Commentaries | Feb 22,2020
Marvel’s propaganda has finally worked.
Its cinematic universe started with a relatively respectable movie like Iron Man, which led to a deluge of predictable plots, clichés and senseless PG-13 violence. All along, only very few took the whole thing seriously. They were just commercial mainstream movies that never pretended to rise above the interests and whims of comic book fans.
But by the 22nd movie, which takes the idea of franchises to a whole new level, even the critics have been silenced. This is how propaganda works - consistent and constant messaging until it seems like there is nothing else but that truth out there in the universe. It works like a charm every time.
Avengers: Endgame, which is looking like a serious contender to Avatar, which made 2.8 billion dollars at the box office as the highest grossing movie of all time, has become a critical darling as far as superhero movies are concerned. Its directing, emotional appeal and even acting have been greatly lauded. It has been described as an epic cinematic experience.
Indeed, as a mindless piece of entertainment with absolutely nothing to add to our understanding of the human condition, this is the La Strada of movies. This three hour, 350-million-dollar extravaganza is the “most Marvel” movie we have ever seen. It has some funny lines, plays around with drama and has poignant moments. But this is still a superhero movie with all the superhero tropes. It should not be seen in any other way.
The plot, fortunately, does not drag but starts right away. The last time we left our heroes was when Thanos (Josh Brolin) turned to dust half of all living creatures in the universe. This was pretty intense stuff for a superhero movie, all of which have massive stakes, but villains rarely manage to carry out their plans. Thanos does.
How this plot will be resolved has never been a mystery. It has been clear for long that the Avengers would manage to reverse what Thanos did. If there were audiences fooled into thinking that they have seen the last of cash cow merchandising opportunities such as the Black Panther and Spider-man characters, then Marvel was accommodating enough to announce a sequel for the former and release a trailer for the second instalment of the latter.
It has also been evident how the Avengers would be able to reverse what Thanos did. It has been clear from the trailer for the movie and Ant-man and the Wasp that some sort of time travel device would be utilised.
None of these are spoilers for anyone even with a fleeting interest in Marvel’s cinematic universe.
The anticipation was who would die. Commercial interests almost always trump artistic consideration, so superhero’s that have not finished their trilogy already have nothing to worry about. But Iron Man, Captain America and Thor had done this. It was unclear until this movie how these characters would be handled, and by them, Endgame has done a good job.
As far as wrapping up a certain era is concerned, especially one as extended as that of the Marvel cinematic universe, the Russo brothers have done as good a job as they possibly could. Commerce has never met art as it did in this movie, even if one had to make most of the sacrifices. If we can look beyond the deus ex machina orgy, inconsistent time travel rules and lots of convenient twists, this is a movie worth the ticket price.
The movie nonetheless forgets one crucial factor. Now that time travel is possible, the Avengers are indestructible from this point onwards. There should not be a single villain or problem that stands in their way. This is the golden bullet to wiping out every single major threat that could come in the future. But knowing Marvel, this is a plot element that would be conveniently forgotten for the sake of solving world problems through good old fist fights. After all, this is a cinematic universe where humans took stock of the existence of super-humans and extraterrestrial beings with remarkable calm and world hunger persists while there is a technology to shrink anything to the size of an ant at whim.
PUBLISHED ON May 04,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 992]
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