Avengers: Endgame ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

A second viewing of the mammoth Avengers: Endgame, and I bumped my score a half star.

Ultimately, I think I'll land comfortably at a 4/5. I still have some gripes*, but my revisit reminded me of how masterfully the creators and actors waved goodbye to some of the original Avengers: namely Iron Man, Black Widow, and Captain America.

The Black Widow death scene is tremendous. Watching her and Hawkeye struggle to sacrifice themselves and save the other was heart-wrenching. This was the most emotional moment for me. They better not go back on this. Scarlett Johansson should take a bow and move on.

The time travel details and cameos, things that rubbed me wrong or felt a bit off during my first viewing, worked a lot better this second time around. It turns out the filmmakers are smarter than me--I'm as surprised as you are! Things didn't feel quite so gloomy this time around, and more of the jokes made me chuckle.

And Cap'n lifting the hammer was possibly the most fist-pump inducing moment in all of superhero cinema.

*Gripes (because I just can't help myself):
- That end battle following the portals scene lacks any real continuity and cohesion. This really irked me. It was mostly a series of fan-service vignettes, ending in an awful, smash-the-nose moment with all the female superheroes on camera. Fan service. Plain and simple. It made little structural sense (like the end battle in the third Hobbit movie minus the extended scenes). I do wonder if an extended version would help address what the heck is going on. Overseeing a battle of that scale is a monumental task, and though plenty went right, the filmmakers ultimately fell short. The Infinity War finale had less to juggle, and it shows. That battle is much better.
- Captain Marvel needs a Thor 3-type do-over to make her character remotely interesting and worth any emotional investment. Her brief moment with Peter Parker was her only appealing moment.
- This movie still works best as a send-off for a 22 film odyssey. As a standalone, it suffers.

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