‘Endgame’: Marvel at this l Chuck’s World

By Chuck Sigars | May 01, 2019

I gave a friend a ride to the grocery store the other day, and while I was waiting for him to check out, I walked over to the DVD kiosk to look at titles. I never rent a film from one of these, but they’re good visual reminders of things I haven’t seen but meant to.

I counted nine films in this category, from the new “Mary Poppins” to the latest Clint Eastwood flick. Nine is a number that doesn’t make any sense to me in this scenario. It’s not a number I can work with. I’m never going to see all of these, because if it had been important I would have already seen them.

If someone had asked me, I would have gone to the theater to see one of them. Now I won’t, and it’s dumb to spend any time thinking about it.

I’ve been alive nearly 61 years and I’ve never seen all of “Gone with the Wind.” It’s fine.

There are reasons I’ve never rented from one of those DVD rental kiosks, one being that I’m sure I’d forget to return them (this is also, not coincidentally, my biggest fear when renting a car. Or a bouncy house).

The main reason, though, is that I just don’t rent movies very often. I follow them, read about them, pay attention to how well they seem to be faring and who is acting in them; I just don’t watch them, I guess, or not many.

I make lists of those I’d like to see, and then I don’t see them. I heard “Titanic” was pretty good.

I don’t really understand how this happened. I don’t think you can outgrow movies any more than you can age out of reading. And I don’t need to rent from a vending machine; the world is made for lazy people like me, who like to click and be watching in 30 seconds.

In fact, I think my lack of interest has technology written all over it. When I became old enough to choose my own movies, there weren’t any second chances. I either saw the film in a theater or waited years, perhaps, for a poorly edited version to show up on a TV network with a commercial every 11 minutes.

There was an imperative to commit.

Now, of course, my choice is just about timing and aesthetics. I either want the experience of seeing something on a huge screen with strangers, or I can wait. And the waiting time is nothing these days.

So I procrastinate and eventually forget, and eventually there are nine films I won’t see that I once considered.

I expect to survive.

And yet, I’ve seen quite a few movies lately. I watched two in a row last night. They’re all of the same genre, as were the last two films I saw in an actual theater, which is to say that somebody, at some point, is wearing a cape.

I’ve written before about my disinclination to get wrapped up in the Marvel Comic Universe. For one thing, I was never all that inclined. In 2008, I saw “Iron Man” because it had Robert Downey, Jr. and I like to watch him act. I honestly had no idea if Iron Man was an actual comic book character or had been created only for the movie.

I read comic books as a kid, but apparently not very often.

But I did get wrapped up. I don’t know how I could have avoided it, and I wasn’t trying to anyway. I saw all of the Iron Man movies. I watched “Captain America” and then the sequel because I have a little man-crush on the Captain, I think.

There’s something refreshing about moral absolutism in a contemporary movie, something that feels very much like Superman to me. There’s no angst, no tortured soul trying to make things right. Just a dude who volunteered because he wanted to beat the Nazis, and he trusted science to do right by him. If you can imagine such a thing.

So I’m not ignorant, just a little disinterested and overwhelmed. When “Avengers: Endgame” began to generate buzz in the past few weeks, I barely paid attention. This is a 60-hour story now, and I had maybe 15 of those under my belt.

There was no way I would walk into a theater to watch it, not without seeing a few films to catch up, and that seemed unlikely.

But this began to feel like a cultural milestone, with “Endgame” wiping out box office records already and generally getting very good reviews. I had a bit of a pull. A little tug.

Fortunately, people have written articles about this, about which films are necessary beforehand and which are not, and my son and I discussed this and decided to give it a try. I’d already seen seven of the films; we got our list down to about eight or nine more.

I still have to see movies I wouldn’t see normally. One of them apparently has a squirrel and a tree as main characters.

I can’t believe I’m a grownup.

But it’s something to do, and it’s doable. It’s a quest, let’s say, a quest for relevance and cultural awareness. Really, though, it’s just something to do with my son. We’re shooting for “Endgame” next weekend, and I think we’ll make it.

Does the tree have a cape? Never mind. It’ll be fine.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.