Finally, after all this time, I went to the Kulturbrauerei Cinema to see the finale of the Infinity Saga, the widely anticipated Avengers: Endgame. One could argue that it wasn’t the best idea by 2009 teenage me to get that emotionally invested in the cinematic universe, so I had mixed feelings going into, and cried a lot, during that flic. One day after having seen Endgame, and after having talked with my close friends about what we liked, disliked, about it and how we all are emotional wrecks because of some scenes, I decided to write a rambling review here on huffleclaw. Before I’ll go into all things MCU, two things first:
The following review contains major spoilers. If you haven’t seen Endgame yet, I encourage you to see the movie beforehand reading this review, though it is not my responsibility to discourage you from reading on.
queerbaiting, body-shaming, toxic masculinity
Introduction or Time’s Up
A shortwhile after I left the cinema, I sat down in a park with a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to somehow arrange my thoughts on what I’ve experienced the last 290 minutes. If I had to describe the movie with one single sentence, I would say, that I may’ve enjoyed it a lot for what it is, since it’s a really good, in terms of the plot and cinematography, movie, but it could’ve been so much better. Anthony and Joe Russo went for the lowest hanging fruits when it comes to writing characters and plot points in a diverse and more progressive way, while they included toxic masculine tropes to satisfy the mid-20s white boy crowd doing relly harmful and disheartening things with characters like Thor. I feel like that Marvel tried to drift on two tracks, trying to satisfy the progressive part of their fandom and those who are really invested in creating a healthy and diverse fan community, and mostly men who got used to the thinking that every single super hero story has to be created and tailored for them and who grew up watching the conservative type of super hero movies. It’s 2019 and the time should be up where we applaud story writers and directors for doing the bare minimum, while still including toxic things as a unique selling point for a questionable toxic-masculine target group.
Captain Marvel and the U-Arc
Marvel is lacking courage by being fainthearted in their story telling and it’s really showing. I kinda love framing the story telling from its progressiveness aspect as a parabola linked to the on-screen appearances of Captain Marvel. The movie started great by giving Carol on-screen time matched up with a good snarky on-screen writing. Though I feel like there’s a lot insecurity in the room by not including her in the main plot that much, since, while she is (framed as) the strongest Avenger, she just disappeared having to save other universes (without many explaination) after having saved Tony and Nebula who were lost in space. Her saving a character like Tony Stark was just my cup of tea & that was the first climax of the plot, the second one being at the final battle.
Eventually she had a re-appearance at the “Battle for Earth” (sorry for that Mass Effect reference, being also parts of the Marvel Comics), followed up by a really empowering and GIF-able scene, where all the female super heroes were supporting carol. I mean, like yasss, that’s just what I love to see in a movie & that was such a great moment!
The Anticlimax however were the other ~160 Minutes, since they felt like, as I said before, a MCU movie where it doesn’t matter that much if it has been released in 2019 or 2009, not because all of these movies are timeless, but because it lacks development and inclusion of the changes the cultural industry went through this decade.
The movie could’ve been more awesome 3000 if the women of the MCU would’ve got more on-screen time during the main plot points, or at least, if one of the few plot relevant women of Endgame wouldn’t have died on their quest; without having had a proper story arc in any of the MCU movies. Nat clearly deserves better than this. Though I think the scene itself wasn’t bad at all, since it really made sense, made me emotional as fuck, and the best of all things was, that they gave Hawkeye and Black Widow their Harmony-Moment, instead of including a kiss scene (which would’ve been out of character, since they’re close platonic friends).
Starbucks? I guess we’re on a ship…
Speaking of being happy that Black Widow and Hawkeye had their cutest and most heartbreaking platonic moment, the way Bucky/Steve as a pairing was treated made me really sad. Like Steve “Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky.” Rogers and Bucky were stuck in this “just boys being pals” role felt like one of the most underwhelming things of the entire Infinity Saga. I may or may not be heavily influenced by navigating this queer ship through some of my own fan fictional works for years, but, I would’ve wished that Cap took Bucky with him in that time travelling plot point being opened at the end or at least, that there would’ve been more intimate scenes between those two precious beans.
However what I loved about Caps writing:
- that Steve is appreciating Steves butt scene as the modern age version of Spiderman pointing at Spiderman (sorry, there I said it).
Valcarol (Carol Danvers/Valkyrie)
First of all, by the time Captain Marvel was released I totally went for Maria/Carol as a pairing, and Rowan Ellis made a good video on that precious ship. Having that and that Endgame is a crossover/sequel to Captain Marvel (2019) in mind, I kind of hoped seeing at least some on-screen romance between those two in mind. Thanks to fan art folx who created so many amazing Valcarol artworks, and my tumblr dashboard, I started to ship Valcarol as well. Semi on-topic: I loved how Carol got her short haircut in Endgame and how she’s being such an amazing futch queen, nonetheless, neither she, nor Cap, have become canonical queer characters in the MCU and that’s just disheartening.
Make It Gay You Cowards
The entire movie I felt kinda queerbaited, thinking of the directors decission of not including a queer character, as a way to play safe, probably to not lose that customer group I talked about earlier, and will talk about during the next point since this girl has 2cts on Thor as well. It shouldn’t be that difficult in 2019 to include a canonical queer character and show some on-screen romance, instead of just implying it all the time, while treating het-ships as the most common thing ever (well, it sadly is the most common thing ever since the hetero-patriarchy is unfortunately still a thing). It leaves a bitter taste, thinking of Endgame as the bare minimum in terms of empowering women and less than the bare minimum in terms of including queerness. Since 2012 Avenger fan fictions have told us, that all the Avengers, in fact are queer, and are living as a happy polycule in the Stark Tower sharing a huge bed, there’s not much more to say to this than: Just make them canonically gay, you cowards!
While I love the idea of showing super heroes having real-life flaws and including things like panic disorders, drinking problems and body issues in a movie, the way the Russo’s tried to do this in Endgame is probably the worst one can imagine. What have body issues, anxiety attacks and drinking problems in common? Right, they are serious topics and aren’t funny like at all. So instead of including healthy and good-supportive ways to deal with those, they made Thor a laughable character, and that the punchline of most of their own-screen appearance is linked to those issues is just the tip of awful edginess.
Appearantly after pop culture messed with queer biographies and disabilities as villain tropes, the laughable character with drinking and body issues seems to be the next big thing of hurtful unfunny writing. And that’s the point where I would say that Marvel have done more for a toxic crowd than they did for the progressive parts of their fandom, and knowing that they probably won’t loose a single customer going into their movies by including their fatphobic tropes, gives them a darn powerful position and they appearantly failed to fill that position in a responsible and harmless way.
Though I always sticked with #TeamCap and I wasn’t a fan of Iron Man in their own movies, I really love the character development of Tony and, my teenage self wouldn’t believe that I am saying this, I have to say, that hey’re one of my favorite characters in Endgame. They still have internalised so many problematic things and still have to deal with traumas, but it actually feels plausible that they’re doing their best trying to do better. Especially the „I am Iron Man.“ scene where they snapped made me cry & I felt so vulnearable and emotional in that moment. That was definetely one of the scenes I love being in that fandom for!
Scott, The Time Travelling & After Credits
Another thing I feel like the movie is missing out is the following scene: Imagine having a character whose name is Scott (Ant-Man). That character is going to time travel. There’s already tensions being build up by loads of popcultral time travelling, and even a Back to the Future reference. And nobody said it. Nobody said “Great Scott this is heavy!” after the first attempt of time travelling worked out, why? That was almost as melancholic and anti-climax as the missing after-credits scene.
Thank You for the Venom
I have to admit that my intended review had become more like a rambling rant instead of a review, but that’s okay. Nonetheless, I feel really thankful that the original Avengers felt like a crucial part of my fandom home for years, and I am excited about what the future my bring. There are many things about Endgame I felt like criticising, and somehow unintentionally got reminded of my relationship with the Mass Effect universe; since the things I would’ve criticised about Mass Effect 3 and about Avengers: Endgame are particularly the same on a structrual level (and thinking of Thanos as a Reaper, and the quest for the stones as the quest for the Conduit is a good starting point for crossover fiction, but we’re missing the point).
If you do know me in real-life and feel like talking about Endgame, yes, please, do so. I would especially love discussing some of the points I’ve made on here, and appreciate other perspectives on this! When my schedule is less of a mess, I will probably write a second review post on Endgame about the things I really loved about the movie, and what fan fictions I wish to read based on the finale movie of the Infinity Saga.