The End of an Era
As I sit here to write this, we are just a shade over 48 hours away from the release of a new addition in the tapestry that makes up the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, unless you’ve been frozen in ice like a certain star-spangled Avenger, you’re more than aware that Infinity War drops this week and the world is abuzz with anticipation. From the “humble” beginnings of Iron Man on through a decade’s worth of blockbuster releases all culminating in one giant crossover movie, the likes of which has never been seen. For those of us who have been long-time comic readers, this is a Nirvana the likes of which were unfathomable 15 years ago.
Even without an emotional tie to the comics that form the basis for the entire thing, if your only experiences have been purely cinematic, this is an event that will be talked about for some time to come. Kevin Feige and the folks at Marvel Studios have truly built a universe for us to enjoy which is a heroic feat in and of itself. You need look no further than the several announced shared universes from other studios, none of which have succeeded at this point, to get a grasp of how Herculean of a task it is. The MCU is truly something special and Infinity War is the centerpiece of it all. In previous pieces, all of which you can find in our Opinions section (side note: if you have something you’d like to discuss in your own piece, feel free to submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org) I’ve discussed Thanos himself in-depth as well as some of the characters that could be launched following Infinity War but I have yet to really take a look at the impact this movie could have on those we have come to know so well.
One thing that seems to get lost in the excitement of finally seeing Thanos wreak havoc and the sheer volume of characters involved in the movie is that this IS an Avengers movie. For all that the other characters (Iron Man in particular) helped make Civil War what it was, Captain America was the primary focus due to him being the the title character and I believe that will continue to hold true here. Believe me, I’m just as ready to see Star Lord fix Iron Man’s plan as you (even if he just fixes 12% of it ), but this is the end of the MCU as we currently know it and it’s all been built on the backs of those first 6 heroes who assembled 6 years ago to save us from the Chitauri. I think we can all agree that the odds of everyone making it out unscathed are fairly slim, and no I’m not talking about Thanos wiping half of them out with a snap of his fingers only for them to miraculously return through some convoluted manner. Someone’s gonna die, possibly more than one someone, but they would be foolish to take too many characters off the board with that finality when there are easy ways to set them aside for later use. Thor has nine realms to keep an eye on and Hulk frequently goes off by himself seeking seclusion. Black Widow is currently the main female in the MCU (apologies to Gamora) with a rumored solo film FINALLY in the works so I find that to be unlikely. Vision being relatively un-fleshed out leads me to think it wouldn’t have the necessary weight to it (barring it being the catalyst for Wanda to go all-out, but again I don’t know that audiences have connected to her enough yet to really feel invested in her, at least until 4.) Plus him writhing in agony is one of the main images from the initial trailer which seems almost to much of a giveaway. Which leaves us the three that I think most in physical jeopardy.
I chose the term “physical jeopardy” specifically with this first hero in mind. He’s literally the foundation on which everything else was built, he’s had more screen time than all of the rest, I’m of course talking about Iron Man. Robert Downey Jr is the face of the MCU but each time he returns it comes with an ever increasing price tag attached to it. They could however have their cake AND eat it too, all they have to do is look to the recent years of the source material. Following Civil War 2 Tony was left in a coma but yet was still apart of things as an a.i. Im certain he’d get a smaller payday for doing voice overs and a scene or two as a holographic image. It would by no means be the same but it would allow the character to continue in a reduced capacity. He’d essentially be the mirror opposite of Paul Bettany’s Jarvis/Vision arc.
Then there’s Hawkeye, and no, this is not a reaction to his lack of presence in almost any of the promotional material. A central theme of the original Avengers was that they needed a push, which of course was provided by the death of Agent (his first name) Coulson. There’s some parallels with the two characters in that they’re both kind of out of their weight class with the battles they’re involved in but, more than that, is the connections Clint has in the world. Barton’s family offers a tangible and relatable element to the audience that NONE of the others can offer. We watched him reluctantly come out of retirement to aid Captain America in Civil War, which I assume will again be the case and the old saying quit while you’re ahead really comes to my mind when considering the possible consequences of Infinity War. My only real doubt concerning this is because they’ve built so much intrigue around Hawkeye by not acknowledging him. But I do think they’ll need “a push” to defeat Thanos.
Which brings us to Steve Rogers. I love Chris Evans in this role, he so perfectly embodies the character who (Secret Empire aside) is the epitome of what makes a hero, but it just makes sense. He has had the best story of all the members of the MCU. His solo adventures have completed his arc, from humble beginnings, to fighting the oppression of first Nazi Germany to our infested government structure with S.H.I.E.L.D and saved his best friends soul to boot. In the Avengers movies he has proven he can stand with gods and aliens along with proving man is greater than machine. He has won his battles. Both Falcon and Bucky have gone on to wield the shield in his honor in the comics (Sebastian Stan in particular has more movies on his contract.) Evans has also made known that he’s interested in transitioning into a directorial role rather than an acting one and the time seems right. Don’t misunderstand me, more than any other guess I’ve made here I hope that I’m wrong he’s such an inspiring character, but the pieces are in place for life after Evans. Which is why I feel it may well be the last stand for the First Avenger.
Agree? Think I’m off my rocker? Regardless I’d love to hear your thoughts on Infinity War or on anything that I’ve rambled on about previously, feel free to:
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