spoiler alert - what follows will spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it.
I went last Saturday and crammed in with hundreds of strangers to the movie event of the Spring. I haven’t been able to shake it since. I am unsettled. I thought, at first, that it was witnessing the culmination of a decade long saga including some 22 movies. Then I wondered if it was something about the film but I don’t think so. The story was well told. The acting; stellar. So what was it?
Today it hit me. It was the ending. (This is your last chance. If you don’t want a spoiler stop reading now.) The ending was what bothered me because Thanos won. He did.
I understand that Thanos died along with all of his army. Tony Stark stole the stones and snapped his finger and the enemy went poof. Right. Got it, but Thanos STILL WON because His WAY won. His IDEA won. Thanos was proved right after all. Tony became Thanos when he agreed with Thanos solution to the problem.
I know what you’re going to say. Tony only killed the bad guys! Tony killed far fewer people than Thanos. Tony sacrificed himself to save everyone! It was the only way! Etc etc. Yeah I know. It doesn’t change the fact that he murdered thousands of people with the snap of a finger. He had infinite power in his hands and the only imagination he had for what to do with it was kill.
Here’s my problem. The "good guys" did what the "bad guy" had been trying to do for so long. Tony BECAME Thanos. In Thanos’ first death scene he looked up and said to the remaining Avengers “I am inevitable”. He was right. He was. The only end to this game that any of them could see was death. Apparently its ok to snap your fingers and slaughter thousands as long as you kill the “right people”. When we become what we were fighting against then we have lost. The Avengers aren’t heroes. They are bullies. They are just another gang in a long line of gangs that proved themselves better at killing than the guys before them. I’m unimpressed. Are they nicer than Thanos and his crew would have been? Sure, but in the long run is the outcome going to be better? Was this the glorious “Endgame”? Can Tony Stark actually “rest now”?
Death was not defeated. Not here. Thanos’ name is death. That’s what his name means. Death was not defeated. Death was championed as the hero of yet another story. The solution to the problem. Death was glorified and served. Death won. Death is still in charge. Not only will all of them die someday any way but even worse, death was once again crowned king. Death was called savior. Have a problem? If you are the best killer you get to win! Violence, Coercive power, Might makes right, still wins. You just need a bigger gun… or a better glove? "To stay safe you have to stay strong." If I heard that once in my life I’ve heard it over and over. I grew up in the arms race era of the eighties. "Mutually assured destruction boys! That’s how we are protecting the world!" Sounds like something Nick Fury would say. Insanity.
Why is there no imagination for a changed world? That glove had the mind stone on it. Snap your fingers and change someone’s mind! The real happy ending would have been Thanos and all his creepy crawlies using their incredible power to rebuild the planets they destroyed because they had seen the error of their ways. Probably not a formula for a Blockbuster movie I know.. or is it? What about the Lord of the Rings? Remember the story about the little guy who finds the biggest baddest gun out there and, instead of wiping out his enemy, actually DESTROYED it because he missed his garden? The true heroic stories are about people who, through abdication of power, show the world a better way.
Was it a good film? Yeah. Did we just reinforce the destructive way the world works? yeah. No surprises there. Maybe that’s why I’m so bored. I’m tired of death.