MOVIE BUFF-ET: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ caps a decade of super-hero films Marvelously

Marvel Studios

“Avengers: Endgame” is simply Marvelous, with a capital “M,” if you are a devotee of super-hero movies and have seen a number of Marvel Studio’s films.

As strong as the movie is though, it is not for the uninitiated.

If you haven’t seen last year’s “Avengers: Infinity War,” it is a prerequisite for understanding and enjoying this film, cleverly directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and produced by Marvel movie All-Father Kevin Feige.

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  • Avengers: Endgame (PG-13) 3 hr. 2 min. – AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Rogers Towne, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Bentonville Skylight
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The more of the 22 previous Marvel films you’ve seen, the richer your experience will be with this movie that is a love letter to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie is steeped in the legend, lore and intricacies of the film universe inspired by the comic books created by a host of writers, artists, and editors over the last 68 years.

Chief among those creators were writer/editor Stan Lee, and artists/plotters Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, all of whom are now deceased, although Lee has a cameo in the film as does writer/artist Jim Starlin, the creator of the movie’s principal villain Thanos (James Brolin) as well as many of the concepts at play in the 3 hour and 2 minute presentation.

This will be a spoiler-free review, but it’s hard to detail much of the film’s plot without spilling too many of the beans. What I can tell you is that the thrust of the movie is the Avengers’ attempt to rectify Thanos’ snapping half the living creatures in the universe out of existence by using six ultra powerful sources of energy known collectively as the Infinity Stones.

After the shocking first scene, the movie picks up 23 days after the tragedy that played out at the end of “Avengers: Infinity War” and swiftly leaps ahead five years when the return of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) from being lost in the microscopic Quantum Realm prompts the Avengers to take another stab at righting the injustices committed by Thanos, which included killing such characters as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Falcon and the Winter Soldier among others.

That’s about all I can say other than mentioning that Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Ant-Man are the central characters of the film. Marvel’s latest hero Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) also has a considerable role, but less so than the others.

It would be hard to say any one of the stars steal the movie, but there is a very funny running gag with Hemsworth’s Thor character that made me chuckle throughout the film. However, it might rankle some more serious-minded fans.

The film features several particularly touching moments as the assembled Avengers split up into teams in an attempt to set the universe right. The film has the hallmark Marvel humor, sarcasm, and wit fans have come to expect, but the movie also features a good deal of loss and self-sacrifice on the part of the heroes.

The film’s climax features an all-out war between Thanos’ forces and those aligned with the Avengers that ranks somewhere near if not even more grand than those featured in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Though the film is lengthy, the experience whisked by very swiftly for me. Much of that had to do with the impeccable casting by Marvel, and how well I’ve gotten to know and enjoy these characters over the last decade, and how well used they were by the screenplay of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

Again, I must warn, “Avengers: Endgame” is not a standalone event. It does expect the viewer to know and appreciate the characters going into the movie. If super-heroics aren’t your thing, this movie probably won’t change your mind one bit.

However, if super heroes are your bag, then the movie should be well worth the price of admission.

(PG-13) 3 hr. 2 min.
Grade: A

Classic Corner

Northern Pursuit

Though he was Australian-born, Errol Flynn was one of the United States’ most popular commodities during World War II.

Flynn made a name for himself swashbuckling across the silver screen in such classics of the 1930a as 1935’s “Captain Blood” and 1938’s “Adventures of Robin Hood,” but during the early 1940s few Hollywood stars made more of a splash in war pictures than Flynn. Films like 1941’s “Dive Bomber” and 1942’s “Desperate Journey” cemented him as one of Hollywood’s greatest stay-at-home warriors.

One of Flynn’s most overlooked pictures “Northern Pursuit” comes from the same era and is set against a World War II backdrop as he stars as Steve Wagner, a former corporal in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that goes undercover to root out a covert Nazi scheme.

The film, which Turner Classic Movie channel is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. (CT) Tuesday was Flynn’s first movie after being acquitted of two statutory rape charges in 1942. Though Flynn’s was never as popular after the trial as he was before, he still knew how to carry adventure movies and romance pictures alike.

“Northern Pursuit” is a solid thriller, directed by the capable Raoul Walsh, who also directed Flynn in the Gen. George Armstrong Custer biopic “They Died With Their Boots On” in 1941.

Walsh amps up the tension and leaves the viewer questioning whether Flynn is a turncoat or not through much of the movie which co-stars Julie Bishop, Helmut Dantine, John Ridgely, and Gene Lockhart.