I absolutely loved this movie, for the most part. It was full of fanservice and callbacks without being hokey, it was hilarious without shifting the tone too much, it gave closure to so many almost decade-long story arcs, and it delivered a lot of the epic splash page goods that I've wanted to see ever since an Avengers movie was announced.
It's insane that this movie can even exist. Some of the characters and scenarios on screen would have been laughable even as recently as five years ago. But with all the MCU setup we've been given, it all feels believable, organic, and damned awesome.
Things I loved:
- Visiting all the past MCU movies. It was just like the fun parts of the last act of Back to the Future II where you get to see a past movie from a different perspective. Seeing the Avengers and SHIELD take Loki away after Avengers 1 ended was hilarious, especially when everyone freaked out when Hulk tried to get on the elevator with them.
- Cap's story seeing an awesome ending. Not just in terms of finally getting that dance with Peggy, but seeing him and Tony make nice, seeing him come to terms with how hokey he used to be, and also that huge metaphorical shot of him being ready to take on all of the Thanos army himself.
- I also loved the purposefully slow and intimate pace of the second act. Getting to see how all of the team reacted to years of accepted defeat felt like a MCU version of The Leftovers. All of those close character moments really set up amazing payoffs for the epic scenes in the last acts. A lot of it was also hilarious and over the top, and yet still felt right.
- THAT scene towards the end. It's like ten years and twenty something movies led to it. Right when Cap is about to basically commit suicide by standing up to the Thanos army, all of the characters we've met and grown to love warp in and have his back. And then on top of that, you finally get the climatic "Assemble" callout. I have NEVER heard shouting in a theater like that, it was like I was at a college football game instead of a theater. I will remember that amazing moment in the theater the rest of my life.
Things I didn't care for:
- The rules of time travel here are a little wonky and seemed to be shaped just so they can serve the plot. Just because the characters make fun of Back to the Future doesn't mean that they can believably handle time travel in a way that the audience has learned over decades to not handle as believable. Messing with the past to create limitless alternate timelines seems like a cheat as opposed to changing the future.
- Captain Marvel saying she has to keep an eye on the rest of the universe is a really lame excuse for making her an Ex Machina whenever the plot requires her.
- The five year gap is going to be a big problem for future MCU movies to deal with. Like, how does Peter Parker even go back to school? All of his surviving classmates would be far along in college by now, while he's still a Sophomore or Junior in high school. Isn't Aunt May going to be an emotional wreck if she was unsnapped and still around? Also, Scott's daughter Cassie has aged five years, do all of her friends come back undusted as the same age when they left? It just feels messy and doesn't make a lot of sense.
Overall I do think I liked this a good bit more than Infinity War. It was a little too balls to the wall in terms of pace and action, even though that was fun. Endgame has a lot of problems with the SciFi mechanics of how it moves its own plot and the MCU as a whole forward, but it still unapologetically takes its time and takes a closer look at the characters and what's happened to really make the last giant epic scene and all of those little moments in it pay off big time.