‘Avengers: Endgame’ Closes Doors and Opens New Ones



All the heroes from the last 22 films come together in "Avengers: Endgame"


Mild “Avengers: Endgame” spoilers follow.

Does anyone remember how we got here?

I think we tend to forget, with all this talk of cinematic universes, just how bizarre this filmic reality we’ve entered is. When the first “Avengers” movie came out back in 2012, no one knew if it was going to succeed. But it broke box office records and became the third highest-grossing film of all time at its release. In this day and age when even “Aquaman” can garner more than a billion dollars, it’s important to recall that it all started with a risky little experiment that seemed doomed for failure — and became a bigger success than anyone could’ve imagined.

Fast forward to 2019 and we’re staring down “Avengers: Endgame,” the culmination of 22 movies’ worth of stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I do not take that word lightly. “Endgame” feels and acts as a true culmination. It celebrates everything that came before it — not a single previous film escapes a reference, gag or cameo — but there’s a real weight to the proceedings. Characters make irreversible decisions, narrative threads reach their final destination and the world’s status quo seems changed for good. Even though we, the audience, know that things will continue after this film, it simply does not feel the same. The MCU feels changed — and that change is going to stick around. I left the theater with a real sense of loss. There are long-standing characters, items and traditions that this movie does away with, and I’m going to miss them all.

I remember being a 10-year-old walking into the first “Iron Man” movie in 2008. I was a geek even then and I thought I knew what to expect. But it turns out I didn’t, and the film provided me with surprise after surprise. It’s inventive, constantly fresh and hooks you with a depth of characterization — mature, contemplative, complex — that simply wasn’t found in superhero films (that don’t feature bats). All that still applies to (most of) the films in the MCU, even if we’ve gotten used to it. These movies are good, sometimes great, and we should never disregard just how difficult that is to pull off. After 11 years and finishing middle school, high school and one year away from graduating from college, I still keep coming back. There’s a reason for that.

We lose a lot in “Avengers: Endgame.” It almost felt like I lost my childhood with it. And, yet, we all have to let go of our past at some point. At the same time, it’s important not to let go of that childlike innocence and wonder it helps bring into our lives. For those of us who grew up with the MCU, “Endgame” is a tearful farewell, but one that opens just as many doors as it closes.

We’re past the endgame. It’s time to start a new story.