Avengers: Endgame ★★

My non-snotty pan of this is that as much as I find the Avengers movies to be collections of the worst that the MCU model has to offer (too many characters juggled so violently that they are reduced to their most functional quips, baffling plans and abrupt, haphazard escalations), I nonetheless do have some admiration for the logistics of combining effectively 8 or 9 franchises into one behemoth. There is some good stuff here: a depressed Thor parlaying his slow turn into comic relief as a sign of total stagnation, a goofy heist section that is the closest the film comes to the silly idiosyncrasy that makes individual MCU films entertaining, and a few character beats that are moving almost in spite of how aggressively the film tries to make you feel elsewhere.

My less charitable criticisms would be that the Russos remain staggeringly bad action filmmakers, their images are unforgivably dim and monochrome as Marvel becomes increasingly bright and florid on the screen, and it's remarkable how a film that marks so much time can suddenly be so rushed in its last half-hour, in which it in ways both deliberate and incompetent repeats the exact same beats of Infinity War's climax. Also Captain Marvel is so badly shoved into this that I'm still waiting to see how she'll integrate into this universe and whether she might ever become an actual character and not a simplistic feminist meme.