Avengers: Endgame ★½

30

I was going to start the conversation of Avengers: Endgame with some lame shit like "this is the bubble bursting" or "the longest filmic groan in existence" but that doesn't really cut it, nor does it even matter. In just its first day, The Mouse has earned over 169 million dollars overseas in sweet superhero coin, and the film is expected to gross more than 260 million domestic in three days stateside. None of this is a parameter of quality, but it might as well be. Marvel has their lineup slate and their constant stream of success, both critically and with audiences, and the Thursday night crowd roared, applauded, and cried while they bought their matinee Sunday ticket during the end-credits. Will this stand the test of time? How does it operate as a single movie? How are the performances, the special-effects, the cinematography, the editing etc? Does the movie have a message, a theme, or even some semblance of complexity or interest in developing beyond the parameters of the comic panel? Judging by my rating, you probably know the answers to my rhetorical questions, and again - who gives a fuck? These films aren't about satisfaction in relation to quality, they're about satisfaction in relation to pleasure. They're cultural-objects destined to exist in the here and now and then go on to Disney + in eight months.

That isn't for me, and I might even argue it's detrimental to the way visual media has been consumed, critiqued, and processed, but I'm too depressed to do that now. Or maybe I'm just struggling to catch up. Instead, just do me a favor and sit back and *look* at it. Really look at it. Do you see worth in the final CGI battle of countless monsters and armies and lasers and heroes and villains that doesn't even attempt to look remotely composed? Or colorful? Or structured or choreographed well or clearly designed? Because I don't. I also don't see worth in the dreadful first-hour that struggles to explore the strange, wonderful audacity of Infinity War's conclusion before just jumping back into the mundane cycle of things. Or in the cameo structure - essentially a narrative built out of the audience gasping and awing at branded characterizations as they appear from beneath poorly-lit shadow or under the guise of sunlight. Infinity War led to a genuine existential dilemma, while Endgame's first move (and of most Marvel product in general) is to figure out a solution rather than truly grapple with the consequences, or to have a sense of genuine defeat. This was their chance to conclude with textural significance and a lingering beauty and pain in the actions and consequences, but what occurs is a warm, fan-service sizzle-reel, one that doesn't even work as a serialized episode! This isn't a movie, it's a comic-book convention. Predictable orgasms, climaxes, and shoddy remembrances. Hall H in movie form. And as someone wandering in with a friend who offered an extra ticket, I was just looking for a nearby bench to sit in so I could wait it out.

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