After 20 plus movies that started with the first Iron Man film and this is the culmination of it all. There will obviously be spoilers here because I want to discuss first the things that I liked about this 3 hour film and then some things that I took issue with. First of I thought this was a great film! I loved the action, the way our collective questions were handled from Infinity War, and the handling of most characters. There were however exceptions.
There were a lot of questions as to how Earth’s mightiest heroes were going to recover from what was at least cinematically their greatest defeat after Thanos snapped away half of the universe. We knew from speculation at the end of Ant Man and Wasp that time travel and the use of the quantum realm would be used in some capacity. I also knew that most if not all the heroes lost would be coming back. Funnily enough my biggest clue was the fact that certain actors were already under contract for sequel films like Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland and Benedict Cumberbatch. So for me it was not a matter of what would happen but how.
Before I get into that let me talk about the set up. Just as in the trailer we see the aftermath and devastation of the snapture. The remaining Avengers are reeling and Tony Stark is stranded with Nebula. I liked this part of the film and the build up was well done. We get to see how everyone is effected emotionally and we see what I call the house arrest crew who were conspicuously missing in Infinity War with Hawkeye and Ant Man. Ant Man is still stuck in the quantum realm after Wasp and the Pym’s get snapped away, and Clint simultaneously loses his whole family sending him on a binge of vengefulness.
All of this makes sense and is well done. I think the time travel/quantum realm stuff is going to problematic no matter how you do it so in my opinion they did a good enough job without having them tethered to their return point in time but that’s a whole new can of worms to open. Captain Marvel shows up and rescues Tony and Nebula from a fate of starvation/asphyxiation in space and brings them back to Earth. There seems to be two schools of thought on Captain Marvels appearance in End Game. First was the fear that she would be an overpowered Mary Sue that would come in and take Thanos out easily. Luckily this was avoided and there would be no need for a three hour film if that were the case. The other popular train of thought was that she is under used given the hype. Personally I didn’t mind her appearance here and through Rhodey the question of her whereabouts comes up and I felt this was done just as much for the audience as it was for the characters when she states she will simply go kill Thanos.
The emotional build up in the beginning of the film is probably the slowest but necessary in my opinion. In all honesty though if you’ve watched all the previous films you are likely already invested and care about the main characters. The point though is that it didn’t feel painstaking or drawn out unnecessarily. Once they figure out that simply killing Thanos and taking the stones from him won’t solve their dilemma is where the problems I had with this film creep in. Thor finally goes for the head and there are no stones so we then fast forward five years.
Thor out of grief from failing has been reduced to a fat alcoholic who binge eats and plays Fortnight with Korg and Miek in New Asguard on Earth. Now while I was happy to see the two side characters from Thor Ragnarok had made it I was not happy with the Russo brothers treatment of the god of Thunder. Many people are mad at how this portrayal of PTSD because of the fun that was at Thor but I have a different perspective on that. A lot of his scenes were played for laughs and some were offended by that. To me as harsh as it may seem this was an accurate portrayal. I am a veteran and can tell you from experience that this is how other veterans will greet each other after going through harrowing experiences together only to see later that some of us have let ourselves go physically. I think it’s important to look at who the comments are coming from. Rhodey and Rocket fought beside Thor in Infinity War so there is a bond and respect that’s understood between them which is why even he laughed at the comments. I did not like seeing Thor fat and slovenly but again this happens in real life once people see horrible things or go through trauma. Me not liking this scenario is not to say it was wrong but it wasn’t pleasant for me to watch which are two different things. There may be others who can relate to this so I think it may be more valuable than we know. Interesting that Marvel went this way. It was a risk. I wanted Thor to get some form of redemption that isn’t present here. Perhaps he will get that in Guardians Vol 3.
Now the other character that got no redemption was the Hulk. To be blunt he got the brakes beat off of him in Infinity War to the point where he refused to come out! I was salivating in anticipation of the rematch between Hulk and Thanos and instead of that we get a version of “Professor Hulk” which dilutes the character of Hulk who gets stronger the angrier he gets. This was a misstep in my opinion because for a character that’s supposed to have the mind of Bruce Banner wrapped in the brawn of the Hulk we kind of get neither. I know it’s not his area of expertise but his intellect is supposed to be only slightly below Tony Starks if not on par yet he seems to be spit balling most of the time and aside from wielding the new infinity gauntlet and holding some rubble we don’t get to see much of his strength either. It’s a shame but overall still a great film despite these nitpicks of mine.
One thing I really enjoyed seeing was a younger Thanos who wants to fight which kind of highlights the need for a rematch between him and Hulk but what fighting we do get is awesome either way! The set pieces were great and there is a large battle in this film with nearly every action figure in your childhood collection. My favorite moment as I am sure it was for most viewers was from the 3 v 1 fight between Cap, Thor and Iron Man against Thanos when Cap summoned Mjolnir and began pummeling the mad titan with both hammer and shield. I could have sworn I heard many grown adults squealing like little kids at that point. The action was fast and well paced. They even squeezed some mini chase sequences in it involving the Stark infinity gauntlet. Now I had questions with how Stark was able to simply make one when Thanos had to have his forged where Mjolnir and Stormbreaker were made but I let that slide because I was enjoying myself.
Again because of the status of certain actors contracts I figured this would be a swan song for Iron Man and Captain America and I was right. These two were done right in my humble opinion. Stark finally making the sacrifice that Cap doubted he would be game to make was a fitting end to this saga. For Cap he sneakily goes back to live a version of life he missed which was an unexpected twist but to me brings up more questions but maybe that was the purpose.
These were just some of my thoughts. I liked the film despite the issues I had with it. For a three hour film it kept me engaged and I wonder how if at all Marvel/Disney will be able to top this films success without another 22 film build up? I am also curious to know what your thoughts are. Did this live up to the hype? Were you satisfied with the outcome? Let me know in a comment below.