Hey, I finally got a chance to see a comic book movie while it's still in theaters! The fact that this one was entirely populated by costumed heroes actually kept my 2 and 6 year old kids entertained. Black Panther, I'll get to you eventually, I swear.
While this one wasn't my favorite Marvel movie, I did really enjoy it. Which was actually a surprise to me, because I am not a fan of the Russo Brothers' previous outings. I found Winter Soldier to be meh at best (I found it to be kind of a Bourne knock-off, and I didn't really enjoy the Bourne movies) and really detested Civil War. I do really like the way that Spidey and Black Panther look, though, and since they were introduced in Civil War, I suppose I have the Rossos to thank. And once again, Spidey and Panther consistently stole the show.
The real highlight for me, though, was the entirety of the Spidey/ Dr. Strange/ Tony Stark storyline. Pairing Downey and Cumberbatch for the majority of the movie was a great move, since they were arguably the best actors of the lot, and their mustachioed rivalry was really funny without resorting to the kind of "lowest common denominator" humor that we see in other parts of the film. And Peter adds so much heart to all of the scenes he's in, so while he gets some solid laughs, he also provides the most heartbreaking moment in the film.
The other great surprise was Josh Brolin's performance as Thanos. Let's face it, he looked like a freaking goon in the trailers. And he still does look like a freaking goon for most of the movie. But the CG actually does a great job of capturing his facial ticks, and he has a really compelling story that I wasn't expecting. I still wish he had kept his proper armor on, rather than chucking it as soon as he got his first infinity gem (and yes, I get it, he doesn't need the protection of armor when he's got the gauntlet on, but does he really need the extra protection anyway? He took out the Hulk in hand-to-hand combat, for crying out loud!)
While Thor was back to talking somewhat like himself, there were still remnants of the dismal Ragnorok dialogue, and we got to see a few more Asgardians unceremoniously dispatched. Seriously, if you're a fan of Thor and the world he inhabits, the MCEU has seriously shafted you. Hopefully, at least some of this grave injustice will be rectified in the next Avengers movie, when they eventually bring everyone back to life (come on, guys, this is the way comic stories work. You know this.) I am excited to see Stormbreaker, even if it has the creepy addition of Groot's arm as the handle. Does this mean we might get to see Beta Ray Bill in a future movie?
The Guardians were definitely a mixed bag in this one. Their initial meeting with Thor was definitely amusing at times. Gamorra and Nebula were really the only characters from that part of the universe who weren't there for an endless cascade of gags and one-liners, though, which was disappointing. Drax has some especially insipid gag scenes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these people who thinks that all humor should be banned from superhero movies. I think that the first GotG had the perfect balance between humor and drama in terms of the dialogue. The second GotG pushed it a little too far for me, and this film pushed it even farther (with those characters, at least).
My kid had to pee when the credits started rolling, so I missed the post-credits scene to take him to the bathroom.
I know the review got a little complaint-heavy toward the end, but I really did enjoy it. I'm not sure if I should mention which Phase 1 character makes his return, but I literally cheered when he showed up on screen, and I hope he finally gets back to being the force in the MCEU that he is in the comics. Iron Man's new nanotech armor was AMAZING. I was in awe any time he was on the screen in full armor. And I was not expecting to like the Iron Spider suit, but I actually loved it. So most of the motion capture CG in this film was really great and, more importantly, the CG is helping to portray these heroes in the sleek superhero style that they should be shown. Let's face it, Black Panther and Spidey are how superheroes are supposed to look.
On an unrelated note, I'm thinking that the Hulk's refusal to fight is going to be part of a bigger arc for him. My gut tells me that when he finally does show up, he'll either be Mr. Fixit or Smart Hulk, or at least a semi-smart Hulk.
So there you have it: my pros, cons, musings and predictions. What did you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.