C.L. Cannon Reviews Avengers: Endgame
11 years and 22 films have brought us here, to the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the release of the highly anticipated Avengers: Endgame. Opening weekend was a big hit for the studio making a record-breaking $1.2 billion globally and $350 million in the United States!
I’m going to post both a spoiler-free review here and a spoiler-filled review below the spoiler tag so those who have watched the film can read my thoughts! Marvel’s big campaign this time around was #DontSpoilTheEndgame, and I have tried very hard to adhere to the plea.
I’ve been a fan of Marvel since childhood when I dreamed of being a member of the X-men, so I’ve been hyped for Endgame since I left the theatre last year on my first viewing of Infinity War! I managed to snag a 6:45 PM Thursday showing, the very first in my town, for Endgame and went into the movie with high expectations and a sense of both delight and dread. I knew I would be losing characters I’d loved for over a decade.
I arrived one hour early to make sure I got a good seat! I did take a moment to take my ritual selfie by the movie poster!
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We’re in the Endgame now…or at least I am! I am so stoked to see the first showing in my town! I’ll be keeping this post spoiler free, but look for my review on the Rogue Skies blog next Thursday with both a spoiler and non-spoiler blog post! #avengersendgame #avengers #endgame #captainmarvel #captainamerica #tonystark #ironman #steverogers #marvel #mcu #marvelcomics #marvelcinematicuniverse #theincrediblehulk #brucebanner #scarletjohansson #blackwidow #vision #scarletwitch #loki #thor #thanos #buckybarnes #markruffalo #chrisevans #chrishemsworth #tomhiddleston #antman #stanlee #spiderman #guardiansofthegalaxy
Because of Endgame’s 3 hour and 1 minute runtime and the fact that I went by myself (and arrived an hour early), I had initially sworn off getting anything to eat or drink. Luckily, a very nice family who was sitting beside me in the theatre volunteered to save my seat, and I was able to take a bathroom break and pick up this awesome souvenir tumbler and some popcorn!
After all, I made it through all 3 Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films without yielding to nature’s call, so I crossed my fingers that I could still do the same after having two kids!
Finally, the trailers started…and they went on and on and on. Thirty minutes later, the Avengers theme and the Marvel Studios logo came on, and I started this wild and emotional ride!
The Spoiler-Free Review
After viewing the film, I have to give Endgame 4 out of 5 stars.
While there were definitely moments that made me cheer, weep uncontrollably, swear under my breath, and laugh out loud, there were a few things that didn’t work for me. I do think this film suffered from an overabundance of hype that left me feeling a little let down by the end. I understand that a movie like this was a huge undertaking and it was never going to be perfect for every fan. I do believe being a writer made certain plotholes, inconsistencies, and convenient plot devices much more apparent to me.
However, Endgame hits the emotional beats every single time, and I think some of the decisions they made in this movie upped the stakes even more. Overall Endgame is a good movie, there are plenty of fan service moments (that were so masterfully done they didn’t feel forced or fan service-y at all) and catchphrases that will keep us amused for years to come, and in the end, the movie did what it was intended to do, it helped us say goodbye to some of our favorite heroes and paved the way for the next phase of the MCU.
I saw this showing in Real 3-D, and I can honestly say that the 3-D effects were well done and not so in your face (no pun intended) that it distracted from the movie experience. I love that the studio made this choice. Some films have used 3-D as a gimmick which sometimes has even made me feel a little woozy, but Marvel was very careful with the way they framed their 3-D for this film, and it shows. I intend to see the movie again this week in 2D, and probably a few more times before it hits digital download.
The Spoiler-Filled Review
Okay, let’s get right down to it! I thought about doing a linear review of the movie, but I think it will be much more fun to break it down into likes and dislikes.
What I Loved
The emotional impact of the snap. I love that the movie didn’t just gloss over the way snapping away 50% of existence would influence people. Some were devastated, depressed, and felt hopeless, for some, it made them more determined than ever to find a solution, and for others, it brought out a destructive or dismissive side of their personality.
Antman… I never thought I would say that, but Paul Rudd had perfect delivery of both comedy and emotion in this movie, and I loved it! He already had my crying as he searched the wall for his daughter only to finally come face to face with a grown-up version of her a few minutes later.
Nebula! Every single scene with Nebula was terrific! I love the story arc they gave her throughout this film. I also like how they contrasted her growth with that of the Nebula from the first Guardians movie. I think the scene in which she is forced to kill her former self is an excellent metaphor for Nebula locking away that part of her past and moving forward.
Going back to previous movies from the MCU! The last great film of the phase took us on a road trip through some of our favorite scenes from past films, and it was delightful! It gave us some quality lines to repeat over and over again, and some hilarious contrasts with who our characters are now as opposed to their past selves.
Loki getting away with the Tesseract and going off to do mischievous things (which is likely the plot of his new Disney+ show) was just one highlight. It was also a very touching reunion when Tony encounters his father, Howard back in the 1970s. I think the scene was a perfect way for Tony to get some closure and finally hear how much his dad loved him, even if he couldn’t say it Tony’s face while he was alive. Tony being a dad himself at this point in the story really allows him to relate to Howard in a way that I don’t think he could have done before.
One of the more comical examples of this trek back through time was when Cap gets to fight himself. He kind of mocks his younger self, and you get a sense that he finds this version of himself to be a little tedious! (I can do this all day! I know, I know!) And of course, we all know who has the best ass…America’s ass! Hearing this from Tony and Antman first, and then again from Cap himself after defeating his past self, had my theatre roaring with laughter and has to be one of the things I’ve seen referenced and memed the most in the past week!
Speaking of often referenced, I love you 3,000 has become a love letter to Robert Downey Jr. and his portrayal of the one and only Tony Stark. Many, including myself, have used the phrase on social media platforms to @ Robert Downey Jr. hoping he’ll see and know just how much he’s appreciated and how long he will remain in our hearts.
Another very funny contrast that was made was between Professor Hulk and the Hulk from the first Avengers movie! Professor Hulk attempting to smash a car to blend in was hilarious!
The Stan Lee cameo. Do I even have to give a reason why? It was so emotional knowing that this would be the last time we see the man who made all of this possible.
What I Liked
The stab the movie took at traditional time travel tropes like those in the Back To The Future and Terminator movies was cheeky and well played. I like that the tropes were challenged and a more mathematical approach to time travel was explored.
I really struggled at first to like this point. I mean, while watching the film, I was infinitesimally happy that Tony became a father and had that amazing life with Pepper, but then the final few scenes happened, and this addition to the story left a bitter taste in my mouth. Not because I didn’t want Tony to be a dad, but because they upped the stakes for Tony so much and stressed several times that he had a life now, a good life, and yet it was Tony who sacrificed all that. Tony who had so much to live for. But being a parent, I also know that overwhelming love you have for your children. You will do anything for them, even if it means sacrificing yourself for their safety. I think this moment was the ultimate mirror of the Tony who started this journey 11 years ago. A man who was egotistical and self-centered at times evolved and eventually gave so much of himself to the world, that there was nothing else left. I had geared myself up for the death of Captain America. I was so sure that Steve Rogers would meet his doom in this film, that the possibility of it being Tony felt very scarce. This led me to initially be very angry when I left the theatre because Cap got the happy ending when Tony had lost it all. But then I came to realize that this is what Tony wanted for Steve. He wanted him to go ‘get a life,’ and that’s exactly what Steve did.
This one will be controversial, but I actually liked where Nat’s storyline went in this movie. I liked being able to see Black Widow as more than just a kickass assassin, but as a vulnerable human being. I think her sacrifice ultimately made sense. I was warring with myself as Nat and Clint wrestled it out on Vormir, not really sure who should go over the edge, but being pretty confident it would be Clint. After all, he had become a shadow of himself, and he didn’t feel as if he had much to live for, but I think the way Nat reasoned with him, explaining that he did have something to live for, that this entire mission would give him those that he loved and help heal his heart; I think that was one of the loveliest and most courageous things Nat could have done.
That epic battle scene at the end! Wow! Has there ever been such a huge battle on screen before? I really thought the way this was done with the emotional lead-up of Cap being so worn down and finally getting to say Avengers Assemble was one of the most impressive scenes in the movie. I felt like most everyone got some super cool takedowns and those with a clear claim on Thanos got to duke it out with him. I particularly liked Scarlet Witch just laying into Thanos to the point where I thought she would rip him apart!
The reunion of Peter Parker and Tony. That hug, gah, that hug had me bawling my eyes out. Another contrast made, this time to the mistaken hug in Homecoming. I also thought it was very fitting to have Peter, Rhodey, and Pepper there for Tony as he passed away. It was also a nice call back from Pepper to tell Tony he could rest now. Tony had a mind that never rested, that was always looking ahead, but he’d earned this rest, this reprieve from trying to fix this broken world. The funeral scene and Tony’s hologram voice-over was particularly touching, and there were grown men bawling their eyes out right beside me in the theatre. I especially loved Happy telling Morgan about how much he was going to spoil her. That was a really sweet moment infused with just the right bit of humor.
What Was Meh
The first 20 minutes of this film felt very very rushed. In particular from Captain Marvel rescuing Tony until they killed Thanos. It felt bizarre to kill the big bad in the first few minutes of the film and in what appeared to be an effortless way. Now I know he was very weak, but it’s an instance where it just felt too convenient that they found him so quickly and disposed of him even quicker, but I do realize there were a lot of things to get through in this movie and I can overlook it, even though it left me feeling a bit frazzled.
I’m not too bothered with the way Hulk was portrayed in Endgame, but it wasn’t my favorite thing about the movie either. I feel like a lot of Bruce banner’s complexity from the previous films got axed because of the long runtime and extensive cast list. I was already familiar with Professor Hulk and would probably have liked it better if we’d had some on-screen leadup to the reveal.
I was really hoping that one of my favorite characters, the Vision would be returned in this movie, possibly by some tech upload by the amazing Shuri. I was a bit disappointed that he was barely acknowledged throughout the film.
I think a reason that contributed to my last point is that the snapped heroes we’d been waiting to be returned to us did come back very late into the movie and thus got very few minutes of screentime or dialogue. This was again a little disappointing, but not a deal breaker.
It really sucks that Gamora has no memory of Quill or the rest of the Guardians, though I am glad she was brought back.
What I Hated
I like comedy as much as the next person, and I had a good laugh when we saw round-bellied Thor. The Fortnite gag and even the Lebowski joke were fine, but as the movie went on, I was ready for more character depth. If Thor was suffering from PTSD, why did his character get turned into a fat slob joke, when Tony Stark got a very detailed and carefully crafted PTSD arc that felt more realistic? I can take an overweight Thor, that’s not my problem with this decision, but the way it was handled rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, Thor finally got a few serious moments with his mother, Frigga, in Asgard, but even those were undercut with more jabs at his gut.
My biggest problem with the movie is when it comes to Cap’s ending. I adore Peggy Carter. I love her and Steve as a couple, and I would have been enormously happy if they had just left the flash of Cap and Peggy dancing and let us infer that he stayed in the past with Peggy and lived a long and amazing life with her. My problem starts when Cap comes back to our original timeline. As explained in the movie, time travel cannot alter the past, and when a change to the past is made within a timeline, that timeline splinters off into a new one. This is the multiverse. So this begs the question, how did Cap go back in time, alter Peggy’s timeline, which should have splintered into a new timeline, and then come to be sitting on the bench in the original timeline as an old man. The only logical explanation I’ve seen for this so far is that Steve used Pimm particles to travel back to this timeline and pass on the shield to Falcon. This is still a little too far-fetched for me to believe, but it makes more sense than Cap being able to remain in the background of the original timeline. Some say Peggy’s husband is never revealed and that it must have secretly been Steve all along. This still doesn’t make sense to me. Steve Rogers sat back and let Hydra destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. and lets thousands die in Sakovia, not to mention many other battles he has previous knowledge of? It just doesn’t feel in character to me.
Was Clint Barton paying his wife’s cellphone bill for 5 years while he was off slaughtering people? It seems unlikely, yet one of the super convenient ways the movie lets us know that the dusted loved ones are back was for her to call his cellphone. This was one of those times when you had to suspend your belief to be able to connect with the moment emotionally.
Jumping the timeline ahead 5 years is going to greatly impact future movies and possibly even the Marvel TV universe. The place I think this will be most notable is Spiderman: Far From Home which will hit theatres July 5th. I think this could be an interesting thing to explore. To see most of Peter’s classmates go on living without him, graduating, going to college, except, from the looks of things, nearly everyone from Peter’s class seems to be the same age as Peter. Are we supposed to believe that many kids got dusted with Peter? This is one of the ultra-convenient plot points that irritate me.
And my last complaint will be about Captain Marvel. Really loved the Captain Marvel movie. It’s in my top ten MCU movies, but the way they used Carol Danvers in this movie made her a complete deus ex machina. I realize that Endgame was filmed before Captain Marvel, and maybe the Russo brothers and the studio didn’t know how well her solo movie was going to perform, but I feel like using a plot device in this way in any story, regardless of the perception of the character later, does a massive disservice to the script.
So, while this film did have some problems for me personally, I do think it had a wealth of amazing moments that I will cherish. It did what it set out to do. It closed this era of the MCU and lit the torch for the next one. I don’t think we’ll see a movie of this much ambition again anytime soon.
If you’re a fan of heroes and villians, you’ll find plenty between the pages of Rogue Skies!