by Benjamin To
I finally understand now why this machine took ten years to assemble. This film is pure spectacle in every best sense of the word. Once the first second starts rolling, it’s all pedal to the metal for 149 minutes.
- Characters: Some of your favorite heroes are utilized to their fullest potential, and a good number of them have incredibly satisfying arcs.
- Alongside Killmonger, Thanos is the best Marvel baddie. His motivations are simple, clear, and cuts to the chase (even if it’s kind of goofy). He has a few humanizing moments that might convince you that maybe his diabolical plans ain’t so bad.
- We have come a long way in VFX.
- It’s a Punch Fiesta: There are a lot of fists thrown in this movie (as well as giant exploding rocks). The action sequences do not disappoint. They continue to find inventive ways for these tried and true super people to channel their powers in surprising visual fashion.
- Moments: Reunions. Triumphs. Sacrifices. There are a plethora of gripping moments ranging from “hell yeah!” to “oh shit!” These moments are this film’s bread and butter, and by the end of it, your mouth will be left agape by the sheer consequences of these moments.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK:
- Characters: Some of your favorite heroes are severely underutilized by nature of the number of other heroes that needed to be on screen. Obviously, the next and final film will determine where this critique ultimately stands.
- Humor: This may come down to personal taste, but once again, the incessant need to crowbar a joke immediately after a dramatic beat continues to undercut moments of poignancy and authentic emotion. LET. US. BREATHE. Even during certain scenes that exists solely to generate laughs, there are a couple of gags that run two beats too long.
- The Ending: The final sequence is textbook “gut punch.” It’s very powerful. However, it also leaves room for a potential deus ex machina in the sequel, which could render certain fatalities as useless and not as emotionally impactful as advertised. Once again, TBD.
- Honestly, I’m just nitpicking right now. If you’re a fan, you going to love it. If you’re not, you’ll be just as confused as you were in all the other movies.
Somewhere during the apex of these Marvel years, when we were getting a barrage of franchise after franchise, I was, admittedly, fatigued. How many more origin stories do we need to sit through? How many more one-dimensional villains? But, but witnessing it all come together in a glorious technicolor fire, I understand the appeal once more after having finally seen the ultimate vision, the strings that connects and merges all these films together into one magnum opus.
Its joyful, unpretentious spirit reminded me of why I love comics. I picked up my first comic book in 3rd grade. It was Iron Man #290. I didn’t fully understand what it was or the gravity of its legacy, but I was immediately fascinated by Tony Stark’s technical ingenuity, resourcefulness, and his commitment to doing the right thing. It became a gateway, for me, to a lifelong passion for comics.
This film transported me back to grade school, to those formative years of naive idealism and reckless imagination. I instantaneously felt the same adrenaline, dread, and wonder as when I first read Iron Man #290. If anything, give these creators credit. They set a precedence in cinema that may never be duplicated or matched again.
With that said, it’s difficult to judge this as a standalone piece. Without the awareness and commitment in keeping up with the other previous 18 Marvel films, this particular film could come off as a series of messy, noisy vignettes with a purple rock face guy at the center of it all. BUT AS AN EVENT… it has some serious payoff for its loyal devotees. Think of it as an epic penultimate episode to your favorite television series. It’s a roller coaster ride of only rising crescendos. It’s one big ass third act: ALL CLIMAX.
Call me a fanboy. Call me an irrational nerd, but I am all in on this ride.
Benjamin To is a Los Angeles based writer, director, and producer who founded BAND WITH NO NAME Films. His work has been featured in numerous publications, such as NBC News, The Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post, for creating artistic discussions about media diversity and representation. Benjamin recently received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the California State University, Fullerton. He is currently creating exclusive content for NBC Asian America, writing his first feature film, and (hopefully) making his Mom proud.