29 April 2019

The Avengers Abide

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When a film like Avengers: Endgame comes out, it starts to feel like we're living in some sort of fascist state in which even the slightest whisper of a spoiler is punishable by death. In general, I'd say that I'm against any form of fascism to the point that I get pissed off when even the self-scan in the supermarket tells me to remove my shopping from the bagging area. I mean what the fuck does it think it's doing, telling me what to do. We don't live in the fucking Matrix yet you robot-prick! However, in this case, my only regret is that spoiling things literally isn't punishable by death as I would quite happily cave any perpetrators head in with a fucking rock and then shit into their skull as a warning to everybody else. So I won't spoil anything major here if you haven't seen it. I'll probably talk about the bit in the movie in which Tony and Steve die of AIDS and why I felt it was right to graphically show how they got it. But I don't think that counts as a spoiler because we all saw it coming right? We certainly saw them coming in that scene anyway. So I guess I will be talking a little bit about what happens and so if you haven't seen it then you know.. piss off.

So the previous movie ended with half of all creatures in the galaxy being turned into dust which sounds pretty great to me. This film starts with the survivors all sad and suffering from the loss of their loved ones but they don't seem to be appreciating how quiet the world now is. There's no traffic, no long queues, and if you spent the first few hours after the snap looting your dusted neighbours houses then you wouldn't even need to go back to work. People pointed out after Infinity War that Thanos's plan was flawed because instead of killing half of all life he could simply have doubled all resources but honestly I don't think that he went far enough. His main problem was that he turned people to dust at random whereas I would specifically have just killed the knobheads of the world which admittedly would have only left us with about ten percent of the population. But that would mean that one hundred percent of the survivors were at least tolerable people and we'd all have about twenty pet dogs each because obviously dogs would be left untouched. I'm honestly getting the closest I've had to an erection since turning thirty just fucking thinking about this perfect fucking utopia. Anyway, so everyone is sad and then Ant-Man turns up to suggest a time-travel mission that might undo all of Thanos's hard work. Fucking idiot. 

Five years pass between the events of Infinity War and the start of this new mission meaning that the surviving characters are all now in different places in their lives. Thor, for example, has gotten fat and turned into a stoner-like drunk causing Stark to refer to him as “Lebowski”, which was pretty funny. But then I remembered that The Dude in The Big Lebowski was played by Jeff Bridges who played the villain Obadiah Stane in the first Iron-Man movie and the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe fucking crumbled around me. If The Big Lebowski is a film in this universe then is The Dude just played by somebody else? And if so, who and why? Does the actor Jeff Bridges simply not exist here? Or does Jeff Bridges exist here and simply nobody has noticed how fucking identical he looks to the character of Obadiah Stane? Is Stane bald by choice as a way of stopping people comparing the two of them? Is the character of Stane actually the twin of the actor Jeff Bridges in this world but for some reason they were separated at birth? Or is the actor Jeff Bridges actually posing as the character of Obadiah Stane in the way that Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery was posing as the character of The Mandarin in Iron Man 3? Does Ben Kingsley exist in this universe too? Is The Mandarin that's really Slattery actually really Ben Kingsley? And if not, why not, considering that Jeff Bridges actually exists? What the fuck is going on??

Apparently whilst I was freaking out about that and mentally pinning names to a wall and then connecting them with bits of thread like a psychopath, the rest of the world was being bamboozled by the time-travel logic of the film. In Endgame we're told that it's not like in Back To The Future because that allows the past to change the present. Although the film does then go off to become the Marvel version of Back To The Future Part 2 with the characters visiting moments from the previous films. If this movie is meant to be a conclusion of all that has been building up then this is actually a pretty cool way of celebrating everything that it's achieved, to be honest. It's also the first time a Marvel movie has spent its time looking back instead of simply setting up what's to come. But in this version of time-travel, we're told that changing the past won't change the future of the original timeline but instead will cause an alternate timeline to branch off from the moment of change. Right, well that makes sense to me, but what the fuck is going on with Jeff Bridges!? But then some people have claimed that this rule of time-travel is broken when a character turns up near the very end... I won't say who but I'm talking about the person sitting down and looking over a lake... because said character should actually be existing in a different timeline now. But then other people have claimed that actually that's not true, and by the films own rules it would be perfectly possible for said character to exist in this timeline assuming they were able to cross dimensions which we know they could because oh no I've gone cross-eyed.

In honesty, I couldn't give a shit about any of this and I'm sure that there are probably going to be plot-holes that you could drive a bus full of dildos through. But I just don't care. It's a bit like the Bond film Skyfall in that it's so entertaining and fun to watch that you don't question any plot-holes until afterwards because the momentum of the film simply carries you forward. The Avengers plan to bring all of the dusted people back but it's five years after they all died. What if somebody had grieved the loss of their partner, found somebody else, fallen in love, and then The Avengers succeed and bring their original partner back? That's fucking awkward. Or even worse... you don't know you've been turned to dust, you get brought back and suddenly your partner is five years older. Gross! But none of this matters because no matter how complicated, twisty, and maybe even flawed the mechanics of the plot might be, you're always carried through by the emotion of the characters. Do I understand quantum physics? Obviously not. I barely understood Quantum Of fucking Solace. But do I understand Tony Stark's motives for wanting to save the young Peter Parker despite his reservations of fighting alongside the super soldier Steve Rogers? Yes. And the very fact that this film is able to balance so many spinning plates, wrap up so many arcs, and be so completely satisfying at the same time explodes my actual brain like Kurt Cobain with a shotgun.  

At the end of the day too, it's the characters that are the main appeal of these stories and the reason that so many people keep coming back to see more. Of course, we like the special effects and action too, but there have been special effects and action in all of the Fantastic Four movies and they're about as loved as those fish that swim up your cock in the Amazon. As a result of various character fates that I was predicting might happen, I was fully aware that I might find Endgame a little on the emotional side. But I wasn't quite prepared for the full-blown mental fucking breakdown that I ended up having. I hope I'm not ruining too much by saying that there's a final battle but at the very start of the final battle I noticed a tear leaking out of one of my eyes. I figured it was because a certain character had just announced themselves to Captain America and in a way that referenced a previous movie, with the music indicating a turn in the tide. But then the battle escalated, the number of people involved significantly increased, and my solitary tear turned into a full-blown fucking waterfall. As I watched the events unfold, the number of characters that I was fully invested in, the sight of aliens, mythical creatures, sci-fi technologies, became so completely over-whelming that my brain began to crash. My inner eight year old returned to life and he couldn't believe the magic of what the fuck he was seeing and all he could do was sob. So if you saw me crying after the end of Endgame I just need to reiterate that it wasn't me being a pussy but my inner eight-year-old self. And you can't judge him because he's just a fucking child, okay?

The actual fucking shame..
And there's a good chance that I was seen crying like a fucking dick because I wasn't subtle and the screening I saw this movie at was absolutely packed with people wanting to see how this story ends. Beyond my meltdown, there wasn't a peep out of them as they all sat with complete engagement throughout, and that's despite the film having an arse-destroying running time of three fucking hours. Not that you feel it as there's so much going on here that the end seems to come faster than a schoolboy in Amsterdam. I wish I could tell you what it is about these Marvel films that have specifically captured the imaginations of the audience. I mean it's obviously the characters and action and shit like I've just mentioned. But I can't tell you specifically what it is that's hooked us in because, to misquote Doctor Manhattan, they really have spun gold out of fucking air. Just look at all of the other shared Universes that have been attempted since this one began and how many of them have crumbled like a pie that can't take a good, hard dicking. Does anybody remember Universal's Dark Universe? Because that's gone so dark right now that nobody can fucking see it. But for whatever reason this one works and I guess that's important because we now live in such a disconnected time from one another. There's so much entertainment these days whether it be the insane amount of 'must watch tv-shows', movies, podcasts, websites, or console games that we all just need to get through. That's not even counting the amount of time we have to work to afford it all and the amount of time we then have to spend sending photos of our genitals out into cyberspace in the hope that somebody, somewhere might notice that we exist. 

Back in the day we'd all shit into the same communal trough, watch the same documentary about pubic lice, and then die the same convenient death at the ripe old age of sixty-four. These days though it's like we're all floating alone through space like Sandra Bullock with other humans being at best a source of 'likes' on our social media. I honestly have as much in common with my neighbours as I do the rats that I'd happily replace them with but thanks to all of the films that have hooked us in, Endgame will likely turn out to be one of the few instances of modern pop-culture where we all sync up and experience that rarity of a shared moment. Avengers: Endgame is funnier than most comedies, more emotional than most dramas, and just as character driven as anything that's shat out around Oscar season. There's no denying that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed the way that we see blockbusters and their ability to tell an ongoing narrative, with Endgame being the perfect way to celebrate and showcase all that it's been able to achieve. So, sure, you can be cynical and say that “the time-travel didn't fully make sense”, “there are too many superhero movies these days”, or that, “our obsession with childish things is keeping us distracted from real-world issues”. But this is a rare cultural event that more than justifies the hype and so just know that when you do say that.. and I don't mean to be hyperbolic here... but you're essentially spitting into the face of one of our last shreds of fucking humanity. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

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