The fact of the matter is Avengers: Endgame brings the first phase of the Marvel movie saga to a close, all eleven years of overlapping superhero movies in an exhausting connected universe. The shared universe is exhausting, yet, but also exhausted, as in a tired, used up, of gas, predictable. Though the fanboy in each of us wants superhero movies
, as a genre, to remain fresh and diverting and, like The Western or the Horror film, to remain a lively genre for writers and producers to delve into, Marvel products, at the second half of their decade-long run at least, have gone from fresh and spunky and reflecting lively energy to being a predictable set of plot motions, no less so, say, than later seasons of Law and Order where longtime viewers can literally count the beats of each scene , know what cues will signify a crucial piece of evidence, how long one has to wait for the Surprise Twist.
For all the expensive gloss, impressive professionalism, an authentic sense of humor, and a surfeit of superb actors doing outstanding work while wearing spandex costumes, the movies, all 21 of them, including Endgame, seem less and less engaged with a big
story, the unfolding of a saga, the moral dilemmas that arise when good vs. evil than they do with becoming more manic, chattier, glibber, frenetic to no natural effect; the present movie takes up nearly three hours cramming in as many characters as possible, from all the film, citing plot points from many films to prove, again, that these stories are connected, and, perhaps reflective of the sense as mentioned above of exhaustion that has pervaded many of Marvel's releases in the half-decade, there is much desultory discussion, digressions, and disquisitions among the characters about how tired they are, how disillusioned they are becoming, how hard it all seems. It leaves unsaid how bored the performances seem, bored to the bone.
To spirit things along, to pick up the pace, they expected set pieces and the scheduled appearance of every MCU hero from the 11 years of movies. This makes me think of nothing less than Fibber McGee's Closet, a closet so far beyond capacity that a chance opening of the door threatens a city-wide catastrophe. There is much summing up, explaining, complaining, and large chunks of shtick. They mean us to have a teary-eyed farewell to characters we
've come to love as this chapter of the Marvel Universe closes, and they pass the torch on to the next generation of costumed clods. The manipulation of audience emotion was as ham-handed as the pacing was lead-footed.
This three-hour ordeal just made me wish everyone on the screen would die and we could all go home at last. The hard fact is that Avengers Endgame is less entertaining than watching a dog pinch a loaf on your front lawn. It is an awful movie.