April 26, 2019, a date that will go down in history. The world sat enraptured in reclining seats for 182 minutes of Marvel Cinematic Universe showstopping action, while I packed up my college dorm room and tried not to think about post-graduation plans. At 9:00 P.M. exactly, my best friend Nicolette texted me from the local AMC.
It was then I knew I wasn't going to watch Avengers: Endgame.
It's not that I wasn't a Marvel fan. One of my fondest movie memories is seeing The Avengers with my family for the first time at the only English-language cinema where we lived in Stuttgart, Germany. There was a resounding cheer when our city was shown being invaded by Loki, and we declared it the most awesome movie of 2012. Marvel marathons were still family activities long after we moved back to the States.
The only thing that ever got in the way of my fandom was my insatiable need for spoilers. So while Nicolette left Infinity War sobbing and bemoaning the loss of each individual dusted hero, I mainly just thought "well how are they going to get themselves out of this one?"
I read Endgame leaks and was generally intrigued. The only reason I didn't buy opening night tickets was purely logistical: the biggest weekend in MCU history was also the biggest weekend for me: I was overseeing the performances of a one-act play I had written, cast, and directed to cap off my theatre degree.
Nicolette's text clinched it, though. Infinity War was sad, so I expected Endgame, the movie that would solve all the issues Infinity War created, would be happy. That didn't seem to be the takeaway. So rather than put myself through more emotional stress on top of my already mounting entering-the-job-market stress, I took a new approach: radical acceptance.
I read that Black Widow and Iron Man are no longer and I just assured myself everything else would be okay, and everything would be as it was. I accepted that save a few actors needing to be written off, the arc of plotlines bends towards satisfaction, and I could just sit this one out. So I focused on my work, read the Wikipedia article, and moved on, knowing where things stood.
It worked, more or less. Months later, after I had graduated and moved back in with my family, we saw Spider-Man: Far from Home at a drive-in movie theatre in Beaufort, South Carolina. I had so much fun watching it, even with the absence of Tony Stark. In a franchise like the MCU, it's easy to forget that each of these movies can stand alone. All the parts of an enjoyable movie are there, even if you have to be caught up in voiceover beforehand.
Nicolette would joke with me later that I was more than happy to assume the Marvel universe would all work out in the end but I was terrified to apply the same knowledge to my own life. If I had done that, maybe I would have been able to suspend rehearsals and witness the movie the way it was meant to be seen: surrounded by fans.
I don't regret my choice, but, like a lot of Marvel enthusiasts, I'm starting to miss the characters I had come to love. So while everyone is waiting for Black Widow and The Eternals, I have an emergency reserve of Avengers stashed away, and it's time to break it out.
ALL WEEK LONG, INVERSE IS CELEBRATING THE ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF AVENGERS: ENDGAME, THE EPIC CONCLUSION OF 22 MARVEL FILMS AND THE BIGGEST BOX OFFICE MOVIE OF ALL TIME.