Marvel and its Mediocre Endings

By Claudia De Freitas

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Marvel became the most ambitious comic book adaptor in the industry after Iron Man, the film that changed the game. They were free to do whatever they wanted, and it panned out… somewhat. Because, for this franchise, I’ve noticed a particular quirk since 2015: Marvel can’t write satisfying endings.

Phase 3 of the MCU meant the ending to Captain America’s trilogy. At first, Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige announced The Russo Brothers as directors for the last instalment, which would be Serpent Society, a fictional group of criminals with a snake theme. However, later, they changed the line up and introduced Captain America: Civil War.

The movie is about introducing the Sokovia Accords, designed for the governments of the world to keep The Avengers in check. When Iron Man’s Tony Stark and Steve Rogers disagree on the terms, it drives a rift between the team that leads up to inner conflict and the disbanding of The Avengers.

Now that years have passed and we have witnessed the events of the movie unfold and tie into the rest of the MCU, I must say, it was a disappointing change. This film failed to deliver its one purpose – giving Captain America a worthy ending for his trilogy. Instead, it works to set up the dynamic of The Avengers for Infinity War and Endgame.

Not only that, but it falls short in comparison to its comic counterpart, where there are hundreds of superheroes who would be affected by the Accords instead of twelve. While it has good action scenes, it is underwhelming and only fuels the bad decisions the characters make in the following films.

If Marvel had done Civil War after Endgame, they could’ve done it in a six-to-eight-episode series, using Disney+ to their advantage. It could’ve tackled the consequences of The Blip and how the world reacted to The Avengers’ involvement in the tragedy and discuss what the governments of the world are doing with the return of billions of people, while honouring the rest of the heroes who sacrificed their lives for normality

And now that we’ve mentioned the last two Avengers films–Infinity War and Endgame—, let’s discuss why these two don’t uphold as resolutions to a story that’s been in the making for a decade.

Infinity War is about dealing with Thanos, the Mad Titan who wants to collect all the Infinity Stones to wipe out half the universe. Knowing that two of the stones are on Earth, Thanos’ disciples come knocking. It becomes a race against time to stop him.

This film relies on foolish mistakes and character mistreatment for its plot to develop, and there are many examples of this: Quill’s breakdown over Gamora’s death, Gamora leading Thanos to the Soul Stone to save her sister, Captain America’s strong morals, etcetera–but these are all justified. Why? Because these characters have humanity in them.

What I will discuss is The Vision’s mistreatment. This superhero is a synthazoid—a type of android known as synthetic humanoid—made of the strongest metal on the planet who has an Infinity Stone in his forehead. When he’s stabbed early in the film, he becomes useless, even after healing himself. He can’t hold a fight with one of Thanos’ disciples, he can’t defend himself or anyone else. Ultimately, he dies twice: the first time at the hands of the woman he loves, the second time when Thanos turns time to get the stone.

He could’ve been one of the best weapons against the Titan, along with Wanda Maximoff, Doctor Strange and Thor, so making him play McGuffin the whole movie corrupts the storyline and is a shame.

And finally, Endgame. God, where to start? Endgame is about dealing with Thanos erasing half of the universe, and what happens when the hope of reversing this comes along.

The remaining Avengers go back in time—talk about a lousy movie trope—to fix the mess, but so their actions don’t have any consequences, they introduce a convoluted and confusing time travel rule.

It does a great disservice to many of the main Avengers. Let’s start with Natasha Romanoff’s Black Widow. This woman considered The Avengers her family. She sacrificed her life for the Soul Stone, and she didn’t even get a memorial. When asked why she was the one to die instead of Clint Barton, the other person with her, they said Clint had a family. But this didn’t stop them from killing off Tony Stark.

The same movies that deemed her a ‘monster’ for not being able to have children killed Natasha off. Her definition of family didn’t fit that one of a hetero-normative society, and so she died to save her male counterpart.

And since we mentioned Tony, his death had no real meaning behind it. He did not have to die. In fact, it should have been Cap. Tony had a family. He left a wife and a five-year-old daughter behind. He left his best friend. He had an actual life when Cap didn’t. Cap’s story revolved around how he was a man out of time, and him dying to save the universe would have fit his character like a gauntlet. But how did the film solve this? They sent him back in time to marry a woman he kissed once and who had moved on from him.

Cap’s ending is so awful because he spent all his days in modern time searching for his best friend, so getting up and leaving was not like him. He also leaves those around him, making them believe they were not a good enough family for him to stay. By adhering to the same hetero-normative idea of what a family should be to Steve, they ruin his character and everything he stands for completely.

Marvel has been a film industry staple for the past two decades. They have renowned movies and TV series talked about and gushed. One would think the best of the best compose their team, but if that is the case, then why do their endings fall flat? Not only the films I mentioned but also WandaVision, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 2, etcetera.

The tagline for Avengers: Endgame is ‘part of the journey is the end’, so one would think the end would be as satisfying. Yet, the end corrupts the journey these characters have gone through and distorts their true purposes. Marvel has already had an unsatisfying ending in Phase 4. Hopefully, it will be the last.

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