My thoughts on Endgame (Spoilers)

It was a really good movie, but unfortunately had a handful of problems which dragged down the experience. This isn't going to be a review so much as me just incoherently ranting about things I liked and didn't like. There's probably going to be a number of things that most of you will disagree with in here, so strap yourselves in.

Time Travel

First thing you should know about me, I hate time travel. I absolutely despise it as a concept for stories, particularly when it is going back in the past to change the future. That kind of storytelling is single-handedly responsible for me not liking DoFP, however irrational that is. So with that all said, let me be the first to tell you how happy I was that it was done well in Endgame... mostly. I was over the moon when they revealed that their plan wasn't to just go back to prevent the snap from happening in the first place or reset the universe to just before the snap or anything, but rather just bring back everything that died in the present. I liked the idea that when they were going back in time they were creating new realities which they then fixed by returning the gems at the exact moment they took them. Overall it was handled really well and thankfully didn't ruin the movie for me.

I also really liked seeing the Ancient One again, it was great watching how casually she said "You're about 5 years too early" after Hulk asked to see Strange. I did find it a bit weird though that she supposedly knows that Strange is supposed to be the greatest Sorcerer Supreme of them all despite not being able to see past her own death which is before Strange actually really does anything. Not sure if that was just a continuity error or if they have some secret prophecy excuse, but that's not really important.

The one main bit I didn't like was Steve staying in the past to live with Peggy and then appearing as an old man on that bench. I'm not entirely sure that followed the rules they set for time travel, but I'll talk more about Steve's ending later.

Little Nitpicks

These aren't big problems, just minor things which irked me.

A lot of the first half of the movie just felt like the MCU was jerking itself off, to be honest. Showing the full, uncut spinning shot from the first Avengers with the original theme blaring in the background was unnecessary and served no purpose whatsoever other than to go "HEY REMEMBER WHEN WE DID THIS AND YOU ALL THOUGHT IT WAS COOL, YEAH IT WAS COOL WASN'T IT???"

Carol sucked. I haven't watched Captain Marvel yet so I don't really have any opinions on her as a character, but at the very least the way she was used in the film was terrible. She had like 5 minutes total in the film, and most of that was spent just performing deus ex machina stuff like suddenly showing up to carry Tony & Nebula back to Earth or randomly showing up again to solo Thanos's ship out of literally nowhere.

The short all-female segment was cringy. Female representation is great and I understand what they were going for, but it was sooooooo blatantly contrived and poorly done, and it didn't even make sense in the end. For no reason whatsoever, somehow every single female character they have just happened to be at the exact right place on the battlefield to "help" (which for some reason included Shuri and Mantis who aren't even proper fighters in the first place), but then Carol just ended up bull rushing through everyone solo anyway. At the very least they could have actually shown some of the genuinely cool female characters like Wanda kick ass in that scene, but nope, it was literally just "hey look we have a lot of female characters now lol".

The Action

The action is likely my main problem with the film. There was barely any of it, and the few sequences they had were mostly underwhelming.

First Half

It was really, really lacking. We had what, Clint's Ronin fight super early on, then Cap vs Cap later? Don't get me wrong, I liked both scenes and the Cap vs Cap fight in particular was very entertaining, but this was seriously all they had before the final battle(s) of a 3-hour long film?

Cap, Thor and Tony vs Thanos

The best fight in the film by a long shot (not that that's a huge accomplishment). There's not a whole lot to say about this, it was awesome, I loved watching the bits of teamwork like Thor intentionally amping Tony's suit with his lightning, I loved watching Thor duel wield Mjolnir and Stormbreaker, I loved watching Thanos kick all their asses, and of course I loved seeing Cap finally pick up Mjolnir and start styling on Thanos. The choreography for Mjolnir + Shield wielding Cap was fantastic and it was great watching him do combos like throwing his shield then throwing Mjolnir at the shield to make a shockwave behind Thanos and so on. Great fight.

One thing I will say is I'm not entirely sure about Thanos carving up Cap's shield without the IG. Whether his sword is supposed to be some super metal even better than vibranium, or MCU vibranium simply isn't that good to begin with and can be destroyed by anyone with enough physical strength, we may never know.

The Grand Finale

Let me first just say that seeing genuine fear creep onto Thanos's face once all the portals begin to open and Strange brings through the huge army was amazing. Cap finally saying "Avengers assemble" wasn't as good as I was hoping (I really wanted him to shout it but instead he just kind of mumbled assemble under his breath), but it still left me with a stupid grin on my face so it can't have been that bad.

As for the fight itself, it was... alright. It makes me really sad that I can't proclaim this to be the greatest fight ever from a CBM because I feel like it had the potential to be that, but that's just not the feeling I got when I watched it. There were a couple of really cool moments in it: Obviously the initial charge in, Giant Man socking a leviathan right in the face, Spidey's insta-kill mode, T'Challa running with the gauntlet, the wizards putting up massive shields as the battlefield gets bombarded, Strange stopping an enormous amount of water from flooding the battlefield, Carol bullrushing Thanos then getting punted by the power gem, all of these things were entertaining to me. My personal favourite was probably Wanda though, showing up beyond pissed at Thanos with her eyes glowing red and proceeding to literally just solo him to the point where he had to order his ship to rain fire to stop her was nothing short of awesome.

But in spite of all those cool moments, the final fight just felt... unsatisfying. A lot of those moments I just listed only lasted for a couple of seconds each before shifting to a less interesting character doing less interesting things, and it was at the cost of not allowing characters I was really excited to see do pretty much anything in the fight. Hulk didn't get to fight at all, we barely got to see Cap or Thor do anything, Strange only did one thing and then got taken out of the fight to stop the water, we barely saw Iron Man, Scott only did like 2 things then we didn't see him again and so on.

Character Deaths

I unfortunately had both of these spoiled for me before seeing the movie, but thankfully they were both done so well that they still felt emotionally impactful and the spoilers didn't really ruin the experience.

Black Widow

I'll be honest, Nat isn't a character I ever cared that much about. It's well known that her and Clint are the two "losers" of the Avengers roster who don't really serve much of a purpose on a team full of gods, monsters, geniuses and legendary heroes, so when I heard that she was going to die it didn't really bother me in the slightest, but man was this a sad scene, in no small part because of how damned good of an actor Jeremy Renner is. Yeah, not a whole lot to say really. It was a well executed scene, watching them genuinely try and stop each other from killing themselves so they could be the one to make the ultimate sacrifice was great. The aftermath where they all return except for Nat is just as good.

Iron Man

Oh Tony, what an excellent conclusion to your arc. This is probably my favourite sacrifice I've ever seen in a CBM for a couple of reasons. First, like I just said it is a genuine, great conclusion to a character arc that started the MCU off 11 years ago. To go all the way from a selfish, arrogant weapons manufacturer to sacrificing yourself to save the whole damned universe.

The execution of the scene though... was just perfect. Strange showing '1' to Tony to let him know that this is it. Tony already knows what he has to do and resigns himself to his fate. Thanos thinks he has all the stones on the gauntlet and repeats his line, "I am inevitable" before snapping, and then realises that Tony managed to steal them. "and I am... Iron Man". Snap. No crazy lightshow, no over the top yelling, no gasping to try and say some cliched last words, no loud song blaring in the background. Just Tony lying on the ground, everyone rushing over to him and sitting him up, Peter's heartbreaking reaction as he cries and tells Tony "we did it, we won" and hugs him, Pepper trying to comfort him and tell him he'll be alright as he just sits there and stares into her eyes with no strength left to speak, there is no music in the background and the only sounds heard are the heavy breathing and soft crying of characters as they watch Tony's arc reactor light go out before the scene fades.

Absolutely perfect, nothing else needs to be said. I never cry at sad moments in movies/shows/books/games or anything like that, but I'd be lying if I said that Peter's reaction in particular didn't make my eyes water. Damn you Tom Holland.

Other Characters

Thanos

I really liked him. I'm almost positive that this won't be the prevailing opinion, but I liked him even more than I did in Infinity War. To be perfectly honest I didn't care that much for the whole sympathetic villain thing they were going for, it was done well and all but I just prefer my Mad Titan to be a truly Mad Titan who was going to enjoy destroying Earth and then kill every single thing in the universe before starting over. I also liked how he just sat down and accepted his fate once Tony snapped, it's nice to know that he isn't a sore loser.

Thor

Okay here comes my nuclear take; I thought fat gamer Thor was fine and people are just overreacting because they wanted to see him act all badass and get good feats like he did in IW. I honestly thought it was alright. Thor blamed himself for not killing Thanos, in his eyes, he is the sole reason why half the universe died. He failed, badly, and now Thanos was dead and the stones were destroyed with no conceivable way of reversing what happened, so he ultimately just gave up. I liked his progression in the film, how overjoyed he was when he found that he was still worthy of Mjolnir, and I like his send-off. I'm not really sure how I feel about him handing off leadership over New Asgard to Valkyrie, I guess we're supposed to assume that she pretty much took over off-screen during the 5 years or something, but I really do like the decision to have Thor join the Guardians.

Cap

Everything about Cap up until the ending was great, I don't feel like I need to say anything about that, but I have... mixed feelings about his ending. I get that the filmmakers wanted to give him a happy ending and all, but they've only just defeated Thanos, the world is still partially in ruins with unstable governments and now the population has just suddenly doubled again. Of all people, is it really reasonable to think that Steve Rogers who became worthy of Mjolnir which Thor let him keep would decide to abandon all that to go live in the past? I'm not so sure. Also what happened to Mjolnir anyway? He had it with him when he went back to the past and didn't seem to have it as an old man on the bench. Plus this opens up a lot of plot holes to do with the time travel in the first place, but I don't really want to get in to them. Maybe this is just the part of me that hates using time travel to change the future talking. Also I'm surprised he passed the mantle on to Falcon and not Bucky, given the latter is pretty equal to him in terms of power and skill while Falcon... isn't.

I don't know, just wasn't really happy with his ending compared to the others. I'm not exactly surprised that he retired but the way it happened just felt kind of sudden.

Professor Hulk

Best character in the film.

Dab
Dab

In all seriousness, I absolutely loved Professor Hulk. He was hilarious in pretty much every comedic scene he had (which was like over half his scenes), but I still can't help but feel annoyed that despite finally getting some good character progression, he's once again mostly shafted. He literally doesn't have a single fight in the entire film. That was really disappointing to me because I was hoping he'd be able to make up for his performance in Infinity War but nope, pretty much all he did was survive snapping (which as he himself stated was because the radiation was mostly gamma) and then hold up some unknown amount of the Avengers facility while the rest made it out, and then he was stuck under there for the entire duration of the final fight. He still lacks a healing factor too which is something I would have liked to see. Speaking of which,

A few small things I would have liked to see

Yeah, Hulk's healing factor is one of these. I was really hoping that we would have gotten some cool regeneration scene with his arm where it gets demolished by using the gauntlet and then he heals it back from the bone in a matter of moments, kind of like what 616 Professor Hulk did with his entire body against X-Ray.

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Like I said before, Cap finally saying "Avengers Assemble!" would have been much better in my opinion if he had properly shouted it instead of just grumbling under his breath.

I also would have loved to see this scene be replicated,

When Thanos totally destroyed his shield and knocked him to the ground, while everyone else was down Cap stood himself up and pulled the strap on his shield tight. I 100% thought then that they were going to recreate that scene, but was very disappointed to find that Strange ruined it by summoning everyone.

Speaking of Strange, like I said earlier in the action section, I would have definitely loved to see him pull out some more moves in the final fight. His fight against Thanos in IW was one of the highlights of the film and it was a delight to see him doing things like transmutation and cloning himself, but here he was just totally sidelined to tsunami duty with no chance to show off any more of his skills. Guess we're going to have to wait until Doctor Strange 2 for that.

Other Aspects of the Film

Thankfully, the humour was really well balanced this time. It's one of the most criticized aspects of the MCU, and even though I personally never really have a problem with it I can certainly understand why people do, but fortunately I don't remember there being any humour injected into serious/emotional scenes like there has been in the past. The vast majority of the humour that is there in the film takes place outside of serious scenes and for the most part all landed. Like I said before, Professor Hulk was the standout for me, I'm not entirely sure why but just about every funny thing he said or did was golden. Scott was probably the next funniest character and had some great moments with Hulk which makes me hope to see the two of them together again.

The cinematography was fantastic though not as good as it's gonna be in Godzilla and the costumes were good as always. CGI was pretty good for the majority of the film, the only time I really noticed bad CGI was Pepper in her Rescue suit with the helmet lifted up. For some reason Marvel seems incapable of having a human face with a CGI suit and not have it look dreadful, just like with Banner in the Hulkbuster during Infinity War. For the most part though it was all perfectly fine.

The score was forgetful which is unfortunately par for the course with Marvel. Really the only standout was the original Avengers theme which was played a few times. That's not to say that the music is bad by any means, something like theme that played on Vormir during Nat's death was actually really good in my opinion, it's just... forgetful.

What I'm looking forward to

I really hope Professor Hulk continues to appear and doesn't just get forgotten about with the rest of the original Avengers having essentially left for good in one way or another. Like I said I think him and Ant-Man are great together comedically, but I would also like to see him actually get to smash something again.

I can't wait to see more of Thor with the guardians. With any luck he will be an official mainstay of the team now and be there for the entirety of GOTG3. If they instead make some shitty excuse about how he left off-screen and won't be appearing, I'm going to cry.

Doctor Strange and Spidey are the two characters I'm looking forward to the most in terms of solo films. It's going to be interesting seeing how the deal with the events of Infinity War and Endgame, Tony's death in particular. Strange knew Tony was going to die and had to keep that from him the entire time, while Tony was very much a father-figure to Peter. Hopefully, their respective movies don't completely overlook this.

More Scarlet Witch being a badass. She showed that she's got some serious power in her little scuffle with Thanos, I definitely want to see more of that.

Final Thoughts

Endgame is a really damned good film. When I first came out of the cinema I felt a bit disappointed, not because I thought the movie was bad at all, but I really hoped there would have just been something more to it. Being the final movie of the saga started 11 years and 22 films ago, I really wanted it to go out with a bang and leave the theatre feeling wowed - and I didn't. But after having some time to process everything, I can happily say that it's one of my favourite MCU films despite the lack of action because the good just so heavily outweighs the bad, and an overall satisfying conclusion to the first big part of the MCU. Maybe my opinion will change after rewatching it, but to be perfectly honest it doesn't feel like a movie that I'm going to want to rewatch a lot compared to something a bit lighter and more action focused like The Winter Soldier or Civil War.

I give it 9 Professor Hulk dabs out of 10.

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