All good things must come to an end we’ve been told, unless of course you’re an Indian politican, just to put things in perspective from a desi vantage point. Turns out, the Avengers are no different, despite all their collective powers. The past decade and this one could be hailed as the age of the superhero in Hollywood thanks especially to Marvel’s inexhaustible repertoire of characters with superhuman skills, out to save the world and fight their inner demons too. Marvel broke ground with Iron Man and hasn’t looked back since. MCU, they called it, and we nodded in agreement. Marvel delivered some of the most memorable characters in pop culture today thanks to some great collaborators behind and in front of the camera. The boundless avenues that technology opened up in terms of CGI too played a huge role in bringing these more or less uncaped heroes – except for Thor and Dr.Strange – and their worlds to the screen exactly in ways they were envisioned in the comic books originally. But at the core, Avengers work for us an audience for the very reason why Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven or Guns of Navarone worked. That and Robert Downey Jr. , I think. There’s that part of our soul that craves to be be saved, literally and figuratively. It’s the very same part, religions have built their instituitions upon since time immemorial. There’s something fascinating about a hero, and all the classic ballads and myths have told tales of awe-inspiring heroes in all cultures and civilizations across the globe. Stan Lee was one amongst the many new age Homers, and one who stands tall too.
I’ve never attempted to review an Avenger movie ever but I’ve indeed shared my thoughts on the random Marvel film and this is not a review either. When it came to the Avengers, I was always at a loss of words, but not exactly because I in awe though. Now that Marvel has ominously bucked the tradition by doing away with the post credit scene, I thought I’d follow suit too. The first Avenger movie piqued interest globally for obvious reasons. I mean, who would’nt want to watch their favorite superheroes come together to save the world? Copyrights and licensing deals did keep Spiderman from joining the party for a while but Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America did a good job at the box office in his absence so much so that he wasn’t missed much. The fact that we had enough Spiderman reboots to last a lifetime is something I’ve briefly pondered over here and was a factor too, from an audience’s perspective. Personally, I had something akin to a withdrawal syndrome, starting with Age of Ultron. All I could recall about Avengers at one point were crumbling skyscrapers and huge spaceships that were crashing down on big cities. The jokes helped much, I do admit.
Marvel kept throwing the one-two punch at the viewers, the hard right hook with the Avengers and the soft left jab with the solo hero outings. But I can’t but help feel that even Robert Downey Jr. could’nt have saved Iron Man 4, if there would’ve been one. Captain America I know only from the Marvel films and his first solo outing was more interesting and engaging than I expected and Chris Evans does deserve some credit for evolving the character into someone who could hold his own on screen beside the effervescent Robert Downey Jr.’s, Iron Man. Mark Ruffalo was an interesting Hulk before Marvel decided to use him exclusively for comic relief in his blown-up CGI avatar though the Edward Norton Hulk remains a personal favorite right behind the Eric Bana one. The next A-list Avenger Thor was more than safe with Chris Hemworth but I’m not quite sure what to make of his “deconstructed” version in Endgame though, I’m expected to laugh I guess. The Black Panther was raved about but when it came to the final showdown, he was merely a set piece, again something which I have pondered on elaborately in the past. Johanssen’s Black Widow and Renner’s Hawkeye are the non-superhero presences alongside Don Cheadle in the Avenger’s inner circle. Then out of the blue literally came Captain Marvel with a dubious gender history, who is most probably the least interesting but most powerful Avenger who could’ve saved the other Avengers the trouble and Marvel the twenty odd films only if she was’nt busy dealing saving lives “intergalactically”. Yes, of course I have’nt forgotten the Guardians, again of Galaxies. And then there’s Nick Fury aka Samuel.L.Jackson who’s basically handling HR for the Avengers. Okay, now if I’ve missed anyone that’s indeed deliberate because the last time I tried this hard to recall names was at my Chemistry exams and I’m exhausted. The Marvel lineup today could give the Periodic Table a run for it’s money.
If you have watched all Marvel films before Endgame you know that this super villain Thanos has wiped out half of the Earth’s living beings with the snap of his fingers including a few Avengers. Iron Man is floating somewhere out there in deep space and tries this emotional farewell speech bit on you early on but you know that he’s not going go die just yet, but nice try Russos. Like I said, at least for me, there hasn’t been any real emotional investment in the fate of the Avengers post the first film where the gang got together. When Thanos appeared I couldn’t accept him, as a viewer. Maybe it was the corny CGI and how they managed to pull it off despite all the financial and creative resources at their disposal is beyond me. As for characterization, for a franchise that relied heavily on realistic origin stories and real world scenarios for its heroes, here was a made to order super villain who looked like a huge un-chewed Boomer gum strip, ridges intact. He accelerated the disconnect which had already manifested in me. Yeah I know, this is how he was in the comics too but don’t feed me that just yet please. It’s the Marvel Studios not Comics is it not and they have taken more than a few liberties to make sure that it’s not just hard core comic aficionados who walked in to the movie halls religiously when every other Marvel movie was released. To be fair to the Russo Brothers, they have earnestly tried to nullify the effects of every inevitable cliche that was bound to appear on screen for the Avengers to succeed in their mission to save the planet and bring back the lost heroes. The greatest feat is the fact that the director duo have managed to give every hero who’s been a part of every Marvel movie till now at least a second of screen time in this final outing. Marvel tries to make up for the lost cause of feminism in their films in a brief mid battle sequence where all the female superheroes join together to try and bring down Thanos. Obviously, they still haven’t gotten over Wonder Woman, the movie which helped DC stay in the reckoning for a bit more longer in the superhero movie game. In this age where you could trigger wars and genocides with a random share on social media, the success of the final film in the current phase of a franchise as huge as MCU is hardly surprising. Well, in a world where a Marvel film ends without a post credit scene, you have little options but to wake up to the realities around you. Now that Thanos is gone and the Night King is dead, looks like I’ll have to make do with the Indian Parliamentary Election results.