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Avengers: Endgame miscellaneous spoilery thoughts May 16, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
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This and Captain Marvel are the only two MCU movies I’ve paid to see while they were in theaters. Both late enough that there were only a dozen people in the audience. (I also saw Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming on a big screen, courtesy of the CWRU Film Society.)

Just gonna leave a block of spoiler-space and then jump right in.

(I have a non-spoilery Infinity War post over here, too.)

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  • On balance: I liked it!
  • Tons and tons of characters, only so much movie. I can see how it would be unsatisfying if you were invested in a specific character whose arc got shortchanged. (Say, if you really wanted to experience the Bruce-Hulk reconciliation, and not just have it whoosh by offscreen during a timeskip.)
  • But they did a good job of packing in at least one nice solid moment for everyone, IMO. Only a couple sequences went on too long. And the big emotional beats landed well.
  • …okay, not all of them. Count me in on Team “Clint should’ve died.” The fight with Nat kept me guessing right up to the end, so there was a moment of “oh, good, they’re gonna make the better choice that I was afraid they wouldn’t…never mind.”
  • And I get what they were trying to do with Nebula, symbolically cutting ties with the toxic thoughts and convictions her abuser forced onto her…but 2014!Nebula wasn’t a symbol, she was a whole person, who deserved the same shot at redemption that she got the first time around.
  • Other than that, her whole arc was so good, you guys. So good.
  • Time travel: by my count, even with returning all the stones, they’ve caused 3 extra timelines to branch off. One diverges from the main timeline in 2014 when Thanos and co. disappear; one diverges in 2012, when Loki gets the Tesseract (and Steve knows Bucky is alive, and HYDRA has been trolled into thinking Steve is on their side); one diverges in the late ’40s, when Steve rejoins Peggy.
  • I figure he gets a head start on foiling HYDRA and rescuing Bucky. Probably subverted Thanos as early as possible. And eventually used the Infinity Stones to hop back to the main timeline for shield-passing-on.
  • (Having a secret extra Steve in the background of the main timeline this whole time, lurking in anonymity without trying to make anything better…it just doesn’t ring true.)
  • The Ancient One was awesome. And I love that Dr. Strange’s handing-over of the Time Stone, explained as “this is the only way,” paid off in such a specific way!
  • Our heroes making loving-but-snarky commentary in the backdrop of their own younger selves’ first Big Serious Team-Up Movie is exactly the kind of time-travel shenanigans I eat up with a spoon.
  • Really liked MCU Steve faking out a HYDRA operative by murmuring “heil Hydra,” in a context where everyone in the audience is thinking “it’s delightful that you’re falling for it, even though this is such transparent BS, Steve would never.” Lovely counterpoint to that one really stupid 616 storyline.
  • I was kinda surprised they didn’t go somewhen to snag more Pym particles first thing, honestly. This was not a setup that banned “use your first genie wish to wish for infinite wishes.”
  • Thor’s reunion with his mom was a great balance of funny and touching. “I am totally from the future.” I get why people didn’t like Frigga’s last line, but the actress’ delivery made so much of it — it’s not making fun of him, it’s deliberately saying something frivolous to cut the tension so he doesn’t have a total emotional breakdown, while still layering it with a bedrock of genuine love and care. Talk about pure Mom Energy.
  • Everyone who’s saying the movie had too many fat jokes in general, though? They’re not wrong.
  • I want so much worldbuilding fic about the on-the-ground fallout from the Snap. And, then, from the un-Snap. Any recs?
  • People have talked a lot about the unworkable logistics of the un-Snap. You can’t suddenly double the populations of societies whose supply chains have had five years to stabilize on a much smaller scale, and expect things to run smoothly! And yeah, I’d read that dystopia fic.
  • But since Bruce did the un-Snap, I’m gonna headcanon that he thought over all the scientific implications, and also snapped back everything that was necessary to support the people. (We know Peter came back with an unexpectedly-peaceful set of final memories…IMO that was part of it.)
  • I wish there’d been more Carol. Even knowing that she’s in such a different weight class from the rest of the cast, she would’ve made a lot of it too easy. But I do appreciate that the writers kept her offstage with “I’m busy singlehandedly being The Avengers for multiple planets at once.”
  • Also? The point when Thanos’ battle cruiser frantically points ALL THE GUNS at the upper atmosphere…and Carol soars right through the whole barrage and just shreds the cruiser with her bare hands? Magic. Absolutely magic.
  • Wanda’s one-on-one with Thanos…it also hit the BAMF emotional beats, but they got undercut because I kept waiting on her to do something cooler/magic-er/more witchy than “throw rocks at him, but, you know, lots of rocks.”
  • And I’ve skipped right over the initial Calling In The Cavalry sequence, where Dr. Strange portals in ALL THE CAVALRY from ALL THE MOVIES, and Steve gets to say “Avengers…assemble” with ALL THE AVENGERS. So good. Right in the heart. Not a lot of stories, in any medium, pull off such an extensive Big Damn Heroes moment that’s so well-earned.
  • The “here’s ALL THE WOMEN doing a power-walk together” scene didn’t make much sense (why not have Carol fly? why not just have her put on the gauntlet? she’s the one person on the field who could’ve snapped away the army without flinching!), but you know what, it looked awesome, so I’m down with it.
  • Everyone who’s saying the funeral should’ve been a double service for Tony and Nat? They’re also not wrong.
  • Loved Carol and Fury in the back of the group — both separated out from the various knots of close-friend-groups, but in a way that suggests they’re being separate together.
  • Their actual reunion was high on my list of “developments I really wanted to see happen on-screen” — but you can see how there was no good place to cram it in without detracting from the overall arc of the movie. So, again, if anyone has fic recs…I will take all of them.
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