‘Avengers: Endgame:’ Why Critics Are Happier Than Audiences

Avengers: Endgame was the most anticipated film of the year, and for those who have yet to see it, the marvel masterpiece still lives in that anticipation stage. However, now that over a week has gone by since the film took to silver screens everywhere, many Marvel fans and established film critics have seen the conclusion to a saga spanning over a decade.

The result: both critics and audiences alike have hailed the final installment as an epic finale. However, it’s important to note that critics were a bit more satisfied than everyday viewers this time around.

Avengers: Endgame World Premiere
Chris Evans attends the Los Angeles World Premiere ‘Avengers: Endgame’ | Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Avengers: Endgame boasts a 95% critics score and a 90% audience score (at this moment); though this disparity may seem minimal, it’s representative of a much larger dichotomy existing between critics and everyday viewers.

Films rarely attain higher critic scores – as compared to audience reviews – for the attributes critics look for are arguably more encompassing and indicative of technical prowess. So, the question is: why did the last Avengers movie satisfy more critics than viewers? Let’s dive in.

How critics and everyday audiences watched ‘Avengers: Endgame:’ the differences in the approach

From cinematographic excellence and narrative complexity to strong directing, convincing acting, and inventive writing, when critics watch a film, they are expected to take a critical viewpoint. In other words – while a movie may be funny, action-packed, and enjoyable – if the film is lacking in the qualities that deem a movie Oscar-worthy, critics are expected to reflect that in their analyses.

On the other hand, most everyday viewers (though not all) watch a movie hoping to see one major attribute fulfilled: entertainment value. Thus, there are several movies boasting very high audience scores – as the films are seen as enjoyable – while suffering from critical disdain due to a lack of ingenuity. While Venom boasts an 84% audience score, it suffers from a 28% critics score. This disparity is also evident when looking at Glass, The Upside, Hunter Killer, and more.

So, what does it mean when a movie has a higher critics score? Let’s take a look at films with a greater disparity favoring critics. Haywire, It Comes at Night, and Night Moves are all films boasting exceedingly high critical scores and embarrassingly low audience reviews.

While critics hailed Haywire for its unique approach to directing and strong casting, many everyday viewers felt that the film’s pace was inconsistent and that the movie lacked the life a thriller needs to bring it to the next level. “Life” is virtually a synonym for entertainment value in this case. While audiences often review based on how they “feel” come the movie’s end, critics review based on a more calculated set of requirements. It’s a matter of mind vs. heart.

Where ‘Avengers: Endgame’ may have gone wrong in the eyes of everyday viewers

Before veering into an attack on Avengers: Endgame, it’s important to note that this movie was a large success according to most everyday viewers. Thus, this analysis will merely attempt to reflect the reason there is a 5% disparity in favor of critics.

* spoilers ahead*

Avengers: Endgame is a slow build. Clocking in at three hours and one minute, the movie takes you on a time-traveling journey – often patting its own back along the way – to retrieve every single infinity stone before fighting off Thanos once again.

As soon as the film’s journey begins, viewers know how the movie will progress and conclude; meaning, it becomes a wait to the final battle (and a ride to see who dies along the way). While ending a movie with the fight scene is usually an acceptable standard, the film does so much dialogic explaining that many viewers find themselves thinking “get to it.” This facet in and of itself is a major ding on the entertainment value metric; if a viewer is bored, or feels like they are just “waiting” at any moment in time, the movie has failed to hold their attention for the sake of the present moment alone.

On the other hand, the film is well-written, well-directed, and well-acted (especially on behalf of Robert Downey Jr.). The movie provides an adequate conclusion along the critical scale for it meets the technical standards that are required for a positive critical evaluation.

Had this movie lacked the clever one-liners, emotionally stirring moments through time travel, and other scenes that fans willingly geek out over, the discrepancy likely would have been even greater. For easter eggs and allusions are other major aspects of entertainment value; in this realm, the film succeeded.

When it comes to why a critical rating may be higher, many laymen often like to use the word pretentious; meaning, the film, rather than relying on audience satisfaction, is screaming to be recognized on behalf of its ingenuity, culture, thematic undertone, and/or technical prowess: all factors that play less into entertainment value.

While Avengers: Endgame was by no means pretentious, the small discrepancy insinuates that, to a very minor degree, the film (whether purposely or not) was written more to the critical eye.