Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame ★★★

Doesn't hold up, a bit of a surprise for me since finale films tend to have that huge rally-around-the-flag crowdpleasing effect. I think it's largely to do with just how LONG it is. 3 hours is a full half-hour more than Infinity War, and the length of the Godfather movies. Even more than Infinity War, it feels like a TV season smushed up and sometimes it's pretty choppy just like they combined a bunch of episodes and tried to splice them together.

It's not that good, but it WAS indeed a very fun movie even so. I can still highly enjoy a movie that isn't that good, you know!

It's filled to the brim with fanservice, though not much of which was new to me; watching through the entire series with fresh eyes for the first time in many years did not actually improve the experience that much here. I was surprised, actually! They made it just easy enough to follow that my half-forgotten memories of the older Phase I and Phase II films still helped me catch almost every single reference. That's both a testament to how well they have been able to stitch this massive meta-franchise together, and a disappointment for how few REALLY deep cuts this big finale had to offer.

Just like with Infinity War, this movie is a bit too Big and Grand for me to make very coherent thoughts, so I'll just list a bunch of random notes:

-Captain Marvel's excuse for not showing up in the other movies was extraordinarily weak. Not even a handwave.

-Why's Steve keep bringing Peggy Carter up all of a sudden? (Oh wait, we all know why.)

-The big emotional stuff in the early parts about moving on and growing through grief... It's honestly pretty well-done. WAY more resonant than anything else in the majority of Marvel Studios. I am constantly shocked.

-Paul Rudd is just, the best.

-This is the only Marvel Studios film with hard-coded subtitles for non-English languages. I do not know why. On that note, Jeremy Renner's Japanese accent is really bad.

-The way the movie acts ike its time travel mechanics are more sophisticated than some random movie's, but then its own time trave mechanics are kinda stupid too? That's lame, y'all.

-The scene where they are explaining all the Infinity Stones has way too many jokes and weird cuts. All the reaction shot mugging when Thor is speaking... kind of undercuts the actual emotions going on.

-After watching twenty-plus movies of this damn saga, the time traveling, continuity-nod filled heist stuff is just lovely. It wins me over in a huge way. Every corner of Marvel's cinematic history (except for Incredible Hulk lol) is touched upon in some way or another in this film, and it's great.

-The way these movies are able to keep visual continuity even while reusing locations and even entire footage from older movies is... really impressive. That's some real movie magic there.

-Captain Marvel literally does nothing of any use in this damn movie. What a waste of time it was hyping her up and all she does is show up in a couple scenes to punch things.

-Thanos, once again, is completely unhinged and has no grasp on reality. Not as good a villain here this time; more of a plot device.

-Captain America gets his ultimate moment here, and so does Thor. Both of them got really good character arc culminations, though partly because they didn't have too much room to grow after their first films.

-WHERE IS THE COLOR?

-The siege of Wakanda and the final battle here both underwhelming. The Russos created some really elaborate fight scenes throughout these two Avengers films, but their big battle scenes were not the best. For how ridiculously long Endgame was, it deserved a Lord of the Rings-level war scene, but instead it got just a sorta okay ten or fifteen minutes.

-Poor Pepper Potts! Finally gets her moment to shine, but just a brief flicker after all these movies.

-The epilogue didn't make me as emotional as I wish it would have.

-The credits sequence going absolutely overboard in crediting the absolutely gigantic cast is the kind of pompous arrogance you earn by having the biggest film franchise in history, and I almost wish they went even further with it. I mean, this is a film where Michael Douglas gets 35th billing and Robert Redford gets 51st. No movie in the next fifty years is going to have a cast THIS star-studded. We hit peak movie casting.

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And for yet another Continuity Weirdness installment:

-Once again, Captain Marvel, what the fuck are you doing? Why are the writers just trying to put you as far away from the plot as possible, especially when so much of the film could have been solved with her present?

-Are little kids really posing for photos with Hulk, who just ten years ago did a 9/11 on Johannesburg and was responsible for many other disasters in the past? Well, I guess public opinion changes over time.

-Thanos, in 2014, was out there looking for the Infinity Stones, as we see. But it's kind of extremely lame if so, because that means Thanos was out there for a while just shifting around aimlessly. Especially when he already knew the location of one of them. It's a bit, uh, strange.

-In a macro sense, across all twentysomething of these movies, Tony Stark's character arc makes no sense at all. It's just baffling.

-Thunderbolt Ross actually appears in this film, but in a very strange way that doesn't quite jive with his whole character. Isn't he supposed to be a villain?

-The Cap thing. It doesn't make sense according to the actual rules they set out for us. The writers and directors and whatever have argued about it for ages, and the only thing is, it makes no sense because it's a stupid plothole.

-Ugh, just the implications that the Cap thing causes... the continuity is completely ruined and stupid nerds like me will never be able to accept it. It's worse than the Spider-Man timeline stuff!

-...How and why did Ant-Man's van get moved to the warehouse or whatever? How did they know it was his? Why did they bother?

-Maybe I don't get how the Time Stone works, but couldn't they have gotten ahold of that first and used that a bunch to get the other time stones?

-Why did they have to steal Pym particles when they could have gone to most points in time post-2012 and asked nicely (or, send Hulk)?

Overall, this movie had less Continuity Weirdness than Infinity War, though it was mostly due to being a direct sequel to that film. The movie isn't as good an ending as it could have with... I'm not even sure, to be honest. What could they have changed here? Maybe it was inevitable, and this was the best they could do if they had to combine so many stumbles and missteps and mild successes into one culminating feature? I don't know.

It was a good movie, and probably deserves to be the #1 film in the world based on sheer ambition and scope alone. That's fine with me.

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