Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey, Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Criss Cross, Your Mom
Have I Seen it Before: Oh, sure. I’m hip to the new movies the kids like.
Did I Like It: What’s not to like? Is that damning praise? I’m not sure.
I remember when X-Men (2000) was coming down the pike sometime in the last millennium. Everyone had a fear that it would be impossible to tell a coherent—to say nothing of interesting—superhero story that would have to serve as many ten characters within one finite runtime.
It seems like such quaint times now, and I’ll leave you wonder if I’m only talking about Marvel movies.
At any rate, the second sequel to The Avengers (2012) reaches to incorporate nearly every corner of the decade-old Marvel Cinematic Universe, breaching the divide between—by my count—nine different franchises, eighteen different films, and thirty-three different characters.
And it mostly succeeds. On second viewing of the film, the does feel a little bit like it is three separate Marvel ensemble movies lightly edited together. Few characters get an arc, and even those that do have a decidedly unfinished quality. Which, admittedly, is by design.
The film sings in the final act when the disparate plots begin to coalesce, but the filmmakers are playing us for fools. The carpet is quickly pulled out from under us, and we are left only with the hope that they can turn things around for the universe in the next movie, the knowledge that there will be a next movie, and the absolute certainty that Marvel and Disney aren’t going to stop making Black Panther movies.
Man, those final minutes are wrenching, even if we have a growing suspicion to its impermanence. Even other, similar downer endings (The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Back to the Future Part II (1989) immediately come to mind) go out of their way to let us know how things will eventually be put right. This one just cuts to black, and won’t even hint at a title for the next adventure.
I don’t know, I just worry Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) won’t survive Untitled Fourth Avengers Movie (2019). Even an army of suits will not be able to protect him from Aunt May (Marisa Tomei)—the filmmakers having confirmed that she survives the cataclysm of Thanos (Josh Brolin).