AND so the end is here: 22 films in one decade. A franchise the like of which the world has never seen. A tapestry of stories woven together through the original six heroes and a further 40-plus who have joined the ranks.
I am talking about the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whose impressive Infinity Saga comes to a conclusion with this week’s massive release, Avengers: Endgame.
It’s no secret that I adore Marvel, something I tried to explain to a non-comic fan recently. To me, and the throngs of fans who flock to see these films, Marvel is our FA Cup, it’s our favourite horse at the Grand National, it’s Croke Park on match final day.
As with all Marvel films, directors Anthony and Joe Russo wrote an open letter asking for spoilers to be kept at a minimum so, for mega fans like myself, I will be holding back on some plot points.
At the end of the last movie, Avengers: Infinity War, the world was well and truly fecked. Unable to defeat the uber-powerful Thanos, half of the world’s population was turned to dust.
Among the vanished are many of our heroes, leaving those remaining in a ball of grief. Steve ‘Captain America’ Rogers (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce ‘The Hulk’ Banner (Mark Ruffalo), Natasha ‘Black Widow’ Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are some of the survivors.
Tony ‘Ironman’ Stark (Robert Downey Jr) was left trapped in space, the dust of the fallen all around him.
The big question remained: are those people actually dead? Is there a way to bring them back? This has become the focus of the remaining Avengers.
It is no spoiler to say Captain Marvel has a role to play. At the end of her film she appeared to the remaining Avengers, beckoned by Nick Fury’s (Samuel L Jackson) beacon.
That film broke the billion dollar mark at the box office, and, like her audience pulling power, Captain Marvel is a heavy hitter in the superhero stakes.
We know she has the ability to fly through space which might just come in handy for a certain someone trapped there. Stark is rapidly running out of food and oxygen and a has a nasty wound after the battle with Thanos.
Earth-side, the fall-out is tough. The survivors are trying to do just that, survive, but for most the grief is too deep.
With half the world’s population dead, the planet is a mess of empty buildings, crashed vehicles, and ruined lives.
Rogers is doing what he has always done and that is be a beacon of hope, encouraging people to keep going, to make the best of life, and live for those who are gone. Deep down he is struggling, only admitting to those close to him how he really feels.
Things have changed too for Thor, who had an opportunity to kill Thanos, but failed. The eternal optimist has lost his spark, and he and the remaining Asgardians attempt to rebuild their lives on Earth.
Bruce Banner and the Hulk weren’t exactly seeing eye to eye in the last film, and, well, they’ve found a way to compromise. It’s funny and shocking, a strange combination of happy and sad.
Black Widow has appointed herself as guardian of the peace, of sorts. She spends her days co-ordinating and liaising with the remaining Guardians, Wakandans, looking for unrest and possible word on Thanos.
Early on, they do get an opportunity to change things, but it will never be easy for the Avengers and a few years pass before a chance to change the past comes about — but the chance is slim, and the odds are stacked high against them.
From the get go, this film sets our emotions on edge, piercing our hearts every few scenes with heart-rending reunions, heart- breaking goodbyes, and heart- stopping fights.
It’s beautiful, it’s funny, it is everything an MCU fan could want, and more. It moves in ways I didn’t think possible, taking unexpected turns.
Watching it brought smiles, tears, full on ugly crying and then laughter and crying at the same time.
It is a fan’s dream end to a Marvel-ous decade. For this reviewer and fan it’s perfection. A true beauty. Just don’t forget the tissues.