MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD:
This review’s definitely not a day late, because I’m setting it to have been posted yesterday. And just like the movie, I don’t care if that’s cheating, because the entire film is made up of time travel tomfoolery like that.
Here’s the scoop: Endgame is just three hours of fun and genuine excitement, and definitely feels like an “event” more than any other movie before it. However, that’s all it is. An event. A trip to the carnival. Heart-stoppingly intense? Yes. Much less of a shitty comedy and more of a proper drama than previous Marvel flicks? Thank God, it is. A fitting conclusion to the MCU as we know it? Give (Captain Marvel) or take, sure.
Minus one cringe-inducing girl-power scene where a crying, weak little Spider-Man hands a plot McGuffin over to the hyper-masculine, stoic, and emotionless Carl Manvers, followed by a funny group shot of the women banding together to accomplish nothing for a hot sec while the guys kick back and let their female counterparts feel good about themselves, the movie was pretty good when it wasn’t defining heroes’ worth by their genitals.
But you already know all of this. You’ve read the reviews. “Fan-service” this and “I love you 3000” that. All the normie takes have already been made. So here’s my brilliant, totally original take: The Russo Bros. are lackluster directors. It’s been this way forever, they just happened to fool me with Winter Soldier. Their scene direction (and its accompanying editing style) is choppy and custom-built for Instagram posts, and I can smell their television roots in every scene.
Their style lacks grandiose. This sad phenomenon is especially visible during action scenes, when the Russo Bros. fail to capitalize on the epic nature of the heroes they’re in charge of.
Take, for example, a bad-ass moment when Pepper Potts teams up with her husband to kill some aliens. Both of them are in Iron Man suits and it looks awesome. Her armor is flared out like a purple phoenix, and Tony’s is doing that badass unibeam attack that deserved to crop up way more often in the MCU. The camera circles around them super-duper fast, showing them doing these epic maneuvers back to back with each other. It’s great. The pacing is electric, the choreography is fluid, everything about that shot is fantastic–except for the fact that it’s over in three seconds (the link to the clip will probably get taken down by YT, but I’m being literal when I say three damn seconds).
That kind of moment deserves, hell, at least ten seconds, just so the audience can process it, digest it, and then revel in it. The issue is, Team Russo (TM) only cares that audiences process it, then they move right along without giving anyone the time to savor it. It feels lazy, like they didn’t want to properly manufacture tension and think out genuine ways to extend the choreography to reach peak potential, so they cut away the second they’ve done just barely enough to “satisfy” the masses.
Think back to the stunning action sequences in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for a moment: every one of those featured a kinetic flow and sense of effortless endurance that puts each and every Endgame action scene to shame. Also think about other superhero films, like those directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan never shirked away from challenges like the ones mentioned above, which is why his stellar Batman trilogy will be remembered long after this film and the majority of other MCU flicks.
That last line sums up my feelings on this movie: great, but not memorable. The Russo Bros. just aren’t in the business of making films that leave a lasting impression, beyond their utilization of superficial narrative parlor tricks like the ending of Infinity War. As another reviewer stated, this movie is clear-cut pro-forma storytelling. I’m inclined to agree.