Call For Comments: Cinematic Franchise “Endgames”

From Mav: (No worries, no spoilers in this post) Well, it’s finally time… we’re in the endgame now… and all that. In a couple hours, Avengers Endgame opens in theaters, and I assume a large number of our listeners are going to go see it (please, NO SPOILERS in the comments of this post). By all accounts this is going to be the largest pop culture event of the year… and well, we’re a pop culture show… and even if we weren’t, as I said during last year’s Infinity War episode, it’s just basically international podcasting law that you devote an episode to the Avengers epic. Every show will have it. Seriously… if we don’t Disney will kill us all.

Of course, we’re not really a “movie review” show, so that’s not what we’re going to be doing. Or not exactly. Last year we talked about the way in which the MCU as a concept sort of reinvented what film is. Cinematic Universes weren’t really a “thing” before… at least not like they are now. Well, this year we want to continue that conversation and think about what it means to “END” one. Or at least sort of.

Again, I haven’t seen the film (yet… as I write this, I’m about 2 hours away). All the coverage of Avengers: Endgame has painted it as “the culmination of the series” and the end of an era of storytelling and… well, yadda yadda yadda. But… it’s not that. That’s not how superhero myths work. That’s not how comic books work. That’s not how movie franchises work. There’s going to be more. We all know that. But people are reacting as though this is the end of… something. And in a way, even without seeing the film yet, I’m pretty sure it is. It’s certainly a definitive mark of… something.

I’ve seen some people speculate that this is where everyone will feel like “ok, I can stop following the Marvel Universe now. This is the perfect place to get off and I can devote my time to something new.” Those people are big fat fucking liars!!! They’re not going to do that. I’ve seen other people speculate that “all the movies have been leading to this, and now it’ll be great because the new movies will be smaller disconnected personal stories that don’t have to worry about tying together” but that appears to be just speculation. I’ve sen no evidence that Feige or the rest of the producers intend for that to happen. And to even suggest it is to imply that you’ve not really paid attention to comic books since 1985. As someone who has devoted their life to this, I can tell you… there’s ALWAYS a next big event. ALWAYS!

But something does feel like it’s ending… you know.. the game (and not just our box office game, which by all accounts Wayne will be taking a ridiculously commanding lead after this weekend).

So what is that thing? What changes about how films work with this installment? What are your thoughts on what this means for this franchise, all other franchises, and film and pop culture in general? I’m curious to people’s thoughts both BEFORE AND AFTER they’ve seen the movie. . Also… did you like the movie? Let us know what you thought… and if there’s any chance whatsoever that anyone will catch up to Wayne in the box office game. And if you’re dying to be on the show and talk about your thoughts, we’ll likely be picking someone from the comments as a guest.

Note: Please try to avoid spoilers unless you CLEARLY mark them… in their own thread… with spoiler tags. Like this: [spoiler] things about the movie that no one should know[/spoiler]. It will show up in the comments like this:

[spoiler]things about the movie that no one should know[/spoiler]

12 Comments and 3 Webmentions for “Call For Comments: Cinematic Franchise “Endgames””

  1. I’m glad the franchise gets to have a clearly defined break point. Some don’t.

    The Bay Transformers movies, whether you like them or not, seem to have ended on a cliffhanger of significant proportions. The franchise is apparently going to roll on with Bumblebee as the standard-bearer, but if you were somehow actually hyped for Unicron…

    1. Following up on Zach’s post, here’s what made us think of you:

      [spoiler]When Rogers passes on the shield to Sam, I thought of your reaction to this happening in the comics and the fact that Falcon is already a badass character and doesn’t need to carry the mantle of Cap. I would have thought that Bucky would have been a more obvious choice. Not sure why they went this direction–I’m thinking maybe because the MCU has kind of presented Falcon as Cap’s sidekick (intentionally or not) and this is the promotion that will empower the character to carry his own movie…? I’m interested to see where they take this and what, if anything, they do with Bucky going forward.[/spoiler]

  2. Following up on Zach’s comment, here’s what made us think of you, Mav:

    [spoiler]When Rogers passes the shield on to Sam. I remembered (and concur with) your observation that Falcon is already a badass character and doesn’t need to carry the mantle of Cap. Not sure why they did this–perhaps because the MCU has, intentionally or not, kind of presented Falcon as Cap’s sidekick, so they thought that “promoting” him into Cap will give him the brand recognition he needs to carry his own movie…? I dunno. I’m interested to see where they take this and what they do with Bucky (who seemed to be the more likely heir to the shield) going forward.[/spoiler]

    1. Ah yes!

      [su_spoiler title="Mav's Answer... More Spoilers!" style="fancy"]Honestly, I think it actually worked BETTER in the film than it did in the book. If you listen to our Batman and Whiteness episode, I think that's a good example of why. This "felt" organic. Even if it wasn't. The main reason it happened, honestly is that Anthony Mackie wants to do more movies (or TV shows) and Chris Evans doesn't. So part of if is expediency.

      And yes, part of it is trying to market to the current cultural moment which is very keyed in on diversity right now, both ethnically and by gender (and the film certainly knows this, what with it going out of it's way to have the "ladies' moment").

      BUT, from a story telling POV, it worked better because it felt "real" even if I knew it was inevitable. As you say, MCU Sam was more of a sidekick than Comic Sam. So it really did feel like a promotion. It also helped because the film felt like an honest passing off. Partly because they're real people and I know that Chris Evan is not immortal and is honestly going on to other films, as opposed to comic Steve Rogers, who was clearly going to return as soon as someone felt like drawing him again. But in general, the story just felt more natural. MCU Sam's arc built to it in a much better (and intentional) way than Comic Sam's

      For the record here's the post from my blog (it's been mentioned in passing on the show) that goes into detail's about why I didn't want Sam as Cap in the comics:


      So there you go!

  3. BTW, loved the movie. Not perfect, but extremely satisfying. As far as what it represents, I could probably express it in a spoiler-free way, but just to be safe…

    [spoiler]I’m sure that we’ll continue to get team-ups and crossovers in some fashion or another, but Stark and Rogers were the personalities that the franchise has been largely built around thus far. This probably sounds extreme, but waking up this morning, I had an emotional response that, while MUCH more mild, was not unlike the dull ache you experience in the weeks after putting down a pet. We’ve spent over a decade with these characters, and the enjoyment of each movie was enhanced, on some level, by the knowledge that it was a part of a larger narrative and there’s more to come. As satisfying as this movie was as both an individual experience and a swan song for these characters, the permanence of this particular ending also made it feel like that last trip to the vet, which I think says a lot about what Marvel Studios has been able to do by keeping us invested for what amounts to the lifespan of a large breed dog.[/spoiler]

  4. Commented a bit on your Twitter Mav but there’s angles at play that work against the treating of the MCU like the 616 Comics continuity- actor contracts and ages. It takes 15-20 years in print for 5 years to take place, but movies have less real estate to devote. Unless they recast, the MCU is priming to essentially Marvel NOW with their future slate. So it IS an End. Yes there’ll be throughlines moving forward, but they run the risk of becoming (to the public) derivative of themselves. Superhero fatigue could kick in IF the next slate doesn’t connect with the audience the same way. The movie is a feat that will be extremely difficult to reproduce. But they’ll try, because $.

    1. And another thought on recasting/rebooting, Sony lost $ perceived on the been there done that with Andrew Garfield’s Spidey. So MCU if they go recast route, ala James Bond, it’s a 50/50 success rate. I dunno – I walked out of Endgame satisfied. I’d be happy, honestly, with no new entries for a while.

    2. Mark MovieKing I guess I would like to see some of the “younger” threads keep going. (Captain Marvel, Spider-Man).

      [spoiler]I’m a little on the Cap. America transition (Mav touched on this in 2014 – recent reread)

      I’m not sure that you can successfully uncouple RDJ&Ironman. You might be mad to try. A jump to the future with his daughter…. different. Should work.[/spoiler]

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