Hi. Here there be spoilers, although I don’t talk about the plot or any character deaths.
I enjoyed Endgame more than I expected to! I watched it tonight with a somewhat rowdy crowd (but only one obnoxious yeller, thank God), which definitely helped with the long runtime; I’m all for long movies, but only when the length is absolutely necessary. The length here was a necessity purely because of the sheer size of the cast and the scope of the plot, but to its credit, the movie didn’t feel rushed or bloated, although that’s possibly because the battle scenes were simply quick cuts to new characters arriving on the scene, to the whooping delight of the audience I watched it with. I couldn’t help but have fun when everyone else around me was having fun too.
I liked the character-driven scenes and the much-needed levity–there were many more jokes than I would have expected. I was happy to see the all-ladies splash page moment in the final battle (I KNOW I was being pandered to, shut up). Robert Downey Jr.’s reading of the line “Shit” was note perfect, and he turned in some of the best work he’s done for the MCU here.
Watching the characters bounce off each other in interesting ways reminded me of my biggest beef with the Marvel movies, which is that nearly all the true character development happens off screen (sure, we see Strange and Stark learn not to be jerks in their respective movies, but that’s an exception to the rule). It’s a symptom of being so plot-driven and visuals-focused: character beats fuel laugh lines while showing us how characters have changed while they’re offscreen, but we don’t get to see that change, just the proof of it. Instead of getting to see Bruce come to terms with his anger, we skip ahead to an already zen Hulk. Instead of getting to see Bucky’s rehabilitation in Wakanda, we catch glimpses of him in end credits sequences all through Phase 3. Carol Danvers learns who she is, but that isn’t dynamic character change, it’s just rediscovery of the person she’d always been. Hawkeye goes on a rampage of revenge, but it’s difficult to understand exactly why or how, other than he needed an excuse to have a haircut and a tattoo. We don’t get to see Tony learn how to be a dad, he’s just suddenly a father. We don’t get to see Cap settle down and live his life in order. I’m bummed about that. I’d love to see the characters put in the hard work toward becoming people, instead of cool posed cardboard cutouts. I’d love a hangout movie with Thor and Korg and Bruce playing video games and trying to find Bruce a t-shirt that fits him.
Overall I liked Endgame, but I’m looking forward to seeing smaller-stakes storytelling again, preferably with character-driven storytelling. I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, though. The formula is just too strong.