Avengers: Endgame has been in cinemas for almost a week now, and it's fair to say that, so far, it has been a colossal success.
The movie, which concludes the story of its 21 predecessors, has already made more than $1 billion at the global box office, smashing basically every cinema record in the process.
And the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, too – Endgame currently has 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as 9/10 stars on IMDb.
But of course, there has been some criticism along the way, which is where your official warning comes into play. The following includes a bunch of huge spoilers, so if you haven't seen Endgame yet, now is your last chance to turn back and save yourself.
Initial criticisms picked holes in the rules of time travel, a somewhat confusing concept that stated: "If you go to the past, then the present becomes your past and the past becomes your future." Other criticisms included characters such as Okoye appearing only a handful of times in the entire three-hour run, despite being used in the posters, as well as concerns over LGBT representation after the first openly gay character in the MCU made a short appearance.
But recently another criticism has arisen, centred around a scene towards the end of the movie which sees the female Avengers assemble to kick some ass on the battlefield.
For those who need a mini recap, it all goes down when the Avengers run a relay to get the Infinity Gauntlet across the battlefield. Black Panther passes it to Spider-Man, who hands it over to Captain Marvel. Then comes the incredible moment when Spider-Man asks how she's going to get it through Thanos's army.
Wanda: "Don't worry."
Okoye: "She's got help."
Female Avengers: *Assemble to kick ass*.
Now, I'm not sure about your screening, but when I went to see Endgame, the entire theatre erupted into cheers after Okoye said: "She's got help." In fact, it was the second-loudest cheer of the movie, behind Captain America getting ahold of Mjolnir.
But despite an initial positive reaction, the scene appears to have sparked a debate on the internet, with people questioning whether it felt "forced" or "tried too hard".
In a discussion about the movie, Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley agreed that the scene was trying too hard, saying: "It was so female thirsty. Either give me a female Avengers or don't. Forget this teasy foreplay. Give me what we all want."
Maude Garrett, a guest who appeared in the same video, echoed Jacqueline's thoughts. "We already saw it in Infinity War," she said, adding that she thought it was better the first time around. Jacqueline agreed, saying: "Yes, because it felt more organic. This one did feel a little bit forced."
On Twitter a similar debate raged, with people continuing to call the scene forced.
An article titled "Avengers: Endgame Doesn't Earn Its Big 'Girl Power' Moment" also began to circulate, and it called the scene "glaringly patronizing". The writer, Caroline Siede, said: "It misses the mark so badly it could only come from a studio that made 20 movies before it got to one with a female lead and then acted like we should all be grateful for its trailblazing feminism."
Many, however, jumped to Marvel's defence, calling the scene empowering.
Others pointed out that the scene could actually be a reference to A-Force, the all-female Avengers that includes characters such as Captain Marvel and She-Hulk.
Interestingly, the men who wrote Infinity War and Endgame, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, were recently asked about the scene and how it came together, revealing that there was a discussion about whether it pandered to the audience too much.
Speaking to the New York Times, Markus said: "Part of the fun of the Avengers movies has always been team-ups. Marvel has been amassing this huge roster of characters. You've got crazy aliens. You've got that many badass women. You've got three or four people in Iron Man suits."
McFeely added: "There was much conversation. Is [the scene] delightful or is it pandering? We went around and around on that. Ultimately we went, 'We like it too much.'"
Back on Twitter, the debate soon took another turn as people brought Black Widow into the argument. Many were enraged that she'd been killed off earlier in the movie and therefore hadn't been included in the scene, despite paving the way for female Avengers in the MCU.
Black Widow was also at the centre of another debate surrounding female representation in Marvel. Many people were upset at the decision not only to kill off her character but also to not give her a funeral like Iron Man, who received a considerable amount of onscreen grief in comparison.
In addition, a report published not long after Endgame's release claimed that Black Widow had less screen time (33 minutes) than characters such as Nebula (41 minutes) and Rocket (36 minutes), despite being one of the original Avengers.
The report continued to claim that other women in the movie received small amounts of screen time, too, with Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, and Okoye receiving 15 minutes or less. Unsurprisingly, Captain America and Iron Man allegedly received the most: 1 hour, 6 minutes and 1 hour, 2 minutes respectively.
Ben Henry is a celebrity reporter for BuzzFeed UK and is based in London.
Contact Ben Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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