Op-ed: For All of Its Great Moments, AVENGERS: ENDGAME is Also Loaded with Problems
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
*Please Note: The following contains spoilers from AVENGERS: ENDGAME
I took myself to the Saturday morning a screening of ENDGAME. I’ll confess I was too worried I’d see spoilers, so this past week I bought a ticket just in the nick of time. Upon my arrival, I chatted with the employees before the screening. They’d apparently started screenings of ENDGAME at 9 am and the theater only got more crowded as I got my concessions.
I have to say; I enjoyed the opening of the movie. Hawkeye is with his family, displaying tenderness and care for his loved ones, when suddenly – POOF! As the movie progressed, I could tell that this movie would be different than the rest. The music was an ode to earlier AVENGERS movies and the stakes were noticeably higher.
Then, I saw my first problem. My first qualm came when Captain America was sitting in the support group circle. A gentleman to his left is talking about a date he went on for the first time in five years since Thanos snapped half the population to dust. I thought I was mistaken, but he said that he went out on a date with a male. I was not. Albeit that homosexuality is a prevalent topic in our world, dialogue like this clearly is a nod of acceptability for the lifestyle from the directors. The homosexual man was played by one of the co-directors himself.
In the following scenes, Tony Stark figures solves the problem of cracking time travel and says “s***!” First, the expletive is very unnecessary. Second, unbeknownst to Stark, his daughter is sitting nearby and copies him twice by saying the lewd word. In the audience, everyone seemed to be laughing which left me thinking: am I the only one who’s uncomfortable with this?
Thematic wise, I appreciated the celebration of family and love in ENDGAME, perhaps more than other Marvel movies. Thor shows love to his mother. Ironman, Hawkeye and Ant-Man all show a sweet tenderness to their daughters. Black Widow sacrifices for the greater good and finally, the audience sees grief in a real way. There are also nods to the value of mentorship, brotherly love and protecting the greater good, “whatever it takes.” The final shot of the movie also promotes marriage.
Fans of the franchise were ready for this movie (maybe not certain plot points) and perhaps satisfied with the ending. I include myself in this camp, but only thematically. I didn’t appreciate the amount of foul language and I increasingly become irked by Captain Marvel’s attitude. Her character entrance into ENDGAME comes on the heels of her title movie and AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR whereupon Nick Furry (Samuel Jackson) summoned her to help save the day. In some ways this seems to go her character’s head in a very Tony Stark/Ironman-like way, but less likable.
Since the release of CAPTAIN MARVEL, actress Brie Larson has commented some polarizing things, namely when it comes to “intersectional feminism.” In doing so, she’s alienated some viewers and fans and even seems to create tension with fellow AVENGERS co-stars. For instance, in an interview with Chris Hemsworth, she snapped at her co-star for trying to compare her aspirations to do her own stunts to that of Tom Cruise. Additionally, Jeremy Renner followed up to her comments about celebrity responsibly this way, something The Wrap poses as a “subtle rebuke.” He said, “I’m pretty accountable and responsible in my own life at any rate,” Renner continued this way, “celebrity isn’t something that I use as any sort of platform to be more responsible or accountable, I suppose. It’s certainly an absolute blessing to see the joy on kids’ faces — I don’t think there is a feeling that comes close to that.”
From where I’m sitting, the goal of creating strong female characters like Captain Marvel shouldn’t be to emulate the power or superpowers of her male counterparts, but rather to simply uplift Captain Marvel’s stand-alone positive attributes. To some extent, she does this well, in other ways her passion to do and be everything a man undercuts her uniqueness. Let’s not forget that there have already been female voices in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) – Black Widow, The Wasp, and even Peggy Carter. Captain Marvel isn’t even this first female superhero to garner box office success. WONDER WOMAN starring Gal Gadot grossed over $800 million worldwide. I’m not against female superheroes, I’m not even against more of them, but making it a “loud and proud” goal unto itself only continues to add fuel to an unnecessary gender battle fire.
Structurally, ENDGAME is also over three hours long, but the filmmakers did a nice job of making the action flow and fitting in so much into a feature-length movie. Some contest that there are major plot holes that go unresolved in the movie. However, many fans and audiences refute the plot hole allegations by adopting a complex theory of time travel relying on a nominalist worldview that would obviate the entire need for the Avengers or the movie.
In short, I’m happy with ENDGAMEin many ways, but also wary of other elements. The emphasis on family and good triumphing over evil strikes a positive cord, but the politically correct moments and cheap attempts to gain a laugh make me acutely cautious for the future Marvel movies.
Now a decade past its infancy, the MCU is garnering a new batch of AVENGER fans. We’ll have to keep our discernment sharp and see how the new phase of these superhero projects pan out and pray that they don’t circumvent quality for the sake of pandering towards the cultural conversations of today.
For the full review of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, click here.