Bob happened to call me as I was on the way to a discreet little theater in Coral Gables to see Avengers Endgame (I’m not sure why The Landmark theater at Merrick Park doesn’t advertise, cuz it’s really nice and quiet, but I figure it’s probably only nice and quiet cuz they don’t advertise). He wanted to tell me something unrelated to the movie but, in hearing I was on my way, voiced his interest in seeing it, maybe joining me, because he said that if he’s not seeing it with me he’s gonna have to go by himself on account of Lynda’s got zero interest—which, y’know, good for her. Resisting the siren call.
Because I do feel kinda silly, kinda like a sucker, to have been so much on the hook about all this. Didn’t have any interest in seeing any of the past stand-alone Marvel movies (Black Panther or Guardians 2 or Spiderman or either of the Ant-Man movies or Captain Marvel or the last Thor) and while I was definitely interested in seeing the first installments of the series (I’ve also got a huge soft spot for Mickey Rourke, for some reason, so I was jazzed about seeing Iron Man 2), I don’t think, looking back, that I went to any of these movies, after Avengers Assemble, with a feeling of honest excitement. Maybe Infinity War. It honestly sometimes felt like homework. Like I’d have to see this newest installment if I wanted to be able to enjoy the big one at the end.
My serious interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe lasted basically for the duration of the Obama administration, now that I think about it. I’m sure that’s a coincidence, but it’s interesting to think about.
I guess it’s the Cultural Event aspect that’s got me so interested. The fact that everybody, everywhere, is talking somewhat seriously about a movie, a piece of art in general, and, even if I don’t find the movies particularly gripping, it’s been a delight, at parties or work or whatever, to be able to riff with friends and strangers and bartenders about these characters and scenarios. It’s like everybody’s involved in the same book club and they’ve actually done the reading.
In case you’re looking for a quick opinion on the movie so you can bail: I think Avengers Endgame, if not a masterpiece, is a beautiful conclusion to one of the greatest feats in the history of cinema. Sounds crude to call this whole 22-film saga a stunt, but I do think it exists somewhere between a stunt and a great piece of art.
I wept at the end do Endgame probably as much as I’ve wept for any movie in my life and I don’t doubt that part of it has to do with the fact that I’ve seen these movies with two serious partners over the years and that they’ve commandeered (the movies have) so many hours of conversation with friends. The conclusion of this arc of the Marvel cinematic universe feels like the curtain being drawn over certain parts of my upbringing.
I think the need for closure is gonna compel me to see maybe the next two or three Marvel movies in theaters. I’m sure I’ll be interested to see what they do with the X-Men, maybe Fantastic Four, but that’ll be something closer to morbid curiosity than a legit interest in the movie.
Can’t say with certainty that I’m done with these superhero movies, but I do kinda feel, in the aftermath of Endgame, like some door in my mind is shut. Like I can rest now.