Everyone else is posting their reviews everywhere they can, so I’m going to go ahead and repost the one I wrote for my Letterboxd account. I also can be heard on a show chatting about it in a little more detail, but unlike this review it’s unrestrictedly spoiler-filled. You may want to stick with this first.
The Official kesseljunkie Review of #AvengersEndgame That You Always Wanted
Please note: This is spoiler-free, but it does address some structural things that someone might not care to read before seeing the movie.
There’s a lot to like in Avengers: Endgame. There are some terrific character moments blended with epic action. Each character who’s been with the franchise since the beginning is given a story beat to emphasize them.
If you’re a fan of long-standing, it makes sure to thank you as explicitly as possible by including as much as it can to let you know they paid attention to what you liked. They even go out of their way to have a wink and a nod to the things you didn’t.
The cynical way to put this is that we all knew that it was going to be Fan Service: The Movie. It’s how it was essentially billed.
Unfortunately, it has couple of strikes against it. It uses a significant cheat in the storytelling that undercuts some of the terrific development it has at other points. It “starts” multiple times, which gets a touch tedious in the first thirty minutes.
Could these issues have have been avoided? That’s a fair question. It may simply be that something on this scale can’t escape them. You just have to live with what can’t be overcome.
The Russos are masters of getting a large cast to work well, and iron out the flow once the plot gets going. And they do that here, for the most part. This is a terribly complex movie with a lot of external demands, so these flaws seem somewhat inescapable.
Some of the effects are terrific…and some of the effects are bafflingly inadequate. I seem to be on a shrinking island of caring about that, though. And to be clear, it’s not that I’m critiquing anything that pushes an envelope. When you push an envelope, I’m willing to go along with the challenges inherent in innovation. I’m talking about things that were surmountable with a little more finesse.
The largest flaw that can’t escape criticism is the final battle scene. For all the terrific moments it has – including one that got applause from me in the theater – there is a muddiness to the action that makes it clear that those moments are all that is important. I would’ve liked to see it flow much more organically, instead of using the same cheat that Infinity War did, which is that every person is exactly where they need to be at any given moment.
I could go on about other things that didn’t work so well, but they speak again to that idea of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. It’s fine, and I can look the other way on some things. They might not work terribly well, but they’re only pieces of a very large puzzle.
But the ending is satisfying, and the Russos are careful to have the necessary denoument to let fans feel emotionally complete. These aren’t movies anymore, so much as coordinated events.
On that mark, this is a great success.
Again, this review is a bit restricted for the sake of avoiding spoiler talk. There are some very specific things about the movie that would explain why my “final rating” might even seem a bit lower than that review implies. But I’m trying to keep it as vague as possible at this point. I don’t want to spoil something the way some people did for Game of Thrones fans.
I’m happy to expand these thoughts, if you want, or if you have any questions that you want to leave in the comments section.