(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Avengers: Endgame)
Doug (vo): Avengers: Endgame is the most epic, satisfying, groundbreaking, crowd-pleasing third act of a Marvel movie I've ever seen. The rest is long, drawn-out, meandering, even repetitive at times, and feels more like a director's extended cut than a final picture, which there is a big difference. Remember the extended cut of Return of the King? It's neat, but as an extended cut. If you release this in theaters, it'd probably drive people insane. In fact, Return of the King is a pretty good analogy for this, 'cause I kind of feel like it's in reverse. Where in that movie, the majority of it is epic and awesome and the ending goes on too much, here, the majority of it goes on too much, but it ends on such an incredible, strong note. But the one thing both Return of the King and Avengers: Endgame have in common is, they've earned it. For many of these characters, this is the end of a 10-year journey, something that's never been done in film like this, at least definitely not on this scale. It's a rare thing, and most people know that going into it, so I think a little leeway is allowed. The story...oh, wait, do I have to say this? Spoilers? Do I have to say "spoilers" just to talk about the basic story of this? Yeah, people went nuts if you even said the name of a character in this. It kind of got insane. But look, I'm not gonna give away who lives or who dies or anything that everybody couldn't figure out. For Christ's sake, another Spider-Man movie was being advertised when this was being advertised. (The poster for Spider-Man: Far From Home is shown with the caption, "Dude, it's OBVIOUSLY a prequel") I think most people know the people that disappear from the Snap are coming back. Or do you think Disney and Marvel thought this was such a good marketing choice to leave them all dead...use your brains.
Doug (vo): Anyway, five years have passed since the infamous Thanos snap, and what's left of the Avengers, as well as what's left of the world, have had a difficult time adapting to it. People have lost friends, families, partners, it's really torn everybody apart. Some have found peace, like the Hulk finally managed to balance himself out, being both half-human and half-Hulk, Tony Stark had his own family and is actually a good husband and father. But everything changes when Ant-Man is suddenly released from the dimensional portal thingamajig that he got lost in in his movie, and he says this device might be useful to go back in time and change things in a way that doesn't really change things and...oh, God. It's that time travel shit they're gonna act like it makes sense, but totally doesn't.
Doug (vo): So, okay, on the one hand, you kind of know time travel has to play a part in this. I mean, how can't it? And honestly, it kind of surprised me the way they did it. I mean, I thought it was gonna be this one way, it was something totally different. But it does lead to a lot of problems, which I guess any story involving time travel would. It's not that it doesn't make sense, it's that it acts like it makes sense, like, "No, no, this is how it works. Forget about what you see in movies", and it pretty much does what they do in movies.
(Clips focusing on the Avengers' journey through several past events are shown)
Doug (vo): In fact, I was kind of hoping they were gonna do what they did in 12 Monkeys, where you can't really change the past. In fact, they were really building that up, and I thought, "Oh, my God! This'll be brilliant, like you have to go back and watch Avengers and these other movies and realize, "Oh, they were there doing all this stuff in the background where you couldn't see it"." But, nope. You can totally change the past, 'cause they change a lot, and different timelines are born because of it, but this one timeline has to stay the same, so they have to go back and return these stones, but if so many things are already being changed, which you just said couldn't be changed, like characters going on to Disney+ shows, how does any of this make sense?
(As Doug says the last sentence, a small clip of Loki in 2012 grabbing the Tesseract while nobody's looking and disappearing into a portal is shown)
Doug (vo): I guess when I heard time travel, I got really excited, 'cause I just sort of assumed this present that they have now maybe wouldn't exist, and they have to alter it, and...holy shit. What about Tony Stark and his family? I mean, would there be this big thing where he has to, like, give up the existence of his daughter in order to have this other timeline happen? Wow! That's one of the deepest questions that's ever been asked in a Marvel movie. This is really going to the next level...oh. They're...just...saying, "No, that's not a thing"...which I know isn't fair. I should stop imagining what I want a film to be and accept it for what it is, and, yeah, you can say that, but when it's introducing so many ideas that aren't being taken advantage of, you kind of notice it a little more.
(Footage focusing on the film's villain, Thanos, as well as other characters, is shown)
Doug (vo): For example, the Thanos they fight in this isn't the same Thanos, which, again, I won't get into too many details, but it's not the one that did the Snap, so it just doesn't feel as satisfying. There's other things that get under my skin, too. For example, there's one character that dies in the middle of the movie, and most of the deaths I'm okay with, but this one I'm not. Everything around it feels empty and pointless. Everything about the character in terms of the involvement with other characters and stuff, they're kind of building up one thing, and then just suddenly, that character is gone, and it just feels like nothing, to a point where in the next Spider-Man movie, they reference it, and I kind of had to remind myself it even happened. It left that little an impact. There's other scenes, like where Tony Stark goes and meets his father in the past. Again, this is something I'd want to see in an extended scene, not really in the final product, as well as a scene where Thor sees his mother, and I guess it's supposed to be funny and emotional, but it just comes across as kind of awkward to me. So much of these movies are based around the characters' interactions, and I realize, when half of them are gone, you're not getting as much of it, and it's just not as interesting. Maybe a scene with Thor and his mother might've been emotional, maybe a scene with Tony and his father might've been the same, but when you have to combine it with everything else, it just feels like way too much.
(Several of the film's action scenes are shown, as well as some scenes from previous Marvel films, and more clips of several of this film's characters)
Doug (vo): Even when the action starts, it's all kind of action we've already seen. I mean, some of it's cool. There's a scene where two Captain Americas fight, that's kind of neat. But what are you really rooting for here? "Oh, I hope they get that thing you know they're gonna get, or even if they don't, you know they're gonna get it somewhere else." Because the villain is not in a lot of the movie, and when he is, it's kind of a different one, you don't really get that conflict as much. When Black Panther and Killmonger are fighting, you feel that buildup. When Spider-Man and the Vulture are talking, you feel that buildup. When Captain America's fighting Captain America, um...cool. When Hawkeye's battling these criminals we saw for a few seconds, um...neat. And again, when we do finally see the main bad guy, a lot of it's just telling him what we already know. Even the Avengers that are there are a little different. Thor's a bum now and Hulk is kind of a geek, and everything just feels a little off, which you could argue is the point, like something is missing and they're gonna go get it back, and fair enough. But I also realize it was almost a year between Infinity War and this. Everybody has had a lot of time to really accept, "Holy smokes, these characters vanish. I mean, we know they'll come back, but, man, what a gut-wrenching moment. We've had a year to let this sink in." And now, we have, like, an hour-and-a-half of trying to tell you, "Yeah, that was a real bad thing that happened." We know! We have a year to think about it!
(Various clips resume showing, with a dose of the clips focusing on the film's climax)
Doug (vo): But... (Sighs) ...two big things. One: Not everyone's gonna see it this way. Years down the line, people are gonna rent these and watch them back-to-back, and, yeah, it's gonna make more sense to see the characters dealing with these people being gone, so I get that. Two: Not only does it build up to an amazing third act that I wouldn't change a thing about...I mean, it's absolutely perfect...but this is a very tricky story to tell. It's hard to tell in a way that's interesting, it's hard to tell in a way that makes sense, it's just a difficult movie to do that's gonna wrap up so many characters and get other characters their stories and their plotlines going, and, yeah, I get it. It's a rough movie to pull off.
Doug (vo): So that's why I still say, it's good. I mean, what am I gonna get that angry about? That I spent too much time on character? I mean, how often do I get to say that? A lot of people like the extended cuts of movies, and so do I, for that matter, but you can definitely tell when it feels like an extended cut, and that's what this feels like. So, yeah, it's not perfect, and I feel like people that watch it more and more are kind of seeing stuff that doesn't always connect together, but I wouldn't dare say "don't go see it". I mean, like I said, the third act alone is absolute perfection. I never thought I would see something like this on the big screen. So many Marvel characters that I grew up reading and seeing on TV, and they're all there. (An image of an X-Men comic is shown) Okay, it's not a perfect world, but they're mostly there. I remember when it was a big deal that Superman and Matrix and Pirates were going to shoot two movies back-to-back, like, "Wow! That so rarely happens!" And here, you have a whole enterprise of movies that's lasted over 10 years, and they all have to connect in one way or another, and that's insane. And they're so successful, and they're so entertaining, and even the bad ones aren't that bad. I mean, look at their worst, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 2, Captain Marvel. We've had Batman & Robin, Superman IV, and Green Lantern. For their worst to be only that bad, that's impressive. Everything about this franchise was and still is impressive. We've never had something like this in cinema, and I don't know if we ever will again, at least not to this size. We'll still have new, big and inspiring things, and, yeah, at some point, I'm sure this whole Marvel franchise, movie, cinematic universe thing will fade out. But at the very least, we know there was a time when a lot of energy, a lot of thought, a lot of careful planning, and a lot of love went into giving fans what they always wanted to see on the big screen. In that respect, Endgame really is a perfect wrap-up for a lot of these characters, because, yeah, not everything works and I have some disagreements like any fan does, but the parts that are massive, fun, smart, entertaining, and just mind-blowing to see on the big screen, makes it more than worth it.
(The scene showing the beginning of the final battle, with Steve Rogers/Captain America about to lead all the Avengers, their allies, and all of their respective armies against Thanos and his army, is shown)
Steve Rogers/Captain America: Assemble.