By Michael Tseng
The eleven year-long journey has finally come to an end. Both long-time comic-book fans and newly converted enthusiasts upheld what is simply the culmination of nearly three thousand hours’ worth of Marvel superhero films. It’s both sad and satisfying—we’re excited to finally see the conclusion of the marvel masterpieces. Yet, for those who have spent their whole lives looking forward to these films, it’s the marks the end of an era, one which brought to life the long-time fantasies of comic book superheroes. After this, there will no longer be anxiousness and excitement towards the next film, nothing to look forward to in our dull office jobs.
The franchise marks the ending of a box-office success, and a culturally unforgettable phenomenon. It now ranks as the 2nd most-profitable film of all time, with the Marvel cinematic universe eclipsing the profits earned by the Star war’s franchise. Yet the movie’s success is not marked solely on its financial gains; rather, it is the lifetime fans and cultural status that the series has embedded into the 21st century.
The functions as a wrap up party, tying up loose ends and creating a happy ending for nearly all its cast. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) begins his own family and successfully protects it from Thanos, Captain America (Chris Evans) returns to live with Peggy in the past, passing on his shield to Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) find their own purpose in life and recognize their similar alter egos. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), the two central comedic figures of the film, find the answer to their sudden split personalities. Hulk comes to terms with his conflicting duality, and Thor realizes that you don’t have to be perfect, even with a Lebowski-esque figure and an obsession of the glory days, you can still be worthy (of love, power, etc). Ant-man (Paul Rudd) solidifies an integral role in the Avengers and the Guardian’s of the Galaxy are set on a new task to explore the universe (and find Gamora as well).
On the surface, the film boils down to great graphics/world-building and the resolution of the infinity stone timeline, with the heroes finally triumphing over Thanos once again. There is also an underlying tension between characters: the complete dichotomy between Iron Man and Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow’s estranged love-hate relationship, and the mirror-like stare down between the present-day Nebula and the chained-up Nebula from the past.
Tony Stark comes back to Earth disillusioned, unsure of the future and unwilling to risk more lives on “possible” chances. The originally brilliant and impulsive philanthropist becomes a recluse, while Steve Rogers moves in an opposite direction, from a cautious individual to desperation and uncertainty. As the film progresses, they begin to intersect character values, sharing moments of intimacy and understanding on their detour to Camp Lehigh, transforming them from polar opposites into close comrades.
Disney’s initial goal to create a series of die-hard imaginations and superheroes has transformed into something more—even supernatural heroes have weaknesses, ones that we can relate to, and look up to as sympathize with them. Instead of looking far upon them as demigods, they are human-like figures we know and love, with emotions that are simple to understand. The movie was sprinkled in with much politically correct imagery, such as the female avengers battalion scene, and the passing of power to almost all colored individuals (in my opinion, a bit exaggerated but still effective).
Was it worth watching and spending all those dollars to live through childhood fantasies and loud explosions? For me, it was. After all, Tony Stark himself says “No amount of money ever bought a second of time.” These characters are not just some fantasy anymore. They are the versions we wish we could be, but it is not the powers nor the technology that makes them special, but rather, their heart.
From the beginning of Tony Stark’s hedonistic lifestyle, Thor’s prideful behavior, and the Guardian’s inability to cooperate, plots and people have changed. I think they’ve changed all of us, and shaped the next generation of role models.
As Pepper Potts tells Tony Stark in his final moments, we can “finally rest now,” knowing that we have seen the ending of this long adventure.