It has been one year since the most popular film franchise in history dropped the most anticipated film in history.
Avengers: Endgame was the end of an 11-year long phase in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Its shows sold out within minutes of tickets being available, theatres had to carry over 20 shows a day to meet the demand, and it made 2.8 billion dollars worldwide. But far more importantly, it had an enduring message that is even more relevant today.
- The clash between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers
- The Avengers came together
- Endgame’s Message
One of the MCU’s primary distinguishing traits was that the villains in it are mostly secondary to the conflicts between the Avengers themselves. Most MCU films revolve around conflicts between the protagonists which are only escalated when there’s a new external threat, not created.
Despite being the differences between superheroes in a comic book film, they reflect very real issues in the world today, especially when we’re faced with a crisis.
The clash between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers
Take the primary conflict in the MCU, for example. The clash between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers begins in the first Avengers film itself and recurs in every instalment in which the two appear. This conflict spawned an entire film (Captain America: Civil War) which led to the Avengers ending up divided and ill-equipped to face the threat of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
The main reason fuelling this conflict is the starkly different personalities of the two characters. Tony Stark grew up with unimaginable privilege in comfortable times while Steve Rogers lived through the Great Depression and lived in a time when there was a very real threat to the way of life he and everyone he knew cherished.
Tony, as a result of the times he lived in, believed that perennially waiting for the next crisis is no way to live.
He wanted to solve every problem before it even occurred and that’s why he wanted a ‘suit of armour’ around the world. The kernel of his approach—to always be prepared—was proven right in the long run, but his methods almost always ended up creating more problems than they solved (such as Ultron).
On the other hand,
Steve was a consummate soldier who not only lived in tough times, but grew up as a weakling who was always bullied. His entire life was about dealing with different kinds of threats which made him tough. He knew that there was no point in trying to solve a problem before it cropped up and his solution was to deal with every crisis when it occurred as a team and as a family.
An even bigger difference between the two, which was mentioned in the first Avengers film itself, was that Steve was always willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good while Tony was always a bit reluctant to. This was a direct result of the radical differences in the way these two people had experienced the world.
The Avengers came together
Naturally, Steve found an ideological soulmate in Natasha Romanoff, who lived a life even harder than his and understood the need for sacrifice for the greater good. Despite all their differences, the Avengers came together in Endgame when it mattered the most because they knew what was at stake. Tony, who had managed to build himself the life he always wanted, finally understood the value of sacrifice and gave it all up just to save the world.
This embracing of an idea that a teammate and friend believes in is the reflection of what we desperately need in the real world. In the time of a global health pandemic that’s causing hardships to the most vulnerable sections of society, there is a serious need for people to embrace the idea of a government that meets its responsibility of ensuring that no one should have to become homeless, jobless, and live in a state of perennial financial anxiety.
Those performing the most essential services for us need to be elevated in society and their labour should be attributed immense value.
Endgame’s message is enduring because it speaks of unity in the phase of adversity. The scene before the final battle with Thanos is arguably the most powerful one in the history of the MCU so far.
Steve Rogers, willing to fight Thanos and his armies with every fibre of his being and sacrifice himself, suddenly finds that virtually everyone who has ever interacted with an Avenger—including people he has never met—comes to his aid. Tony’s final act is to sacrifice himself for the greater good.
Today, we can watch it as just a fun film, but we can also look deep into the actions of these heroes and realise that what they did needs to be done regardless of what our personal politics have hitherto been because politics divorced from basic human values like kindness and compassion is the politics of genocidal fascists like Thanos.
Written By— Bhaskar Chawla