Saying goodbye is hard. Even if you’re saying goodbye to fictional characters.
For the past 11 years, I have been watching and waiting for the latest Marvel film to release. I have spent countless hours watching Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nick Fury and countless others save the world time and time again.
With “Avengers: Endgame” releasing this week, I’ll likely be saying farewell to some of my favorites. It’s hard to let these characters go, but I can’t emotionally prepare myself when I don’t know who I’m saying goodbye too.
Of course, that doesn’t stop some from speculating. The internet is saturated with theories of who is going to make it or not and how “Avengers: Endgame” will tie up the infinity stones story arc that has been going on for more than a decade.
However, I will not be taking part. If others want to come up theories they can go right ahead, but I’ve been down that road before with “Avengers: Infinity War” and it was not the trip I expected.
(SPOILER ALERT: But if you haven’t seen “Avengers: Infinity War” by now, you probably don’t care about spoilers anyway.)
I remember sitting in the crowded movie theater as the film’s villain, Thanos, came closer and closer to reaching his goal of wiping out half the universe.
“How are they going to stop him now?” I thought. “They’re not going to let him win are they? …. Are they?”
I remember the gasps as people in the audience saw their favorite characters turn to dust. I remember one person behind me say “What the —?” as the credits rolled.
I was numb the rest of the day, and the day after, from complete shock. It’s ridiculous, I know; they’re fictional characters, they’re not real — but they were characters I’d watched for so long they felt real.
Part of the reason for my response was that no one had prepared me for this. None of the hundreds of theories of what Thanos would do, where the infinity stones were, and which characters would make it out alive were even close to being right.
I had seen no other movie in the superhero genre where the bad guy defeated the good guys so handily. The bad guy never wins. The closest he gets to killing the heroes is a couple of side characters and maybe one or two A-listers. But to have the villain kill off half a universe? It wasn’t done.
However, the most startling revelation was that Marvel Studios lied to us. Trailers and promotional art showed the Hulk, when the Hulk only appeared once. They altered material to stop spoilers from leaking. I felt betrayed.
Other times they didn’t exactly lie, but they let fans believe falsehoods without clarification. For example, I saw one interview in which Chris Pratt was asked how his character, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, felt about returning to earth, even though he doesn’t go back to Earth in the film. For some reason, the photos and trailers led people to believe he did, which prompted the question that he tactfully answered so as to avoid any kind of spoiler.
So going into “Avengers: Endgame,” as people speculate about how the good guys will undo Thanos’ fingersnap and restore balance and heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I will not be listening to a word of it. As trailers and photos are released, I will take those images with a grain of salt. As the film ends and the final credits roll by, only then will I know what characters to mourn. I am waiting for the film to answer all my questions. I will not turn to anyone else.
I’ve been burned before.