“Avengers: Endgame” Movie Review

Garrett Stiger

Garrett is an entertainment professional living in the Los Angeles area. In his free time, he's a shark hunter, Jedi Knight, Kaiju wrangler and dog owner.

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53 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    Just saw it yesterday, and I agree with pretty much all of this. The opening scene was unheralded, and left you with a bit of a gut punch that just kept going. But the final fight scene while opening with a a whole lot of promise, just turned into a sloggy mess.

    Re: The gauntlet. IIRC, the dying star metal allowed one to do the snap without having your arm burn to a cinder. Thanos didn’t suffer from using the stones until he destroyed them. The Iron gauntlet could not contain them, which is why Hulk had to bear the brunt of the first snap, and Hulk, who heals very quickly, was still showing the scars at Tony’s funeral. Thus Tony stood no chance.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      You could just wish yourself to reappear all hale and hearty one minute later. They are infinity stones, after all.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      As it will turn out, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

      After the funeral they sent Steve Rogers back in time to return to the stones, which he probably can’t accomplish without running into their pre-battle team collecting the stones. So Tony Stark, realizing that one of the Captain Americas is returning the stones, knows immediately that the plan worked, or Rogers wouldn’t be in the post-mission stone-return phase.

      Stark: “So how’d it go?”
      Rogers: “Thanos showed up, stole the stones you’re collecting, and tried to wipe out the rest of life in the universe.”
      Stark: “So how’d we stop him?”
      Rogers: “At the last second, you stole the stones from his glove, put them on your own glove, and activated them, almost as planned.”
      Stark: “So it went well!”
      Rogers:“No, you died from the radiation burst when you activated the stones.”
      Stark: “So not well.”
      Rogers: “No, not well at all. You had a very nice funeral though. Everybody misses you.”
      Stark: “Why didn’t I just rematerialize myself later, as long as I’m bringing people back.”
      Rogers: “I guess you didn’t think of that in time.”
      Stark: “Well I have now.”
      Rogers: “Yeah, but that’s because I came back in time and warned you.”
      Stark: “Hrm… You are correct. I can’t rematerialize before you go on this return mission or you wouldn’t be here telling me that I’m dead.”
      Rogers: “So come back sometime after I go on this return mission.”
      Stark: “Yeah, but when? I suppose I could time-jump way forward and see if there had been some critical fight we lost, one where I could unexpectedly pop in and make a difference, such as some situation where the Marvel writing team is completely out of ideas.”
      Rogers: “That would be ideal!”
      Stark: “But you can’t let anyone suspect a thing or it will change the timeline.”
      Rogers: “That’s a big ask.”
      Stark: “Not if you hang out here, in the past.”
      Rogers: “Wouldn’t that also risk changing things?”
      Stark: “Not if you go back to being Steve Rogers instead of Captain America. For all we know, that’s what you ended up doing after the battle.”
      Rogers: “That works for me.”
      Stark: “Well, thanks for the warning. See ya around, Captain.”
      Rogers: “No, no you won’t.”
      Stark: “Just because you’re laying low in the past doesn’t mean you won’t be conducting mission in the future. We have time travel now. Just saying.”
      Rogers: “Reporting for duty.” *salutes*

      A page somewhat like that is probably sitting in Robert Downey Jr.s desk drawer.Report

    • Your thoughts on the gauntlet occurred to me, though as I recall, Thanos’s arm was pretty crispy after using the stones at the end of “Infinity War.”

      Thanks for reading!Report

  2. George Turner says:

    I’ve heard that Brie Larson’s ego has gotten so big, being the first ever female heroine and all, that other actors were having trouble getting along with her. So I could see the writers telling her that she’s so super important that she can’t bother with Earth’s silly little plot lines, and then giving her a much smaller role than Ant Man. Ant man. That bar is so low that it’s down in the quantum realm.

    The main problem I have with the Thanos story is of course that anybody who’s studied economics or population dynamics could defeat him with a simple white-board presentation.

    Population growth rate, population doubling period, number of countries exceeding that rate
    3.0%, 24 years, 10 countries
    2.5%, 29 years, 29 countries
    2.0%, 36 years, 53 countries
    1.5%, 47 years, 72 countries
    1.23%, 57 years, world average

    He could’ve doubled the size of the planets, not killing anyone at all, and it still wouldn’t address the problem he claims he’s fixing.Report

    • Doctor Jay in reply to George Turner says:

      He’s called the “Mad” Titan for a reason. Of course his scheme doesn’t make sense. it isn’t supposed to make sense to any normal, stable, sane person.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        In his defense, they laughed at Tesla.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        Well, I’ve also read that in the comics he’s wiping out half the galaxy to impress death. I’m guessing “death” is another Marvel character.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to George Turner says:

          Death is the personification of Death. One of the cosmic level characters. (See also The Living Tribunal and/or Eternity.)

          Spider-Man might stop a bank robbery but that pales in comparison to the Avengers preventing Doctor Doom from taking over the world. *THAT* pales in comparison to the Fantastic Four preventing Galactus eating Earth. *THAT* pales in comparison to the Kree vs. Skrull war (that takes place between kingdoms the size of galaxies). And *THAT* pales in comparison to something that I can’t think of. That thing that I can’t think of? Pales in comparison to the Cosmic-level stories.Report

      • Chen Geller in reply to Doctor Jay says:

        which brings up another issue with Endgame’s third act: its handling of the character of Thanos. He started out as Marvel’s best villain, with a coherent and specific objective: to kill half of all living creatures. Essentially, an ecological terrorist.

        Here, he decides – in the style of a mustache-twirling villain – to “shred the universe to its last atom”. There’s also relish there (more in the dialogue than in Brolin’s performance), and in some other lines: “you won’t be alive to tell them” and “I’m gonna enjoy it.”

        Congratulations, Marvel, you’ve just stripped your potentially best villain to one of your very worst.Report

        • James K in reply to Chen Geller says:

          His plan is to remake the universe such that no one who is still alive remember any of the people who died. This is him amending his plan since he is now aware it is possible to undo it.

          As for enjoying killing the Avengers, he has always had a sadistic streak. Why else would he constantly pit Nebula and Gamora against each other?Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Chen Geller says:

          In-universe, that was the Past Thanos; the quest for the Infinity Stones seemed to have genuine effects on him. Since Past Thanos hadn’t undergone that degree of personal growth, of course he’d be more like the Evil Overlord than Hamlet.

          In writing, it’s more satisfying to beat on the Evil Overlord, because you can just go to town on him and not have to worry about “well he kinda DOES have a point, and he seems like a smart fella, maybe we SHOULD sit down and talk this through”.

          (something to note: In the trailers for “Infinity War”, there’s a line where Thanos says something like “it’s not supposed to be fun to bring balance to the universe, but I will admit that this does put a smile on my face”. That line isn’t in the film…)Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Chen Geller says:

          The last step in Thanos plan was “a grateful universe” let’s him retire in peace. He’s now aware that didn’t happen and steps will have to be taken to make sure it does.Report

          • Chen Geller in reply to Dark Matter says:

            Sure, it makes sense within the world of the film; but it shouldn’t need to. If you skip those lines, the film works just as well, and your villain would have been that much better for it.

            And I didn’t even mention that he rips-off Longshanks tactic from Braveheart of firing into his own troops; with the distinction that in Braveheart, it actually does something. Here it only hurts Thanos’ own troops, of course. Because lord knows you can’t have too many deaths in an MCU film!Report

            • Dark Matter in reply to Chen Geller says:

              From the previous movie we know that excluding(?) his children, Thanos’ troops are expendable cannon fodder. Many/most of them aren’t even sentient.

              From Thanos point of view the stones are game-winningly important and EVERYTHING else is meaningless. Firing on his own troops forces adds to the chaos, ties down the transportational mages, and doesn’t cost him anything. It’s a distraction.

              If you skip those lines, the film works just as well, and your villain would have been that much better for it.

              I disagree.
              He’s dealing with his own murderers and he’s starting to lose his composure because he’s losing.

              The previous movie was Thanos as a nice guy and the world from his point of view. After he had a couple of stones and realized he was going to win, he mellowed out a bit. It only goes downhill from… murdering one daughter, brainwashing/forced-cyborging/torturing the other, and ending half the universe.

              In the comics his First plan was end-all-life and it was only after a lot of character evolution he came up with the kinder and gentler “half” plan.Report

        • Yeah, the handling of Thanos here seemed like a pretty big misstep as well. As you mentioned, he’s kinda relegated to a stock Marvel villain. I don’t think severing the emotional connection between Thanos and the Avengers was a good idea either. Sure, THEY know what he’ll do, but they’re all news to him. Though the “You took everything from me” / “I don’t even know you” / “You will” was a pretty good fist-pump moment.Report

  3. Doctor Jay says:

    The success of Guardians of the Galaxy (and the poor showing of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman and Justice League) has underscored how important comedic notes are to these superhero films. Thor: Ragnarock fell on me as very odd tonally, since it was light-hearted, despite depicting the (actual) death of Odin and the destruction of Asgard.

    I too was impressed by how much they decided to lean into the misery in Act 1. The peanut-butter sandwich bit was probably the most interesting bit from Black Widow so far. (I’m not knocking Johanssen, the character is remarkably stoic and opaque). And then she fights Clint for the right to sacrifice herself for the team and for the universe. Which I appreciated.

    The beer-swilling overweight business was a very broadly humorous take, it’s true. But that’s true to this tone (from Thor: Ragnarock). Thor knows he should have gone for the head, and he’s feeling very guilty about it, and this is how they chose to show it. It’s kind of a cheap joke, and I can see how some might be bothered by it.

    I liked the Act 2 plot with all the time travel. I liked the lampshading discussion with Prof Hulk, and the thesis of “Every other time-travel movie is wrong” which was good because, well, Nebula kills her earlier self and doesn’t vanish in a puff of logic.

    I am not put off by big battle scenes. I love that stuff. The film is full of callbacks and references, but it’s a capstone for 11 years and 19 (I think it’s 19?) other films. I was satisfied.Report

    • You’re absolutely right, a bit of levity is important, particularly for films of this scale which are intended to reach a broad audience. I really like the first “Guardians” and “Ragnarok.” With “Endgame,” it felt like a combination of lazy humor and tonal whiplash given how the filmmakers leaned into sadness and defeat during the first act.

      Thanks for reading!Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I did think it was amusing that they say “rules of time travel, like, don’t talk to your former self? nah, that’s BS, it doesn’t work like that” and it turns out that it does work like that and one of the characters does talk to their former self and it does mess everything up.

      That said, I was hoping for a little more Bill And Ted “hey wait, we’ll still have the time machine in the future, so after this we’ll just go back in time to right now and help ourselves out in exactly the way we need!” (giant laser zaps Thanos)

      Of course, they could have played that both ways. “In the future we’ll have won, so we can do THIS!” (laser zaps Thanos) “But then, what if *I* win?” (portals open up and three more Thanoses step out)Report

  4. pillsy says:

    I liked it a lot more than you did (I think it borders on, and maybe even reaches, superhero movie greatness) and really didn’t mind Tony snapping if the cost was instant death even if sure as a plot point it doesn’t really hold together. The narrative sense, for me, far outweighed the picky details of whether he had the right kind of unobtanium dingus.

    The one thing I agree with, and maybe object to even more strongly, was Funny Alcoholic Thor. Not only do the comic beats just not work (despite the fact that both the actor and character are often funny as hell), I have to say I just don’t like the way they treated alcoholism as a light joke to be dropped at a moment’s notice. At the risk of coming across as a scold, I don’t mind dark comedy in the slightest, but comedy about dark subjects should be… dark?

    And if they couldn’t do justice to the subject tonally (which given the actual movie they made seems implausible but there was a lot going on), they should have figured out some other way to demonstrate how badly the burdens of failure and responsibility had hit Thor.Report

    • George Turner in reply to pillsy says:

      Hancock (2008, Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman) focused on the difficulties and self-destruction faced by an alcoholic super hero, and did so with much greater feeling for the tragic situation.

      In Raiders of the Lost Ark Steven Spielberg accomplished more to convey failure and despair drowning in alcohol with one scene of Indiana Jones drinking his way down to the bottom of a bottle of whiskey. But Spielberg is known for accomplishing more with two or three quick cuts than most directors can accomplish with fifteen minutes of elaborate dialog.

      Scene – Thor is sitting on a park bench, staring out at the ocean. He is out of shape, hair unkempt, wearing a sweatshirt, pajamas, and Crocs. His expression looks like his wife just died and his dog ran away, and he is periodically swilling from a bottle of rum in a brown paper bag.

      Hulk: Thor. How long are you going to stay drunk?
      Thor: Oh, probably till I’m dead. It’s all my fault, you know.
      Hulk: Well, we’ve figured out how to fix it, and we need your help. Let’s get some coffee.

      And that’s all that was needed, because the movie wasn’t about Thor’s drinking problem.Report

      • bookdragon in reply to George Turner says:

        It certainly could have been done a lot better. Especially given that one of the more poignant moments in the Captain American origin movie was Cap drinking after (he thought) Bucky died …and finding that his super healing wouldn’t let him get oblivious drunk.Report

        • George Turner in reply to bookdragon says:

          I guess they couldn’t go there with Thor because the idea of a Viking who can’t get drunk would be too silly even for the Marvel Universe, plus a previous Thor movie already established that Valkyrie was a profound alcoholic.

          But that whole segment seemed out of place, like shoehorning in some unused bits from a Seth MacFarlane draft script of an unrelated comedy, or turning the reigns over to George Lucas who wants to make it more like Howard the Duck and sell millions of Thor beer mugs.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to George Turner says:

            The thing is, we already saw Dark Angsty Thor in Infinity War. There’s other ways for a character to have a tragic fall, and other ways to come back from one–I did think it was kind of surprising that they never did a bit for Thor where he gets buff again and is all “now I must be the Strong Man who Saves Everyone With Strongness”, instead he goes and talks to his mom for a while.

            I will say I hope they at least reference Tubby Thor in future Guardians movies, like he takes his shirt off and Peter Quill is all “haha, YOU’RE FATTER THAN ME NOW”Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to DensityDuck says:

              Also, even in the original Eddas, Thor was as often the star of bro-on-bro comedy bits as he was a badass. Fat Drunk Thor would have fit right into the original stories.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to George Turner says:

        One of the things that really surprised me in EG was how they didn’t do the “you must accept the mantle of Grown-Up Leadership And Responsibility” thing. Like, they literally say “just be who you are, even if that means running out on your family and going on a permanent road trip.

        That kinda seems to be the message through the movie–several characters have stories like “accept all the things that are in you and do whatever it takes to be the person that you are, even if that means giving up on what you want or what you think is The Right Thing To Do”.Report

    • Garrett Stiger in reply to pillsy says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head here. There were a number of avenues they could have taken with Thor, and the one they took, at least with the time and commercial constraints, isn’t terribly satisfying or compelling.

      Thanks for reading!Report

  5. I liked it. My approach to the plot was the Basil Exposition one: “I suggest you don’t worry about those things and just enjoy yourself.” Parts of it worked for me. Parts of it were less so. but honestly, I’m amazed they managed to pull it off at all. This could easily have collapsed into a giant mess.Report

    • pillsy in reply to Michael Siegel says:

      Yeah. It could have turned into three hours of fight-scene and one-liner slurry, still been enjoyable enough to be worth it for most fans, and still have made billions of dollars.Report

  6. North says:

    I will grant that the final battlefield was especially unambitious and the resulting battle somewhat muddled. Despite that I was enormously fond of the overall movie.

    The dark beginning was quite well done. I very much appreciated the subtle nods the movie made to how deranged Thanos’ plan was. A world with half as much life in it was much less lively. A call out: Thanos’ madness was never more obvious when they emphasized that he eliminated half of ALL LIFE, not just sentient life. The idiocy of that strikes me as rather self evident.

    Tony was, indeed, well done. His snarling at Cap was pretty good though I felt like he was snarling primarily because Peter Quill wasn’t around to shoot in the head.

    I loved Professor Hulk. Unfortunate that Hulk doesn’t have the necessary pull with fans because I would have adored a film about how Banner and Hulk sorted out their shit and formed two halves of a whole. I especially loved that it was Hulk who snapped everyone back- because of course he was and that’s ma boy!

    Oof, I knew that people would be angry about Black Widow and I sympathize with why they were angry about it. That said I really appreciated the narrative symmetry of how she went to her end. The first soul gem obtained by a deranged Thanos forcing a struggling Gamora over the edge; the second soul gem obtained by a willing woman fighting for the right to choose to sacrifice herself. I thought it was quite brilliant. The biggest miss was in not having some form of memorial for Natasha in the same way they mourned Tony (smaller, more intimate, she was a very private woman but something should have been done). I will admit, though, that it has badly damaged my inclination to see a Black Widow prequel. Who’m I kidding, of course I’ll go. I’d go to an MCU Squirrel Girl flick.

    Nebula was basically the star of the film and properly so. I loved pretty much every element, line and development she had. The manner in which they squared the Gamora circle was also pretty satisfying for me. Peter fished up royally in Infinity War on several occasions. I was very happy to have Gamora back but I am glad she isn’t remotely interested in Quill.

    I greatly enjoyed their version of time travel (though really it was more like parallel reality travel). It is especially appropriate because it perfectly squares with how Marvel’s comic multiverse has pretty much always worked. The only concern I have is that this presents an awfully powerful fix everything tool for future issues. I am hoping they’ll say something like “Well only Tony in a flash of brilliance could figure out the maths and now this gambit is croaked.”

    Fat Thor had me laughing heartily in the film. I definitely get how people think it went over the boundary into fat-shaming (a complaint that I’m mildly sympathetic to) and making light of alcoholism (which I’m much more sympathetic towards). I know an entire community of folks who’re very happy about the chunkier Thor though. Also what was with him taking off with the (as)Guardians of the Galaxy? Is Chris down for more MCU films??

    Captain Marvel didn’t play as big a part as I’d expected. Sidelining her because she was so powerful made sense- otherwise she’d just fix everything herself. Note that they did the same thing with Dr. Strange- tying him up with holding an ocean back from squishing everyone.

    Over all? I think it was a very good showing. Considerably better than I anticipated; an A to A minus grade showing in my books.Report

    • Garrett Stiger in reply to North says:

      I liked Professor Hulk, though “Infinity War” seemed to be setting up an arc where Hulk would redeem himself after retreating inside Banner after getting his ass handed to him by Thanos. And that was dropped here.

      Nebula has indeed gone on to be one of the MVPs of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s funny you mention her, because a friend and I were just talking about all the development the character has undergone. In the first “Guardians,” she’s a pretty generic baddie, but she became way more interesting in the sequel and in “Endgame.”

      Captain Marvel is gonna be a challenge going forward. It’s the Superman effect. “How do we make this God (for all intents and purposes) interesting?” Still, she’s very…convenient here.

      Thanks for reading!Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to North says:

      It’s really, really surprising to me how Nebula quietly became so important to the MCU, because in her intro movie she was basically a Generic Pursuing Threat. Props to Karen Gillan for selling the character so effectively that we buy it!Report

      • North in reply to DensityDuck says:

        It was a remarkable development and a feather in the cap for both Karen Gillan, Gunn and the writers for the MCU. I agree. GoTG punches above its weight in the overarching MCU.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to North says:

          Which, as I keep saying, is a great refutation of the idea that copyright stifles creativity, because if Marvel Studios had been able to use the X-Men we’d have just got another boring re-slog through the X-Verse, and instead we have Cosmic Marvel characters and plotlines as the basis for the most successful series in the history of human entertainment…Report

  7. Saul Degraw says:

    I liked the movie a lot. I like the bits that you did not like very much and felt it gave the movie are more human feel. Thor’s depression was human (even though he is a God). Most three hour movies tend to drag, this one did not. But I also try not to think about the physics of superhero movies that seriously or deeply because they will never make sense.Report

    • I wasn’t bored by the movie, which is something given its runtime. Having said that, while not being bored is an important bar to clear, it’s also a low one in my mind. One of the problems with this film is that it kinda feels like three different films. While that might keep you on your toes, it isn’t necessarily a good thing.

      Thanks for reading!Report

      • pillsy in reply to Garrett Stiger says:

        The three act structure is a lot stronger and more visible than is usual I think.

        Anyway, it’s interesting because I had more or less the exact opposite reaction for you. Walked out, having enjoyed it a lot, but suspected that was just the (aptly described) sugar high of the callbacks and fight scenes and the like, but as I spent more time thinking about it, I concluded that it was actually a very solid movie in addition to being a “crossover event”.

        They didn’t need to make a very good movie to make a boatload of cash while keeping the fans invested enough to see the next MCU movie so they can make another boatload of cash. And they had a lot of weird constraints that they were operating under beyond the need to make a good movie, not that making good movies is terribly easy anyway.Report

        • Chen Geller in reply to pillsy says:

          *pedantic mode* Its not technically a three-act structure. The three-act structure denotes a certain proportion: short-long-short. Here, the three “segments” are of roughly equal length: one hour each. */pedantic mode*

          I think the issue is with the third segment. Its structured all wrong. The fight with the creature army should have been the first beat, and the final showdown with Thanos himself should have been the last beat, instead of being smeared all across the final thirty minutes.

          You can’t maintain the intensity of a climactic showdown for so long. At some point, it just becomes exhausting.Report

  8. There is zero chance a male superhero backed up by other male superheroes would ever be described as pandering to the audience.Report

    • I’ll leave that to my wife who rolled her eyes at this particular scene. But as I mentioned in the review, the problem isn’t the female line up. The problem is that Marvel seems to want an applause moment that they haven’t earned. They’ve made a film about one of those characters, and that came out all of two months ago. A moment that was intended to be powerful and affirming felt very cynical to me.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

      To be fair to Garrett, lots of women online seem to think this moment was pandering too and like Garrett said, Marvel wants applause it has not earned.


      • My daughters thought it was absolutely kickass. I did too.

        But the point still stands: no way does the inverse scene get criticized as pandering. It is only when the source material isn’t aimed directly at the presumed core audience that it suddenly becomes pandering. That strikes me as an underwhelming-at-best argument.Report

        • pillsy in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          The inverse scene doesn’t get noticed.

          I mean, yes, obviously that’s the issue all the representation stuff is trying to address, but addressing it gets noticed, and people react accordingly to the message being sent.

          But if your daughters thought it kicked ass, it sounds like the “pandering” line of the Slate piece is pretty bad.

          Then again, the fact that the Slate piece complains about the most compelling character arcs and resolutions in the movie (Nebula’s and Black Widow’s) makes me wonder if they even saw the same movie that I did.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          I get that it was meant to be something of a girl power moment, but it was so contrived it fell flat. I mean, all the women, scattered all over a roving battlefield, all converge on that moment to basically cheer on the one woman who is a nova in a bottle.

          I can think of a couple of better ways to do that scene that isn’t so contrived. It felt squeezed in.

          Honestly, Capt. Marvel commanding the undivided attention of Ronan and his battlecruiser as she hit the upper atmosphere was a better feminist moment.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Sam Wilkinson says:

          Perhaps it would be seen less as pandering if people hadn’t gone ride-or-die for the idea that women in a sci-fi movie was an amazing act of representation and DESERVED to be seen as a pro-female act and that if you criticized it you were a fat misogynist incel crying delicious nerd tears over your stupid 80s comics that nobody cared about anyway.

          Like, if you really really wanted Girl Ghostbusters to be a feminist statement because Girls, then you’re establishing that when girls do something in a movie it’s a feminist statement…Report

  9. DensityDuck says:

    I noticed that Endgame had a lot more Big Marvel Comics Moments than any other movie has had (which is understandable, of course, given the situation.) The bit where every hero in the MCU is standing in a “gonna kick some ass” pose while someone says their tagline, the battle montage where everyone gets a scene, all the girl heroes do a “we got this one” moment, retcons, face turns, someone has to fight a literal mountain of enemies, the funeral scene where everyone is standing around in black suits; all of that. Endgame is, more than any MCU film, a Comic Book Movie in that it’s specifically calling out comic-book portrayals and elements, although it feels less slavish than something like Watchmen.Report