An enjoyable romp as the finale to MCU phase 1 but the writers left themselves too much to do. It thus comes across as lacking fluency and it's a bit disjointed.
Note: I have avoided virtually all spoilers in this review.
I confess to being a card-carrying nerd for the Avengers stuff. When I was a wee lad back in the 70s, Marvel comics were my staple reading and I’ve watched all the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies.
Marvel appeared to have a plan all the way from Ironman 1 through to Endgame and, by and large, I’ve enjoyed seeing that plan unfold.
The movies I’ve particularly enjoyed are Ironman 1, Thor: Raganrok and the excellent Avengers: Infinity War, but I’ve enjoyed most of them. There have been a few duds as far as I’m concerned —I haven’t been keen on either of the Ant-Man films, for example — but by and large it has been fun.
I thought Avengers: Infinity War was excellent and maybe that raised my hopes too much because, against much prevailing opinion, I found Endgame to be a bit of a disappointment.
They had created all these superheroes over a decade or so, each with their own storylines and histories, and then tried to wrap everything up for all of them in Endgame.
As such, I thought the movie lacked focus and fluidity, and it came over as a bit disjointed. They’d left themselves too much to do.
Maybe the whole Avengers series should have been a bit more restricted with the characters they used and maybe the story should have just stayed with those who were in the original Avengers movie. Did they really need to bring Ant-Man, The Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Dr Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy into it?
Of course if they hadn’t done that, the metastory covering this MCU phase would have had to be different. With what they had, they were more or less compelled to include everyone in Endgame because what self-respecting superhero wouldn’t be keen to fix the problems Thanos caused in Infinity War?
I think they’d written themselves into a hole.
I can see how real world practicalities might have forced certain things upon the writers. The actors were contracted for a certain number of films and everything had to end there. Did the writers know that up front I wonder? Something suggests to me that perhaps they didn’t.
There were some strange things in Endgame. The sudden inexplicable appearance of Brainy Hulk didn’t go down well with me and, with the exception of Hawkeye, it seems most of the Avengers gave up on the superhero business between Infinity War and Endgame. Thor had even become fat. Whereas the MCU had been pretty good on backstory to date, things were just thrown at us here.
It’s not a total loss. It’s still an entertaining romp, but things just didn’t seem to gel all that well and the high expectations I had after Infinity War probably didn’t help either. I was wavering between 2.5 and 3.0 stars for this movie and in the end I settled for a generous 3.
I’ve had fun with the whole series of this so-called Phase 1 of MCU. The characters were generally quite good and the actors they chose to play them fitted the characters well.
I’m annoyed about Endgame, although I appreciate I’m probably in the minority here. Most reviews are 4.5 or 5 stars and user approval is generally 90%+, so maybe I’m being too picky. But I can only call it as I see it.
Despite my disappointment with Endgame, I’ll still most likely be on board with MCU Phase 2 and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops.
Update, October 2020
After a second viewing of this movie, I've decided to add a star and take it up top 4. I enjoyed it more the second time and think my review is a bit harsh. It's still not as good as Infinity War but I think it's the comparison I was making that movie that was my reason for being so hard on Endgame.