the epic events of Endgame come home on a two-disc Blu-ray edition with an array of super special features.

I must admit, upon my initial theatrical viewing of Avengers: Endgame I was a bit lukewarm on the film. I didn’t think it was bad. I just thought it was too much, an undoubtedly epic conclusion that is tying together a decade of movies spanning across multiple superhero franchises. All of this coupled with dozens of characters and the confusing rules of time travel made Avengers: Endgame just so much to absorb in its dense three-hour package. Endgame is a movie that benefits greatly from home viewing, with the powerful pause button giving this overwhelming superhero saga a little bit of breathing room that just wasn’t available in a packed auditorium of eager fans wracked with anticipation.

Perhaps what’s most striking about Avengers: Endgame on a revisit is just how absolutely insane this movie is and truly is a film without any peers. No other movie is a direct sequel to 20 others film over the span of a decade. No other movie has its characters travelling through their previous adventures. No other movie has such a sense of finality that is counteracted by the fact that it’s opening up a whole new realm of possibilities. It’s the kind of thing that only Marvel and their mastermind Kevin Feige could pull off, though the singularity of their achievement will be lost on rival studios who no doubt are scheming to find any way to replicate the success of the Avengers.

As the Avengers assemble to undo the horrors unleashed by Thanos, Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) along with more of Marvel’s roster of on screen heroes must use the Quantum Realm as discovered by Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) to travel back in time to collect the Infinity Stones before Thanos collected them, taking our heroes into a wild journey through the MCU’s past with stops in moments from The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a comic book caper, a time heist that has Earth’s mightiest heroes trying to save the world one last time.

Endgame brings the arcs to so many of these characters to a conclusion, especially the end of the road for Steve Rogers and Tony Stark, each of whom have touching finishes to their MCU careers. Beyond where these characters end up by the conclusion, Endgame also brings the bitter feud that divided the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War and continued through Infinity War to a perfect conclusion, as these two battle-scarred heroes mend their wound and team up once again. The film also adds new layers to characters that have been on screen for a decade, most notably the wild transformation of Thor which still pays great dividends months after the surprise has worn off.

You have to give credit to directors Joe and Anthony Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely in the way they craft the film’s big moments. As is expected with Marvel, there’s plenty of humor to keep the film feeling breezy but the kind of shock and awe moments that fans have craved, none more notable than Captain America wielding Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir. The insane final battle of Endgame features more superheroes than you could fit on a single screen, making it a lengthy action scene that feels like a sprawling splash page. It’s almost impossible not to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the superhero action at the film’s climax, and the audio commentary on the Blu-ray by the Russos with Markus and McFeely gives you insight into how all of this madness came into being as well as lit bits of trivia of ideas that never made it to finished film.

On top of the audio commentary track from the writers and directors, the Avengers: Endgame Blu-ray boasts a handful of deleted scenes and a number of featurettes. Most of the featurettes explore the legacy of the Avengers and the stars who brought them to life, committing a sizable portion of their careers to these roles. The special features do give you a sense of just how the MCU is such a singular achievement, a wild gamble that could’ve just as easily gone bust but has instead reshaped pop culture on a mammoth scale.

Avengers: Endgame is the conclusion of one massive chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the end of one era and the beginning of another. We’ve gotten a taste of what the future holds with Spider-Man: Far From Home, but the possibilities for Marvel under Kevin Feige seem limitless with no idea to outlandish to make its way to the screen. While I understands concerns about pop culture becoming monolithic with one massive conglomerate holding cultural touchstones like Thanos collected Infinity Stones, I still step back in awe that the wildest dreams of what would be possible with comic book movies have been realized in a way that seemed impossible as a child. Now we look to the future to see which fantastical world Marvel will take us to next. Excelsior!

  • Overall Score
3.5

Summary

A sometimes overwhelming epic of superhero action, Avengers: Endgame comes home on Blu-ray with an array of bonus features that go behind the scenes of one of the biggest movies ever made.

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