Saw Avengers: Endgame. Wish I could come up with more of a comprehensive statement on the movie, but for now this .gif sums up my reaction:

Herewith, some musings and rumiarions. SPOILERS ahead.

  • Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” is about as perfect a tribute to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as any song. (This is the second Traffic song that’s been used well in a Marvel movie; see also “The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” in Homecoming.)
  • Has there ever been another movie in which the Big Bad gets killed off in the first fifteen minutes? Snoke getting bisected in Last Jedi was kind of a surprise, I guess, but unlike Thanos he hadn’t had three or four movies setting up his backstory in great detail. And unlike organic gardening Thanos, I’ll wager nobody was sorry to see him go.
  • It’s probably just as well that the movie keeps the post-Snap stuff to a minimum. There’s the sense that things have been awful, pods of whales in the Hudson notwithstanding, but dwelling on it through the support group scene and the characters’ own losses is probably better than the zombie movie cliches of panicked TV reporters and angry mobs.
  • Though since AoS’s Season Six premiere episode is titled “One Year Later,” I imagine the show will explore the ends and outs of the post-Snap situation.
  • There’s also the sense that the remaining half have handled everything as well as they could, since society hasn’t fallen apart. Brunch is still a thing.
  • That said, the scene that’s stuck with me the most in terms of sheer emotional impact is Scott coming home and finding Cassie alive, well, and safe. It’s genuinely moving and life-affirming in a movie full of apocalypse-cancelling moments.
  • Is this the most character-driven superhero movie of all time? The first third, after the Thanos Kill Team returns to Earth, is pretty much the Marvel version of The Big Chill, with the core characters facing middle age, loneliness, marriage, parenthood, and newfound responsibilities (or the denial of same). It seems like this is only possible with a franchise that’s a decade-plus long. The clear antecedent isn’t Star Wars, but Star Trek, particularly the early TOS movies. Downey is older now than Shatner was when he made Wrath of Khan. Even the “Greatest Hits” aspects of the Time Heist storyline emphasize the characters’ growth and change, by pitting them against their younger selves to show how much they’ve changed in a decade-plus’s worth of movies.
  • The Japan/Ronin stuff seemed to have come out of another movie — it doesn’t quite fit in with the tone of the rest of the film — but it did have a strong X-Men vibe to it, which makes me optimistic about how Marvel could handle the franchise.
  • I am not going to go into the implications or inconsistencies of the time travel shenanigans. That’s because I’ve only seen the movie once, and there are plenty of detailed analyses of how the quantum tunneling method could work without causing the spacetime continuum to collapse. Also, it’s interesting to note that the Ancient One uses the term “realities” rather than “timelines”; “realities” can encompass multiple timelines, which may be how 2014 Gamora can fill in for Gamora Prime, there can be multiple Caps and Nebulas interacting with each other, Nebula can kill her younger, evil self, and Steve can go back to 1945 and live out the rest of his life with Peggy.
  • Are we to assume that Loki absconded with the Tesseract long enough to alter his future and prevent his death? Guessing “yes.”
  • Natasha’s death came off as the biggest shock in the movie, since there’s a Black Widow standalone in development. I imagine that’ll be another prequel. But presumably Nat’s spirit is in the Soul Stone with Gamora Prime, so I guess that’s something that could be picked up in a future movie. And I imagine that a Mjolnir-wielding Cap might have a bit of leverage in negotiating with Herr Schmidt on Vormir.
  • It was nice to see Portman’s Jane again, though that was probably just unused footage from Dark World. On the other hand, Thor’s scene with Frigga is almost enough to redeem that movie (which honestly isn’t that bad!).
  • The big battle is truly epic, and raises the stakes for any future cinematic fight scenes. It reminded me a lot of the Battle of Pelennor Fields from Return of the King, which is probably the closest analog to Endgame’s narrative ambitions. And “on your left” sequence is one of the great catharses in blockbuster movies, period.
  • I can only assume that Cap has said “Avengers Assemble” before, if the abrupt end of Age of Ultron is any indication. It’s an enthralling moment, though it is sort of weird that it took five movies (including Civil War as Avengers 3) to actually hear it spoken aloud.
  • I guess it’s not too late to stop hoping for “Don’t Yield — Back SHIELD!”
  • It would’ve been nice to see the SHIELD Helicarrier with Fury and Hill joining the vanguard of vehicles descending on Thanos’s forces (which included Ravagers!), but I have a vague sense we haven’t seen the last of that old crate. Maybe it’s just, uh, far from home.
  • Same thing with Coulson/”Sarge” and the AoS team, though I’m sure we’ll find out that they were running interference in a lone Quinjet the whole time. (Then again, this is five years in the show’s future, so who knows where or when they are.)
  • It’s a safe bet that the scene with Wanda tearing through Thanos’s armor like it was papier-mâché is more Phoenix-y than anything in Dark Phoenix.
  • Vision is really dead, though I assume Shuri will be able to reanimate him in time for WandaVision.
  • I imagine there was a bit more stuff early on with Pepper in the Rescue armor that got cut, though honestly that’s something that probably should have been introduced in Iron Man 3.
  • Howard the Duck is in the battle, though I missed him.
  • Carol is basically a deux ex machina, but that’s fine. One of the advantages of a shared universe is that anybody should be able to drop in at any point.
  • I would’ve liked to have seen Liv Tyler’s Betsy Ross at Tony’s memorial, at least as an acknowledgement that Incredible Hulk exists. I guess she’s still on the outs with her dad, who is there.
  • Tony’s death was 100% expected, though I’d still held out hope that Downey might stick around in some sort of mentor role. I imagine that part of the plot of the new Spider-Man movie will involve Fury and Hill recruiting Peter for some new incarnation of SHIELD and/or the Avengers.
  • And I seriously doubt we’ve seen the last movie with Avengers in the title. Even without Cap, Thor, or Tony, we could still see some variant of the late ‘60s team, when Stan Lee forbid Roy Thomas from using the Big Three for fear of cannibalizing sales of their standalone titles. Black Panther, Hawkeye (as Goliath), Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Vision. I imagine that a MCU version of this with Scott Lang and Peter Parker, plus Rhodey, Sam, Bucky, etc. as auxiliaries, could carry a movie. Maybe get Tigra and Moon Knight in there too. And I can only assume that Cap and Peggy have grandchildren walking around with Erskine-enhanced chromosomes.
  • And that lineup, incidentally, is the one that leads into the Kree-Skrull War arc.
  • So I imagine that Ned got dusted, too, since he’s still a teenager. Wonder how many other members of Peter’s class are the same age? I imagine they could use the time jump to bring in the traditional Spider-Man ensemble, but I sincerely hope not. We never need to see Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy, or Harry Osborn in another movie again.
  • Asgardians (Asguardians?) of the Galaxy is a great idea, but only if Korg and Miek come along. I would’ve liked to have seen them interact more with Rocket.
  • Things that will stay with me: Gamora tucking in Tony and her reunion with Rocket, Hulk riding in the back of the truck while the Kinks’ “Supersonic Rocketship” plays, America’s ass, “HATE STAIRS,” “this is nice,” Cap passing the shield to Sam.
  • I guess Loki never did get that drink.