Well this is it. We have reached the conclusion of the saga that spanned over a decade. While there will be other Marvel movies, none will have the same power and grit and wonder as these first 20. 20 movies, that is an unprecedented accomplishment. Star Wars has made 9 movies in 20 years, Marvel reverses that.
**THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!! I have opinions on the plot and you’ve had a week to see it.
The Hulk and Bruce Banner have reached a new, insane level of collaboration but it shows wonderful character development. Bruce’s brain (and human face) can exist in the Hulk body, thus enabling Bruce to have the best of both worlds. From utterly despising a part of himself to embracing and utilizing it, Bruce has come so far and I applaud him.
Clint Barton goes through a strange rebellion but comes back around to his good-natured roots, but not without a cost. He loses his entire family in The Snap and turns into his evil alter ego, the assassin Ronin. Of course the only person who can talk some sense into him is Natasha. He comes back and joins the gang on the Time Heist, does his part, and gets his family back, and the time he spent as an assassin has had negligible impact on his character development.
Ok this movie was COMPLETELY UNFAIR to Black Widow. I had heard they were planning to finally give her a solo movie, but that apparently can’t happen now. Also, there was SO MUCH Clintasha baiting and it was just cruel. The scene with Clint and Nat on Vormir is utterly terrible and heartbreaking. She has been under-utilized in the franchise (not as badly as Clint, but still) and for her to get this kind of resolution feels like the writers saying “we have no more ideas, here’s a halfway decent way to wrap up her character arc.” The thing that makes this worse is that the first half of the movie actually gives her a lot of screen time and shows her dealing with the fallout and growing as a person. I applaud her characterization in the first half and her final act isn’t entirely out of character but it still makes me mad.
Steve Rogers came face to face with different versions of his past self throughout the movie and in the end, he got to have the normal life he dreamed of. A vision scene in Age of Ultron basically spoils Steve’s ending, but now I want a fourth movie where it is further explained. I have been an avid Stucky shipper for years and I still am, but I respect the ending we got and Steggy is a decent consolation prize. Plus, now my theory that Coulson is their child actually pans out. I had thought Cap would die, given how Chris Evans went on about the end of an era, but his resolution is pretty much the only positive one out of all of them. The second time I watched the movie, I noticed all of the clues that pointed to this ending from the first hour.
Thor follows a similar path as Clint, descending into rock bottom, but eventually getting his shit together. Thor’s alcoholic hippie persona is definitely sad, but not entirely out of character, given all the trauma this man has endured in his trilogy. His release of Asgard at the end seemed a little surprising, but Valkyrie is absolutely a worthy queen. Thor has been in love with the Guardians from the moment he met them in Infinity War, so joining their crew is quite fitting.
Iron Man. Best for last. Or maybe worst, depending on the viewer’s attachment to him. Those who have seen Spider Man: Homecoming know that Tony is an excellent father figure to Peter, but he is even more sweet and lovely and wonderful as he raises his own daughter Morgan. Unfortunately she’s only around for about 20 minutes and doesn’t reappear until the end of the movie. Tony also gets a wonderful scene with his father (via time travel) and he gets some much needed catharsis. Finally, Tony gets a badass moment of being “The Hero.” And that’s all I’m going to say for Tony. If you know, you know. I felt it was poetic justice and a fitting end.
The first time I watched this movie I was so overwhelmed by the plot that I couldn’t even decide whether or not I liked it. The second time, knowing the plot better, I could analyze it more objectively and I have decided I do like it. It brings back a lot of elements from old movies, gives a fitting end to (most of) the main 6, and successfully reminds us that a new era of the MCU is upon us. For die-hard Marvel buffs this is a must see, for moderate fans it’s still a must see, and if you don’t care about Marvel, it’s still worth watching for cultural literacy and a good example of a quality action film. I would recommend being familiar with all of Phase One, the Guardians, and Dr.Strange prior to this. I also sort of wish they had done another tribute to Stan Lee, but we do get to appreciate his final cameo, small as it is. I give it 10/10 (despite being mad), for high production value, beautiful character arcs, and a few genuinely surprising plot points. The Marvel fandom has been rewarded, and we are grateful. Excélsior!