Avengers: Endgame first impressions: The end of an era
A quick mini spoiler-free write-up of the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Remember those dubbed versions of English movies that used to be telecast during weekends? The ones where Jackie Chan spoke in impeccable Madras Tamil or Jurrasic Park's dinosaurs were referred to as "andha kodiya mirugam." While I have seen my fair share of such films on TV, there was never that push to make me catch a Tamil version in theatres, especially while the original was running in an adjacent screen. However, that changed with Avengers: Endgame.
With names like AR Murugadoss (dialogues), Vijay Sethupathi (Iron Man) and Andrea Jeremiah (Black Widow) being connected to the project, expectations skyrocketed. However, the regular consumers of the Tamil versions of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were unimpressed by the choices. Vijay Sethupathi's famous drawl didn't seem to do justice to Robert Downey Jr, and "Kadaisi Moochu irukkura varaikkum poraaduvom" was no match for the much simpler and more effective, "Whatever It Takes."
The odds were heavily stacked against the Tamil version of Endgame, and the only thing I could hope for was the Russo Brothers delivering on their promises. After watching the 181-minute film, I believe they have. The presence of a barrage of superheroes, who are fending off a global crisis (when are they not?), does not hasten the pace of the film. Every superhero is given a proper introduction, with a few surprises tucked in between. The audience at a 4 am show in the suburbs of Chennai clearly had their favourites. If some brought the roof down for Captain America and Captain Marvel, some others did it for Thor (he is a hoot here) and Hulk. The loudest cheers were reserved for the man that started it all, Iron Man aka Robert Downey Jr. However, the cheers gave way for a collective groan when he uttered his first word, and to be honest, I don't blame them. For example, the ease of RDJ rattling off science jargons goes completely missing in Vijay Sethupathi as he labours his way through these complex words. This was the first time I saw so much indifference towards a Vijay Sethupathi act. Even if it is the actor who just acted in Super Deluxe, you just don't mess around with Iron Man.
Compared to previous Avengers films, Endgame is more dialogue-heavy, which surprisingly didn't bother an audience who were no doubt sleep-deprived. Although the Tamil lines aren't exactly organic-sounding, ARM does smart work by using a smattering of Madras Tamil, and references to popular film dialogues like "Thirumba thirumba pesara nee." I won't deny that I was waiting for Thanos or Captain America or any Avenger to say, "I'm waiting." Well, that didn't happen, and maybe that was for the best.
More than the super cool action sequences, rousing soundtrack, and a constant undercurrent of humour, what makes Avengers: Endgame a fitting finale is the strong emotional core, and the feeling of contentment as the credits roll. From Jon Favreau in 2008 to Joss Whedon in 2012 to The Russo Brothers now, the makers at Marvel have done whatever it takes for MCU to become an unparalleled worldwide phenomenon over 22 films, spanning the last 11 years. And as it ends... one thing is for sure, Marvel, and cinema, as we know it, will never be the same again.