Avengers Endgame: Analysis, Themes, and Theories

Despite some plot holes and other minor complaints, Avengers: Endgame is great, and all Marvel fans should rush out to see it!

Avengers: Endgame is finally here! I have been so excited to see this movie, and I know you guys have been too. It seems like everyone and their grandma has seen this movie by now. It’s everything it’s hyped up to be, the culmination of eleven years of movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is it. This is the finale! Just like for the film, Us, I will be doing a spoiler filled analysis of this movie. The trailers of this movie give so little away that any little aspect of the plot I discuss with you would be considered a spoiler. I will be sure to let you know when I am about to spoil the movie before it happens. If you’re wondering if this film is “worth your time”, the answer is absolutely! This film is an epic cinematic event that any Marvel fan should see as soon as they can! The film is wonderfully and impressively constructed, and despite its lack of “artistic aspects” as some people have complained about with this film, you can’t deny that as a fan this is hugely satisfying! So, yes, see this film as soon as you can, and see it in IMAX because the whole film was shot using their cameras. This means that the film will be presented in an expanded aspect ratio then you get in any other showing, and I can safely say it looks very nice on the big screen.

SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THIS MOVIE YET! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I will admit that I was mostly surprised at the direction this film decided to take. That being they decided to have this film take place five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Although looking back this decision makes the most sense for the characters and for the plot, it’s disappointing that they kill Thanos off as easy as they do in the beginning. I was so looking forward to seeing Thanos confront the Avengers once again, and although it happens, it’s much more anti climatic then you’d expect. In the beginning of this movie, Thanos has his own farm, he’s retired, and has even destroyed the Infinity Stones. When the Avengers realize this, they beat him up, and Thor slices off Thanos’ head with his ax. Thor then talks off into the distance as the camera goes out of focus and the film slowly cuts to five years later.

We then see as the characters try to get over their losses and the lives they lead after the events of Infinity War. There’s trash all over cities, everyone’s pissed off all the time, and plants are not being attended to. We see as Captain America leads a support group to help everyone get over the loss of their loved ones, Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, takes calls from other members of the Avengers, and Thor lives at the remote little civilization of New Asgard where he is an alcoholic that plays Fortnite with his friend Korg, who thankfully is still alive. The only one who seems to have truly moved on is Tony Stark, Iron Man, who is now married to Pepper Potts and has a daughter. Also, ummmmm Bruce Banner, who is now professor Hulk, dabs while taking a picture with some fans, so there’s that. Anyways, the possibility of time travel becomes relevant when the Avengers discover that Scott Lang has been through the quantum realm in what felt like five hours. This is when Tony Stark uses what he knows about the quantum realm to figure out time travel, and when they decide to try to go back in time to retrieve the stones. They explain that this would be better than perhaps killing baby Thanos stopping him from ever getting the stones in the first place because going back in time and changing something only makes a new timeline.

I understand the reasoning behind the rules they present, but the problem is that it makes this movie very complicated and hard to follow.

If you haven’t noticed, the rules that this film presents for time travel is unconventional to what we are used to seeing in films. This makes time travel aspect of the movie very complicated and difficult to follow. I understand why they chose to go with the rules they have here, but I don’t think it worked as well as they thought it would. They seem to break their own rules when Captain America at the end, after he delivers the Infinity Stones back to where they belong, decides to live a life with Peggy Carter, only to have him meet Bucky and Sam back at the bench as an old man in order to give him back the shield. How is Steve able to meet Sam and Bucky back on the bench many years after he reunites with Peggy? Shouldn’t he now just be gone forever living in a different timeline? It’s very confusing and honestly doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it wraps up an arc for Steve’s character, and it feels very satisfying.

What makes this film as exciting and fun to watch, though, is that climatic final battle!

It’s no secret that what everyone truly came here for was that climatic final battle at the end of the film, and wow it is insane! Every major character you’ve ever known from the MCU (except Black Widow of course) is there fighting Thanos and his huge army, and everyone’s entrance is incredible! It’s so satisfying to see all these characters who were once killed in Infinity War come back from the dead fully ready to fight Thanos. Both times I saw the film, people seemed to have a very strong reaction when Spider-Man appeared again, given that his death was one of the most emotional from Infinity War. And don’t forget, of course, when Captain America finally becomes worthy of the hammer Mjonlir, and uses it to fight Thanos. That was incredible! Another stand out moment was seeing Captain America summon Mjonlir towards him as all the Avengers came together to fight Thanos where he utters the line “Avengers…. assemble”. This was for sure the best part of the movie, and definitely worth the price of a ticket alone.
The only disappointing element of the fight is that the Thanos they fight is one from 2014 after their time travel mission goes wrong, as opposed to the one we grew to know in Infinity War. Other than that, I absolutely loved this scene and thought it was a blast!

Despite its flaws, this film is everything I wanted it to be and more!

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I’d be surprised! Avengers: Endgame is a blast! Even when the plot gets complicated or don’t make sense, the film still feels satisfying and important! It may be a little long and you can definitely feel the length, but the film is nothing short of spectacular! It is already one of my favorite movies of the year, and I’m excited to see it for a third time this weekend! I feel like I certainly neglected to discuss some aspect of the movie here, but I feel that everything that needs to be said about this movie has already been said. Everyone’s seen it and talked about it to death at this point. At this point, I feel like a fan boy talking to a bunch of people on an online forum who have already seen the movie and have developed very similar thoughts on it. I’m so happy the Marvel movies have been as good as they have been for this long and I hope that they continue to keep it up for many more years to come!

So that has been all my film reviews for this semester! And wow what a great film to wrap up the semester with! It’s been a blast talking about these movies and I hope you’ve all enjoyed too. My hope is that I’ve been able to encourage others to think about the films they see differently and to think more analytically about them. Filmmaking is one of the most tiring and stressful crafts out there, and I know as a fellow TFM student how it is. But in the end of the day, making your own art and viewing other people’s art is a ton of fun to me! I hope I can keep talking about films and making films next semester, and I hope I can continue to share that with you all next semester! You’re probably going to see a change in content next semester, but I promise it’s not gonna let you down! So with all that said and done, stay safe and have a great summer! Go Aztecs!

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

A Wildly Inaccurate Summary of Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame

The final film in Marvel’s Avengers series was highly anticipated and beloved by many – but not everyone in the theater felt this way.

In my almost 25 years on this planet (yikes), I have seen a total of two superhero movies. The first was Spider-Man (2002), which I remember seeing in the movie theater in my hometown at the age of 7. The second was Deadpool in 2016, also at that same theater with yellow shag carpet on the walls and a crystal chandelier in the “big theater” (the place only has two screens, which we would refer to as the “big theater” or the “small theater”). So as you might expect, I was counting down the days until Avengers: Endgame hit theaters where I would see it on opening night.

Just kidding. I didn’t even know this movie existed until April 24th, when it was discussed on KCR’s own Brett & Mackee in the Morning. But you already knew that, because you undoubtedly listen to San Diego’s Best Morning Radio Show, as voted by the San Diego Union Tribune’s 2018 Reader’s Poll, every Wednesday morning from 10 to 12. As explained above, I’ve never seen any of the other Avengers movies. In fact, I’m not even sure how many there are. I’m going to go ahead and guess that there are twelve movies in the series. (Editor’s note: Andrea, how the heck are you so behind?)

When a fellow KCR member asked me, over Plant Power Fast Food, if I wanted to go to the 1:45 AM 3D showing of Avengers: Endgame that night, I agreed. Maybe it was just the vegan chicken nuggets altering my perception, but this sounded like a great idea to me. A three hour movie, a three hour SUPERHERO movie, at nearly 2 AM on a Thursday night/Friday morning. In the end, we decided on the 11:45 PM showing at AMC Fashion Valley. One sour beer and two hard kombuchas later, and we found ourselves in butter-soaked seats with plastic 3D glasses on our faces. “So it won’t be blurry,” the ticket-taker had informed us.

So here you go: my critical, sleep-deprived review of Avengers: Endgame. This is all surely inaccurate and likely offensive to fans of the series. I’m sorry. “I love you three thousand”.

A “Summary” of the Film

Avengers: Endgame opens with a scene of a family enjoying a nice lakeside picnic and some archery. I’ve already forgotten which character was the dad in this scene. Eventually the dad looks around and his family has disappeared. I think that if I had seen the other eleven Avengers movies I might have understood why this was happening. Instead, I figured aliens were involved somehow. As in, the antagonists in the other Avengers movies were aliens. (Editors note: At least you got that mostly right.)

So then I was introduced to the titular Avengers, I think. To me, the Avengers are Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo/The Hulk, Miley Cyrus’s husband’s brother, Chris Evans, a raccoon, Paul Rudd, and Brett Michel’s father Robert Downey Jr. If I’m being honest, it seems like Robert Downey Jr. carried the team in this movie, particularly by figuring out how to time travel. RDJ is a family man, though, and at first doesn’t want to get involved with this alien-fighting business. However, he relents and agrees to go to space with them despite having a young daughter. I bet you can guess what’s going to happen to his character at the end of the movie.

Why was time travel necessary for the Avengers? I’m not really sure. Paul Rudd spent five years of his life in another dimension, or something, while people in the real world kept living their lives. So I guess the Avengers needed to travel back in time to save Paul Rudd from this other dimension. In order to save Paul Rudd, the Avengers had to retrieve some magic stones from the past.

The Avengers split off into teams and travel into the past to retrieve the magic stones. Paul Rudd becomes tiny, there are two Captain Americas that fight each other (?), Tilda Swinton is on a rooftop. Obviously, this quest for the magic stones was the crux of the whole movie, so I apologize for reducing it to a two-sentence summary.

There’s a scene where RDJ and Chris Evans go back in time to a very All-American looking army base, and RDJ talks to a man who’s expecting a child with his wife. RDJ is very emotional when talking to this man, and hugs him goodbye despite having only just met him. I deduced that this man was actually RDJ’s father and his unborn child would grow up to be none other than Robert Downey Jr. Wikipedia tells me that my conclusion was correct. This, my friends, is what I like to call critical thinking and inference. Yes, I have taken a first-year TFM class.

Okay, what else? Scarlett Johannson dies. Another guy was maybe going to die but Scarlett sacrifices herself instead. I can’t even remember why she had to die – midway through the movie my eyes were definitely starting to close. There was a scary Grim Reaper-looking thing that gave these two a message. The robot woman was a double agent and helped the Big Evil Guy (not an alien) try to take over the world. Some other things happened.

Then there was a big battle scene! “Avengers, assemble!” That’s a direct quote from the film. A lot of other Marvel characters returned for the battle and everyone else in the theater made sounds of excitement and recognition as the camera panned over these characters. I nodded along as if I too understood the significance of this scene.

So the battle seems to be going okay and no one of importance has died yet (except Scarlett Johansson). Baby Spider-Man retrieves the Magic Glove and everything is looking great, but then Big Evil Guy gets the Magic Glove. RDJ confronts him about it (really carrying the team again) and Big Evil Guy tries to flex that he has the Magic Glove. Lo and behold, the Magic Glove is missing its magic stones, rendering it useless! Turns out, RDJ took the magic stones and now has his OWN Magic Glove. He then proclaims that he is Iron Man. This was a big reveal for me. Then he activates the stones or whatever and the bad guys turn to dust.  

All of this was so overwhelming for me that I didn’t realize RDJ was dying. I’m not sure why he had to die, but I think it’s because he was a family man making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of the world and this is a movie. Sniffles could be heard throughout the theater as, presumably, we said goodbye to a beloved character. There was a funeral scene, and then some more time travel. Everyone was very solemn, and Samuel L. Jackson was there. Fin.

The Verdict

You’re probably thinking I hated this movie, or was bored to death by it. Surprisingly, I actually had a pretty enjoyable experience. For a three hour movie where I really didn’t understand much of what was happening, I felt engaged with it for almost the entire duration. I was shocked by how quickly those three hours passed. I will admit that it’s a bit of a struggle to follow a movie like this when it’s after midnight and there’s no recap of the previous eleven movies beforehand. So I guess the question is, would I recommend seeing Avengers: Endgame without seeing the other Avengers movies first? No, absolutely not. But if you find yourself in the same situation as me, please do not use my summary of the film as a way to prepare.

Written By: Andrea Renney

Is Shazam! Worth Your Time?

Shazam! is a very fun, likable, superhero film! One of the best in the DCEU!

Shazam! (not the music app on your phone) was directed by David F. Sandberg and stars Zachary Levi. The best way to describe this movie is the superhero version of Big, starring Tom Hanks. In this film, young Billy Batson is a foster child who was abandoned by his mother when he was very young, and now roams from place to place looking for his mother once again, while running off from all the foster homes who attempt to take care of him. However, he one day gets zapped away while on a subway in Philadelphia, and meets the wizard Shazam who quickly informs Billy that he needs to transfers his powers to him in order to fight an oncoming threat. When the wizards manages to do so, Billy finds that he now becomes a god like super hero whenever he yells the word “Shazam!”. Not knowing how to handle these powers, he gets help from his roommate, Freddy Freeman, who helps him test out what powers he does and doesn’t have.

Shazam! was a ton of fun! Super light hearted, very funny, and very touching. This seems to be the DCEU film with the most amount of heart and thought placed into it. I still think Aquaman is better for its technical scope and as an epic action film, but Shazam! is a better film altogether, despite its down to earth setting.

The film doesn’t really boast much visual grandeur. Instead, it simply gives the audience a good experience.

Shazam! definitely seems to be a movie that is more concerned with developing its characters and its themes rather than boasting grand action scenes with elaborate cinematography. I will say, at times I was disappointed as I wish this film could have more epic action scenes and grand shots, but I really admired the characters and the journeys they all went through. Billy Batson is a very likable character that I found myself rooting for given his snarky personality and tragic backstory. Freddy Freeman was a character I really admired as I found myself oftentimes relating to him, which was a pleasant surprise. He tries to be very funny and in your face, but ends up coming off as aggressive which is a struggle I know many kids can definitely relate to. These two characters essentially make up this entire film. The relationships Billy develops with every character, in fact, is really the bread and butter of this film. It was really fun seeing Billy Batson as “Shazam” as he does many things that a fourteen year old boy would absolutely do if he was able to transform into an adult himself. Although many of these moments are expected and even at times obvious, having the added factor of him being a super hero as well made these moments not feel tired.

After seeing this film I was able to discern a trend that seems to be going on in many Hollywood films. Many of these films disguise themselves as Hollywood blockbusters, but actually end up serving as coming of age comedies instead. The first instance I would say where I noticed this recent trend was in Spider-Man: Homecomig and Bumblebee, and Shazam! seems to follow in that trend. When I realized this is what has been happening in films recently, I initially wasn’t sure what to think. One the one hand this is a flawed concept as we go to coming of age comedies and blockbuster films on different occasions depending on the mood, but it also serves as an opportunity to present some very clever and creative stories that could potentially be interesting on a budget. Personally, I probably wouldn’t make a movie like this because I think what makes them both work are very different, but I can understand that from a business decision, this makes sense. My one hope for this trend going forward, however, is that they can manage to properly mix the tones that these movies intend to present so that it doesn’t feel uneven. That’s been my main issue with these movies so far, and that is my main issue with Shazam!. The characters and the struggles they go through are great, but it undermines the action at times. It’s almost as if the action really isn’t given a ton of time to shine, which is unfortunate. With that being said, I’m curious to see the route in which these movies will take, and I even support it.

So do I think you should See Shazam?

Yes, I absolutely think you should see Shazam! at some point if you haven’t already. I know that will be challenging as Avengers: Endgame is right around the corner, and this movie came out about a month ago, but I feel that it is at some point worth your time. The movie is an absolute delight from start to finish and I think it is a great time for all. The characters are great, the story can get very interesting and even at times dark, and the action scenes, while not spectacular, are fun and offer some fun surprises too. If you are concerned because you feel DC has never made a good movie in their own cinematic universe, I think you’ll find yourself enjoying this one. From the reviews I’ve seen, it has even the toughest of film critics cheering and on board, which is awesome!

Written by: Christian Scognamillo

Is Captain Marvel Worth Your Time?

Captain Marvel is a mediocre entry into the MCU, but nonetheless a fun film.

Captain Marvel was directed by husband and wife team Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck and stars Brie Larson as the powerful Captain Marvel, also known as Carol Danvers.  This is the 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (holy s***!) and they’re still going semi-strong.  Despite the repetitive nature of these films, they still manage to make me happy at the end of the day. 

I’m not sure what it is, but even though all these movies are made for “normies” who like “big” blockbuster movies, I always manage to watch these movies and get the impression that they feel personal to me in some way.  This is most likely because of the absolutely incredible character building as well as strong world building.  In my opinion, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, and the first Avengers movie are the best in the series/universe. What these movies did to make themselves so well done was either introduce the formula that has been sustaining them for so long, or take that formula we are used to and did something new and exciting with it.

Caveat: I wouldn’t say that Black Panther is the best film in the MCU, at least when compared to Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse or Avengers: Infinity War, but I will say that one does feel more unique in some aspects of its style and presentation. Looking back I am happy it did get nominated and even receive some Academy Awards.

Captain Marvel takes place before most Marvel movies at around 1995!

The film tells the story of Vers and the clan of Kree as they defend their territory against their enemies, the Skrulls. After she escapes a Skurll ship where they attempt to extract her memories, she’s shot out of her escape pod and finds herself atop a Blockbuster Video location in Los Angeles. After making a successful land on the ground and informing Nick Fury, an agent for S.H.I.E.L.D., of the war that is brewing between the two races, they must team up to fight an enemy threatening their territory, who may not be the same group they expected.

Even if Captain Marvel is a fun movie to watch, there is nothing in it that makes it exciting, special, or unique.

Captain Marvel was okay. I think the movie is good, but certainly one of the weaker ones in the franchise. It’s the same as all the other Marvel movies. If you are fine with the formula they have set for their movies, and don’t feel that you need a change of pace in this formula, then you’ll likely enjoy this one. I just wish there was some style to this movie, but there unfortunately isn’t. There isn’t even much color in movie, there’s no memorable music, nor does it even really have a very interesting script or commentary.

The movie is mostly just very generic. It tells a simple story, sets up a few conflicts, there’s a quick resolution, and the movie is suddenly over. There’s not even much tension to this movie really. The best way I can describe it is just pure escapism. You’ll be entertained for two and a half hours, but you’ll probably forget about it until you find it on a streaming service of some sort (probably Disney+ by the time that’s ready). This doesn’t make it necessarily bad, it’s competently made, but there’s nothing unique or special about this movie. It’s so generic and by the numbers, I wish there was more to it. When ranking films with a female heroine, I think Wonder Woman and Alita: Battle Angel, both of which came out this year, are superior films. They additionally have much better action sequences as well.

Time to address the elephant in the room when it comes to this movie…

Now I understand there’s some “drama” with this movie and people’s reception to this movie on the internet, and I really didn’t want to get into it that much but I’ll just quickly say that everyone looks stupid fighting over this movie. If you’re claiming that this movie was going to be bad because there is a woman in it, you’re dumb. On the other hand, if you’re going to bully people who think this movie is only okay and call them “man babies” or “sexist” you’re also dumb.

I would advise anyone out there not review bomb a movie to serve any agenda you may have, whether it be “positive” or “negative,” because that will make you and your cause look bad. My thought going in was that I wanted it to just be a good movie. I also acknowledge Brie Larson said some things that got people really angry, and I really don’t want to get into that either. Just know that you commenting on her comments is only giving more publicity to the movie which will encourage people to go watch it. So whether that is your goal or not, acknowledge that you are doing this.

As a side note: I am planning on discussing how to properly engage in discourse with others on the internet because this is a subject I am passionate about and I really just want people just treat others with kindness no matter the opinions they have. What I would say to you for now regarding the internet drama of this movie is this, respect all people and they opinions they have. More importantly, don’t let what others on the internet have to say persuade you into shaping a belief about this movie, whether it’d be positive or negative. See the movie for yourself, and make up your own mind!

So the movie is fine but lacks style, should you still watch it?

With that being said, I don’t feel there is really anything else I can say about this movie. Although entertaining, I just wish the film-making on display was more interesting. I also wish there was more tension in this movie, because that too would have made this much stronger. Even the lack of color within the film bogged this down because this is one dark looking movie. It’s not as bad as Suicide Squad or Solo: a Star Wars Story, but there’s one scene near the end that borders on that quality of lighting and color correction.

For now, though, this is a completely harmless Marvel movie. I believe people will probably love it or hate it more than I did, so I would recommend watching this movie and just making up your own mind. I am very excited for Avengers: Endgame, and will probably continue to watch these movies for years to come. They would have to take a major dive in quality, or just get so tiring and boring to the point of complete exhaustion for me to stop watching these, and thankfully neither has happened yet.

If these movies aren’t for you, that’s fine. But if you find this to be the best Marvel movie though, good for you! I’m glad you could get more enjoyment than I did out of this. I understand I’m late to this party, and the majority of the population has already seen this movie, but I still wanted to give my general thoughts. If you haven’t seen it though and you want to, check it out! It definitely won’t be an infuriating movie to watch, it’ll just be bland. If you don’t care about this being a masterfully made film, you’ll like it fine. Finally, I will admit this: Captain Marvel has the best opening sequence for any Marvel movie! If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.

Written by: Christian Scognamillo