“Avengers: Endgame” concludes not one, but 22 movies – San Mateo Daily Journal
“Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune,
Something to make us all happy.
Do anything, take us out of this gloom,
Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy.”
A song that perfectly encapsulates the long journey of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” by Traffic, plays over the Marvel Studios intro screen at the onset of “Avengers: Endgame.”
There’s a pun at the end of the first stanza, “snappy” alluding to Thanos’ infamous snap that cliff-hangered the previous Avengers installment, “Infinity War.”
On a deeper level, it’s a summation of the wondrous output that the folks at Marvel Studios (standing on the shoulders of the Marvel Comics’ founding fathers, Lee, Kirby, et al) have given us for more than a decade. The music starts us off with a bit of pathos to remind us of what we have been gifted and that it’s coming to an end, especially in the next stanza.
“You are the one who can make us all laugh,
But doing that you break out in tears.
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had;
We wouldn’t have known you all these years.”
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has led this audacious variety show containing 22 films, all laid out in a cohesive manner, culminating with this massive, spectacular finish. It’s the “end” of this two-part story, but also the equally satisfying end of the entire storyline.
Considering the bureaucracy, politics and egos throughout Hollywood, the qualitative success that has occurred under his watch is mind boggling, not to mention the revenue it has generated (nearly $19 billion worldwide in ticket sales worldwide since Iron Man came out May 2, 2008).
All the standard MCU attributes are present in “Endgame”: Comic book action, quip-filled humor, high stakes gravitas. There are lots of wonderful surprises and shocks, callbacks to at least a dozen previous MCU films and a basket full of Easter Eggs.
What’s surprising are the levels of emotion that leavens the movie. Recent MCU entries have stepped up the drama meter considerably (i.e. “Black Panther” nomination for Best Picture), but “Endgame” takes it to another level. In between the grandiose set piece spectacles, there are some real moments of intimacy that occur with nary a costume or special effect in the vicinity.
It helps to be familiar with the previous films, but it’s not completely necessary. You don’t have to know the difference between Bucky Barnes and Pepper Potts, or Ronan the Accuser and Hope Van Dyne, but a viewing of “Infinity War” would be a prerequisite.
I get it that many people dismiss these movies as shallow. It’s hard to get past the spandex, the CGI and likely, the CGI spandex. They argue that profundity is generated through manipulation rather than art. They bemoan that the cinema and television have been hijacked by this stuff, only slightly less vapid than a Kardashian tweet.
That may be the case, but right now, like it or not, we are at peak geek culture, and Marvel Studios has played a major role in dragging it from the nerdy outskirts directly into the center. And it has a powerful pull.
Along with “Endgame” soon to rule movie theaters, we currently have the final season of “Game of Thrones” lording over television. Star Wars is about to open up a theme park later this summer.
Superheroes, spaceships and dragons are sucking all the oxygen out of the room, along with all the major production budgets and venture capital. Since the dawn of the arts, talent has always followed the money. And our best and brightest artists, writers and actors are currently being drawn into this geek space.
Disney and Warner are our modern-era Medicis, and “Endgame” shows us how this can be a good thing.
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