Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Avengers: Endgame Avengers: Endgame

‘Fan Service: The Movie’ – but in the best possible way.

The balls on this movie to:

  • go to time travel
  • trash three decades of pop cultural understanding of how time travel works
  • call out Back to the Future, by name, as being incorrect
  • then rub that in by going full Back to the Future II in the Avengers Tower sequence (even down to someone getting knocked down by having a door burst open in their face)

If Infinity War was the Russos and Markus & McFeely aiming to create this generation’s The Empire Strikes Back, then Endgame is absolutely their shooting for BttF – and, with any luck, their multiverse model will similarly shape the pop cultural understanding of time travel for the next couple of decades, hopefully to interesting storytelling effect.

Behind the Scenes

In the writers room, screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus developed the story beats via what they call the “serial killers board” – listing character combinations and hero moments that hadn’t yet been seen in any MCU movie. The directors and producers then circled the ones they wanted to see most, and the writers used these circles as goalposts to write toward:

Avengers: Endgame - screenwriters' "serial killer board" (via Backstory / Vanity Fair)
Avengers: Endgame – screenwriters’ “serial killer board” (via Backstory / Vanity Fair)
Avengers: Endgame - screenwriters' "serial killer board" (via Backstory / Vanity Fair)
Avengers: Endgame – screenwriters’ “serial killer board” (via Backstory / Vanity Fair)

The result:

Avengers: Endgame | Spider-Man and Valkyrie
Image source: unknown

Further Viewing

There are plenty of interviews on YouTube with directors Joe & Anthony Russo, and screenwriters Markys & McFeely, about the directing and writing processes that went into Infinity War and Endgame. Once the spoiler-free period ended (two weeks after the release of Endgame, as decreed by the Russos), with full freedom to discuss plot details, the interviews became much more interesting and in-depth. Here are some favourites:

Markus & McFeely in Vanity Fair, breaking down, in order of production, the Endgame writing process:

An even more detailed discussion, particularly addressing questions about the logic, mechanics and implications of the time heist, with Backstory Magazine’s Jeff Goldsmith at Comic Con 2019 (the audio is also available for download on the host’s excellent podcast, ‘The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith’):