I’ll admit at the top, I’ve never been a fan of superhero movies. I feel they all essentially tell the same story. A wisecracking, typically male, superhero unites with other superheroes to save Earth from supernatural ne’er-do-wells, or rich, insane white men.
I understand the films have more intricacies to them than that, but going into them I know that the good guys will always win (and to my knowledge that’s true for all but one Marvel film) and that takes a lot of the fun out of it for me.
The MCU films I’ve seen are the first two Iron Man films nearly a decade ago; Guardians of the Galaxy, which I actually enjoyed; and about half of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which I kept falling asleep while watching (it’s the only time I’ve ever fallen asleep in a theatre). In Cap’s defense, it was also the only time I’ve ever ingested a pot brownie before seeing a movie.
Going into Endgame, I was expecting Thanos to be this massive being of pure evil slaughtering superheros left and right. So when I saw that he was just a Grimace-looking guy living that Harvest Moon life, I was won over to his side pretty much immediately. But then Thor and Captain Marvel just go cut his head off while he’s chilling and minding his own business! I get that he sacrificed his daughter to kill half the universe, but we all make mistakes.
After that scene the movie got hella boring for a while. All the superheroes spent a long time being sad about all their dead companions (which I guess is understandable). Black Widow cried into a peanut butter sandwich. Ant-Man used the power of time travel to shit himself. And Captain America ran an emotional support group, which featured the MCU’s first LGBT+ character (for about twenty seconds).
Once the plan to steal the Infinity Stones via time travel came into play, staying conscious throughout the three hour film got a little easier. I especially enjoyed what (I’m pretty sure) was a meta nod to Doctor Who when Ant-Man and the other heroes devise their plan. They mention nearly every movie or TV show that deals with time travel, as Nebula (Karen Gillan) listens on, except for Doctor Who, which is likely related to Gillan herself being a notable DW alum.
Despite the film (understandably) feeling like fan service for those that watched the previous 22 movies, there were poignant highlights. The outstanding performances given by Karen Gillan and Chris Hemsworth stood out as especially moving, and for entirely different reasons. The younger version of Nebula being tortured by her father for a betrayal she has yet to commit, was a haunting, almost disturbing scene that was perfectly juxtaposed with scenes of the present Nebula regaining her humanity. On the other hand, it was an unexpected and different kind of delight to see a once buff AF Asgardian God looking like The Dude and threatening to murder a Fortnite troll.
The climactic final battle proved quite satisfying, although my boy Howard the Duck was shafted with a barely visible cameo. The visual prowess of the scene was stunning. My only complaint with the onslaught is despite that death scene at the movie’s conclusion, the heroes suffer ridiculously few casualties; Thanos’ massive army prove about as effective as stormtroopers.
Endgame hasn’t changed my opinion of superhero movies, despite it changing my opinion of Chris Hemsworth. The star-studded battles made up for the slow beginning, but it’s still not a film I’d ever be able to re-watch. All in all, I give it 3 out 6 Infinity Stones.