The Avengers: Endgame re-release was a huge disappointment, and frankly unworthy of Marvel Studios. The culmination of over a decade's worth of blockbuster movies, Avengers: Endgame is one of the biggest events in cinematic history. It's received rave reviews from fans and critics alike, and debuted with an incredible $1.2 billion worldwide.
Marvel Studios took the unprecedented step of re-releasing Avengers: Endgame while it was still in theaters, though with some additional features running after the credits. It had a Stan Lee tribute, an unfinished deleted scene with the Hulk, and a sneak peek at Spider-Man: Far From Home. Die-hard Marvel fans flocked to the theaters for a rewatch, but the general reaction doesn't seem to have been positive.
There's a simple reason for this; the Avengers: Endgame re-release is an unusually cynical move on Marvel's part. The studio is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, and it should be better than this.
Avengers: Endgame's Re-Release Was All About Avatar
The simple truth is that the Avengers: Endgame re-release is all about trying to make a little bit more money in order to take Avatar's crown as the highest-grossing film in history. Of course, in reality this is something of an arbitrary and meaningless target, given that those figures don't account for ticket price inflation (which typically only accounts for domestic prices); if inflation is factored in, the best performing film of all time is Gone With The Wind, at $3.8 billion, and neither Avengers: Endgame nor Avatar come anywhere close to that. There's only one reason to want to pass this arbitrary milestone: hubris. And that's not a good look for Marvel.
Oddly, Disney may well be relieved that Avengers: Endgame doesn't look set to beat Avatar. As a result of the Disney/Fox acquisition, the Avatar franchise also belongs to the House of Mouse. James Cameron is working on sequels, and Disney has a lot riding on their success. They're planning to synergize the release of these sequels with the opening of a wave of "World of Pandora" theme parks. Avatar may have been a phenomenal hit at the time, but its cultural impact was surprisingly muted in the long-run. That means that, when Avatar 2 is due out, Disney will probably want to base their marketing on the continuation of the biggest box office success story of all time (sans ticket price inflation).
Avengers: Endgame's New Content Doesn't Add Anything To The Movie
It's important to note that Avatar's box office includes a re-release as well, but James Cameron took a very different approach to Marvel. For the Avatar re-release, Cameron went back to material he'd cut from the finished film and completed its CGI (at a cost of $1 million a minute). He then stitched nine minutes of new footage back into the movie, meaning the re-release had a sense of value to it. The new version was so long that the end credits had to be cut down, because at the time the IMAX platter had a maximum of 170 minutes.
Contrast this with Avengers: Endgame, which features only a single unfinished deleted scene that runs after the credits. It's an alternate introduction to the Professor Hulk character, showing the Hulk operating as a superhero and diving into a burning building. The CGI is low quality; the flames lack definition, the Hulk's mouth doesn't move at all when Mark Ruffalo says his lines, and at one point he pulls out a mobile phone that's literally just a gray rectangular block. It's easy to see why this single deleted scene was cut, because it doesn't add anything at all to the story.
Making matters worse, this wasn't the deleted scene audiences wanted to see at all. Avengers: Endgame cut one of Iron Man's most important moments, a metaphysical experience he went through after snapping his fingers and defeating Thanos. In this scene, which deliberately paralleled Thanos' experience in Avengers: Infinity War, Tony Stark found his consciousness transferred into the Soul World inside the Soul Stone. There, Tony found himself face to face with his daughter Morgan - but an older Morgan played by 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford. The Russos cut this scene because test audiences found it confusing, but the people who are likely to turn up to an Avengers: Endgame re-release aren't your average moviegoers; they're the hardcore Marvel fans who are eager to see this particular scene, and wouldn't be confused by it at all. Had Marvel included this, rather than the Professor Hulk scene, they'd have had a far more positive reaction.
The Spider-Man: Far From Home Clip Was Disappointing
Finally, even the Spider-Man: Far From Home clip was disappointing as well. It's just the pre-credits roll, in which Nick Fury and Maria Hill head to the remote Mexican town of Ixtenco and meet Mysterio; it lasts barely a minute, and almost all the footage has been shown in trailers and TV spots, meaning it contained absolutely no surprises. Marvel would have been smart to do something special, something that got fans buzzing ahead of the imminent release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, but instead this just fell flat.
Again, the remarkable thing about this is that it didn't need to be this way. Far From Home director Jon Watts has confirmed that some scenes from the trailers were actually cut, showing Peter Parker getting ready for his European trip. These scenes all looked pretty cool, and included an action sequence in which Spider-Man took down a crime gang in New York and traded banter with the police before excitedly telling them he's going on vacation. According to Watts, they'll be released on the Blu-Ray as a "little short film" called "Peter's To-Do List," which sounds rather like one of the old Marvel one-shots. There's absolutely no reason Marvel couldn't have screened this at the re-release of Avengers: Endgame; it's already been shot, after all, and it wouldn't have given away any spoilers because it happens before Peter has even headed out on his European trip.
There's nothing wrong with doing a re-release, but the additional content has to make the rewatch worth it. Over the last decade, Marvel has built a strong and positive relationship with their fanbase, but the Avengers: Endgame re-release frankly feels as though they've taken advantage of their most devoted fans. It feels cheap and cynical, and strangely desperate, as though Marvel really felt Avengers: Endgame wouldn't have been enough of a hit if it didn't dethrone Avatar. That's not a good look for the House of Ideas, and it seems fitting that they failed to achieve their goal. Hopefully Marvel never try anything quite like this again.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019