I cried during Endgame.

Please note, this post is a work in progress.

At the “Vue” cinema chain there’s a short film that runs before the main showing with the message that “this is not a cinema”. At its core, it’s just an advert for the other events that are shown at the cinema - such as concerts, ballet, theatre, etc. The message is that although, yes, this is technically a cinema, what is shown is not just traditional “films”. It seems auspicious, therefore, that I watched Avengers: Endgame at the Vue cinema in the Edinburgh Omni, and that short film ran immediately before.

Avengers: Endgame is not a film, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not a film series. It’s something different entirely.

Let’s take a step back. I’m writing this with two goals in mind: Firstly, to explain my freely flowing tears during the climactic and final scenes of Endgame1, and secondly, to explore the new horizon of media that I believe the Marvel Cinematic Universe represents. To me, the two are deeply interlinked, and the feelings that Endgame exposed in me are a direct result of its new storytelling medium. It’s all too easy to dismiss emotion engendered by a “superhero movie”2, but I believe that there is something deeper to the MCU that justifies it (if justification is even needed), and brings new richness to the experience.

The best place to start to understand this is this great video by Schaffrillas Productions that breaks down the immense effort that has gone into the creation of the MCU. It’s a multi-year effort, carried out by thousands, with ups and downs,

However, the MCU is not a series of films. Yes, the way it is presented is in the form of movies, but as the short film at Vue, these are not films. If anything, the MCU bears a closer resemblance to a TV series. It consists of episodic content, with character development and growth throughout the series, and clear narrative and plot links throughout.

  1. I’ll refer to most of the films in this post by shortened names, for brevity.

  2. This post almost started out as a “defence” of these emotions, against those who I imagined would dismiss and belittle the “dumb nerds” who are so moved by a “dumb superhero movie”, rather than some form of higher or deeper art. I decided against doing this, as I think that the idea of defending emotion is ridiculous. Emotions are deeply personal, and the idea that emotion could be “wrong” is patently absurd. To defend against such a dismissal would legitimise such an attack, and further spread the toxic attitude that it espouses. I think it’s much more interesting to explore what makes Endgame more than a “dumb superhero movie”, and use that to explain an emotional reaction, rather than justify it.

Posted on April 29, 2019
Last modified: Apr 29, 2019
Tags: media, culture, films, tv, emotions, nerd shit