I’m a little further along in Phase 3 of the MCU since I wrote my review of Avengers: Infinity War back in April 2019. Since then, I have watched Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, Black Panther, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
And, now, of course, Avengers: Endgame.
Since I haven’t watched Captain Marvel or Spider-Man: Far from Home yet, I guess I still haven’t completed Phase 3. Or maybe they’re already part of Phase 4. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve watched a lot of Marvel movies to get to this point. Some good, some not-so-good, and some just-okay. I rejoiced when Spider-Man became a part of the MCU, and now I mourn his passing back into Sony’s vastly incapable hands. I’m looking forward to seeing Marvel’s premiere superhero team, the Fantastic Four, finally given the treatment they deserve in the MCU. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Doctor Doom who looks like he stepped out of the pages of a comic book, and a Galactus who isn’t an amorphous cloud. I even look forward to the new Marvel television shows that have been announced.
It’s obvious that I’ve become spoiled by all the MCU movies bringing the four-color masterpieces of my youth to glorious life on the silver screen. I didn’t even bother to write reviews of the MCU movies I’ve watched since Infinity War. You have to believe me when I say that this wasn’t because I didn’t like them. The second Guardians, Black Panther, and the Ant-Man sequel were all good movies. I could have written solid reviews for all three movies, and would have given each a report card grade of B or perhaps B+. These are good grades. I’ll probably watch these movies again in the future.
It’s time for excuses. I’ve over-committed myself to a list of writing projects. As I’m sitting here at the computer, I have a list of 18 posts that I want to write (including this review), in addition to the stuff I write that never gets published anywhere. Even the completist in me couldn’t get excited about writing reviews for movies that I thought were just okay but didn’t give me goosebumps the way the first Avengers movie or the first Iron Man did. Maybe one day, when I complete a deep-dive, focused rewatch of the entire MCU (which sounds like something I might do), I will write a full review of these movies. At present, I just don’t feel like it.
That said, maybe you’ve already guessed that I gave a higher grade to Avengers: Endgame.
I’ve debated whether or not to go full spoilers on this review and ultimately decided against it. I have to believe that there are other latecomers to the party like me out there, and I don’t want to be the one to tell them that Thor becomes a eunuch in this movie. Okay, that doesn’t happen, but a lot of other stuff does, and some of our favorite Avengers seem to be gone forever at this end of this movie. That’s all I’m telling. No names.
This movie is about everything that happens after Thanos turns half of all living creatures in the universe into piles of dark ash with a snap of his bling-laden fingers. This was the moment we were building towards across a dozen or so movies, and, while devastating, it was certainly not a disappointment, story-wise.
And, it wasn’t the end of the story. This is a tale about hope, and about heroes. And how heroes react in the face of overwhelming odds. This is truly the second half of the story begun in Avengers: Infinity War. As I said in my review of that film, it was Thanos’s story, about how he obtains all of the Infinity Stones and achieves his ultimate goal. Fans who expected that movie to end with Thanos’s defeat were sorely disappointed. Avengers: Endgame is, in every way, the Avengers’ story. This shows us what our heroes do about Thanos.
While the ending isn’t all sunshine and puppy dogs, it does satisfactorily put a cap on the story that’s unfolded on the largest canvas ever. The ending of this movie—which clocks in at over three hours but doesn’t feel like it—feels more like a “To Be Continued . . . “ than a conclusion. We already know that the team we started with has been forever changed.
What else can I say about this movie without giving stuff away? Like its predecessor—and like all of the Captain America movies—this one was written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The script is intricately plotted, action-filled and exciting, and also quite funny in places. The story uses one of the largest casts of characters ever without becoming an indecipherable mess resembling a tangle of Christmas tree string lights. A tight script helps with that, certainly, but so did the guiding hands of our directors, the Russo brothers, who have proven that their success has not been a fluke.
I can offer only the perspective of a lifelong superhero comic fan. The MCU has ably served its core fanbase by remaining quite faithful to the source material, and I have enjoyed everything up to this movie. I couldn’t tell you how someone who wasn’t already familiar with the Avengers or the other superheroes depicted in this movie feels about Endgame. I suspect it helps to already be a confirmed fan.
For instance, I doubt my wife would get the same enjoyment I did watching this movie. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I’m going to risk it. She might retaliate by making me watch a Lifetime movie.
I haven’t given up on the MCU movies I haven’t watched yet. They’re on the list. And, I’m sure I’ll participate in Phase 4 as well.
Firewater’s It’s-Been-A-Long-Strange-Trip Report Card: A
This one panders unabashedly to those who are already Marvel fans. Since I was being pandered to, I didn’t really mind.