It’s been a long road talking about these movies, and at times I felt like I might be running out of steam writing about them. And I’ll admit that at times I struggled to come up with a unique talking point for each movie that might not be the most obvious, but when to comes to Endgame, I feel like I just need to talk about the MCU as a whole and how it all lead this conclusion of a saga.
A once in a lifetime event
I wrote about Endgame shortly after it came out in my blog’s current iteration. The crux of which was my astonishment at what Disney and Marvel Studios had done with this 22 movies series (23 now) and how I honestly believe that they’re not ever going to be able to do it again, at least at the same scale of Endgame.
Part of the reason for this was how organically the early stages of the series found their feet. The first Iron Man feels like a stand-alone movie, and it wasn’t until Iron Man 2 that it felt like the movies might be building to something. Even though, it felt like the first Avengers was the end point, and Endgame wasn’t even a twinkle in anybody’s eye.
In the time since, so many other studios have tried to emulate what Marvel have done and create their own cinematic universes. With mostly incomparable results, the DC’s attempt being the prime example of this. They were trying to do too much too soon. It took 18 movies in the MCU for Thanos to truly take the scene, despite the fact that he first appeared way back in the first Avengers movie.
I’m not sure I can see the future of the MCU being able to recreate this scale of story again. Building up to another universal stake showdown against Galactus, Dormammu or the Living Tribunal if they wanted to go there, it’d be on a much shorter scale than the buildup to Thanos was I feel.
Mostly because I don’t think any of the people behind the movies will have the balls to stretch out a roadmap that far in advance. There were over ten years between Iron Man and Endgame. What with three movies a year and multiple Disney+ series on top of that now, I feel like the next big MCU event is much sooner than a decade away.
The Unsung Heroes
Heh. I had intended to not get into this topic seeing as how I’d spoken about it before, but I guess I couldn’t contain myself.
My other big talking point from originally speaking about the movie was focusing on its unsung heroes. Despite the fact that this movie acts as a conclusion to Iron Man, Captain America and Thor (at least as he’s been presented before now) I spoke about how Nebula and Clint Barton were actually the heart and the grounding for the movie, giving us the individual narrative for this movie while all the huge conclusions were being drawn around them.
There is so, so much going on in the movie, that it’s easy to miss how vital Karen Gillan is to the movie in terms of both setting up the finale, but also being one of the major faces of what was lost in terms of the snap. And Jeremy Renner is just loss and pain personified throughout this movie, I’m still amazed he’s never gotten any kind of stand-alone series or movie yet.
A surprisingly feel-good movie
Infinity War a grim movie, at least as grim as this bight and fluffy popcorn flicks can get. It mostly follows Thanos as the protagonist and his seemingly inevitable march towards his goal, ending with him smiling and the heroes on their knees as they come to terms with what just happened.
Endgame, despite what everyone expected is actually a much brighter, sillier and feel-good movie than any other Avengers movie before it. When Scott shows up at the Avengers compound and the gang gets back together, it’s one big celebration of these characters and everything they’ve been through so far. Very literally, as they go back in time and revisit the moments from their own past. Full of little nods and inside jokes .
This entire section of the movie never feels like there is any real threat or stakes. It’s all about hijinks, while the gang hit roadbumps on the way to collecting all of the Infinity Stones from the past, they never really feel like failing. And we get to see them having fun and going out with one last hurrah.
That is until the end, when Thanos shows up in the present and we get one of the biggest most climactic action sequences every seen in film. At least in terms of payoff and buildup that came before it. That moment when Cap takes up Thor’s hammer, and when he finally says the line “Avengers Assemble” will always give me goosebumps.
Looking at how far we’ve come
It’s crazy to look back and think about how apprehensive everyone was about portraying these characters in their fill comic book weirdness back in the early days. The fact that people were dubious that the very concept of a hero that could shrink to the size of an ant could even work.
Now we’re watching a movie about wizards, raccoons and a man dressed in the stars and stripes fighting a giant purple alien over a handful of magical stones. And we don’t bat an eyelid at it. Which simply goes to show how good Marvel’s character work has been and ultimately, a good enough human story is always the real focus, no matter what insanity is going on around it.
It’s why, for all the impressive visuals and action that happened in Captain Marvel, the movie itself suffered from a flat and uninteresting lead character. Which is why, when Captain Marvel makes her eventual appearance in Endgame’s conclusion, it falls flat. With only a lone movie to establish her and her stakes in this conflict, she doesn’t contribute.
She’s hardly even in this movie. As opposed to Scarlet Witch, whose in the movie even less than her, and yet her single moment in the movie, when she takes apart Thanos on her own, feels so much more cathartic and impactful.
It’s a conclusion for the fans
Endgame certainly works as a fun movie for anyone who would watch it out of context. But it’s at its absolute best when viewed as a love letter to the characters themselves and the fans who have been following this series and its journey from the very beginning.
There are so, so many moments throughout this movie that are magnified by knowledge of the events that came before them. So many callbacks and deep cuts that make the fans feel all more seen for having recognised them all and then another before they can finish registering the first thing. There is so much to talk about in this movie, more than I can realistically cover in this post. I dabbled with the idea of writing a multi-part finale to this series but felt dragging it out any longer was probably unnecessary.
I’ll just end by saying that I was great to go back through these movies again after all this time. Even the bad ones have something redeeming about them, and those are few and far between. It felt like the superhero bubble was going to burst for the longest time, but now I can’t see them going anywhere. I’d love to think that they’re going to continue getting better and better in the years to come.
But it’s hard to believe that anything will ever reach the scale, the stakes or the payoff of Endgame from this point forward. A three hour movie that never felt that long. I’d watch Endgame again at any given moment, but for now I think I’ll be giving the MCU a little bit of a break. Until this COVID nonsense is finally behind us and the movies and T.V. series can finally get the whole train back underway.
I know I said I was going to be ending with this part. But I’m just warning you that I lied. Next week, I’ll be writing up a ordered list of the entire franchise and actually finishing it up by telling you what order they’re supposed to be in. Thanks for reading this year long series. Even though the stats make me think this was mostly for my own benefit more than anyone elses.