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I'm torn about this one. No, really, I am.
I really encourage you to listen to our way-too-long Podcast on this film because we get into some great conversations.
On one side you have the Marvel fan in me. It's the one who has been to every opening night for nearly every Marvel film since Iron Man 2. That's the guy who researches movies and characters to learn more about their powers and possible story directions. That Ken easily gives this a 10/10.
Then there is that other side of me. The one who goes to the movies to see something he didn't even know he wanted to see. The one who feels movies should run as tight as possible, so every line of dialogue and scene has a purpose. The guy who feels like it shouldn't take a full hour of exposition to get us into the main plot of the movie. That Ken marks this down at about a 7/10.
I'm torn because all the things I love about EndGame are exactly what I hate about it. Consider all the things you have to know just to understand the motivations of the characters. You'll need to brush off Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man, the entire Captain America trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2., Ant-Man and the Wasp, and *maybe* Captain Marvel. Far from being a sequel, this is a behemoth of a feat to wrap up 11 years of movies. As a fan, this is great. As a casual movie goer, it leads to a bloated film that tries to wrap up too much in one sitting. As a fan it was everything I wanted to see (and more) but as casual viewer it had the predictable formula of a super hero movie.
The fan in me knows that this movie wasn't made for the casual movie-goer. It was made for you and I, the fans. Endgame really was/is the tightest story the Russo Brothers could weave for the adoring fans who have stuck with the MCU for so long. It's for everyone who could name every single Avenger on the battlefield in the final battle with Thanos and his army. It was not for the people who knew that a major Marvel film would have some sort of major battle and think that to be cliche.
So is it an epic conclusion or a cliche outing of superhero antics we've sen over and over? Is it detail-driven film that pays off all the knowledge we've amassed since 2008 or bloated film that could have lost 30% of its girth and still got the point across? The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
Long term fans are going to love it. Short-term fans probably will too. This is what we do. We are fanatics. Want to watch an action flick? The last battle alone makes this worthy. But I keep stopping myself from fully getting on board. As a movie itself, I just think it is good, not great.
The MCU is roughly the length of one season of a TV show, but I've always felt like people could join the ride at any time. That's probably not true anymore, but I'm not sure I can hold EndGame responsible for that. Instead, I consistently come down to the fact that EndGame does great fan-service, but it is a good-not-great movie.
Final Rating: 8/10