There were 14,000,605 ways this could end, and we’re on the verge of seeing the only one that counts. We’re in the End Game now.
For decades the comic book movie landscape had been dominated by DC comic characters. Christopher Reeves’ Superman. Michael Keaton’s Batman. Val Kilmer’s Batman. George Clooney’s Batman. Christian Bale’s Batman.
Sure Marvel had the Blade Trinity, but how many of you even knew Blade was a Marvel character? DC comics was where it was at. They had the marquee names that were deeply ingrained in American pop culture. Superman was as American as apple pie. Batman was the hero without powers that every kid wanted to be. Little girls dressed as Wonder Woman for Halloween. The webslinger Spider-Man was amazing, but his cinematic appearances were less than appealing. And its uncanny how Sony/Fox has botched their use of the X-Men and Fantastic Four.
Then along came the MCU, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and they CHANGED THE GAME. A massive undertaking with un-rivaled results. This week will give us the 22nd edition of a MCU film, and it can’t come soon enough.
DC has always had the better raw materials with which to work. Meaning, they had more household name characters at their finger tips. Before the MCU landed on earth, DC certainly had more name recognition. Superman, Batman, Lois Lane, Lex Luther, Catwoman, Aquaman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, The Joker, Kryptonite, Robin, Alfred, The Penguin, The Riddler, Jimmy Olsen, Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne. These are all names that one could easily use in an every day pop culture reference and feel comfortable that the reference would be caught.
Could you honestly 12 years ago that you could drop a Tony Stark name, a Starlord reference, Steve Rogers, or Hank Pimm snippet and have people know what the hell you were talking about? Doubtful. But Marvel took what I’d call secondary names (Spiderman, Captain America, and The Hulk were the headliners for sure, thank you Lou Ferrigno) like Thor, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Rocket, Iron-Man, and Dr. Strange and made an immersive universe that has enthralled the modern world.
Sad but true, if you polled 1,000 Americans tomorrow and asked them to name 10 countries in Africa, I’d be willing to bet that Wakanda would be one of the top 5 responses (not a real country by the way)
Avengers: End Game will be the culmination of 21 movies. Separate plots and storylines woven together. The entire run time of the films when strung together without End Game is 2,686 minutes… which is 44 hours and 46 minutes. The announced length of End Game is 3 hours and 1 minute. Which means, that all together, with End Game, they are just 13 minutes shy of 2 complete days worth of film.
The sheer star power of the actors and actresses involved in the MCU. Some have come and gone, some have died, some have been replaced, but wow, the names involved: Ed Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Terrance Howard, Don Cheadle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeff Bridges, Jon Favreau, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Shandling, Kate Mara, Olivia Munn, Sir Ben Kingsley, Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Emily Van Camp, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, MARISA TOMEI, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Jaime Alexander, Rene Russo, Zachary Levi, Benicio Del Toro, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch (is there anyone else on the planet who could have played Dr. Strange better… or anyone better for Thor than Chris Hemsworth? The casting has been brilliant), Sam Neil, Matt Damon, Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Rob Zombie, Josh Brolin, Seth Green, Kurt Russell, Sly Stallone, David Hasselhoff, Ving Rhames, Miley Cyrus, Michael Keaton, James Spader, Zendaya, Donald Glover (aka, Childish Gambino), Jennifer Connolly, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Benjamin Bratt, Michael B Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Winston Duke, Sterling K Brown, Forest Whitaker, Brie Larson, Jude Law, Annette Benning, Michael Douglas, Bobby Cannavale, T.I., Garrett Morris, Hayley Atwell, Walton Goggins, Evangeline Lilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Stan, Peter Dinklage, Kenneth Branagh, and of course, in every single film, the incomparable Stan Lee. The depth, talent, and star power available for this End Game film is unreal.
What am I hoping for from Avengers: End Game? Its not going to happen, but I want to see EVERYONE that has been introduced so far in some form or another. I’m not just talking Iron Man, and Thor, and War Machine, and Hawkeye. I’m talking Dare Devil. The Punisher. Luke Cage. I want to damn sure be seeing Agent Coulsen. I want to see Skye. Its all hands on deck against the Titan Thanos.
Sadly that won’t happen. But we should see plenty. I would preface this by saying SPOILER ALERT, but if you haven’t already seen Avengers Infinity War, then you likely won’t be reading this anyways. When last we saw Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, they had been decimated as at the snap of a finger Thanos had erased half the galaxy’s population. And while the trailers for the film haven’t shown any characters that were believed to have been lost in the purge, we do know that Spider-man: Far From Home drops this summer, and you know Disney isn’t killing off the cash cow known as T’Challa. So while its normally the Goonies who never say die, apparently, that’s working against Josh Brolin this time around.
In acknowledgement for the hours upon hours of enjoyment these films have provided, and a hat tip for the shortened wait between Infinity War and End Game (Infinity War dropped on 4/27/18, 52 weeks before End Game is landing, all and all, not a bad turnaround), we’re going to list the movies of the MCU. I’d say its a ranking of which is best, but honestly, they’re all good, and best is a subjective word, especially when it comes to entertainment. Its all about what speaks to you. Dr. Strange is an arrogant know it all who feels he is better than everyone. Something about that speaks to me. But it may not to everyone.
Since Tony Stark went full Black Sabbath on us in 2008, we’ve had at least one MCU film a year, except for 2009. And this folks, will be the biggest of them all. AND I AM ALL ABOUT IT.
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Captain America: Civil War (2016)
- Iron Man (2008)
- Black Panther (2018)
- Avengers (2012)
- Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
- Thor (2011)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Iron Man 2 (2010)
- Captain Marvel (2019)
- Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
- Iron Man 3 (2013)
- Thor: Dark World (2013)
- Ant-Man & Wasp (2018)
- The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Once Thanos and the Avengers/Guardians/Whoever Else Shows Up have their 2nd final showdown, who will be left standing? A popular question making the rounds on social media. I’m not certain, but I suspect that neither Tony Stark nor Steve Rogers are long for this world. But no matter where the MCU takes us in this post Avengers (or at least the Avengers as we’ve come to know and love) world, I’ll be there for every bit of it.
The way the paths of all these heroes have converged for this moment is incredible. Stop for a moment and consider the great movie series in cinematic history. The Rocky universe is at 8 films. Harry Potter went for 8 films. The Star Wars saga, when including Solo and Rogue One will be at 11 films come December. The only bundle that can hold a candle to the MCU is Bond, James Bond, which has 24 films in its catalog, with #25 set for an April 2020 release. By time that arrives the MCU universe will be at 23 films with the June 2019 Spider-man release. Its possible it could be more as Black Widow and The Eternals are expected sometime in 2020. Though, if releases have been announced by now I’d expect fall or winter premiers. The scope and intricacies of the films is remarkable, especially considering all the voices and hands involved in the making of the universe. This isn’t George R.R. Martin bringing Westeros to us all by himself, without having to answer to a single damn person. This is team work. This is brilliance. This is the End Game. And its about to Hulk Smash cinematic records the world over. So grab your drinks, turn off your cell phones,bring a bed pan and get ready to sit on the edge of your seat, they couldn’t save the Galaxy. The only left to do is avenge it.
- Written by Jason Sullivan
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