First: there's nothing truly wrong with the movies, in the specifics. Gamora in particular is brilliant, and Benedict Cumberbatch is yet to find a genre he can't rock; apparently we can add "thinking man's action hero" to the list. There are characters I would have loved to see more of (Shuri, for instance, if only because I love Letitia Wright in the role). And Loki didn't get nearly enough screen time. But largely I think that comes dow to personal tastes. It's not that the story really needed more, just that I personally really liked them.
But there's the rub. Not that I get bonus points for having called it, but based just on the size of the cast, I was more than a bit worried it would be too much. And I think it was. Even knowing so much about the earlier movies so I didn't need to "learn" all these characters, there just wasn't much room for character moments, or even to really feel the high "wallop" moments. Again, Gamora's a standout exception here, but I think that's because her big moments happen when the plot is at its least busy. (Plus the actress playing her is brilliant and can own any scene, in my opinion.)
I suspect a lot of this comes down to why you watch Marvel movies. I'm not a comic book fan, and not particularly in it for the action and SFX. I like the characters and that's what keeps pulling me back. That, and the irreverence, and the light and humor. The opening scenes seemed much more DCU than Marvel, if you know what I mean.
Repeatedly, I saw noticed changes to the characterizations from earlier movies just because it served the plot. A great example of this is the Bucky character. We've gone from boy from Brooklyn, to Winter Soldier, to White Wolf. His look is distinctly pastoral by the time we meet him in IW, almost Christlike. But none of that is really referenced or made sense of in IW; T'Challa merely says he's rested long enough (as if the deprogramming and new lessons to learn in the Black Panther post-credit scene are the same as taking a sabbatical to recover from too much work). Of course he's got to fight, and in just this way. But because there's so much going on, there's no room to explain what's to me a really crucial new chapter in his story.
Other characters suffer from this, too. Strange's newfound respect for rules, for instance; or Peter's choosing the Avengers over being a neighborhood spiderman; though in fairness Rhodey's change in loyalties (if you want to call it that) felt so right, I'm grinning about it just thinking about it. I'm not sure I can really blame them for any of that, given the cast size. But for someone who massively prefers her plot to serve the character's purpose rather than the other way around, I did feel underwhelmed throughout.
On the other hand... Black Panther, Thor, and Spider-Man are all tough acts to follow, on top of which I was bringing in a lot of personal baggage. Tough several days at work and I was looking forward to this as a way to "reset" my mood a bit. It shouldn't have to.
Still, all that said, I do think I prefer the solo character flicks to the Ensemble casts. Probably a reason for that.
One last thing: as a Sherlockian, it was such a pleasure to see RDJ and Cumberbatch on the same screen. Because obviously they're their own characers here, but there's a lot of their Sherlock characters as well in how they approach this, and they're so different but also such different sides of the same coin. As I said over at FB, just seeing them snipe at each other was worth the ticket price alone. It's still weird to hear Cumberbatch in an American accent, though.
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