Will Hartman’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched at the Capitol Theatre.
I can't say I was too excited for this one after not liking Infinity War, but I've been into enough Marvel movies over the years that I was hopeful. I liked this more than the last Avengers movie, but didn't love it.
Superhero movies appeal to us because we like the characters. Oddly, only a few Marvel movies have actually been character driven. Those ones (Black Panther, Thor 1 and 3, maybe Guardians of the Galaxy) are the ones I like best — I don't think Endgame was one of those.
Most characters weren't really allowed to develop over the course of the last 20-odd movies. The conclusory nature of this movie helps with that a bit. We finally get to see Captain America move in some kind of an emotional direction that matters. Stark goes somewhere too, but I'd argue they pretty much covered — and then later ignored — that stuff in Iron Man 3. It's better than nothing, but to me at least, it felt like too little too late.
Thor doesn't fare so well. Thor 3 brought lots to the character, bringing in important lessons, new motivations, and some visual changes (which matter quite a bit in this kind of movie). By the end of Infinity War, all the stuck around was the haircut. When he shows up in Endgame, even that's gone. There are a few other things that I think undermine Thor 3, but they go in a spoiler-y direction, so I won't bring them up here.
Lots of other characters are pretty much forgotten — understandable in a movie with this many, but still disappointing for me. Maybe a different structure could have helped?
The plot is certainly the focus here, and for me, this doesn't help the movie. The first act focuses on character moments (which I liked), but these get sidelined pretty quickly in the second act, which has some pretty mechanical goals (collecting the gemstones, etc). That's not to say I don't like movies that focus more on plot than character. Plenty of spy-thriller type things like that have worked for me. Twists and turns can keep me engaged, but there wasn't a ton of that kind of thing in this movie. The focus was less on surprising developments and more on surprising *moments* — this is fine I guess, but it doesn't really excite me the same way.
If we're talking *moments*, we need to bring up the action scenes. You know what you're getting. There have been 20 something of these, and the action is pretty similar to what you'd find in the others. If you like Marvel's usual take on this stuff, you'll like it in this movie. My blockbuster-y action preferences fall more towards the Mission Impossible side of the aisle — I prefer more tactile stuff that focuses on stuntwork. I wasn't too into this, but I wasn't expecting to be either.
All this said though, it's not like I regretted going to the theater for this. More people care about Avengers stuff than pretty much any other movie. I can't say I'm one of the those people, but I really appreciate getting be in a room with that much energy.