The Rat Flew Straight and True

by wjw on May 10, 2019

So I finally saw Avengers: Endgame, two weeks later than most of you.  I made up for the delay by seeing it in IMAX and 3D, which I suspect really didn’t improve it that much, though I did duck when Starlord kicked the rat at my head.

If this is the sort of movie you like, then you’ll like it.  If you don’t care for films in which costumed characters bash each other in a fight over a bunch of plot coupons, you won’t care for this one, either.

I’ll leave detailed analysis and criticism with those of you with the energy to do it, and confine myself to a few observations.  While the film generally did a fine job of keeping track of its enormous cast, I noticed that Captain Marvel kept disappearing, particularly in the climactic battle scene.  Thanos literally tossed her away, and then we didn’t see her again till the epilogue.  Weird, because she was the most powerful of the heroes, and if Cap and Stark could keep coming back after being thrown half a league, then certainly she could.  Odd that the movie lost track of her, but then I suppose it was so that other, more established characters could battle Thanos to the finish.

The final climactic battle went on too long, the way they all do nowadays, but in this film it made more sense.  With more than thirty superheroes all in the same scene, the scene had to expand so that each could have his or her moment.

But the best thing about Endgame is that it was truly the end.  The giant story that produced 22 films and one TV series is actually over, and from now on they’ll have to find some other maguffin for superheroes to chase.

You don’t see that in the source material.  In the comics, you know that the Joker and Lex Luthor will always escape custody, and you know that when Superman (or any other hero) dies he’ll be back sooner or later.  That’s why I’ve lost interest in superhero TV— nothing fundamental ever changes.  But movies are different— in the movies they can build to a climax, then have that climax, then move on to a new story, and the guys whose contracts are up die or retire or otherwise find some place to be.

Oh, and one other thing.  Could people stop arguing about the logic of superhero films?  Because there was never any to begin with.

Steinar Bang May 12, 2019 at 1:53 pm

Normally I don’t have much interest in superheros. They were the content of comic books I read in the 70-ies and early 80-ies.

However, I have to admit to rather like the Avengers films. It started with having to (reluctantly) accompany my kids to the first Avengers film, and ended with me seeing all of them.

My favourites are the Iron Man and And Man movies.

And, somewhat surprisingly, I rather like Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. Back in the comics days I never liked the Marvel Thor. I found him pompous and whiny and far removed from the rough humour, of the god of thunder of the Norse legends.

I felt that Marvel should have been taking lessons from the Dansh comic Valhalla.

However, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, at least in the later movies (from Ragnarok on) have been much closer to the Norse legend original. And the Led Zep scene of Ragnarok was great!

And Hiddelston’s Loki have always been… er “lokish” (you don’t have to guess twice who the character on the Valhalla home page is supposed to be).

DensityDuck May 15, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Two things about this amaze me.

One is that they actually did pull it off. Back in 2008 when Sam Jackson said “The Avengers” we all scoffed at the idea that there would be an Avengers movie–like, with all the characters in that group you’d need four more films to do it! Four films later there we were, watching The Avengers. And then they teased Thanos and we scoffed again–you’d need, like, ten more movies to–whoops, there’s ten movies. And, y’know, the movies vary in quality (while nobody will ever agree on which one is the worst, everyone will agree that, like M.D. Geist, Thor 2 is the second worst) but none of them are particularly bad, and the final entries in this particular canon genuinely deliver. You’re right that this last was mostly a collection of splash pages (oh here’s the scene where they all form up, here’s the scene where a character’s lighthearted catchphrase quip is presented with a tone of grim irony, here’s the scene where the Big Bad stomps onto the page with a dark army behind them, here’s the scene with the funeral where everyone’s wearing black suits and standing around looking sad.) But I thought they did okay with it. And if you told me that audiences would cheer during the movie I’d have thought you were having me on.

The second thing is that they did it without the X-Men. The closest they get to X-canon is Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but even there they ditch the whole “mutant” angle. Admittedly this made Civil War kinda wacky–like, the whole angle in that story was that there were millions of mutants, not just like a half-dozen empowered individuals–but the real interesting part is that it made them drag in a bunch of Cosmic Marvel stuff like the Kree and the Guardians of the Galaxy, stuff that nobody would ever have thought you’d see in a movie. It does give a very useful rebuttal to all the people who say that copyright stifles creativity. “It really sucks how companies just lock all these characters away so that nobody can use them, how is anyone supposed to tell a story?” “Buddy, ten years ago most people couldn’t name Thanos on a bet, and now he’s on fucking lunchboxes.”

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