This movie was satisfying after the buildup of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a fitting close to this phase of Disney's plan for the MCU. The announced plans for the next phase did take a little wind out of the sails because I knew what this movie had to do to set those up.
The two MCU movies since Infinity War were Ant-Man and the Wasp as well as Captain Marvel. The way Ant-Man was integrated was not surprising, but I felt like it was used well. I did not feel like Captain Marvel was used well at all, but her origin movie was only average. I don't have much affection for Captain Marvel yet and this movie didn't help.
The first act was a good exploration of post 'snappture' life. Allowing the characters to process their emotions and evolve made them more relatable. The act takes an hour on the dot. I checked my watch as the act closed just to check the pacing; I wasn't bored. Korg also makes a return!
The second act followed the classic MCU path of executing a plan against adverse conditions pushing characters to think on their feet. It also took an hour to complete. The shifting of locations did break up monotony and was full of wonderful call-backs to some of the previous 22 movies. It also served to raise the stakes to an appropriate level.
The third act featured a fantastic epic battle. Unlike Aquaman, Endgame handled the scale of the battle very well. Each participant had their time showing off their skills. There is a 'woman-power' sequence that is bad. It isn't organic at all and it doesn't go anywhere. Looking back it seems like a mistake to include because the execution was poor. If they had removed it entirely, it wouldn't have been missed.
The closing of the movie is emotional, as it should be. Viewers have spent more than a decade with some characters. Two or three times a year we learn more about the characters so they can feel like friends. This may be the high point of the film.
This is more than a tent-pole movie. This is the culmination of the largest coordinated cinematic experience of all time. This movie is wonderful because of what came before it. I struggled with the rating because I think the movie in a vacuum isn't as good as it is within the MCU timeline. You can;t watch this movie in a vacuum; four diamonds.