3 Stars – Intriguing
It takes time to bring an end to a twenty-two film story! Three hours and a minute to be exact. But when you bring together virtually all the characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in order to fight the most powerful of all villains, Thanos (Josh Brolin) then it takes time. And as expected, time itself is a major player in this solution to the decimating victory of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War when he destroyed one half of all beings on every planet as a solution to overpopulation. Named after the Greek god of Death, Thanatos, Thanos is dispassionate about his deeds as he portrays the ultimate sociopath lacking all empathy for the suffering he has and is causing.
This final film is directed by the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe who are favorites in the Marvel cinematic world. Although they are known for their battle scenes of which there are some in this final film, the focus on the various characters is well done. Having created a universe in which the superheroes became our friends, this film is able to focus directly on many of the most beloved characters through an ingenious plot. We won’t spoil the story and so we won’t tell how this is accomplished.
The defeat of Death is a primal goal for most of us. We long to live and to live eternally. The various religious answers include our reincarnation back into this world, or advancing to the ultimate state of Nirvana, or the bodily resurrection into a new heaven and new earth, but whatever the solution the defeat of Death is a necessary step. The difficulty, and this is where the film is truly intriguing, is that all the power of the Avengers cannot defeat Him. With a power that overwhelms each of them individually and all of them collectively, Death’s twin scythe both defends him and is his instrument of destruction.
However, there is a force that is stronger than Death and it is the power of love. Sacrificial love. Love that is willing to lay down his or her life for the sake of others. This is a primary message of Christian faith and is also an instinctual response within most of us. We know the power of love both personally and collectively.
As in all good science fiction the Marvel Universe teems with implications about time and space and consequence and power and family and deceit and abuse and courage. In many ways we can see ourselves more clearly when we place the struggle between good and evil “out there” in the darkness of space or within the struggle of alien powers. But we often feel as though a normal human cannot defeat death or evil and we long to have a superpower that makes us more than we are. This longing for a higher power is also instinctual within most of us.
The complexity of this Endgame leaves unanswered questions which will undoubtedly create the next series of films with the characters we’ve come to know and love once more on quests for lives larger than life. It is what draws us into their universe.
When the solution is provided it comes from both an internal personal choice as well as an external six-stone power. Do you find that to be true in most areas of your life, where the choices you make involve powers larger than yourself?
The willingness to risk all that we love so that what is right can be accomplished is perhaps the best definition of courage. Have you ever found yourself in such a situation? How did you respond?
The focus on women warriors, family relationship and the power of friendship is unusually present in this film. Did you find that deepened the meaning for you? Why do you answer as you do?