By Nick Peralta
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Hollywood and cinema have embraced the inclusion of comic book films amongst their blockbuster ranks.
While many superhero or comic book films have come and gone, one project has stood out amongst them all: the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The MCU is a shared universe centered on a series of superhero films and tv shows independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in comic books published by Marvel Comics.
The “universe” began with the film “Iron Man” which was released in May 2008. The movie stars Robert Downey Jr. who impeccably performs the role of Tony Stark aka Iron Man. This character would be the catalyst for a cinematic adventure brimming with comic book lore and expansive wonder.
Many films that have shared in this universe have since followed, 22 now to be exact. all leading up to a finale that is truly a sight to behold.
“Endgame” is hugely ambitious, ridiculous, over-the-top superhero filmmaking and fans have unanimously loved it. The film follows the events of last year’s blockbuster event “Avengers: Infinity War,” a film that turned the genre on its head by showing that even superhero movies can take dark turns and that even heroes fall.
Expertly played by Josh Brolin, the villain Thanos became a household name after securing an unlikely victory against a group of heroes that had been established over the last decade.
Not completely different, of course, it picks up more or less where “Infinity War” left off, features a considerable number of the same actors and has a few key scenes that echo those from the earlier film. “Endgame” is a more elaborate and complicated concluding event to the earlier films.
It achieves this separation partly by refocusing on characters who were either entirely absent or underserved in “Infinity War.”
This is partly thanks to its more episodic storyline, beginning with the Avengers’ attempts to undo the actions of Thanos but then veering off in very strange directions, before tailing together again for one final, CGI budget-stretching clash.
And it’s here that we hit some trouble. As ever, it’s difficult to discuss this film without discussing plot elements some might consider off-limits, and this is definitely a movie best enjoyed without too
much prior knowledge.
However, I think it’s fair to say that an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel movies will be helpful, if not absolutely essential, when watching “Endgame.”
At the very least, you’ll definitely need to have seen “Infinity War.” The first “Avengers” movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and even “Thor” have considerable influence on the challenges faced by the heroes as well.
Also, the emotional beats of the final 45 minutes or so definitely hit harder if you’re familiar with the 11 year, 20 film franchise build-up.
Sometimes, “Endgame” hits you over the head with this unique multi-film legacy, stuffing its cast with surprise cameos, callbacks, new takes on old scenes and reminders of what came before, but ultimately it’s hard to begrudge its tapestry of influence.
What other movie franchise has achieved this TV-like build-up of storytelling, characters and ongoing conflicts?
Why shouldn’t they show that off after so many other extended universe franchises have crashed and burned, especially when it’s so entertaining.
Somehow, some way, Marvel did what nobody else could and successfully adapted the sprawling, overlapping world of comic-book superheroes to screen.
To be a comic book fan growing up as well and to see this world put from pages to the big screen is truly a sight to behold for the diehards that read the books before ever witnessing their heroes in theaters.
“Endgame” delivers quite the toast to those fans as well with its dozens of Easter eggs and signifying moments straight from the comic series itself.
“Endgame” is the culmination of a decade of blockbuster filmmaking and the result of years of work from thousands of people. It is designed to be the most blockbuster of all the blockbusters, a movie with a dozen subplots colliding and familiar faces from over 20 other movies.
It’s really like nothing that Hollywood has produced before, existing not just to acknowledge or exploit the fans of this series, but to reward their love, patience and undying adoration.
It’s a satisfying end to a chapter of movie-making history that will be hard to top for pure spectacle.
In terms of sheer entertainment value, it’s on the higher end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a film that elevates its most iconic heroes to the legendary status they deserve and provides a few legitimate thrills along the way.