Full disclosure: Never read an Avengers comic book and I was only an intermittently faithful follower of the films — I skipped the Edward Norton Hulk because Edward Norton (yawn) and most of the pre-Tom Holland Spidermans because I was bored to tears with SSDA (same story different actor). There were like nine of them. Or maybe nineteen. It felt like nineteen. (And the best Spiderman film so far is Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse anyway.)
But then? Iron Man. (“Come on. This isn’t the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.”) And then then? Joss Whedon signed on to direct The Avengers. I’ve been a fan since BTVS. Plus, you know, Mark Ruffalo as an all new and improved Hulk. I was in for the long haul from then on.
[Okay, I’ve dithered around enough here for you to realize that this post is gonna be loaded with spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film, proceed at your own risk, because this is one film you want to see unspoiled.]
[Also, you bitch in the comments about spoilers, you’re gone. Nobody’s making you read this.]
The first thing I saw in my feed Friday morning was a link to a post purporting to tell me when the best times to pee were during the film, so I went to the first showing Friday night because I didn’t want to be spoiled.
There is so much to love here. But as a writer, what I love most about this film is the through line in the plot from Iron Man to Endgame.
*Cap in that first family fight in Avengers telling Tony that he’s not the guy who makes the sacrifice play.
*Tony making the sacrifice play by taking the nuke to the alien mothership.
*Pre-dust Strange saying to Tony in Infinity “I’m sorry, Stark. It was the only way.” We know now that Strange knows Tony will die, he’s seen it in that one future. He’s not as I first thought apologizing to Tony for the dusting, he’s apologizing because Tony’s going have to lay down his life in the endgame for the universe to survive.
*Tony asking Strange in Endgame how this ends and Strange saying “If I tell you it won’t happen.” Which is maybe Strange not sure that Tony will make the sacrifice play if he knows he’s not coming back from it, a call back to what Cap said in Avengers.
*Tony looking at Strange before he goes for the gauntlet, and Strange raising that one finger to say again “Only one way.”
*And then, gloriously then, Tony making that second sacrifice play, the one he doesn’t come back from, and that it feels like that he knows he won’t. Greater love hath no man. (“We’re going to be alright. You can rest now.”)
This is not a perfect film. Beery Thor went on way too long, the individual time heists got draggy here and there, that whole Hulk photo op meh, and jfc, could Ant-Man get a little respect? He saved the frackin universe, they hadn’t a clue how to until he showed up.
And I was seriously pissed off when Nat bought it, because oh, of course, of course they’re gonna kill off the one woman who’s been with the series from the beginning. Hollywood can be so effing predictable. But then I remembered this:
Clint: “Natasha, you know what I’ve done. You know what I’ve become.”
Natasha: “Well, I don’t judge people on their worst mistakes.”
Clint: “Maybe you should.”
Natasha: “You didn’t.”
Clint brought Natasha over from the dark side and gave her the only family she’d ever known, the Avengers, and brought her into his own personal family as well. (“Aunt Nat?”)
Of course she was going to sacrifice herself for them. Again, greater love.
So many fabulous lines and scenes. Quill, the single most annoying character in the MCU, clotheslined by Rhoady, and then Gamora kneeing him in the goolies. Good times.
Every single one of Rocket’s lines. (“He’s pissed. Thinks he failed. Which, of course he did, but you know, there’s a lot of that going around, ain’t there?”)
Maybe I’ve never read the comics but you can’t be awake even some of the time and not be aware of Cap and Mjolnir.
Mjolnir and Cap in Endgame is perfection, as is Thor’s “I knew it!” (Also, “You take the little one.”)
Tony’s time with his dad.
Thor’s time with his mom.
Scott: “Have either of you guys ever studied quantum physics?”
Nat: “Only to make conversation.”
Thanos: “I am inevitable.”
Tony: “I am Iron Man.”
And so much more, including the only Avengers battle I wasn’t bored with before it was over (that gauntlet tag team is the best–“Activate instant kill!”). BTVS is the only comparison I can make when it comes to similarly satisfying long-term payoffs, but as of Friday “payoff” has achieved a whole new definition in Merriam-Webster.
Thanks for that.
These are fun: