I know I said I’d wait for others, but I’m going to be busy for a while, so here’s my take…
First of all, sorry! I enjoyed the film well enough, but in the time since all the perceived failings have really swirled around my head to cloud the rest. I feel so conflicted with this movie. It was fine, but to be the bookend of the first Avengers, anything less than great isn’t enough. It had big boots to fill after the near perfection of Infinity War, but when any double bill relies on the sequel to pay the cheques the first film has written.
I can appreciate for some, retreading the old films was a genius idea for fan service, but for me it was too much like repeat watching films I had already seen and didn’t want to pay to see again. I wanted to see the band back together for one last big stand off, not a greatest hits album of things we’ve seen before.
Splitting the group up in the treasure hunt meant we saw the same themes repeat themselves in quick succession - everyone meets a lost significant other and can’t tell them! Every timeline is messed up by a single action! It felt like predictable box ticking, which is necessary for the narrative, but so slow to watch over the course of an hour. Then the cap fight ending with a ‘my mother’s called Martha too’ moment?!? Oh boy! I’m surprised the internet forums didn’t explode into nuclear rage after that! I would have appreciated a cut down version of the time travel in general. When we know what’s going to happen, we don’t need three scenes of Stark talking to his dad in the most generic way possible, or reliving the first Avengers film again. If we’re going to see all these conversations, at least make the dialogue interesting. It just didn’t justify its time for me.
The film tried so hard to carry emotional weight, but it didn’t resonate with me at all. Using the experiences of Hawk Eye and Stark’s families was a good idea, but every character keeps talking about half the world disappearing, yet the most we see of the outside world is a desolate street and a grey room with a dozen people in. This left the message to be stated in dialogue. Repeatedly. It just felt like the old ‘show, don’t tell’ idiom. Seeing the experiences in the outside would have taken so much pressure from the script! The ending of Infinity War with the crashing cars was such a strong image, something similar here for the 5 years later scenes would have helped so much. Dialogue has never been the strength of the MCU (other than humour), and this was really evident here.
Other than that, the script felt like it was earnestly trying to ape Whedon’s Avengers, but only showed up how great Whedon’s touch was with this kind of thing. Most the humour was in non-sequiter one liners that could have been put in any conversation, rather than in dialogue back and forth between characters. The talk of time travel movies didn’t feel natural. There weren’t the magical interactions of all the different characters from earlier films, with the exception of Stark’s first scene back (phenomenal!) and Thor (they’ve really pushed him to the fore since Ragnarok!). With enough action, this wouldn’t matter, but when we’re retreading older films the dialogue was essential to maintain interest for the course.
Captain Marvel, what did they do to her?! Calling her back was the BIG moment of excitement for the end of Infinity Wars - only to be called upon in the worst possible predicament - so she must be vital to the story, right? But they call her back to be a taxi service and to fight Thanos (only to find out they didn’t need her afterall…). Everyone expected her to be the central conceit of the movie, complete with all the ‘Mary Sue’ responses prepared on Reddit, but she had 15 minutes screen time and most her dialogue was arguing with the other characters. She was done a really poor service, especially with the lift she needs after all this ridiculous internet propaganda being shuttled around.
Everything from getting the stones back together onwards was Infinity War perfection again. Hulk trying the gauntlet was intense. The end fight was everything I was hoping for. Cap with Mjolnir was insane, and the all-female fight could have been 10 times longer and I would have been delighted.
For me, I’d love a 90-100 minute action-packed cut of this movie to end Infinity War. The middle had so much flab that could have been cut out.