Okay, let’s get a couple things out of the way: Disney is a dangerous, potentially destructive monopoly(1) that has globally ruined copyright law. You shouldn’t define yourself by what you consume. Sustained loud noises are bad for your ears. Okay, I think that’s all the necessary disclaimers.
HOOOOOOOOLY COW I JUST GOT OUT OF ENDGAME AND IT WAS AMAZING.
I’ll keep specific spoiler-y discussion out of the OP, but I’ll just say I involuntarily said “oh, fuck” within the first two minutes, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, I was stunned by story choices within the first 15 minutes, and I don’t think there was a quiet scene in the film that wasn’t filled by sniffles or sobs from the audience (many of which were my own).
This is easily the most incredible cinematic achievement since Lord of the Rings. Just epic and monumental in every conceivable way. Anyone else seen it yet? What did you think?
(1) - I was listening to Slashfilm’s Summer Movie Wager episode earlier this week and it is pretty much inevitable that the top 4 movies for the summer, in terms of box office, will all be Disney (Endgame, Toy Story 4, Lion King and Spider-Man). They are just printing money right now.
I really liked it. I mean there is something to be said that I remember iron man came out when I was 14, and I begged my mom to take me in the 8th grade. And to see this as kind of the culmination of all that. Something about that has made me feel wierd emotions when I came out of the theatre last night. Idk, feels like there shouldn’t be any more of these things, at all.
I posted this over in the Idle Thumbs forums, but that place is pretty quiet these days so I’ll just repost it here:
Overall the movie is a great experience, as long as you don’t think too hard about any given thing that is happening. Unfortunately I think very hard about all of it. A lot of characters have very satisfying arcs, particularly Captain America, and Iron Man, though I’m not really a fan of the latter. Thor’s arc would be great if it weren’t for fatphobia being the butt of a lot of jokes involving him. Really disappointing. Hawkeye has room to grow. I have no idea what the filmmakers actually want to do with him, still. Hulk…sort of found peace with himself but it was very much a tell, don’t show affair and I’m disappointed by that. Now…Nat. Nat Nat Nat. Black Widow. What on earth have they done to you. While Hawkeye has a real family that he’s fighting for, Natasha claims her only family are the other Avengers. So now that she’s realised that, apparently the only way for her to continue her story is by ending it, sacrificing herself so that Hawkeye can claim the Soul Stone. This was one of my least favourite parts of Infinity War, because I didn’t buy the whole Thanos loving his daughter thing. So it upset me greatly that they basically decided to do it all again and fridge someone else.
Speaking of the Soul Stone, its entire purpose in these movies is for somebody to be sacrificed to it. All the other stones are shown in action, but I guess the “action” of the Soul Stone is to take a specific person’s life. I dunno, that feels really bad to me. I would have liked to see Adam Warlock involved, since he is so intrinsically linked to the Soul Gem in the comics, and they have teased Warlock a few times in past movies now. I guess they are saving him up for GOTG3.
The whole time travel stuff was very fun to an extent. I enjoyed the adventures they actually had while they were in the past, but the whole framing around it didn’t make much sense and contradicted itself a bunch. There was one deliberate hole that was made because Loki escaped with the Tesseract (the heroes don’t have the capacity to deal with that right now because they have way bigger things to worry about). I assume this was so that Loki can have a TV show. But there was other gaps made with the time travel, specifically Thanos never returning to the original timeline, and Steve deciding to stay in the past and live out his life with Peggy (I thought his super soldier serum prevents him from aging? Or are his youthful looks merely a product of being on ice for all those years)? Either way, again, really fun and great as long as you don’t think about it too much.
My other chief concern is how the superheroes never really feel super. MCU’s power levels have always been all over the place; Captain America often seemingly as powerful as Thor, and in this movie, that is basically true, given he wields Mjolnir and is thus granted the Power of Thor. Besides that though…in Infinity War, Thor with his new Stormbreaker axe/hammer proves a match for the Infinity-Gauntlet-powered Thanos. However, in Endgame, Thor with the power of both Stormbreaker AND Mjolnir combined is unable to overcome Thanos with NO Infinity Stones to his name. It’s silly and inconsistent, and makes no sense at all. Thanos with 4 stones was also brought down by Iron Man, Spider-Man, Dr Strange, etc. in Infinity War, but Thor, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, and more were unable to put a dent in him this time around. Related to this, the continued use of Wakandan soldiers as fodder is both upsetting due to the needless slaughter of thousands of people, and that a team of 20+ superheroes SHOULD be sufficient to handle Thanos and his army. It diminishes the supposed might of our superheroes when they need an army of thousands to match the fodder army that Thanos commands. It’s pretty clear they want thousands of bodies on screen just to make a huge spectacle, but it would be much more impressive to me to see just the couple of dozen (that’s plenty, don’t you think??) of superheroes we now have take on the wave of enemies brought to them (as they have done in the past over and over again)!
So after all this, I think I’m ready for Phase 4 of the MCU to just focus on smaller concerns, and I’m still quite excited for Spider-Man Far From Home, though I’m also a bit confused as to where that’s supposed to go in the timeline, given it’s pretty awkward if Peter disappeared for 5 years and suddenly returned. We’ll see.
Can’t really disagree with any specific points, although I’ll quibble with your “it’s fine if you don’t think about” framing - it’s entirely possible to be aware of shortcomings and still decide they are outweighed by the positives, or that the inconsistencies are in service of a better story.
I actually think the modern insistence that all stories must 100% adhere to logical analysis is… boring. Not that we shouldn’t look at things critically, but we’ve created a popular culture where people go into these things looking for plot holes to rip through, and I wish I could ask these people if that really makes them happy. Sure, in one scene, the T-rex is walking through the fence to attack the Jeeps, and in the next scene that same spot is a 50 foot drop that Dr. Grant and Tim go over in their Jeep, but Spielberg did that because those are two great fucking scenes.
Edit: tl;dr, CinemaSins is a blight on humanity and should be eradicated.
Endgame tried to do some handwavey stuff with time travel, with the whole “when you go to the past that’s your future” thing, and resetting the alternate timelines by returning the stones, but yeah. Any time travel story short of a Primer-style hard sci-fi is going to create plot holes large enough to walk the Wakandan army through. Even actual theoretical physicists can’t agree on the potential consequences of time travel. If you’re expecting the Russo brothers to have it figured out, then ¯_(ツ)_/¯
(I will disagree with one specific point, and that’s
about the heroes’ inability to overpower Thanos at the end of Endgame; they were only able to incapacitate Thanos on Titan because Mantis had immobilized him. Even if they tried that again, Nebula had directly witnessed it, so he should be aware of that vulnerability.)
Oh, and re: Thor, I hadn’t picked up on the fat-shaming for laughs, but I did pick up on the playing PTSD for laughs, which was equally shitty.
Hi, I just saw the film, and I’m mad about Thor! I can at least work past a fat joke if it happens once in a film, but Thor is continually made to be the butt of jokes, to be pathetic, to be “less than himself” for the whole film. It’s pretty clear the film KNOWS Thor has PTSD and that it’s a big problem. But rather than engage with the idea that he Strongest Avenger needs help sometimes, they stick him with the character that makes fat jokes, and only “redeem” when they need a light show at the end (which is hardly that, Thor just decides to be better and use his powers rather than, like, working through his trauma in any sense. The movie acts like Thor’s arc is him learning to let go of his fate in life, but not only is that not the problems the character is working through, he already did that in Thor 2).
Anyways, the film was okay. A good ride, it got me invested, but I’m already feeling it settle in the “oh yeah, that happened” category of film like a lot of Marvel stuff. I’m a little more riled up than I was at the end, but eh.
EDIT: Coming back to it, I realize what’s making me mad is that Thor’s redemption is handle so poorly visually. For most of the film, Thor isn’t shot like the rest of the characters; you never see him below the waist outside his re-introduction. It’s like the filmmakers realized how bad the fat suit looked. And at the end, when Thor gets his shit together, they don’t even have the ability of making his costume look cool. Thor is basically subject to pulled out wide shots or close up action shots because the way they made the character look looks awful. I don’t need to pull out the piles of well dressed fat men to know that they could have found a solution that allowed Thor to look amazing WHILE being fat. Instead, he’s hidden, shoved aside in a fight that one would think he would have a bigger part in.
As great as Ragnarok was, I think Taika Waititi painted them in a corner with turning Thor into a comedic character. From interviews, it seems like Hemsworth pushed for “a new direction” for Thor. Maybe they should have brought Waititi in to write that character.
Although, the scene where he threatens the guy for making fun of Korg over Fortnite was pretty good.
I think superhiero made a lot of points in the areas I wanted to, and agree with much of them, so this is going to start with a bunch of quoting of him and generally interleaved responses and stuff.
This is also me, for a start.
I am really in two minds about Tony’s arc plot here, to be honest: it’s the obvious “mythic resolution” for him, as a character, but it’s Morgan I feel sorry for here. (And, tangentially, Gwyneth Paltrow, who gets 90% of her screen time as a CGI action figure with her face covered. Is it a good thing to get to be Rescue if it’s sort of implied to be a gift from your husband - when you had, and then gave up, actual superhero powers in a previous movie?)
This was literally the one thing spoiled for me ahead of the movie (thanks to that article going around decrying exactly this). I’m in two minds about it, but not equally - as Wastelandhound notes, it’s at least as much joking about someone having PTSD, which doesn’t really improve matters. I sort of agree that this might be implied by Taika Waititi’s “new direction” in Thor:Ragnarok - but a smarter director could do both very black humor and actual pathos with Thor’s position (they did much better with him in Infinity War, in fact, including pairing him with the same character as here - and remembering that Rocket, himself, is a terribly tragic figure who basically covers up the horror of his life with caustic personality traits). I think the audience doesn’t help here, though - there’s a nuance of actual pathos in the scenes in past-Asgard, but the audience in the cinema I was in basically destroyed that by laughing at the fat/panic attack jokes on the surface layer instead.
Given this, I am not happy that GotG3 might hand future directing of Thor’s character to a director who’s been… decidedly uneven at handling this kind of thing himself.
I have deep metaphysical questions about the nature of Hulk and Banner in this movie which it was never going to address to my satisfaction. Like, for a start: what happened to the Hulk? Is he still in there, somewhere? Did the Banner personality just “subsume” him? What happened to the whole “if I Hulk out again, I might not come back” thing from Ragnarok? I sort of wanted a twist to the Ancient One punching out Bruce’s soul from Merged Hulk by having, two souls be kicked out - isn’t Hulk himself a valid personality who maps to a soul as well?
I agree with all of this (except that I do buy that Thanos loved his daughter (not spoilered because this would be a Infinity War spoiler) - the Soul Stone doesn’t care if you have a healthy love for someone, just that you have some kind of strong attachment to them. Thanos is totally messed up and he’s not exactly in a healthy emotional relationship with anyone, but I don’t think the Soul Stone cares, other than that you’re losing a soul that’s important to you in exchange.).
I would honestly just like someone to have used any of the Stones we’ve not seen much for something interesting in this film. (But, yes, especially the Soul Stone, which we’ve not actually seen do anything - presumably because it’s difficult for a modern audience to separate its domain of responsibility from that of the Mind Stone.) I still really like the ethereal “waking up in water/stars” sequence that happens when you get it, though.
Time Travel was, for me, much better than it usually is in movies, because it explicitly said “this doesn’t work how you think it does”, and then followed through on things. In a sense, their interpretation is actually much closer to consistent theories of time travel in physics than most stuff is: paraconsistent theories of time travel exist which kind of work a bit like this.
As a result, I had no problem at all with, for example, Nebula happily being able to kill her “past self”, since it wasn’t her past self any more, post branching. There’s a sort of temporal tensegrity to the whole thing which makes sense to me.
What did upset me was the sort of narrative vagueness of what the “time machine” actually does here - it seems to be necessary to push you back in time, and it’s initially implied that you then can only jump back to it on a return trip. Except Tony and Steve then manage to go off on a side trip to emotional resolution… I mean, the 1970s… without the need for any infrastructure outside their suits.
So, basically, the mechanics of time travel devices is still “whatever it needs to be for this bit of the plot”, even if the metaphysics of time travel seemed to be fine and consistent to me.
This, in spades. Thor’s always had a weird power level, and one of the disappointments for me in Infinity War was the undoing of his revelatory transformation in Ragnarok because the plot demanded it, and this continues here. In general, this is a problem, I think, for all versions of the Marvel universe, and for the same reason - it’s sort of no fun to have a story with the wild disparities in power which exist between Hulk and Thor at one end, and Nat and Clint at the other.
Some other thoughts:
There’s some weird “post unsnap” social dynamics which I really hope get explored properly in the subsequent films - especially Spiderman: Far From Home. Half of Earth (and the rest of the universe) is now 5 years older than the other half, and this is going to have interesting knock-on effects - school friends now graduated whilst others are still taking classes, relationships now much farther apart in age (and tinged by survivor’s guilt on one side), people who’ve moved on in one side, and didn’t even experience the other’s loss on the other. This is sort of hinted at in places in the final sixth, but not really, and it’s going to be disappointing if this isn’t addressed.
(On the positive side, the probability of us getting Stature seems to be very high, so “Antman, the Wasp and Stature” anyone?)
The all-female-heroes supporting Captain Marvel felt… overly cynically constructed to me. There to demonstrate that the Russos have heard of feminism, rather than actually honest.
I’m also still annoyed at how Tony’s technological sophistication inflation continues: now he can make a pretty good Infinity Gauntlet, even though Earth is nowhere near the advanced cultures of the galaxy, technologically. (On the other hand, it’s nice that he finally “beats” Thanos via his sort of original trope (redoubled in Iron Man 3) of being a trickster, more than a fighter.)
I guess Wong did a lot of recruiting of new trainee mages in the 5 years since IW, given how many of the initiates died in Doctor Strange…
Hank Pym in the 1970s is a lot less paranoid about his research being stolen than I expected…
Also, I really wanted more metaphysical discussion in the movie - so, apparently the Infinity Stones are literally responsible for “maintaining the fabric of this time stream” or something similar, according to the Ancient One. So… what’s the metaphysical consequence of Thanos wishing them away entirely? Is reality unravelling slowly? Did they just reconstitute elsewhere? Does it even make sense to be able to destroy a representation of a concept like “Space” or “Time”?
A million call-backs to previous movies, as you’d expect from the final movie in the Big Arc. I especially liked the Cap in an elevator sequence here.
I have a ton more thoughts, but this is already huge…
All the discussion happening here is so valid and I appreciate y’all so much for vocalizing a lot of issues the film has. Especially with how unwilling it is to do Thor’s character justice.
But I only came here to say that when Cap picked up the hammer I audibly screamed. And I was in various states of crying throughout that entire final fight. It beginning with the original three heroes and then suddenly escalating into literally ever single character the MCU ever has felt like such a fitting send-off. It felt fanservice-y in the best possible way, but the sheer amount of setup made it feel full and not hollow as it easily could have.
I’ve grown up with the MCU in the same way I grew up with Harry Potter (another series with some issues that have only grown clearer with time), and as someone who was incredibly disappointed by the last HP movie (but not the book—that just made it even worse), I finally feel like one of these massive blockbuster franchises I’ve invested way too much time and mental energy into was able to deliver a really satisfying ending.
There are a lot of great criticisms, so I figure I’ll try to bring balance by laying out the things that I think make this a great movie.
It’s about self-acceptance and parenthood.
Tony learns to accept that he can’t always just cut the wire. Cap goes the other way, and accepts that it’s ok to want something for yourself and that doesn’t automatically mean you’re letting people down. Thor accepts that even if he is worthy of being King, he doesn’t want to be. And all of these arcs lead to the acceptance that eventually you have to turn things over to the next generation and hope you’ve taught them well.
It takes its time.
They kill Thanos in the first 15 minutes, and the next hour or so is about them coming to grips with the consequences. The first scene after they kill Thanos is of Cap leading a survivor support group, and that sets the tone for the whole first act.
It’s emotional pay-off after emotional pay-off.
“I went for the head.” Scott finding Cassie after five years away. Tony playing with Morgan. Tony, for the first time, wanting Pepper to talk him out of something and she refuses. Stark and Stark. “I can do this all day.” “Yeah, yeah, I know.” Cap wielding the hammer. Loki. Frigga. Pegasus. Jarvis!
It’s genuinely funny.
Trying to explain jokes is stupid, but I will say that Paul Rudd is the best thing that happened to the MCU. He is hilarious (that selfie scene had to be improvised, right), and he’s a great audience surrogate that is in awe of the things around him without being a bumbling idiot.
It’s final battle is just goddamn crowd-pleasing.
The portals opening. The Wakandan battlecry. Thanos’ ship turning all of its guns toward the sky and realizing Captain Marvel is about to bring the pain. Cynical or not, half my theater cheered at the Ladyvengers moment. Avengers… Assemble. Cap and Mjolnir - “I knew it!” Peter fanboying with Tony. “I am inevitable.” “And I am… Iron Man.”
I cried at least a half a dozen times.
The opening with Hawkeye’s family. Scott and Cassie. The trip to the 1970s. “We’ll be okay, Tony. You can rest now.” Happy and Morgan. “I’ll do my best.” “That’s why I’m giving it to you.” Cap and Peggy.
Yeah, there are some beats that don’t pay off the way I expected or hoped they would. But it’s not my story. And there is definitely some psuedoscientific mumbo-jumbo that doesn’t make sense. As an encyclopedia, it would be a failure. As a story, it is a triumph.
Here’s my question about the film, does anyone, at any point, confront Thanos as to why his plan is stupid? Like, why it’s actually an awful plan and how he’s just psychotic? He could just make more food, or instill everyone in the universe with a greater sense of empathy so we don’t waste all our food and shit, but the only significant ideological pushback Thanos gets in IW is Gamora shouting “you don’t know that!”
I’m just wondering if Endgame gives him an actual moment of introspection, or if they all just punch each other again?
Nah, they totally side step it by having Young!Thanos decide that it will be better to just use the Stones to destroy the universe, rather than kill half of it. His thinking being that if there are survivors, they’ll always resist and try to undo what he did. The film never actually talks about what losing half of life everywhere, but there’s a small scene with animals and a TON of emptiness, so I think the film does think it’s a bad plan, this time.
I think the thing that the movie didn’t quite get into is that this is also why Tony had to dust Thanos: Thanos is also someone who would always try to resist what the Avengers did. They’re as “bad” as each other, in terms of determination / will to determination.
It’s not a spoiler to note that Paul Rudd is not just a great comic actor, but actually is a great actor, and he has a few scenes which let him show that he can do emotional beats which aren’t just comedy.
I found, like a lot of the Marvel universe’s “Big Setpieces” that the final battle was A Lot, and in places Too Much. There’s a tendency to throw too much at the screen - in a way which reminds me of the distracting way some Western martial arts movies do rapid cuts, close into the action and don’t let you actually see what’s happening properly; in the Marvel setpieces, it’s hard to focus on much but the "flow*, which I dislike. Also, what does “being worthy” even mean any more, given the subversion of Mjolnir in Ragnarok?
Yeah, I saw it a few hours back with the family and it didn’t really click for me.
The opening hour is slow, torturous, and just ladling misery on misery. At least they finally confirmed what I assumed - Hawkeye’s family all got dusted, so he goes Ronin out of sheer anger at being powerless - but man, that could have been a lot tighter and just better done. That the rest of the film is then really snappy and almost like they went “shit, limited running time, all these beats to hit - punch it” makes it even more painful.
Seeing Captain Marvel the day before was a bad idea, because damn, all I could think throughout was “Danvers is pretty much the solution to all the issues you’re having right now”. She’s stupid powerful, and that is what they needed, AND it’d neatly avoid some of the bits that just don’t make sense - especially that if you’re so afraid of encountering yourself, SEND SOMEONE ELSE!
What is the deal with movie Thanos? His strength level fluctuates so damn hard throughout the two movies it hurts. Strong enough to go toe to toe with Hulk! Weaker than AxeThor! Stronger than AxeandHammerThor! Weaker and stronger than Captain Marvel! It’s just messy.
Did they seriously bring back the whole Chitauri army just so they could bring back the Wakandan army to oppose them? At least last time it made sense - they were in Wakanda! - but it just seemed massively unnecessary. That whole fight is stupid, though; Thanos with zero stones can apparently whip them all anyway, there’s the horrendously tokenistic “charge of the women’s brigade” moment, and way too many characters to actually make it meaningful. It’d have been better to have flashpoints - have Thanos’ army invade all over the world, and the other heroes arrive in teams across the globe - but this film seems intent on being as muggy and busy as possible, so hey.
Speaking of muggy and busy, what was with the long drawn out blurry shot near the start? Like half a minute passes out of focus for no reason. It’s not even dramatic, just weird and pointless.
The second there was a long advert before the film (side note: 30 minutes of ads before the film here in the UK. HALF AN HOUR. WHAT THE HELL.) for an all-electric Audi I thought “we’re going to get several shots of that car in the movie, aren’t we”. And boy, did we not get exactly that? Bonus points for another long pointless shot of “Tony Stark drives the car down the inexplicably long driveway to the Avengers headquarters”.
Overall, it’s an Avengers movie. They’re the book ends of an MCU chapter, and they tend to be massively weaker than the rest of the films in that chapter. This was no exception. It’s a good Avengers movie - better than AoU for sure - but it’s just nowhere near as good as, say, Captain Marvel or Black Panther.
Something else I’m curious about: is this where the momentum starts to die down for Marvel? We’ve essentially reached the end of a saga and I’m really skeptical that people will want to take this whole ride again.
I’m probably wrong though and in thirty years cinema will be utterly dead with the exception of MCU movies that are injected straight into our brains, Brave New World style.
Whilst there’s definitely power level fluctuations in the movies, I don’t think this is one of them. In Infinity War, Thanos is about as strong as a not-very-angry Hulk, and also wins because Hulk is surprised and defeated and demoralised too quickly to muster himself, even if he wanted to. AxeThor has already got an axe in Thanos’s chest before he even physically contests him - and I’d imagine an Axe in your chest hampers your ability to resist. AxeAndHammerThor is also very out of condition - in terms of both physical shape, and also practice at fighting… and remember that Mjolnir doesn’t actually make Thor stronger (re Ragnarok), it was training wheels, not a booster. Thanos is weaker than Carol Danvers… and the only punch which registered was the last one, where he had the Power Stone in his hand (which is going to lay anyone out - Thanos’s fist is itself starting to be damaged by it before he quickly puts it back in the glove)
I don’t think that’s as inconsistent at some of the other things the Avengers movies have pulled…
I’ve seen this complaint multiple times and it, more than other criticisms, just seems like people looking for nits to pick. It’s a fight between a bunch of super powered beings. You don’t take the combatant’s stats, roll some dice, and decide who wins. Advantage can swing back and forth based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, building narrative tension. One minute Ivan Drago is breaking Rocky’s face, the next Rocky is putting him down. It’s drama.
The more I think about it, the more I think this should have been a trilogy, with the first hour being a separate movie. I think you need that section, otherwise it’s just another example of the complete lack of consequences carrying between films.