Avengers: Endgame is the movie event not just of the year, but of the epoch. It is the culmination of 10 years of filmmaking, and not in the regular, typical, normal way, where an American takes a decade to write, fund, shoot and release a movie.
That is called Incredibles 2 and, while fairly enjoyable in its own right, is not spectacular enough to warrant a whole column.
No, this is a different casserole altogether, an entirely different pot of sauce. It is a movie that was written, funded, shot and released, exhibited and shown over 10 years.
What they did was sneakily rip the idea off from television series, which give you part of the story in each episode and, without telling us at first, released 22 movies all leading to this one.
“Like a trilogy of 22 movies?” you ask. Oh no, I reply, hiking my trousers up, lowering my specs down my nose and adopting the posture of one prepared to shock the socks off your ankles.
They made many trilogies to lead to this one film. The simple explanation will start with a brief summary of the first one.
A rich arms dealing engineer was kidnapped (in the first film) and held captive by Afghani warlords who were silly enough to underestimate his genius.
Little did they suspect that Tony, for that was his name, was clever enough to weld scrap metal into not just a pair of pyjamas, but a pair that could be armed with flamethrowers, propelled to fly by rockets and escape from them.
The film was called Iron Man, retrospectively Iron Man 1, because Tony’s adventures in weaponised metal attire we’re just beginning.
Another trilogy of films came out subsequently, one featuring a soldier in the US Army who is given special steroids.
Yet another three about a pagan god, and other films about a doctor who graduates into a witch doctor, a talking rodent firearms expert and his crew of space bandits, a fellow who becomes another bigger more green fellow when annoyed, a couple of others about men who imitate arthropods (spider in one case, ant in the other)... Am I losing you here? This is supposed to be the simple explanation, but these things are so absurd and so outlandish that I fear I am just making it more complicated.
Let’s take a breath and begin again.
They made movies about people who have extraordinary abilities and powers. The premises were fanciful to the point where it’s ridiculous, but then again, that is every Hollywood movie isn’t it? American cameras don’t record realistic logical rational things. Not even the news cameras do that anymore.
Not since Trump. The ludicrousness is compensated for by the quality of the violence in these films. It’s balletic, elegant, beautiful and vastly entertaining.
Like when the rat with a gun escapes space prison.
That was fun. Marvel movies are like WWE wrestling. All the talk and costumes and characters are only there to help identify who is fighting who when the beef goes down, and to signpost who to root for.
Mindless escapism is the term commonly deployed.
So here’s where it gets clever. The people in each movie knew each other. They even interacted and befriended one another. Even in the one about the African King who wore a cat suit that made him bulletproof.
So naturally a film had to occur where they all get together. In this film, half of them, spoiler warning, died.
What we have here is 10 years of manipulating us into caring about a gang of heroes, growing to care about them, root for them, anticipate, then share their triumphs over the course of a decade.
That’s how long it takes to set a high school friendship into a lifetime bond. That is how long it takes from marriage to the point where those who placed bets against it at the wedding have to pay up.
Then half of them die. Abruptly, suddenly, without any hint to prepare us. Just like the snap of a finger, snap, gone. Leaving a decade worth of fans stymied, gasping what’s up? Why? How? Noooo.
Avengers: Endgame is the closure. It’s the last hope that these last 10 years have not been one long dirty prank.
Follow Ernest on Twitter @bazanye