‘Avengers: Endgame’ is proving to be a behemoth, and is fairly unstoppable at the box office. To be completely honest, the mass hysteria that accompanied ‘Endgame’ was unbelievable. Tickets were gone as soon as they were out: even with theatres choosing to run the film round the clock. Its 3 hour runtime barely seems to be hampering its victorious run, and while records are usually broken with time and new ones are made, what ‘Endgame’ has done is fairly decimated them to the extent that it will be a long, long time before another behemoth returns and is able to dethrone the culmination of eleven years of superhero storytelling for Marvel over 22 films, something that resonated with fans and non-fans alike over the globe as a resounding emotion.
To give you an idea if you haven’t already seen it as the headline of your local entertainment paper, the film grossed $1.2 Billion at the global box office over this weekend: films are considered wildly successful if they even cross that benchmark. If you still have no idea what the hell I am talking about, book a ticket (if they’re available) to the nearest theatre, and watch as people clap, cheer and cry over some fictional characters. If you don’t feel the same, you’re at least sure to be moved by the sheer spectacle that the MCU has managed to put forth on the screen as its worthy, well-earned culmination.
However, it has been only a year and it would do us well if we didn’t forget the other behemoth that caused a similar if smaller storm at the ticket windows the world over: ‘Infinity War’, the first MCU film to gross more than $2 Billion at the box office, sitting proudly atop a lot of films as one of the highest grossing films of all time, although soon to be overtaken by ‘Endgame’. The latter may come to be known over the years as the father of teamup films, what with [SPOILER] bringing in every single MCU hero in the end, ‘Infinity War’ may very well be termed the one that did it first. It is almost a law of nature that everything is to be taken over by something, but what ‘Infinity War’ did was unprecedented and unforeseen for, I daresay, even films in general. However, is it the better film? Well, this is what we are here to analyse. I will be doing this by breaking down the analysis in several parts or headers, each putting the two films under the lens. Read on.
No denying it, ‘Endgame’ had much more of a detailed plot than ‘Infinity War’, even if it was riddled with plot holes at certain points, but then again, so was ‘Infinity War’. Its three-hour runtime is completely justified in fitting in all that it does, including the time travel arc that is quite complicated if you come to think of it, even if covered in slight implausibility, with its narrative that can clearly be broken down into the traditional three act structure of films, also buoyed by its emotional heft that I will discuss later in greater depth. This one goes to ‘Endgame’.
I have no doubts that both ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame’ would be placed among the best action movie category of their respective years, but truth be told, ‘Endgame’ barely had any full-fledged action sequences until the final act: which itself would put anything even worthy of competing to shame. The setup to the final confrontation with Thanos starting out with the trio of Cap, Thor and Iron Man, and escalating into full-blown war is a spectacle unto itself. However, the action in ‘Infinity War’ was more evenly spread out, and had a dozen of action sequences one after the other, all of them executed in great fashion and choreography, providing some of the best character moments in the MCU. While ‘Endgame’ has the final war, ‘Infinity War’ has the Titan battle that can squarely be split up into two parts, the battle in Wakanda, the one in New York in the beginning, and the one in Edinburgh. This one has to go out to ‘Infinity War’.
There is no doubt that Thanos was a worthy villain for both the main films in the MCU cannon, and one of the most formidable ones when it comes to superhero films. While we knew he would meet his expected end in ‘Endgame’, it was just a matter of counting down till the final hour. In ‘Infinity War’ though, he was much, much more of a force to reckon with, proving to be a mortal threat for each and every one he faced personally, especially Cap and Iron Man, even irreversibly killing Vision, Loki, Heimdall and his own daughter Gamora. I would even go on to say that ‘Infinity War’ was much more about him than it was about the Avengers. Have to give this to ‘Infinity War’: this was Thanos’ show all the way.
Let me get this absolutely clear as I begin, ‘Endgame’s three hour runtime, warranted or not, did not have an issue with me as a viewer since there was enough packed in to keep me continuously interested. However, as I have already stated, ‘Infinity War’ was relentless. Within its close to 150 minute runtime, ‘Infinity War’ was more nerve-wracking than ‘Endgame’, and that too almost consistently. I would give it to ‘Endgame’ had it been for goosebumps, but this one goes to ‘Infinity War’.
Both films with their humongous budgets have proved to be the current pinnacles of popular cinema, with no penny spared in getting the end product just right, with both films being shot completely in 3D. Even more than that, the two films directed by the Russo brothers put on track a number of recurring complaints I had with the MCU films in general, including the lack of a characteristic cinematography, a memorable background score, the framing of action sequences, and the lack of a distinct colour palette. Both these films correct that, and this is one of the many reasons I rated both ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame’ much higher than previous MCU films, and even the other two Avengers films. Since both the films follow virtually the same template, have the same directors and were shot back to back with the same resources, there was bound to be little distinction when it comes to technical finesse. Tie on this one.
Is this even a question? ‘Endgame’ reduced entire theatres of audiences into incoherent sobbing messes, including me. The emotional weight on ‘Endgame’ was unbelievable for a superhero movie, as the audiences bid farewell to some of the most beloved characters over the roster. One of them in particular is bound to break your heart into precisely 3000 pieces and stomp on them till you are left clobbering for getting yourself together. To add to that, ‘Endgame’ is the end of an era of superhero storytelling, which is bound to carry a lot of emotional weight. Without a doubt, ‘Endgame’ wins this one.
One of ‘Endgame’s major strengths was that there was so much kept under tight wraps that the audiences flocked to the theatres in unprecedented numbers in sheer anticipation of what was going to happen. The trailers gave away precious little, and the Marvel embargo was furious. Yet still, even in all the anticipation, there was a tiny hint of predictability owing to past news and well, this being the end. We only didn’t know how it would all conspire, except, well the time travel. ‘Infinity War’s trailer gave away much more, but nothing could have prepared you for Thanos’ carnage: plans were foiled every ten minutes and scales tipped on either side wildly. The relentless final fifteen minutes of ‘Infinity War’ should tell you why I chose that.
What ‘Infinity War’ established by neatly bringing in all factions of superheroes together in one film was unprecedented and unforeseen, agreed, but what ‘Endgame’ establishes in its final hour is going to change the history of blockbuster cinema as we know it, bringing every single MCU hero to fight against the titanic threat, in one place, in one frame. Call it a rule of nature, but this was bound to happen. ‘Infinity War’ HAD to be trumped by its successor when it comes to sheer spectacle, and it does. ‘Endgame’, all the way.
I have scratched my head on this one for very, very long, and I know eventhough this might upset some of you, I am going to give this to ‘Infinity War’. Yes, the way the Avengers assemble in ‘Endgame’ in the final act is glorious and worthy of all kinds of applause, but as the plot would have it, ‘Endgame’ brings the focus back to the original Avengers, particularly the trio of Cap, Iron Man and Thor. Yes, Captain America has his moment with Mjolnir, and Iron Man has basically been crowned immortal with his final snap and “I am Iron Man” snippet, superhero moments in ‘Infinity War’ were almost equally epic, and if not, they would in my opinion score higher solely by virtue of being so many, just because they were assigned to every single character, uniformly. Plus, remember Thor’s entry in Wakanda with Groot and Rocket? I was deafened by that. Maybe this is the deciding one, but my vote goes to ‘Infinity War’ on this one.
Callbacks: Relation to the MCU
‘Endgame’ has been a fine reward for the fans’ patience, perseverance and faith in the Marvel brand. The fan servicing in this film was quite on another level, completely. The time travel ploy too basically takes the Avengers to sites of their previous battles and to critical points in previous MCU films, and as expected, it is more than exhilarating to watch. Apart from tying up and satisfactorily concluding the Infinity Saga, ‘Endgame’ routinely literally goes back in time as a reminder of far we all have come with these films. So, obviously, ‘Endgame’.
I stand at a crossroads with respect to this one. While both films can together be considered a joint conclusion to years of MCU storytelling, the conclusions that these two films have individually put forth lie in completely different categories. One is devastating to say the least with the snappening wiping away half of the creature population in the universe, and the other one is a befitting, heartfelt one, wrapping up the current string of MCU films. For a superb, unexpected ending that stayed with you long after you were numbed as the credits rolled, I will give this to ‘Infinity War’. Also, for the love of ‘perfect’ endings, and for the love of Iron Man and Cap, ‘Endgame’ deserves this too. Stellar conclusions for both, hence a tie.
Out of the eleven criteria we have judged the two films on, there have been two ties, four for ‘Endgame’ and five for ‘Infinity War’. So I guess we know who the winner is, but boy was this a close call. Of course, individual opinions are going to vary, but this is as close we can get to a critical analysis or breakdown of the comparison. While according to this small analysis, I reflect upon ‘Infinity War’ being the better film, might I add by a teeny tiny margin, the real winners here are the fans for having been treated to two mammoth films within a year. Truly the golden age of comic book films.