Memes with Minimal Plot – a Review of Avengers: Endgame

I’ve been thinking about this movie for a week. Spoilers ahead.

Matt Zoller Seitz in his excellent essay compares Endgame to a Richard Linklater film: the characters hang out a lot. Most of the reviews I’ve read, and most people I know, seem to love the movie. Although I love Linklater films, Endgame was so boring that I often felt like I wanted to walk out of the theater.

It wasn’t until I read Bob Chipman’s review that I realized that it’s very a much a matter of taste. I agree with all his observations about the movie: it’s mostly fanservice with a big, long fight in the end. Our disagreement comes is in whether it’s good fanservice or not.

But the real issue I have with the movie is that it’s a sequel to Infinity War, and as such, it is burdened with resolving a cataclysmic cliffhanger. For a year, we’ve been wondering: how will they write themselves out of this one?

Turns out, they didn’t. They copped out.

The solution to the Thanos maneuver is, literally, this:

“computer, is this possible lol?”
“yea”
“mind = blown”

This is what I was waiting for a whole year?

Endgame treats the whole Thanos situation as a reason to meme out and give fanservice. Many of the scenes were fun, a lot of the jokes really were smart, and the new views to some old movies were delightful. The good moments were there. But it deserved a proper plot. Right now, Endgame’s plot feels like the thinnest, laziest possible justification for scenes that should have been left to the cutting room floor – uh, editing computer’s “unused” folder – and ultimately to the sumptuous Extras & Deleted Scenes disc on the physical release. Or online, more likely.

Of course the final reversal of the finger snap is another finger snap, but the resolution as a whole felt too much like one – or rather, the rest of the script felt like it took as much effort to write as a finger snap. It’s cheating. The concept as such is good: end the Avengers with a loving trip to who these characters are and what they’ve been through. Some of the character arcs did have a satisfying ending – much better than I’d hoped. But writing a story is about making the concept work, imbuing it with internal logic and gravitas and a feeling that the writers know what they’re doing. Especially when you’re dealing with trillions of people dead.

What we’re left with?

“mass genocide? jk. here’s memes”

2 thoughts on “Memes with Minimal Plot – a Review of Avengers: Endgame

  1. My problem with the film was expecting to see how heroes deal with losing and personal loss. The Infinity War left them in a hole and I was eager to see how they are going to dig themselves up again. As that didn’t happen and the movie went on, I was hoping to see some high drama with the quest of the infinity stones. However, getting the stones from the past is so easy that characters have time to loiter and catch up with their friends and family. The tone couldn’t be any different from the previous movie.

    I get that they wanted to make a movie for the fans of the series by referencing previous installments a lot; it’s a very appropriate way to end a long series. It just doesn’t make a great stand-alone movie or even a sequel to the Infinity War at the same time.

    • Sorry, I didn’t get an email notification for this, I would’ve responded sooner.

      I agree with every word. However much I respect people’s opinion on this, I’m eager to see how the reception to this movie changes or matures over time. My guess: its faults will be much more apparent and it won’t be seen in such high regard.

      Then again, I admit that I’m not the target audience here. Captain America and Iron Man were among my personal favorites, but the others were more or less uninteresting superpowers with famous faces. Their possible development as characters wasn’t interesting or relatable to me in any way.

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