Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame ★★★★★

MCU Ranked

Film number 22 of 23 in my goal to watch all MCU movies, for my first time ever.

This is it. The big Kahuna. Basically, this movie represents my friends' collective push to make me watch the MCU. Every time the MCU was brought up...I would share gripes, I would share concerns. I would share things that annoy me. And more often than not, I would get some sort of response that references Endgame. Endgame, supposedly, is the film that helps one look the other way at MCU's shortcomings.

You know, when I watched Infinity War, I thought Infinity War was great. I enjoyed my time. But it didn't blow me away. Which began my fear -- what if I don't like Endgame? Is Endgame overhyped? I think Infinity War is very good, but I don't think it's critically acclaimed. Would Endgame suffer the same fate?

Well, here I am, on the other side of 2,868 minutes (I counted) of MCU runtime, and I am happy to say that I absolutely, positively adored Endgame. And yes, this does indeed make the MCU worth it.

The Directing team and writing team did just about as well as they could have done, here. The recent Snyder Justice League and this film have moved the needle for me. I used to not like long runtimes...now, I will more than welcome a long runtime ...if the runtime fits the movie. Endgame feels sculpted and intentional. At no point did I feel it dragged. The screenplay still feels super-tight and planned. I could have done 6 hours with Endgame, to be honest.

And before you raise your hand to point out time-travel rat nonsense, the plotholes are there, sure, but there were decisions made for certain plot-points that had to be made if the right things were going to be the right things about this film. Total forgiveness from me.

My main critique of Infinity War was the pacing. IW moved so fast that I couldn't even breathe and spend time with the characters...you know, the characters that I've spent so much time getting to know? Endgame is a slow-burn. It takes the events of its universe seriously. It wants you to see the effects of the universe-altering canon that was Infinity War.

Scenes showing Captain America leading a post-snap support group.
"You know, there were whales in the Hudson."
Heroes trying to be heroes, but still at half-power.
Tony has a kid, and is off the grid. still not talking to Steve Rogers (The events of Civil War STILL mean something. So great).

I just loved the pacing and darker, serious tone of the first-half. Feels like there's some serious shit that everybody's gotta work through. Characters still trying to come to terms with what happened, clinging to a past that is gone. I LOVE that they gave me time here. It made the characters feel bigger, not smaller - and it actually made me hurt for their scenario. I wanted to crush Thanos with them.

I tend to enjoy movies more when they are character driven. My favorite films of the MCU are the ones that feel like they take their characters - and the character relationships - seriously. After Infinity War sacrificed a lot of this for spectacle and action, I was afraid Endgame would become almost too MUCH of it -- that it would be so character-driven that the MCU-ness, the action, the fun would become drowned out.

But - I'll admit it - I was wrong..

Hemsworth is really perfecting the "comedic Thor" bit (I liked him better here than Ragnarok), and Paul Rudd's presence feels needed in certain moments (I think Civil War and Endgame are better Ant-Man movies than either of the Ant-Man films, lol). The untouchable, invincible, plot-armored, "Let's make jokes when the world is collapsing" Avengers feel like broken human beings to whom I can relate. Human beings that I want to root for. Heroes that I want to win.

So before you know it, I'm watching a movie that (a) cares about its universe/canon and takes it seriously (b) Cares about its characters and takes them seriously (c) Gives those characters a compelling arc that feels genuine to who they are, and (d) tells a meaningful, emotional, well-written, scripted, organized, and fun story on top of it all. After many twists (twists that feel great and not just twists for the sake of twists), turns, heartbreaks, and hilarious moments, we're given a climax that makes me feel like I earned every single one of those 2,868 MCU minutes. The conclusion is not too much, not too little. I get a stunning ending for my favorite hero Captain America, and an unexpected and heartfelt ending for Iron Man - one that made me tear up and cry.

Yup. Totally broke down.

(Side note - I've cried a handful of times throughout the MCU watch, and every time has been an Iron Man related moment. Captain America is my favorite, but I wonder if I feel Iron Man as a character more?)

-----A Signoff, of sorts-----
So at the end of every one of these, I've ranked the villain and added some villain comments. Thanos was the villain in the previous film and is here again, so I'm not going to do that. In lieu of it, I want to write a little signoff to my MCU journey.

Yes, I know this isn't the final MCU movie. I still have one more, because for some reason Phase III ends AFTER Endgame? Which is dumb. But this feels climactic, so I'm going to take this letterboxd review to drop my final thoughts on my MCU journey.

I came into the MCU at arm's length. In fact, the only reason I even embarked on this journey is because Jacob Padilla (friend and fellow LBer) and I made an agreement that if he watched all Star Wars animated shows, then I would watch all the MCU.

Cut to four months later. He finished that shit. Crushed it, he did.

So off the races I went.

I was never snobby towards the MCU, I apologize if any of my reviews came off like that. Simply, as an outsider looking in, I didn't think they were the type of films I would enjoy. I have tastes, yanno? I'm allowed to have tastes. I didn't like the humor, and I didn't like the format of the theatrical-sequential-trappings that is the MCU.

I realize the irony saying that as a Star Wars fan. I know.

I watched both Infinity War and Endgame with Jacob and my friend JT. And when the movies ended, we just were joyfully sharing moments. Different scenes that spoke to us. Different character moments that were badass. Even the cynic in me can't touch the rush that some of these films gave me - I just loved it, because it was a blast. It was fun.

And surely -- surely -- that is everything we should love about film? Shouldn't films be fun? Shouldn't films cause people to cheer and cry and laugh and debrief excitedly after they're done?

The marketing behemoth Disney has us all by our balls, and they're trying to make these films for the biggest audience possible (see: editing out / editing in the Lesbian kiss at the end of Rise of Skywalker for Chinese audiences).

But look at the bright side. That means that there are more people invited to the party. We are sharing something with more people. Heck, I recently sparked a conversation with a 7 year old kid in Target who was wearing a Captain America shirt, simply because I wanted to talk about Captain America!

It's not complicated. Films like the MCU are made for everyone to enjoy.

And that is their success. The MCU isn't killing movies, in a way, it's sort of capturing everything that is good about movies. Perhaps the MCU is actually SAVING movies.

Yes, they play it SUPER safe WAY too often. Yes the cinematography is straight shit sometimes. Yes, the scripts feel so lazy, like they don't even care. The CGI makes my eyes roll at points, and the humor moreso.

I can sit here and pick holes in these guys all day long, but at the end of it all it was me, Jacob, and JT on a couch watching an epic finale. I've gone back and forth on Letterboxd with Gabe Rodriguez, David Curtis, David Hatfield, and Ana R. Literally people I've never met in real life, and we just talk about movies through Letterboxd. All because of this 22/23 cinematic marketing "nonsense" that you thought wasn't for you, pre-MCU Marcus.

Let me tell you something, pre-MCU Marcus. Those moments on the couch, those comment threads with Letterboxd users? That's worth every single one of these 2,868 minutes.

Erik Stevens / N'Jadaka / Killmonger (BP)
Loki Laufeyson / Loki Odinson (T, AV1)
Thanos (IW,END)

Ultron (AV2)
Ego (G2)

Baron Zemo (CA3)
Alexander Pierce / Mr. Secretary (CA2)
Aldrich Killian / The Mandarin (IM3)
Adrian Toomes / The Vulture (SP1)

Darren Cross / Yellow Jacket (ANT1)
Johann Schmidt / Red Skull (CA1)
Ivan Vanko / Whiplash (IM2)
Kaecilius / The Zealot (DS)
Hela Odinsdottir (T3)

Emil Blonsky / The Abomination (IH)
Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger (IM1)
Ronan the Accuser (G1)
Malekith the Accursed (T2)
Ava Starr / Ghost (ANT2)
Yon-Rogg (CM)