FRED Watch Franchise Reflection: The Marvel Cinematic Universe in Anticipation of Avengers: Endgame (2019)

THE END OF THE GAME!

I’m a Kendall Richardson and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today, I’m anticipating the release of the epic Avengers: Endgame

Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

With the grand finale Avengers: Endgame finally upon us, and as much as I am thrilled for an epic three hours, I cannot help but look back on the unprecedented journey that has led us to this moment. I don’t think any of us fans had a clue in 2012 with The Avengers, or even with 2008’s Iron Man, just how enormous, important, or groundbreaking the end of this story was going to be. To be fair, we probably didn’t expect a story anything close to the one we got. It would have been a passing thought, a pipe dream Marvel fans would wonder on, take a beat, sigh, and move on, giving little further prospect to it. Yet here we are, twenty-one films, eleven years, and eleven franchises later, preparing to watch the biggest cinematic event in history. Maybe that is arrogant of me to say, but can you even remember a time when a film’s release was, for lack of a better term, this big of a deal?

The worldwide premieres of Endgame have been highly anticipated ever since the credits of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) rolled. No film franchise has ever successfully incorporated this many storylines and characters from different films into one giant and cohesive narrative. Endgame is so huge that the directors themselves have to actively campaign and release written statements asking their fans not to spoil the contents of the movie. The trailers broke view records on YouTube, and ticket sales records were smashed when the public were finally able to purchase their seats for the big day. People online have been selling day one tickets for thousands of dollars. This has never happened before and unlikely to happen again. At least not until the next few Phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) culminate in a similar fashion, hopefully in another ten or more years.

Chris Pratt and Robert Downey, Jr. in 2018’s epic ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (Image: Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; edited)

As fans of cinema, comic books, or just superhero movies in general, we should consider ourselves so lucky to be alive to witness this historic event. The stars have aligned so perfectly for mastermind Kevin Feige and his exceptional team at Marvel Studios. Admittedly, not every film in the series has been as successful as the heavy hitters like Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014 and 2017), or Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), but they are not unsuccessful or bad films by any measure. They still make up the pieces of the puzzle that is now known as The Infinity Saga. The Incredible Hulk (2008) introduced us to General Ross, who would go on to play a key role in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Thor: The Dark World (2013) gave us the second of the six Infinity Stones with the Aether. Iron Man 2 (2010) saw Don Cheadle take over as Rhodey, who finally got to suit up as War Machine. Each of the twenty-one MCU films thus far contains moments, Easter eggs, and essential information that brings them all together.

And it was last year’s Avengers: Infinity War that saw the beginning of the end, the start of the payoff for all of this incomprehensible hard work over so many years. Watching the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy meet for the first time, and fight each other before realising they were on the same side, was a beautiful homage to the first instance a crossover took place in the MCU; when Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), and Captain America (Chris Evans) fought epically and hilariously over possession of the God of Mischief, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who was the original reason the team was formed in the first place. Of course, we knew he was a pawn in Thanos’s game. The Mad Titan has been controlling the board this entire time. The look on Tony Stark’s face said it all when Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) told him that Thanos (Josh Brolin) was the mastermind of the Battle of New York; and again later whilst arguing with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), he yells that Thanos has been inside his head for six years. This culminates when Tony Stark—Iron Man himself and the reason we have this universe at all—faces off against Thanos on Titan and exclaims, ‘My only curse is you.’ When he was running through with his own tech by the being he most fears, the audible gasps in the theatre were filled with so much shock. I remember thinking to myself, Okay, this is it, and prepared to lose the original hero of the MCU. It seemed poetic for it to end like that.

Brie Larson, as the title heroine in ‘Captain Marvel’ (2019), will reprise her role in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019). (Image: Marvel Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; edited)

However, we now must remind ourselves that Endgame is the part two to Infinity War, and it truly is the end of the storyline, the end of an era. Now is the time for poetic endings. It’s horrible to consider, but Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton, and Bruce Banner are all on borrowed time. There has to be a reason the original six members of The Avengers survived The Decimation. They have all been through so much: The Battle of New York; The Fall of S.HI.E.L.D.; Ultron; The Sokovia Accords; The Destruction of Asgard; and Thanos and The Decimation, which was where all of these intertwined stories were destined to meet. Now somehow, they will undo the destruction he has caused and bring back to life the half of the universe that was lost. Millions of people around the world are currently filled with a mixture of excitement and fear. We will come together once again to witness the wondrous spectacle of the MCU and share in the joy, the thrills, and no doubt the grief that Avengers: Endgame has to offer.

These films are so much more than just movies; they do so much more than entertain. They inspire us, give us hope, they are a reason to live for some. They have us chatting by our water coolers like mad conspiracy theorists. They have our children running through the playground dressed up like their favourite superhero, and not just the most well-known ones. The boys want to be Star-Lord or Black Panther, the girls want to be The Wasp or Captain Marvel. And this is just the start. The upcoming Phases of the MCU will see new characters introduced and new stories told. The Infinity Saga is only the beginning—and what a beginning it was. I am going to be truly sad no matter the outcome of Avengers: Endgame. No one likes saying goodbye. Yet I am filled with much eagerness to find out exactly where Mr. Feige and Marvel Studios are planning on taking us next. My guess? It will be fantastic.

 

In cinemas from 24 April 2019.

 

Let us know what you are looking forward to most about Avengers: Endgame in the comments!

 

I’ve been a Kendall Richardson and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

 

RELATED VIDEO: Non-Scripted Ramblings #35: Avengers: Endgame Trailers Discussion ⬇️

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