I, like the entire world, saw Avengers: Endgame within a few days of its release. Weeks later, the movie has already dissipated like a fart, passed over and under the heads of those unwilling to watch it, who must nonetheless endure its repercussions. This write-up is as inevitable as the film itself; we must ask – who is possibly out there asking for more?
Who can possibly have the stomach to endure another movie culminating in a CGI slugfest? Who really has the patience for yet another origin story for another character whose presence undercuts the entirety of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and all that’s been hitherto set up? Who needs more intertwining, interconnected storylines which will just be retconned later? Oh, we miss the days when things were simple. Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi, we miss you!
I had to coax from within the will to take on this movie – this franchise – this thing. Endgame sat perfectly fine with me – just like every other Marvel movie – and I have just as quickly forgotten it. What did we learn from this massive, decade-long experiment drummed up by the folks at Marvel? Well, that long, decent franchises can bring home a boat load of money.
This isn’t really about the movie itself. Because the movie did have something no previous MCU movie has had: finality. We saw Cap get old and fade away – he’s done. Tony’s gone. Black Widow is gone (going forward – but I hear they have a solo prequel for her in the works). Tony is the big part in this, because he’s been there from day one. Make no mistake – there would be no MCU without RDJ. Downey Jr. has always been the go-to for the Marvel creative heads. He ushered in the franchise, he smoothed the transition to a new (now beloved) Spider-Man, and he has been there whenever the Avengers were going through their toughest plot threads. But now he’s gone, and with him, the glue of the MCU dissolves. We’re not sure what will hold it together in his wake. Some say Captain Marvel (phooey – until she’s recast with a more likable actress. Brie Larson divides, she does not mend), whereas I would suggest Black Panther. Even though the character is foreign, Chadwick Boseman has adequate charisma, and his solo movie was uncharacteristically long-lived at the box office. He’s perhaps the most iconic hero who has done the least on-screen. And I’m sure once the Marvel heads saw the reaction to his character, they upped their plans for him.
But that just leads us, circularly, back to the problem: fatigue. I can take a break from Marvel for now. Do I want to leave this universe forever – call it a day, and move on to another comic book franchise? Hell no. Has Marvel run its course? No – comic book movies are inherently reinvent-able. But can we take a break for now? Maybe reset, a little? I cannot imagine drumming up the energy to go back to the theater to see yet another episode of this TV show which finally ended its climactic season, just to start another season tomorrow. I’ll skip the next Spider-Man . . . probably the next couple of movies. We’ll see how Marvel does post-Endgame. We’ll see if Robert Downey Jr.’s glue effect was as important as I have suggested. If it was, and Marvel shows signs of weakening in the coming future – you bet your ass Tony Stark “comes back” (for a fat-enough check). After all – no-one’s ever really gone.