Pop culture advent calendar, Day 2: The end of Avengers: Infinity War
Updated: Dec 3, 2018
Inspired by NPR, every day (gulp) from December 1st to 24th, I will be highlighting
a pop culture moment from this year that I loved.
Today, I talk about the end of Infinity War.
I could write all about how maybe Captain America's beard is the most important character in the franchise, because it is a physical manifestation of Cap's character growth, from blind faith and optimism to a worldly, 'all my barbershop quartet are dead' weariness, but I'll show some restraint.
It's not a new take to say Marvel movies have dominated the movie landscape for the last decade, and may be one of the reasons that the middle ground of films - including my beloved romcoms - struggled to get made.
They're blockbusters, they're fun, they have a lot of good looking men and women. They vary in quality, but all of them have at least a little interest in good character writing development, because this is ultimately what will make moviegoers - now more acclimatised to fancy effects - care about Earth's mightiest heroes. It's what makes Avengers movies so exciting, watching these characters who you know individually play out an unknown dynamic on screen, and the hijinks that will ensue.
Those characters and their dynamics are what feeds the fandoms. Keeps the favourites list and the Hogwarts houses lists and the fan fiction going strong.
Loving those characters is indicative of good performances and good writing, but of course it's also good for business. MCU is a machine that keeps on churning, and sometimes it feels like the stakes in marvel films are low because of this. Characters die only to be brought to life. Were never really who is truly ducking out.
But all things must come to an end.
The ending of Infinity War was remarkable because Marvel movies not because Thanos zapped half the universe. We all know they're coming back in the next film. But because it feels like the first step on the long road to goodbye, gently acclimatising audiences to the idea that these heroes won't be around anymore. Screenprism made a brilliant video about the themes of infinity war, and one of them was about the specific terror of the ending scene - seeing the younger heroes disappearing, leaving the older more established ones back. I agree - I think it's an emotional stepping stone, a buffering to their swan song, particularly that of Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans, the latter who has finished playing the character for good. I could be totally wrong but I think Marvel know it's time for a new generation of superheroes.
Ps - I would LOVE a fictional podcast series or short story series on life as a normal person in the MCU, exploring the wider political and economic landscapes or just what it's like to have your commute disrupted by supernatural beings. PLEASE give me a story about Kamil who is anxious for a first date but can't get to Manhattan because Spiderman upended the Staten Island ferry!