Starring: Literally everyone
Release Date: April 26, 2019
In 2008 superhero movies changed forever. That’s when Marvel produced their own movie, Iron Man with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark which given his history was certainly a risk. I was fifteen at the time, so a movie about a billionaire blowing shit up flying through the air while making sarcastic wise cracks was right up my ally. My freshman year best friend went on a date to see the film and made out through three fourths of it. I was more appalled than Jerry Seinfeld’s parents when they found out he did the same thing during Schindler’s List. How could anyone deny watching this incredible film? Iron Man soaring through the air dishing out death to terrorists with bombs and lasers.
Iron Man was the beginning to something great but we didn’t know what. We didn’t even know to stay after the credits to see Tony Stark meet Nick Fury for the first time and set up the teaser for an Avengers movie. Marvel planted a seed in our minds that they would carefully water and grow over the next 11 years.
Marvel would go on to carefully create what we all know as the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the MCU. With so many different characters to tell compelling origin stories for, it took 22 films. While they came out of the gate hot with Iron Man not all Marvel films were as widely acclaimed. Some people, myself included, couldn’t connect with the god of thunder Thor or the ultimate try hard Captain America. They felt too perfect. In the second half of the decade they’ve given more people more diverse characters to relate to: Black Panther, Captain Marvel, or one of the odd balls in Guardians of the Galaxy. Despite some growing pains with the first two Avengers just being straight up bad, Marvel has mastered their formula on blending drama, comedy, and off the rails action scenes while making us care about each character.
When we finally got last year’s Infinity War, I had a lot of get-off-my-lawn, cranky guy super hero movie fatigue. The films never seemed to live up to the hype and they were all consequence free. What’s the point of watching our favorite characters fight evil and save the world if we all know that it’ll all be okay. They will come together and figure it out. There’s no threat of failure. Han Solo isn’t going to be turned into a block of ice, Batman’s childhood love interest isn’t going to get blown up by a deranged clown.
The build up to the giant purple bad guy Thanos was one that actually paid off to a villain that we actually feared. The MCU did a great job of piecing together who this guy is and what his motives are. In the opening scene of Infinity War, Bruce Banner gets the Hulk beat out of him, and Thanos and his wizard army tear through Thor and Loki. This important scene tells us this guy is for real. Over the course of the film, each Avenger took their best shot at him and ultimately failed. Thanos acquired all the magic stones that we really don’t care about, snapped his fingers and turned fan favorites such as Spider-Man, Black Panther and Grute into dust. The film ends with the bad guys winning. Consequences.
Of course they’re not real consequences, we know Marvel isn’t going to snap huge money making characters out of this franchise but the possibility of losing makes for a more exciting experience.
A year later we have Endgame. The marketing for this movie has been genius. Disney and Marvel are showing you exactly what they want you to see. From the trailers to the posters, the plot is top secret. Mark Ruffalo was given a fake script and Tom Holland wasn’t given one at all because, apparently neither of them can be trusted to keep their mouths shut. Putting together a story that can be pieced together and stay in the public conversation for over 11 years is an incredible feat.
Avengers: Endgame has its fair share of fan service, as it says goodbye to this version of the MCU as we know it. Each character gets their own 15 minutes of fame so to speak and we’re reminded of why we’ve been paying attention for so long. The three-hour run time sounds daunting but the pacing is perfect. It never drags or loses your attention. With so much ground to cover, so many beloved characters all coming together for possibly the last time, the three hours are necessary.
Capping a franchise of this size will make this the movie event of the year no matter what. Marvel is firing on all cylinders with Endgame. The humor is arguably the best it has ever been. The action sequences are, of course, insane. Rocket Raccoon is badass. All the things you want in this kind of movie.
There are a number of MCU movies slated to come out in the coming years but this is the last time we will see these characters together on screen. Avengers: Endgame is a fun and satisfying end of an era.