minor spoilers for Avengers: Endgame ahead…
The current wave of comic book based films seemed to have started back in the summer of 2008. Surely by that time, there were many comic book based films that people were already exposed to by that time — you know, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, Sony Pictures’ still-running (to a degree) Spider-Manfranchise, or Warner Brothers’ earlier Batman films. However for the first time, Marvel Comics Entertainment was finally in a position to produce their own films based on their properties (well, the ones that Fox and Sony didn’t have the rights to, anyway) without the help of an outside studio. They formed Marvel Studios and produced the first of such films: the now-classic Iron Man with Robert Downey, Jr. portraying everyone’s favorite Howard Hughes-inspired comic book character. Even with the hint of a larger universe thanks to the film’s after credits scene, no one could have predicted that the Marvel Cinematic Universe would even last at all, let alone thrive after the Disney purchase, and have 11 years and 22 films featuring various characters from the Marvel Comics Universe.
Now, we are past the point of what Stephen Strange would call the Endgame, With the latest Avengers sequel of that very same name. It was most definitely a culmination of four phases of storylines with intertwining character arcs that are coming to a head. Picking up where Infinity War left off, this story is about how Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Scott Lang and other Marvel Heroes who were not snapped away from existence, figure out a way to possibly undo the damage caused by the purple-skinned Mad Titan, Thanos, with the Infinity Stones. Despite the convoluted way they achieved this goal, I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I was intrigued by the five year gap between the confrontation of Thanos on his farm (which also involved Carol Danvers, fresh from space duty) in which Thor takes his “advice on killing blows” to heart, and where the story picks up again. Speaking of Thor, I loved seeing him settle in an Asgardian village in a Nordic county, getting fat and drinking all day (with Korg!). I got pretty hyped during the final battle when Captain America finally picked up Mjolnir and wrecked Thanos’ minions, and the beautiful (or infamous, depending on who you are) moment when Scarlet Witch, Valkyrie, and all of the other MCU ladies got together to give Thanos a scorn-filled smackdown. Endgame was definitely an emotional roller-coaster of thrills, chills and spills, as well as the Marvel Studios standard of great character development. Although, this movie ended many story arcs in these series of films, the machine is far from done. Other movie studios are, apparently, not done either with Sony’s separate Venomverse sequel and Warner Bros’ DC Entertainment Universe continuing the positive upswing in financial returns and public opinion started by Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam! with more films in the next few years.
So what happens after the Endgame? Only one has happened for me a couple months after finishing the film: Fatigue.
It finally started to set in on me while I sat through a screening of Shazam, and weeks later, a late-night viewing of the newly-released Spider-Man: Far From Home — or as I like to call it, National Parker’s European Vacation. As far as I can remember, movie studios have always seemed to copy off of each other when it come whatever genres were trending. In the 50’s, it was the westerns. The spy film craze of the 60’s. The teen comedy or time travel craze of the 80’s. However, it seems like that in today’s cinema landscape, the theaters are dominated by superhero films, big franchises (I’m looking at you Fast and Furious), and remakes/reboots of old films and franchises (I mean, who really asked for a remake of the first Child’s Play film, or a Shaft sequel? Honestly!). Call me old-fashioned, a party-pooper, whatever…. but I actually miss the days when this wasn’t the case. When sequels were few and far between, with Hollywood studios not being afraid to take monetary risks on original ideas.
That longing for those days, and the multitude of comic book movies I’ve watched these past 11 years has made me…well, burnt out. I don’t know about you, but, I think it’s time for me to take break from comic book genre/franchise films for a while, just so I can cleanse my visual palette, if you will… At least until next year’s Wonder Woman ’84, because who could honestly resist Gal Gadot in gold armour?
photo cred: Disney