This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Esther Rosenfield’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I'm not going to do a big long post for this one. It's almost one in the morning and I don't have it in me. Maybe later. For now I just want to get down what I think is my main problem with how these movies have developed, and where they've ended up.
In that first Iron Man, Tony Stark takes forever to put his suit on. It's a whole ordeal, with all these whooshing and whirring mechanical arms with a million different pieces to affix to his body. Putting on his suit isn't an act, it's a sequence. It's not something he can just do.
But that's not the case by the time of Avengers: Endgame. Now putting on his suit takes all of five seconds. He doesn't even have to physically move, he can just think it and it happens in an instant. And that's the MCU in 2019 in microcosm. These movies are completely weightless. Nothing is grounded in any comprehensible reality (physical or emotional). They just don't feel like they have to work for it anymore.
You see it in the unwatchable action scenes, as poorly shot and edited as ever. Things just sort of happen in these sequences, disparate beats, isolated swings and punches and flips, the sort of thing you'd see on a splash page. But none of them are connected to each other. They don't flow. They just happen, one after the other, and you're meant to cheer as each one passes by. The movie takes it for granted that you're here for the moments, and to hell with how they're meant to fit together.
You see it in how bewildering the film's conception of time travel is. And no, I don't want it explained to me. That was on the film, and it failed. Nothing about its explanation of its version of time travel makes any sense whatsoever, and it contradicts itself constantly. But it shouldn't matter how it works, right? It doesn't matter if it's a patchwork machine. You're here for what that machine makes: The moments. You're meant to appreciate each one and then instantly wipe it from your memory. If you hold any two scenes in this movie in your mind simultaneously, the whole thing falls apart. It's a film that resists being viewed. It's un-cinema.
And yet at the same time, it wants so desperately to be liked. The eye-rolling moment in which ten or so female heroes crowd into the frame and charge forward to do... something (?) is meant to be a rallying cry to the women watching. "We See You!" Really it plays as a reminder of how disposable almost all of these characters are, how little personality they have to share between them, how their precious little screentime is always, always, always ceded to the men around them. This movie has the audacity to permakill the only woman of the original Avengers in the same exact way it killed the only woman of the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the last one. Then there's the truly spit-at-your-feet shameful moment where one of the directors appears as a gay nobody with all of two lines, a moment tailor-made for shit-for-brains bloggers who Can't Stop Screaming moreso than for, y'know, actual queer people. The people who make these movies only care about you as far as they can stretch your fucking dollar. Never, ever forget that.
I still remember calling the MCU a bottomless pit. Well, they finally found a floor. And you know what's down there? Absolutely positively nothing. Nothing in this movie means anything. Nothing in this movie matters. It's the Clorox wipes of cinema, meant to be used once and then instantly disposed of. It's not a movie at all. It's just Content. And now that Disney's one big step closer to swallowing an entire artistic medium, steel yourself for a hell of a lot more of it. This is the future of film, right here. A void of art, of feeling, of meaning. A black hole, sucking up everything in its path. High Life played at my local theater for less than a week because of this thing. It is actively destroying exhibition for smaller films that, incidentally, are actually good. This isn't an exaggeration, this isn't me being hyperbolic. Avengers: Endgame is a harbinger of decay and doom and death. Hope you enjoyed those precious moments. In the future, they're all you're ever going to see.