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04/28/2019 18:55:03 •••

My Problem (Spoiler Warning)

So... I have a pet peeve: Time Travel stories.

Naturally, discovering that's what the movie's about with no foreknowledge whatsoever wasn't a pleasant surprise. But that wasn't even the main problem. I think I could have stowed away the lingering doubts and confusion in my mind; time travel never makes sense anyways.

My real problem was the way the movie built up to its climax.

Any movie tends to follow a Three-Act Structure: there is setup, confrontation, The Climax and Dénouement. The Avengers (2012) pulled this off nicely; it set up its players in the first act and pulled them together in the final showdown. Captain America: Civil War had an earlier action climax, but still did its job in setting up each superhero before slamming them together in the airport fight.

Endgame, however, doesn't do that as well; over three-quarters (or more; I lost count) of the cast are relegated to side roles and cameos, and abruptly return 80% into the film.

"Well, you should have watched the other movies!" I did. But that's not how a movie works. When you go into the theaters for Avengers: Endgame, you go to experience Avengers: Endgame. It needs to stand well enough on its own as a three-hour ride.

Take Captain America: Civil War: it took the time to set up every one of its superheroes. Every onenote . The filmakers could have just said "Aw, everyone knows Spider-Man; let's just throw him in!", but they didn't. They gave a proper introduction to Peter Parker and his powers. Even preexisting Avengers got to showcase what they can do, so that they are fresh in your memory and hype expectations. The film spent time building up each of its players and setting their arcs in motion so that the airport showdown was a proper payoff.

What does Endgame spend its time on? A Time Travel story. One which often focuses on characters who will be absent for the final battle, and less so on those who won't.

The result was a final fight that felt too abrupt and improperly built up to. The shots were too brief, and some like Hulk just got shafted. And I'd be lying if I said there wasn't lingering time travel confusion.

Some of it was satisfying. The return of Mjolnir was hilarious, and Captain America using it was glorious. And Iron Man? He is indeed.

I suppose it might be unfair (and impossible) to ask a three-hour movie to properly execute a battle juggling forty-plus characters. Oh well. I'll move on.

...But not us. Wait, that doesn't make sense.

04/27/2019 00:00:00

I would actually disagree with your point about Endgame not standing on it\'s own and needing to see all (or at least most) of the other movies. Endgame is more like a season finale of a three season show. Either you\'re in By the point you see the finale or you\'re out.

04/27/2019 00:00:00

@Ratbatter

Suppose I should clarify: I\'m not saying it doesn\'t stand on it\'s own, it just doesn\'t stand as well. Even the other Avengers movies stood alone independently enough.

Comparing Endgame to the other Avengers movies may be difficult, as it was built as a follow-up to Infinity War, but I just didn\'t find it as satisfying. It\'s also difficult to compare it to TV shows. Serial TV episodes and season finales often don\'t fit into a Three-Act Structure at all; this movie does.

04/27/2019 00:00:00

I\'m not sure what you mean when you say most of the cast was relagated to cameos. Are you talking about the dusted heroes? Who ever we spend the movie with is our hero/es. Last movie it was Thanos. This movie its the Orginal Six, and by and by I reckon they all got decent screen time, lions share going to Cap and Iron Man as it usually does. This movie was structured far more tradionally than Infinity War was, so I\'m also not understanding that. In fact each hour ends up being rather self contained, really. Hour One, coming up with the solution. Hour Two, Time Heist. Hour Three Showdown Glory. That\'s not to say that the movie doesnt have problems, I just feel like we outta focus on what those really are; time travel is a really lazy plot device and an excuse to be a clip show, more or less. Its fun, gaudy fan service but I dont like that it was the lynch pin of the movie. That and the movie is a touch fucking tone deaf; Thor is an especially tragic character here, yet they try and tamper that off to play it for laughs. Its bizzare. I have my own nick pics but I admit that that\'s what they are; I kinda hate that they use Time Travel Thanos as the final villain. Thanos always felt more like a Guradians villain; I never really bought him as this really personal foe for the team like Ultron was or even Zemo in Civil War. He\'s basically a Giant Space Flea From Nowhere to the Earth Team and even in this movie where they have a reason to hate him and have some sort of dynamic its wasted between them killing in the first 20 minutes and then just fighting him in the last 30. If we\'re going to the trouble to introduce Time Travel, why the he\'ll dont we have the villains of the past be the ones to come wreck shit? Sure, have Thanos there because everyone\'s sucking his dick right now, but why not have Red Skull fuck about as well? Maybe just shoehorn Abomination in there. Have Kurse lurking round if we\'re acknowledging Dark World.

04/27/2019 00:00:00

@zachcaudell

Um... okay, to each their own!

To hone in on your point about the Original Six though, Nat is dead by the final battle, and I don\'t even remember Hulk and Hawkeye doing much then, so that\'s disappointing. It\'s a simple principle: buildup and payoff.

Cap, Iron Man and Thor did get their payoff though, which is why I noted them as highlights.

04/28/2019 00:00:00

@Ninja 857142 Black Widow and Hawkeye got some of the most emotional parts of the film, and Hulk did contribute plenty.

04/28/2019 00:00:00

@Tropetastic 1995

Yeah, that is true. I meant in terms of The Climax, where in theory all the set-up conflicting forces are supposed to collide. Hawkeye had some cool scenes as Ronin, I suppose.

Hulk\'s role was... weird. I\'m still trying to internalize it.

04/28/2019 00:00:00

@Ninja 857142

I also respectfully disagree with your stance on how Endgame should stand purely on it\'s own, by virtue of being a Grand Finale watching other installments is required to get the most of it. You don\'t go watch Lord of the Rings: Return of the King without watching the previous two, nor are you gonna watch the serries finale from Game of Thrones without seeing the rest of the series first.

04/28/2019 00:00:00

@Tropetastic 1995

This is where it gets murky, but to be clear: I don\'t think it has to stand purely on its own. Obviously, there can be elements and plot threads from prior films, especially if it\'s a second-parter. It has to stand on its own as a three-hour ride, because that\'s what it is. The ride of the movie that you are currently watching is a powerful way to get audiences invested. Conversely, even if you\'ve seen prior films, it may not be as easy to get re-invested in elements that you saw months or years ago, even if you remember them, unless the three-hour film devotes time to tangibly reintroduce them. Not go through the entire backstory, but just reintroduce them. The final army rush came very abruptly, with little buildup and little time to process what was going on, and the character shots were very rapid. That was my problem.

Endgame was built as a second part to Infinity War, which makes comparisons to other Avengers movies difficult. But it should still stand on its own as a film, because it is a film with a Three-Act Structure. And technically, it does, but not as well as the other Avengers films.

04/28/2019 00:00:00

There are plenty of ways, legal ways, to see the previous films if one needed to remind themselves of the previous films before seeing Infinity War and Endgame. Ways people who intended to see those films would have done beforehand, years ago even.

I disagree with the principle matter of this review, that Endgame is a lesser experience due to your own standards for film storytelling clashing with the philosophy of what this movie meant.

04/28/2019 00:00:00

@Very Melon

\"Lesser experience\"? \"Own standards for film storytelling\"? \"Philosophy of what this movie meant\"? What are you even talking about? I\'m chiefly reviewing Endgame as a fun action movie, which means it depends on how much fun I did or did not have. And as such, that will inevitably involve my personal expectations and wishes. When I watch a superhero movie, I expect setup, buildup, payoff, etc. etc. Every superhero movie has that, including this one. And I didn\'t find it as satisfying.

And yes, you can rewatch the movies if you want, but not everyone is going to binge-watch all or even a few of them days, hours or seconds before. My point is that the movie itself is, on a certain level, its own ride, its own three-hour experience, and as such it needs to be independently entertaining. Again, it has its own setup, confrontation, The Climax and Dénouement.

Actually, on the subject of Infinity War, that movie mostly does the things I\'m talking about better. Take the Battle of Titan. Every character in that fight has their own setup. Every one. We see Iron Man, Doc Strange, and Spidey doing their thing on Earth and in the ship, and we see the Go G fight with them as well. Thanos himself had steamrolled over everything that faced him before, building up how much of an unstoppable threat he is... and how crazy it is that the Avengers are actually taking him on and winning. The movie didn\'t just bank on you having watched the prior films immediately before to build up hype; it had its own buildup within the two-hour ride itself. It makes sure the superheroes and what they can do are fresh in your mind and hype. The foreknowledge from prior movies and reminders in the film itself work together. The only exception might be Gamora (she just has a few earlier scenes), which is why her arrival was a bit abrupt for me.

04/28/2019 00:00:00

  • Whoops, I mean Nebula, not Gamora.

...Why is Gamora (what I wrote)?

04/28/2019 00:00:00

I fail to see how you couldn\'t grasp my meaning, but I don\'t see how clarification will help with that so I guess I can just leave it here.


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