I finally saw it yesterday. Me, my older daughter, and her husband. All of us liked it a lot.
First, I'll answer the question that intrigues me the most from prior threads: I say YES, the MCU now has (if it didn't already have) multiple time lines. There's no other realistic way to interpret (1) Loki making off with the Tesseract; (2) Thanos and his army getting dusted before Thanos ever obtained all the stones; or (3) Steve Rogers having a long life with Peggy Carter. At the very least we have those three alternate time lines. And yes, from any one of them could emerge - The Fantastic Four!
I loved the Steve/Peggy thing. I'm a huge fan of Peggy Carter and the actress who plays her. The sadness Peggy always felt regarding Steve, and the sadness Steve always felt regarding Peggy, have been constant recurring plot points on TV and the movies. There really was only one path to happiness for either character, and Endgame gave it to them.
As for Tony Stark, I have long expected he would give his life to save the universe. My rationale was based, of course, on the meta-reality of Rodney Downey Junior's contract being up and his expressed desire to be done with the character, as well as the equally important meta-reality that the broad consensus of creators and fandom gives Rodney Downey Junior a big portion of the credit for the MCU's success. And then of course there was the foreshadowing from the first Avengers film, wherein Tony made it clear he was willing to die for the greater good.
The biggest surprise in the whole movie, for me, was Thor's beer belly! OMG!
Another breathtaking event was when Thanos shattered Cap's shield. And of course another was when Cap was able to wield Mjolnir. Thor's reaction - "I KNEW IT!" - was perfectly correct, as we all, I'm sure, remember Thor's eyes going wide when it looked like Cap might lift Mjolnir in the Ultron movie.
Another big surprise was Thanos dying practically at the start of the film. And how poignant that Thor killed him - and it didn't mean a darn thing.
The Vision is permanently gone. That's bittersweet for me. Bitter because I love the character but sweet because I was never really happy with the movie version, I think mainly because he wasn't given the amount of screen time that would have been necessary to do his character justice. Of course he has to be gone, because the Mind Stone had to be returned to the past.
Natasha is permanently gone. That doesn't bother me, because she never really had a story line. She was pretty much on the same level as Nick Fury in these movies. They both could pop up anywhere and have exciting and even emotional moments, but there was no real story arc for them. Frankly, I think Nick should have died too.
Hawkeye's daughter seems positioned to become the new Hawkeye at some point. Her name is Lila rather than Kate. I think it would have been better to name her Kate. As for Clint, I liked his role in Endgame. His loss of his family, his turn to lethal violence, his fight to bring his family back, his love and loss of Natasha, it was all like a movie-within-the-movie. What a triumph for the character!
Ant Man was a big part of this movie and I'm glad. I love his films. I eagerly await the third, with bigger Cassie, even though I would have been perfectly happy with little Cassie. I'm sure Scott will try (at least a little) to strut around as one of the saviors of the universe, and of course this will fall flat because he'll somehow make a fool of himself. Nevertheless, he is, unequivocally, a savior of the universe.
It interests and moves me a lot that no fewer than three of the universe's saviors have (or had) daughters: Scott, Clint, and Tony. I have daughters so this touches me on a very personal level.
Sad that Pietro wasn't brought back. There doesn't seem to be a plot reason for that. I guess Marvel just doesn't want Pietro in their movies.
Cool how Peter David's smart Hulk got such a huge nod in this film. And stunning how the Ancient One so effortlessly separated and then reunited the personas.
Nebula has had a riveting story arc that still is going strong. She is easily the most interesting character in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, overshadowing even Rocket Raccoon. I can't think of any Marvel character I'm rooting more strongly for than Nebula.
Captain Marvel was tremendous. See why I said she was Marvel's Superman? I was surprised yet moved by the scene near the end, where all the heroes who stood up to join her were women. What a girl power moment! And it cements in everyone's minds what Captain Marvel means to the MCU. She is the great central rallying point for girl power. Not to mention the fact that her movie has joined the billion dollar club.
The Scarlet Witch had a moment of her own that was pretty impressive. I was beginning to think she might defeat Thanos single-handedly!
I am so glad Tony dusted Thanos. He needed to be dusted. I was worried there, for a few seconds, that Thanos wouldn't get his vastly deserved oblivion. But he did. I blurted out, "Thank God!"
I really enjoyed:
- Tony's story-arc;
- Nebula's story-arc;
- Rocket (he rules everytime that he appears on the screen or opens his mouth);
- Scott Lang & the Pym family, saviors of the Universe (with the accidental help ... of a rat ... Thanos should have killed the rat, lol !);
- seeing most of the MCU characters at the same time during the great battle (sadly, Black Widow & Vision were already MIA).
I am not wowed by :
- the Soul Stone and whatever happened to Black Widow & Gamora(s) during the two movies (frankly, if somebody has understood what the Soul Stone is useful for and why it is important to sacrifice somebody to get it ...);
- Hawkeye's Mohawk haircut (probably a private joke about 'The Last of the Mohicans' ?);
- Banner's clueless blundering attitude during half of the movie (NB : I don't mind that this version was Professor Hulk, just that Bruce doesn't behave as smart as he could be. Is this version "middle ground" ? Less smart than bookish Banner & less strong than savage Hulk ?).
I didn't mind how they portrayed Thor because I understood that the character is going through a phase that will be resolved in one of the episodes of the GotG "sub-verse" (in the future GotG3 movie or in a potential Thor 4 movie). Yet, I would have preferred if the movie would have been a bit less humorous, given the stakes.
The movie insists a lot on the idea that they will deal "seriously" with the topic of time travel and, yet, it is as confusing and as incoherent as many other time travel stories (actually, even more incoherent than some of the films that the characters speak about in the Endgame movie !) ...
Cap's story-arc is not bad even though, in my opinion, Cap plays more or less second fiddle to Tony.
It is an enjoyable yet flawed blockbuster.