Endgame is an undeniably popular film. Concluding a twenty-two film run of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies featuring home comic book names like Iron Man, Spiderman, Thor, Captain America, the Hulk, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Endgame has the accumulated attention of multiple franchises supporting its monumental box office numbers. It is the largest-grossing superhero film of all time and is the capstone on the MCU cinematic project. Endgame is built on the success of Marvel perfecting the formula of the superhero film as a live-action cartoon; aside from cringeworthy moralizing moments, Endgame is a largely superficial film that is coldly calculated to appeal to the widest possible market. Unlike Nolan’s Bane, Batman, or Joker, who staged conflicts of metaphysical ideals which they embodied as individuals, the super-dupes of Endgame fight a quantitative battle for a quantitative worldview (“You killed trillions!”), and as individuals amount to little more than gimmicks and backstories.
Five years have passed since Thanos finger-clicked half of all living things out of existence using the MacGuffin Glove. Western society (I hesitate to call a status quo, a marketplace, and a wealth redistribution system a “civilization”) has fallen apart at the seams, neatly ignoring the rules of supply and demand (for a brief, shining moment in the early Trump regime, deportations of illegals caused construction workers’ wages to sharply increase in some places ). Everyone has the mopes and is wallowing in self-pity, holding little get-togethers about how they managed to have a date since The Snappening. Leaves blow ominously down streets. Like Star Wars and Doctor Who fans, these people just haven’t moved on. The Avengers themselves are hit hardest by the sentimentality, basking in the misery that their unstoppable plot-force hit a Thanos-shaped immovable object.
Thor actually beheads Thanos in a strop, for all the good it does them: absolutely none. Only Iron Man escapes relatively unscathed, managing to keep his family by dumb luck. Once it’s established that they’re otherwise washed-up losers who should be put out of their super-jobs, Ant-man discovers time travel by popping out of the Quantum Realm five years after the Avengers team took the L. Iron Man and Nebula only survive by the power of Captain Marvel (aka Carole Danvers, a painfully over-ordinary name), whooshing about in space and returning them with apparently no real effort, in yet another attempt to cajole Marvel fans into caring about Brie Larson’s career. Larson’s aloof, aggressive sass (bitchiness), both onscreen and off, is deeply unpleasant and a let-down to male fans who will, once again, have to search further afield for wonderful waifus.
Bruce Banner has gone to a meditation retreat and managed to Hulkify himself without the Chimpout rage, so is now in essence Shrek, uprooted to New Yawk. The transformation to mild-mannered, Big and Green Bruce Banner makes Hulk a casualty of Marvel’s Modernizing; all the wind has been sucked out of this character and, like Infinity War before it, Endgame reduces Hulk to impotence. In one scene, Bruce, via the power of Timey Wimey Quantum Tunnelling, witnesses his past self in Hulk form Smashing firsthand, and can only cover his face in embarrassment. “HULK SMASH!!!” is out, Hulk self-consciousness and shyly imitating his more virile self is in. Where Hulk has animal rage, Bruce has temperance and concern. Hulk’s appeal was that his overwhelming strength gave him the ability to Smash without inhibition, and that with Hulk hands, every puny mortal looked like a nail for smashing in. Really, is there a point to buying Hulk gloves anymore?
Thor has fared little better. The God of Thunder has withdrawn from the adult world and is drowning his sorrows in Asgardian beer. MCU Thor has always been a character Marvel intentionally undercut by insecurities, in order to give his character “depth.” His development comes in the form of him finding his mother for a little heart-to-heart; she tells him that it’s best to be the people “we are” rather than “who we are supposed to be.” This is cutting down the Yggdrasil world tree of aspiration towards a higher calling; Thor is “supposed to be” the King of Asgard, yet instead of recognizing the weight of this solemn responsibility and stepping up to the plate, he considers it beneath him – it’s not “who he is,” which turns out to be a boy who has yet to learn to quell his self-doubt off the field of battle, the only place where the producers allow his masculine power to flourish. Thor hands the Kingdom of Asgard to a negress who we know nothing about. Wakandans, of course, maintain their racial sovereignty; Scandinavians not so much.
Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye or “bow and arrow” guy for casual viewers, is recruited by Black Widow (the sulkiest and most grief-stricken of the Mopers) in the middle of a vigilante murder-spree. Hawkeye is busy slaughtering Japanese Yakuza over such-and-such moral transgression. We are expected to celebrate their deaths, because they are implicitly gang members, and also because they are Japanese. For some reason, Hollywood executives seem to view the Japanese as White People II: The Return of the Oppression, most likely on account of their nice, the well-ordered Japanese country being run almost solely for the benefit of nice, well-meaning Japanese people.
In presidential megalomania and wartime misdeeds, America has historically demonstrated an almost fanatical bloodthirst towards the Eastern peoples – they view life through the lens of tradition, established theocratic hierarchies, and civic duty, which strongly contradicts the bloodless ideals of American progressivism. Hawkeye murdering Japanese for no other reason other than being consumed with anger over the loss of his family is a reflection of Batman’s questionable mental health and desire to punish criminals, integrated with the arrogant American ideology that freedom must ring, dammit, regardless of where, when, or how much blood needs spilling in liberation (at least the Chinaman Batman extradites was meddling in American mob business).
The remaining Bazingas – Iron Man, Captain America, Rocket (the Racoon), Antman, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Nebula, and Bruce Banner – form a rescue squad and get a time machine up and running lickety-split. They zap backwards to get the MacGuffin Stones before Thanos can get his mitts on them. There is a lack of moral seriousness; despite having one shot to save the entire universe from annihilation, these super-clowns can’t stop slacking off, making chit-chat, and generally not being where they’re supposed to be. For the children who wanted to be like such-and-such superhero when they grew up, now, as Boomers, they can find that that person has been transformed into a goofball.
The bulk of the film is dedicated to the time-heist, which gives Iron Man a run-in with his father, and Thor the aforementioned chance to get a reassuring pat on the head from Mom (don’t worry about the Kingdom, sweetie, I’m sure it will take care of itself). Captain America tags along with Tony Stark and catches a glimpse of the sweetheart he left behind. The America they visit is mostly pre-diverse, but still has the usual brown suspects gumming things up. On one hand, America’s “white supremacist” past is continually invoked as a phantom; on the other, we are told this white utopia never existed. In Endgame, Captain America actually flees there once the heist is over, like a white-collar worker having scraped together enough to move to somewhere with “better schools.”
Female empowerment permeates Endgame, a film nominally about male superheroes. The aforementioned Hulk, on his stone-recovery mission in New York, meets Dr. Strange’s forerunner: a Sorceress dressed in what appears to be an orange Buddhist monk outfit. He announces he doesn’t have time to fool around and approaches her with the intention of grabbing the stone with overwhelming force, but alas! She uses Wiccan Catlady Magic to Force-push an ethereal Bruce Banner out of his Hulk body. Only in comic book movies can an anemic, childless liberal woman casually repel the assault of a testosterone-fuelled man.
This “Ancient One” is played by the slightly freakish Tilda Swinton, who has a physiognomy that reflects the ridiculous naïveté of the liberal worldview: widely-spaced, large eyes indicate a childlike sensitivity and concern for others, yet they are set very shallowly, leading to a complete lack of introspection and a totalitarian desire to eradicate anything but the safely inclusive. Her baldness and outfit borrowed from a different culture validates the idea that since liberals abdicate any sense of ethnic belonging (and by extension racial or gender identity, except in the purely negative sense of “challenging” gender “norms”), they can only construct superficial identities by loudly approving of Left-wing causes and consuming a pick and mix of “world culture” (like Lao She’s Cat People, they are simply making a commotion). Women in Hollywood movies are superior to men in doing what is traditionally male or are purely matriarchal – like the new, black and female, intersectionally diverse Queen of Asgard. The closest they come to reality is being one half of a “power couple” and inevitably in charge of men in the workplace.
This formula is adhered to so closely that it becomes farcical. Black Widow, in a long-winded and complex fight scene, actually duels with Hawkeye for the privilege of throwing herself off a cliff for the cause (!!!). It’s so ridiculous and unwomanly that it highlights the failings of the superhero genre itself. The hero – in a story that stays close to reality – is often by necessity a masculine man, muscle-bound and cunning. The superhero by definition is extraordinary, and has an additional quality. This can enhance his masculinity in a particular dimension, or his special quality acts as a trump card that actually makes the need for what is genuinely masculine obsolete. In some cases, the genre downright satirizes men: Instead of having shoulders like boulders from hard work in the gym, the Thing in the Fantastic Four is literally a man turned into a giant, Pokémonesque rock creature. In the case of Black Widow (and countless other Hollywood action babes), the superpower of martial arts athleticism overturns the masculine need for bulk, muscle, and grit in dealing in violence.
In reality, soldiering is hard on the body and mind, requiring great reserves of toughness and courage; female soldiers go to pieces on the frontlines as their romanticizing of Womyn’s Empowerment meets the nasty reality of mortars and machine-guns (the success of female pilots aside, a society that puts potential mothers in easy reach of shrapnel and gunfire is not a sane or compassionate one). Hollywood envisions women as ragdolls to be battered around in comic book violence and offers a laughable fantasy of them being able to beat armed men in combat. The superwomen of the MCU are nothing more than whatever gimmicks the writers have dreamed up to make them unbeatable by stronger, tougher men; in Endgame, this rule is taken to its ridiculous conclusion, with Captain Marvel destroying an entire space-battleship without breaking a sweat.
Nebula, being a blue cyborg and not a pretty blonde, is easy prey for scriptwriters. Unable to talk in anything except an embittered hiss, she becomes a one-note clockwork character used by Thanos to snoop on the Avengers’ plans. Upon learning they are collecting the MacGuffin Stones ahead of him, he parks his space army on their front lawn to collect them.
This precipitates the titular Endgame, the final clash between Thanos and the Avengers in the conflict for the MacGuffin Glove and the fate of the universe. The climax is an orgy of computer-generated violence and a feast of unbelievable nonsense. Thanos, having realized that the one remaining half of life is not grateful that he enacted a Snappy Genocide on the other, reveals his true colors of pure narcissism. The charade of being driven by cruel Malthusian logic is dispensed with, and he says he’ll “tear the universe down to its atoms” and build it back up again, so he will be worshipped as an all-powerful creator. Sort of like Old Testament Yahweh, but purple, muscular, and an insulting caricature of the white working class.
Yet because Thanos is explicitly Right-wing – having previously championed the idea that there are more important things in life than facilitating endless population growth, and that ensuring a decent quality of life is one of them – he must also, by inviolable Hollywood logic, be led by these ideas into gross acts of inhumanity. Another inflexible Talmudic law of the big screen is that said inhumanity must be expressed as genocide on a blithering scale. Although Thanos’ face is square and rubbery, and not at all like our Uncle in his Kampfy Chair, the narrative is identical: What is stressed in the Thanocaust is the absolute power of Thanos, and the complete helplessness and innocence of the victims. To stage a conflict where the Snappening victims had agency raises the specter that Thanos’ acts could be a reasoned response to a provocation.
In fighting to uphold this paradigm, the Avengers are prevented by their prior reasoning from ever fulfilling their “fascistic” potential as comic book heroes. The Avengers always presupposes a villain that must be fought in favor of individual freedom; as such, they are incapable of a greater human meaning than a McDonald’s advert: full bellies are happiness, and those who would curtail our limitless consumer choice are Space Monsters with oversized swords and foreheads. Unsurprisingly and unconvincingly, it is the female super-dupes who are critical to saving the day because, well, just because. They’re stronger because they’re female and don’t need no (white) man.
As Iron Man is dying in a crater, the rejuvenated Spider Man (Tom Holland) repeatedly tells him, “We won Tony, we won!” But the Avengers and their crew have not won anything; they have merely beaten back an assault at great personal cost. To “win” is to seize, conquer, and take dominion; the Avengers have merely preserved a marketplace and consumer mass.
At the film’s close, Captain America uses the time machine to ditch his modern life and live in the suburbs of the 1970s, before America was more densely enriched. He returns as an old man. A Boomer to the end, he gives away his Captain America shield to a Negro member of the Avengers squad (one even Marvel film fans will struggle to recognize for prior lack of screen time). This new Negro (Anthony Mackie, playing “Falcon”) has no reason to care about America, Captain America, or the ethnic, religious, and cultural heritage of the country. What matters is that he’s a Negro, so Civil Rights Captain America can validate his Not Racist credentials and reassure the audience that this is “normal” white behavior. In another scene, the camera zooms out from Spider-Man whilst he is in civilian clothes in high school, returning to a “normal” life. He is being approached by his pal, an overweight, unattractive, slovenly-dressed Mexican. What would America be if it wasn’t for low-IQ imports crowding the schools and inner cities?
The multiracialist America peddled by Stan “Lee” Lieberman is utterly discredited. The Coalition of the Ascendant are clamoring for open borders, thus proving through their actions that non-whites view the complete erasure of whites from the North American continent to be a grand collective endeavor (to hell with them and their sentimental claims on a country they never built). Endgame encourages whites only to go meekly to their collective doom. I expected nothing less, because the MCU is made up of horrible films and the Avengers are horrible people. It is a good thing that Iron Man is dead, because the fewer of them there are to swindle and deform white audiences, the better.