Journey to Endgame

Tearful End of an Era


By the time tomorrow ends we will officially be living in a changed world.

There won’t be a need for any more theories, any more speculation, any more endless debate. Because by the time tomorrow ends we will be living in a post-endgame world. It’s going to get a lot harder to avoid spoilers because it’s what everyone is going to be talking about online. It’s the end of an era. A period of time that was more than cinematic, more than pop culture. To some of us, it was so much more. Just take a moment to let that set in; post-Endgame.

In the very beginning, we didn’t even know what we were working toward. A hapless second-tier actor plays the role of some second-string superhero; Iron Man turned out better than we’d expected. But did we have the means to know where it would take us? I mean, the year was 2008. Fidel Castro had just retired, and it was the beginning of a worldwide economic crisis. Bush was still president, Britney Spears was still relevant, and Miley Cyrus was descending into her non-Disney evolution. We were only five months in and yet, what a ride 2008 already was.

Flash forward to 2010 and Iron Man 2. Avid comic book readers were still claiming people who just watched Iron Man couldn’t be considered Marvel fans (and honestly are we even sure this has ever stopped?).  John Cena was still just a wrestler, Avatar had just won big at the Golden Globes, and Conan left The Tonight Show. Two thousand ten was a year of environmental disasters: the massive Haiti earthquake, the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, and the frightening tale of the trapped Chilean miners. And let’s not forget that these were the things that had already happened. We didn’t know the wonder that was Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the X Factor hadn’t created One Direction, and we hadn’t bawled our eyes out during Toy Story 3. The Iron Man movies were good. Most people could agree about that, though the first was already better than the second (that wasn’t a surprise). But did we have the means to see what was being built? There were no infinity stones, no Avengers, no anything. There was just Robert Downey Jr.,  who was making a new image for himself. Even then, how could we have known? I mean, Deathly Hallows P.1 wasn’t even out yet!

Enter 2012: The Avengers. We now had two famous Chrises, a Hulk, and mention of not one but two infinity stones. It was our first glimpse at Endgame, and the first time that people understood that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) could be something great-greater than we’d all expected it to be. Of course, we were still naive, and we didn’t know death (sans Bucky Barnes).  We didn’t know pain, we didn’t know longing. It was the beginning, and we were still working out the kinks. Captain America in spandex? Weird CGI Hulk? Thor’s bleached eyebrows? We were young, and so were they. But it was fun wasn’t it? All of that potential wrapped up in a mere 183 minutes.

And then, before you could say Shwarma, Ant-Man came out and Phase Two was over. The year 2015 seems like forever ago. It was a blissfully dull year. An era of Uptown Funk, Birdman, presidential candidate announcements, The Force Awakens, and the end of Miss Piggy and Kermit’s relationship (they broke up on Twitter).

Phase Two packed a big punch, I’ll tell you that. Iron Man 3 made us empathize with Tony while seeing him in his first father-figure role of the MCU (remember Harley?). Captain America: The Winter Soldier redeemed Cap for the Cap haters and brought Bucky Barnes back from the dead. Who knew then in Phase Three he’d be such a big player, and there’s even more hope for him in Phase Four (cause we all know the dusting won’t last)?  Guardians of the Galaxy was the biggest shock of all. Nobody knew who they were when the promos started coming out, but you better believe that by the end of 2014 we all knew the tale of Star-lord and Gamora. It was a space epic set to the soundtrack we didn’t think we needed. It was perfect. Age of Ultron was a bit of a snooze, but it did its job. We had more reason to love our favorite characters and new faces to get overly attached to (see: Quicksilver). It wasn’t that much of a downer though; I mean except for Winter Soldier we have yet to see a stellar second of three movies (notice how I’m not speaking of The Dark World?). And Ant-Man! Paul Rudd was a rom-com king, and his charm was a perfect addition to the franchise. When Phase Two ended, we had everything to look forward to and nothing to fear. Infinity War was still miles away, and we could always leave the theaters without having a pit of dread in our stomachs.

It’s taken me a whole day to write this. I’m not kidding. I woke up at 10, and it is now almost 7:15 pm. Besides trying to figure out what exactly people cared about in the early 2000s and fact-checking all of my information, what have I been doing? The answer? Freaking out, of course. I’ve argued with my stuffed whale shark Doug more times than I can count at this point. But why? But. Why!?

I’m not even going to describe Phase Three to you because, hopefully, you got those memos. This is recent work, and this is the stuff that is influencing us now, today. All you need to know is that Phase Three hit hard and brought some big new players into the picture.

Avengers: Infinity War I will talk about, though. It was surprising to me because it wasn’t surprising. I expected more significant deaths, and I expected Thanos to lose. I didn’t expect such a gut-wrenching cliff hanger. But since I didn’t feel the scale of emotional devastation that I thought would occur, it reminded me that there is only one year left before significant changes are coming. The Infinity saga ends tomorrow/Friday, and it’s been a year. I’m still not ready.

We’ve been through eleven years of cinematic greatness; we’ve been through ups and downs. We’ve found ourselves in the characters we’ve loved and grown along with them. Eleven years ago I was a first grader, and now I’m on my way out of high school. To me, it’s just poetic that the Infinity saga and I began and ended at the same time.

If there is one thing that I can leave you with before you see Endgame it’s this; don’t go without watching all of the other movies first. You are doing yourself, the creators, and the people around you a disservice if you don’t. Everything in the MCU has layers; think of what you could be missing if you didn’t have all of the information provided to you. It’s going to be a whirl, it’s going to break some hearts, and it’s going to take time to get over. But we will, and someday we can look back and recall the minutes we spend watching our imagination come to life in front of us on the big screen.

I promised I’d have this in before Endgame was showing, and now it’s seven to midnight. Goodbye Infinity Era; you’ve served us all well, and we will remember you with love in our hearts. Welcome to the Post-Endgame world.

I’m not crying; you are.

Watch the movie you crazy kids, and please tell me how it is! See you next time, and stay tuned for more great content.