“No amount of money ever bought a second of time,” one character says to another — I’m afraid I can’t be any more specific than that — somewhere around the middle of “Avengers: Endgame.” So true, so true, and also in context so completely not true. The intersecting axes of time and money are what this franchise is all about, and while I’m not an expert in studio math, I’d guess that a second of the movie, based on what Disney and Marvel Studios paid to make it, would buy a decent used car.
《复仇者联盟4：终局之战》(Avengers: Endgame)放到大概一半，一个角色对另一个角色——我恐怕不能说得更具体了——说：“再多的金钱也买不来一秒钟的时间”。真相了，真相了，而且是在这么一个毫无真相可言的语境下。时间和金钱的交叉点就是这部电影的全部，虽然我不是电影公司收支方面的专家，但我猜，根据迪士尼(Disney)和漫威电影公司(Marvel Studios)的制作成本，这部电影里的一秒钟可以买下一辆不错的二手车。
There are roughly 10,860 of those — seconds, not cars — nestled in between the quiet, spooky opening and the last bit of end credits. Which means that whatever a ticket costs in your neighborhood, “Avengers: Endgame” might count as a bargain. At three hours and one minute, it’s shorter than “Titanic,” “The Godfather Part II” or Luchino Visconti’s “The Leopard.” And while the time doesn’t exactly fly, it doesn’t drag either. The two hours and forty minutes of “Infinity War” (also directed by Joe and Anthony Russo) felt infinitely longer. Settling scores, wrapping up loose ends and taking a victory lap — the main objects of the game this ostensibly last time around — generate some comic sparks as well as a few honest tears.
在安静、诡异的片头和最后一点片尾字幕之间大约有10860秒——不是10860辆二手车。这意味着，无论你附近影院的票价是多少，《复仇者联盟：终局之战》(Avengers: Endgame)都可以算是值回票价。这部影片长3小时1分钟，比《泰坦尼克号》(Titanic)、《教父2》(The Godfather Part II)或卢基诺·维斯康蒂(Luchino Visconti)的《豹》(The Leopard)都要短。时光不算是飞逝，但走起来也不能说慢。《复仇者联盟3：无限战争》(Infinity War)时长2小时40分钟，就显得很漫长（该片同样由乔和安瑟尼·鲁索[Joe and Anthony Russo]执导）。《终局之战》似乎是这个系列的最后一部影片了，它的主要目标是解决问题、交代所有的伏笔，并且绕场一圈庆祝胜利，这些都能产生一些喜剧火花和真诚的眼泪。
And why not? We’ve lived with these characters and the actors playing them for more than a decade, and even when the party got hectic, stupid or crowded, there was no reason to complain about the guests. For the most part, it’s nice to see them again, and a little sad to say goodbye.
[How the original “Avengers”original “Avengers” came together.]
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, always kind of neurotic for a buff deity with a mighty hammer, has let himself go, turning into a fat Lebowski with mommy issues. War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) have more to do than previously. (I wish that were also true of Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie.) The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) has made peace with his essential duality. Robert Downey Jr., looking handsomely grizzled, exercises his seniority with a light touch. He’s been around the longest — the first “Iron Man” was in 2008 — and combines the duties of unofficial chief superhero with those of master of ceremonies.
克里斯·海姆斯沃斯(Chris Hemsworth)饰演的雷神托尔，对于一个抡大锤的肌肉神而言，多少显得有点神经质，在本片中他彻底释放，变成一个有恋母问题的胖版勒保斯基(Lebowski)。战争机器（唐·钱德尔[Don Cheadle]饰）、黑寡妇（斯嘉丽·约翰逊[Scarlett Johansson]饰）和鹰眼（杰瑞米·雷纳[Jeremy Renner]饰）的戏份增加了。（我希望泰莎·汤普森[Tessa Thompson]饰演的女武神的戏份也能多一点）。绿巨人（马克·鲁弗洛[Mark Ruffalo]饰）已经与他本性里的二元对立和平相处。小罗伯特·唐尼(Robert Downey Jr.)花白头发的形象很漂亮，他以一种轻松的方式显示了自己的资历。他的历史最久——该系列第一部《钢铁侠》(Iron Man)是在2008年——他把非正式的超级英雄领袖和影片司仪的职责结合了起来。
It’s not all fun and games. A lot of heroes died at the end of “Infinity War,” and their loss weighs heavily on the survivors, perhaps especially on Nebula (Karen Gillan), whose father was responsible for the slaughter. Thanos’s deployment of the six Infinity Stones to wipe out half the life in the universe was unforgivable, of course — I can’t believe I just typed that — but it proves to have been helpful to the Russos, the screenwriters (Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely) and the audience. We and they have a manageable dozen or so major characters to keep track of, which leaves room for some of the alternately lump-in-throat, tongue-in-cheek ensemble work that has always been the series’s most potent weapon.
片中并不全是玩玩乐乐。许多英雄在《无限战争》的结尾死去，他们的死亡沉重地压在幸存者心头，也许对星云（凯伦·吉兰[Karen Gillan]饰）来说尤其如此，她的父亲要为这场屠杀负责。灭霸使用六颗无限宝石消灭了宇宙中一半的生命，这是不可原谅的，那是自然——我不敢相信我打出了这几个字——但事实证明，这对鲁索兄弟、编剧克里斯托弗·马库斯(Christopher Markus)和斯蒂芬·麦克菲利(Stephen McFeely)以及观众都有帮助。我们和他们还有十几个主要角色要追，这就给影片留出空间，可以安排一些时而令人哽咽、时而半开玩笑的群戏，而这一直是该片最有力的武器。
“The Avengers” cycle may require an escalating series of battles to save the universe from ultimate evil — each manifestation more ultimate than the last, with Thanos (Josh Brolin) as the ultimate ultimate of them all — but the engine that keeps it running is friendship. This isn’t the same as harmony. Going back to the earlier movies, Hulk and Thor have had their moments of friction, as have Iron Man and Captain America (Chris Evans).
《复仇者联盟》的世界可能需要一系列不断升级的战斗，把宇宙从终极邪恶中拯救出来——每一场战斗的形式都比上一场更终极，而灭霸（乔什·布洛林[Josh Brolin]饰）是终极之中的终极——但维持这个世界运转的引擎是友谊。虽说并不完全是和谐的。回顾早期的电影，绿巨人和雷神有过摩擦，钢铁侠和美国队长（克里斯·埃文斯[Chris Evans]饰）也不对付。
The personal and political bad blood between those two, most acute in “Captain America: Civil War,” continues to simmer, at least at first. But the mood over all is tender and comradely, touched by acute grief and the more subtle melancholy of what everyone seems to understand is the Last Big Adventure. About that adventure, I won’t say much, though it strikes me that the shape of the plot is less vulnerable to spoilage than the little winks and local surprises along the way.
钢铁侠和美国队长之间的个人和政治恩怨在《美国队长3》(Captain America: Civil War)里达到顶峰，本片中也在持续发酵，至少一开始是这样。但总的来说，《复仇者联盟4》的气氛是温和友爱的，充满悲伤和比较微妙的忧郁，每个人似乎都明白，这是最后的大冒险了。关于这个冒险，我不会说太多，尽管比起一路上挤眉弄眼的暗示和边边角角的小惊喜，剧透对整体剧情的影响没那么大。
Those are the rewards for sitting through all those movies patiently waiting for the post-credit stingers, collecting Easter eggs while your friends were texting or your dad was napping and generally doing the unpaid labor of fandom for all these years. Was it worth it? In the aggregate, I have my doubts, but the chuckles and awws you’ll hear around you in the theater at certain moments attest to the happy sense of participation that lies at the heart of the modern fan experience. At its best — and “Endgame” is in some ways as good as it gets — the “Avengers” cosmos has been an expansive and inclusive place.
That has proved to be good business. Disney and Marvel’s accomplishment will be duly inscribed in the annals of commerce, to be studied for many years to come. There has been variety — silly movies and somber ones; chapters that proclaim their topicality and episodes that embrace pure escapism — as well as consistency. Any single film can serve as a point of entry, and insider status is easy enough to obtain. There has never been anything difficult or challenging, which is a limitation as well as a selling point.
None of the 22 films in this cycle are likely to be remembered as great works of cinema, because none have really tried. It’s fun to see the actors in these roles we know are capable of better, and also satisfying to appreciate the efforts of those who might not be. Some first-rate directors have taken up the banner and burnished the brand. Their past and future masterpieces will most likely be found elsewhere.
Still, “Endgame” is a monument to adequacy, a fitting capstone to an enterprise that figured out how to be good enough for enough people enough of the time. Not that it’s really over, of course: Disney and Marvel are still working out new wrinkles in the time-money continuum. But the Russos do provide the sense of an ending, a chance to appreciate what has been done before the timelines reset and we all get back to work. The story, which involves time travel, allows for some greatest-hits nostalgic flourishes, and the denouement is like the encore at the big concert when all the musicians come out and link arms and sing something like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” You didn’t think it would get to you, but it does.
尽管如此，《终局之战》仍然堪称丰碑，对于一个成功做到在足够长的时间里为足够多的人提供足够好的服务的企划案，这是个相称的顶点。当然，一切并不是真的结束了：迪士尼和漫威仍在努力解决时间-金钱连续体的新问题。但鲁索兄弟确实给人带来了终结的感觉，让观众有机会欣赏在故事时间线重新设定、一切重新开始之前的一切。这个故事涉及时间旅行，有一些热门金曲怀旧华彩，结局就像大型演唱会的安可曲，所有乐手走出来，手挽手，唱着《但愿亲缘永不断》(Will the Circle Be Unbroken)之类的歌。你没想到它会打动到你，但它确实做到了。