The Great Risk of Avengers: Endgame
Vinny shares some thoughts on Avengers: Endgame, and the state of superhero films on the whole.
*Spoilers for, well, a lot*
In 2008, with the advent of Marvel Studios and the then unparalleled success of The Dark Knight, the superhero film truly took hold of pop culture. Over a decade later, it has shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, the decade that came about in 2018 brought us the Academy Award nominated Best Picture Black Panther, the billion dollar grossing Aquaman and, the crown jewel in Marvel Studios’ crown, Avengers: Infinity War. That’s not even all of the superhero successes of that year.
Infinity War was the nineteenth film in the MCU, and brought nearly all of their franchises together for the biggest superhero story ever told on film. Infinity War was an expertly crafted film with perfected characterizations and a balance that even less complex tales have a hard time matching. It also featured a brutal ending, where many of the audiences favorite characters were killed in a snap. It was a shock to audiences and left them wondering “How do they get out of this one?”.
So, yeah, how do they get out of this one?
As I was saying, one of the greatest successes of Infinity War was its shocking ending, wherein a large portion of the MCU’s heroes are dead and gone. However, we all know that there’s certainly going to be a Black Panther 2 and we’ve already seen a trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home featuring two supposedly dead characters. Check it out for yourself.
It is obviously going to take a bit of contrivance to get these characters back by the conclusion Avengers: Endgame, which is a bit of a challenge itself. The problem is that there is a serious danger to Marvel Studios formula within.
One of the biggest draws of the series has been its attention to continuity. I think a big part of the success of some of the initially lesser known franchises in the series was the promise that it mattered for the big picture. The Guardians of Galaxy wasn’t exactly a blockbuster franchise for Marvel Comics, but they made it something far more important. Sure, there are a few retcons here and there, but for the most part, this is a story that has been unfolding for a decade. The big picture matters, and has been the envy of other studios.
Yes, it would be a very “comic book” move to use a big, reality altering event to explain away death, so there is a solid argument for something to that effect working well.
But, these are not comic books.
Film has a much broader audience that has invested years in these characters and counted on each film progressing the story. To maintain momentum, the Russo Brothers and their crew must ensure that whatever the solution is, it does not appear to halt forward momentum. That means that there must be measurable and devastating consequences by the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame.
That means death, and poignant ones.
We know it won’t be Spider-Man, we know it won’t be Black Panther, but a few of the big ones have to go. If they can’t pull that off convincingly, it may damage the franchise in a way it has never come close to.
At one point, making Infinity War seemed like an impossible task. Now, the challenge will be re-making the MCU.