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THE AVENGERS: ENDGAME In theaters, review by Victoria Alexander

Chris Hemsworth walks off with the 3-hour extravaganza. The talking rodent comes in second. Remember early Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.)? As played by Downey, Tony was bitchy, filled with  bravado, egotistical and pranced around showing off his toys and limo driver. Finally, because he’s a braggart, proclaims at a press conference, “I am Iron Man.” Then Spidey pulled off his mask. Superheroes have become fame whores. None of them are hiding behind a pair of eyeglasses. The Marvel Universe has become much too cluttered – just naming all of them in ENDGAME would take up 500 words. How many times must the world be saved? Now that good old Tony has decided to find his gravitas, He’s already been neutered by Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow). And he’s a sore loser. He just can’t live in a world run by Thanos (Josh Brolin). Hey, Thanos did get all 5 Infinity stones and to the victor, it’s been said, belongs the spoils. Tony is depressed. He’s lost a lot of weight and decided to leave his fortune, ball-busting Pepper (“When do I get a flying suit?”) and his young daughter.

Tony, on his fancy one-seater spacecraft heading towards a black hole, is making his last public statement for the ages and for all human descendants, comes up with an idea how to swindle the stones from Thanos. It’s called “time heist.” Did everybody deserve to be brought back? There had to be some folks that Thanos took out that needed to be culled from the human herd. Being resurrected from the grave used to be the sole province of Jesus. SPOILER, MAYBE: Now everybody is coming back! “Dead and Buried” isn’t “dead and buried finito” anymore.

Almost everybody, even Natalie Portman (she wants back in the Universe where the franchise money is good and the hours are short), shows up. Only Edward Norton and Terrence Howard were “Stalinized” from the pantheon. Or were they in the back seat of Stan Lee’s car? Stan Lee’s cameos are the only known “in perpetuity” movie appearances. Not only did many of Joseph Stalin’s political rivals lose their lives – all traces of their existence were wiped off the face of the planet, including any photos of them. Tom Hindleston must have pitched a hissy-fit about doing a cameo as Loki. He’s seen lying down, facing straight ahead, throwing a ball up in the air. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans) picks up the shield once again, but has already dumped the iconic suit long ago. He’s not proud to be the red, white and blue suited Captain America. I don’t know what Evans has done to his face but he looks like a pod took his place while he was sleeping.

Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) got herself a no-nonsense butch haircut. Evidently, Captain Marvel is not going to fall for one of the other AVENGERS after silly Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) chose Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) over the blond god of Asgard, Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Bruce is a bore, so the AVENGERS said, “Bruce, we want The Hulk full time.”

Chris Hemsworth walks off with the movie. His Thor has said ‘the hell with Asgard,’ the title of “supreme ruler”, and a kingdom with awesome architecture. He’s found food, lots of it, weed, and alcohol. He wants to be a rapper and date someone from the Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark show. He’s got cable TV and Amazon Prime. Thanos won, so what’s new on Netflix? When you see the complete casts of all the movies assembled at the end, you will either say, “Enough  is Enough” or think Thor should team up with everyone’s favorite wise-cracking squirrel, Rocket, and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). That would be some triumvirate!

The script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely is wonderfully clever and they solved the problem of how to bring everybody back from Thanos’s Marie Kondo purge of useless people. The screenwriters could have paid homage to the Bobby Ewing shower scene in Season 9 of Dallas or go the way the Newhart TV show ended 20 years ago – with Bob Newhart’s character Dick London waking up in bed with Emily (Suzanne Pleshette) and saying, “Honey, wake up, you won’t believe the dream I just had.” Captain Marvel’s powers eclipse all of the other AVENGERS. She flies outside Earth’s atmosphere, can glide through the Van Allen Radiation Belt with ease and is close to being recognized as a living god. If only Markus and McFeely could figure out a way for one of the AVENGERS to sacrifice himself/herself to save not one person, not one family, but an entire planet. Now that is a story worth remembering.


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