The MCU was lightning in a bottle for Disney. It was a perfect vision of Kevin Feige that was seen to fruition through dedication and some missteps. Not every film is great. Hell, not all of them are good. In fact, some suck. But they don’t suck so hard that they ruin what the franchise has been shooting for. Since the Internet exists, you are able to ignore the missteps and keep track of the good ones. After this saga is over, I will be compiling my list of favorite films in the MCU. Why then? Because after having seen this film, I genuinely believe the only place they can go after this is someplace stupid. There will never be another height that can be reached beyond this. This is as high as the franchise will ever go. And let me tell you, that is high praise indeed.
This film is the culmination of everything that the MCU has been shooting for. When I heard about a series of films in a shared universe, this is what I figured it would all build up to. And let me tell you, it panned out so perfectly. I was so afraid that this film was going to suck, but so much love and dedication was put in to making everything about this film work. This is the best film in the MCU to date, and the stakes for the final film couldn’t possibly be higher. We have a lot to talk about, so let’s get down to it.
I don’t really wanna talk about the plot, because the Internet already knows that. What I want to talk about are the performances. As I said, this is a culmination of everything that the films have been building up to. That means that every performance is symbolic of everything that has been building up. What does that mean? It means that like Civil War, it has to have every character staying in character with who they have been up to now.
And since there is convergence, we get to see those personalities playing off one-another. So we get to see Tony Stark, an ego that is utterly massive, playing off Doctor Strange, who is also such an ego. Their banter is just amazing. What’s more, the parental bond between Stark and Spider-Man is just fantastic. It leads to a truly heart-wrenching moment toward the end once plot stuff happens. It is the most emotional climax of the entire franchise thus far.
Who are my favorite performances? I will list them now – First, Tony Stark. This guy is just the best. His ego has really toned down since the beginning. This isn’t the totally egotistical asshole from the first Iron Man film. He’s had time to learn, and when the moment he has been fearing for all this time finally arrives, you can see that fear all over his face. Next up is Parker. Having fallen in love with this character even more after Homecoming, seeing him now in the thick of such a massive dilemma is pretty great.
Then we have Doctor Strange. I actually really liked his film, and think he’s an interesting character. He accepts that there are things more powerful than he can understand, and now he is working to make himself a better man. Benedict Cumberbatch has such presence with this character.
I also really loved Rocket. I am also going to be making a list of my top 10 MCU characters, and to be honest, he’s going to be very, very high on that list. It’s really great that they paired him up with Thor throughout the bulk of the film. I have always hated Thor as a character. He’s boring. He’s arrogant, but not in the fun snarky way like Stark. But in this film we see him very, very emotional. The film opens with him being utterly destroyed emotionally by Thanos kicking his ass and destroying his people’s only hope for survival.
Which brings me to my favorite performance of the entire film – Thanos. One thing that people can rightly accuse the MCU of is having really boring villains. That’s a totally fair statement, given how I can barely remember the names of some of these people. We’ve had film after film leading up to this guy coming into play, and Groj-dammit is his performance the thing that steals the show! This guy is a really complicated villain. He has motivations that are not always easy to understand. He appears cold and insane, but then you see other sides of him. Sides that are almost sympathetic. You actually feel for this guy when you realize that, as horrible a person as he is, there is some part of him that does have emotional attachments and is able to rationalize what he’s doing. What’s more, despite his violence and genocide, he is engaging. The film takes several scenes to just have him talking to people, and getting to know his back-story. It’s pretty great stuff. Every character thinks they got him figured out, but they really don’t.
That leads me to the best part of this whole movie – it’s darkness. You have the DCEU trying (and failing, horribly. It’s dead to me) to be dark and gritty, but Marvel is kicking their ass even at that. They can’t even get the dark and gritty shit down right. This film has a giant purple monster as a villain and they make him more human and malevolent than any of DCEU’s boring-ass villains who are supposed to be “realistic” could ever hope to be. Ironic, I think that the purple-haired monster is more of a human villain than the ones in ANY of DC’s live-action films. Go fucking figure. Not including Chris Nolan’s movies, of course.
What is the biggest drawback? For me, it’s the fact that Disney films have a bad habit of human that is when you have some character doing something, and then you have the “awkward…” moment. I was told the previous Thor film was dripping in it. The Last Jedi was too, and it sucked the film down. That’s not to say that all the comedy in this film was bad. Some of it was pretty on point. But Disney could stand to do less of the “character does something weird/silly and everyone is awkward” humor. You didn’t need it in Guardians 2, and you don’t need it all the time here. Don’t get me wrong, totally glad you have humorous moments. It makes the really ugly moments hit that much harder. Though I can’t possibly see how the next film can have anything happy when this film ends on such an ugly note that it will blow your fucking mind.
I’ve already heard so many of the people who defend The Last Jedi saying that this film subverting expectations and people loving it is bullshit because they did that in that film and everybody hated it. Here’s the thing – subverting expectation is easy to do, but it has to feel like it has meaning to the story you are trying to tell. In this film it does. Every time they do it, it feels like it has a point. In that OTHER movie it doesn’t. It feels like them trying to make some political point, or having some SJW-approved element to shove in there. Subversion doesn’t make a great work, if it’s not used well. In this film, it was used perfectly.
Another thing that got my attention, and this is a bit of a spoiler, is that since the film ends with Thanos winning and the Avengers being mostly killed of, it made me think about something. See, as adults we realize that they aren’t going to be dead forever. We know that the Infinity Gauntlet will be used to bring them back. But how many 9 year olds are sitting the theater bawling watching Spider-Man turn to ash? Or Groot die, again. That’s some pretty dark shit.
Overall, this is one of the greatest, if not the greatest superhero film I have ever seen. It shows what a masterful work the MCU was, and since Kevin Feige is leaving after the sequel to this, I am going to tune out then. There is nowhere this franchise can go but down. I loved this movie, and I think all of you should see it if you haven’t already. It shows that even the MCU can be a mature, grim place.
9 out of 10