Avengers: Endgame

So it’s been a few days now since Avengers: Endgame came out and I think I’m finally ready to put the Analysis Hat, and the Complaints Hat, and the Celebration Hat on. There were some things I loved and some things I loathed. Also since a lot of people haven’t seen it yet you have to click the ‘more’ button:

So obviously if you’ve read this blog you’ll know the characters I’m most invested in are the Guardians, especially the women of the group, and I hated Infinity War for precisely that reason. Luckily things are looking up on that front. Gamora is not dead, thank god, although she is now essentially a refugee from the past and thus has no memory of Peter or the other Guardians. But she is alive!

This makes her I guess the only being in the universe now to ever cheat the soul stone, which is a cool tagline I hope goes on a poster one day.

Near the end of Endgame Natasha willingly throws herself into the soul pit (or whatever it’s called) to retrieve the Soul Stone and save the world, and I feel like in a way she sacrifices herself for Gamora too, a woman who she doesn’t know and never will. The soul pit seems to work on that basis, a soul for a soul, so it makes sense. Nat sacrifices herself for Hawkeye too, but there’s something poignant about her giving her life in Gamora’s place because they’re almost the same character: a hardened but deeply loving warrior woman who has red in her ledger. I’ll miss Natasha a lot, and I hate that she obviously didn’t get to be part of the final battle, but I loved that, and that she got the agency in her death which Gamora was cheated of and in a sense passed it back to her.

For all that I’m relieved (so damn relieved) about Gamora not being dead, she and the Guardians as a whole are given really short shrift in this film and I loathed that. Peter for example, obviously this isn’t his movie but he deserved more than to be called an idiot and whacked around.

Curiously, Ant-Man is also made the buttmonkey a lot in this film, which is odd because he’s the one who comes up with the plan to save everyone. Incidentally, the name of his plan doubles as a Doctor Who reference. I always knew you were my kinda nerd, Ant-Man.

Rocket gets a lot to do in this film but his big dramatic speech about how the Guardians are his family turns into a joke when he suddenly refers to Mantis as “the chick with the antennae” instead of her name. Which is stupid in almost every respect (he knows who she is and why is it always her made the butt of jokes in both her movies?) but it also highlights what’s always been the biggest problem with the MCU: the writers still don’t believe, after 20-odd movies, that we the audience could possibly take them seriously. Whenever the writers start to worry that oh my gosh, this whole undertaking is a childish tale of magic and time-travel and worst of all sincere feelings! they have to quickly backtrack by making a joke of it all. Frigga’s last words to Thor shouldn’t have been “Eat a salad.” It’s a cheap laugh for a cheap reason. I know this is a story about men in capes and brightly coloured aliens and magic rocks. I’m fine with that. Why aren’t you?!

(Interestingly the only MCU film I can think of that really bucks this trend is Black Panther, which is probably why that’s the one which got the Oscar nom.)

The first time Thanos is killed Nebula leans over him and closes his eyes. That’s not Nebula. She would be stabbing the body.

I like Nebula because she’s not the sort of female character you see very often. She’s so vicious she’s almost animalistic, she’s not pretty (despite being played by Karen Gillan, who did an AMAZING job by the way), she’s not sexy, she’s just an unstoppable killing machine who gradually thanks to Gamora finds her soul. She gives Tony the last of the oxygen because she’s become selfless at long last, and she holds Rocket’s hand because she’s gained compassion. She wouldn’t close Thanos’s eyes. He killed her sister, who is the one person she’s ever loved.

Nebula doesn’t even get a reaction shot when Thanos is killed for the final time, and neither does Gamora. To me that’s a genuinely baffling omission. They should have been standing side by side watching the dust sweep past them.

Gamora is not mentioned at the end, either, all mention of her put aside so Thor and Peter can have another dick-measuring contest, the sort of behaviour both of them should be past by now anyway. The characters should have been discussing the incredible trauma they’d just been through and how they can find their lost family member and bring her back, but no, just cheap jokes again.

I like Thor just fine but I hope he’s not in GOTG 3 much, if that’s the plan. It should be Gamora’s story. His is done and she deserves the closure this movie didn’t give her.

(Speaking of Thor, the other thing the writers could have spent time on other than that long unfunny scene is, I don’t know, SOMEONE INFORMING HIM HIS BROTHER IS PROBABLY STILL ALIVE.)

The final battle was amazing and so, so much fun to watch. People cheered at some parts, like when Cap grabbed the hammer. Some notable AWOL characters though, Nakia and Agent 13 among them. Female fighters who’re also love interests always end up getting demoted, sigh. I’m told Kraglin is there in the background somewhere but I couldn’t see him. (I’m also told Howard the Duck, of all people/ducks, is there. Didn’t see him either.)

I loved the moment where all the women – Scarlet Witch! Okoye! Captain Marvel! Gamora! A Mantis who looks nervous but is doing it anyway! – all team up and fight. Partly because it was wonderful to see and partly because it seems to have pissed off the right people.

I’m probably the only person in the world who doesn’t really care much for Captain America, but the last scene with him was touching (especially Bucky’s reactions, I thought) and I really hope Sam Wilson gets a movie as Cap now. He deserves it.

Tony is dead but in a way it was the happiest death he could possibly have got: surrounded by friends and family having saved the world and having talked to his dead father one last time.

Tony’s funeral was a nice scene, and appropriately non-jokey. There are fireworks briefly glimpsed and I have no doubt in my mind that that was the Guardians’ idea.

I have no idea why Bucky was there and he even looked like he was thinking “That man literally tried to murder me.”

When the camera panned to Okoye my first thought was “Damn, that woman knows how to dress for funerals” and then it occurred to me that, especially if she was left the de facto head of Wakanda after Black Panther’s death, she probably attended more funerals in the past five years than anyone should have to.

Captain Marvel also knows how to dress for funerals. I tell you, this movie should become everyone’s starting point for Funeral Fashion.

When the camera pans to Peter he is looking off somewhere else, as if looking for Gamora, which I imagine is exactly what he was doing. And you’ll barely notice it but Mantis is gently swaying from side to side, another autistic trait she displays. I share most of those.

I also spotted Harley there! And I knew who he was right away! I doubt he’ll ever show up again but I like to think he and Peter Parker bonded over the many things they have in common, once the funeral was done

Aunt May and Queen Ramonda are both present at the movie’s end and it’s never said what happened to them during the Five Years but I hope both of them were dusted. Otherwise, both of them lost all their family in one go, having lost some already, and had to live with the unbearable grief.

It is deeply frustrating that after Captain America travels back in time he would have to have met New, Spookier Red Skull, and yet we don’t see this or even hear about it. What I imagine happened is that Cap followed him around on Vormir for a few hours pointing and laughing, but that might just be me.

You know… in real life it’s impossible to conceive that the planet could lose half its population for five years, then suddenly gain them back and everything is fine, schools reopen and everything. That wouldn’t happen the way it happens here.

BUT despite how often I bitch about things, I really love how the MCU takes the uncynical “humans are basically good” track. There’s one scene where the characters go to a place called New Asgard, where Thor and Valkyrie are. New Asgard is a fishing village in Norway and has nothing like the golden towers of old, destroyed Asgard. But – the surviving Asgardian refugees are there, just getting on with their lives. When Earth was at its lowest possible point, half the population gone, governments gone, the survivors must have looked at the group of literal aliens with no home, beings who knew nothing of Earth customs, and then they took them in. Gave them houses and resources and jobs and a sign declaring that part of the planet “New Asgard.” As a wise man once said, we must find a way to look after each other, as if we were one single tribe.