I ask your indulgence as I try to put into words how much I loved this film. I took my grandson Trenton to the film and as we settled in, I heard someone comment a few seats down, “This all began for me 11 years ago with Iron Man.”
My own journey began further back…sometime in the early 1970’s. Saturday mornings my grandmother would sometimes take me to downtown Marshall, Michigan and turn me loose on Michigan Avenue. We didn’t have “stranger danger,” then, we had communities of people that cared.
I would always go to the party store in the middle of town, right next to the Michigan National Bank. I cannot remember its name, but I remember everything else about it – the flooring, the smells, the nice owner who didn’t chase kids out. There was a wire rotating comic rack at the end of the magazines, right next to the wood-plaque covered dirty magazines. Stuffed into this squeaky rack was all of the comics you could hope for, new ones to the front, older issues in the back. The owner never chased us out, he would always smile at us.
Comic books cost 12 to 20 cents then, which seemed like a lot. You had to be judicious in your choices. There were no comic stores or graphic novels to get caught up with stories if you missed an issue. I would purchase my comics and read them, over and over. They were not collectables…there were no plastic covers for them. These were comics that were meant to be read cover to cover. From the letters to the editor to the ads for X-ray glasses, these stapled tomes were meant to be devoured. I took part in a tradition of visual storytelling that harkened back to the cavemen painting images on their walls though at the time, I only thrilled at the art and the writing.
I never shed that love of comics, though as I was older it was more of an underground love affair. We didn’t have cyber bullying, we had real bullying. People were not accepting of adults reading comics for years. Just finding a superhero t-shirt was difficult, back in the day.
Comic books led me to gaming and reading other books – which led me to be an author. I will never forget that debt and the responsibility that comes with it.
The love never went away nor did my subscribing and reading. I have passed on that love to my grandson and we share comics just like I used to with my friends so many decades ago.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe changed all of that. Suddenly comics were acceptable…mainstream. Yet I like to think that for millions of us, our journey to this film began the same simple way, in drug stores or book stores, or party stores on the main streets of our home towns. Simple origins are the best of all. ‘Nuff said.
When I took Trenton to Avengers Infinity War he experienced the same thing I did the first time I saw The Empire Strikes Back…that mold-breaking effect of the good guys losing.
Then came Avengers Endgame. For three and a half hours, we were transfixed to the screen. This was storytelling on an epic scale. Characters completed their arcs so masterfully that it was a thrill to be there. We had come to know these actors and characters.
The writers of this film will never get the dues they so richly deserve. So many Easter Eggs are opened for us in this movie that it is a true fan’s delight. Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus deserve Academy Awards for what they have done with this screenplay.
Before I went to the movies, a friend at work, Scott, asked me what I had to have to be perfect. I rattled off three things. They were all there. I won’t share them now, because I refuse to spoil this film.
There are moments of deep sadness and others where, and I am not exaggerating, the audience cheered. I have never in my life heard so many applause and cheering moments in a movie.
And therein lies the sadness. I doubt in my lifetime I will ever see 22 films so masterfully interconnected in such a compelling tale. Marvel has delivered something that makes DC pale by comparison. It reminds of Alexander the Great. “And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.” While a misquote, it resonates here.
But…as a comic fan…I can tell you there are plenty of other great Marvel stories that are chafing for their chance in the sun. The bar has been set high though.
Next to seeing Star Wars for the first time, this is my favorite movie ever. It delivered on every single front and swept me, my grandson, the entire audience away.