A fan’s love letter to Marvel, Robert Downey Jr. and the Infinity Saga

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

By Dev Gupta

“This is it”, said Tony Stark in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR with reference to Thanos’ impending attack. He could have easily used the proclamation to declare the arrival of the ENDGAME; because this really is it - The biggest pop-culture event in History; the culmination of a decade’s worth of impatient anticipations and zealous exhilaration. Above all, it’s the culmination of a heartfelt journey and it won’t be an exaggeration to say that a generation grew up with these films! That makes AVENGERS: ENDGAME so much more than just a film - It is a closure to what has been an intrinsic part of a lot of people’s lives; and when the end credits started to roll, I found myself left with this agonizing sense of emptiness, a feeling of having lost something precious from my life. Nevertheless, what towers over this feeling of sorrow, is a cathartic influx of unbound joy for having been a direct participant in the celebration of these inter-connected films, while they unfolded. Decades later, when people watch the saga, they would travel back in time to this era; but I can gleefully say that I was there when Tony Stark stood on a dais and said, “I am Ironman”, and I was there when he said it again in ENDGAME! I was there to experience the ambition of Joss Whedon’s first Avengers movie, I was there to watch Taika Waititi’s wacky take on Thor and Hulk, I saw James Gunn turn a Raccoon and a humanoid tree into roaring crowd favourites, I rejoiced when a scrawny Steve Rogers turned into the muscular Captain America, I clapped like a toddler when Spiderman snatched Captain’s shield, I saw the mysticism of Dr. Strange, I cherished Tony’s fatherly affection for Peter Parker, I discovered Wakanda, I marveled at Carol Denvers’ superpowers; and in their victories, of makers, actors, films and characters alike, I felt the victory of nerds all over the world!

It is public knowledge that Marvel will continue to make films, there are going to be newer Avenger teams, quite a few years down the line, they might reboot it all; but this feeling of discovery, of realizing that Ironman, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow could all be brought together in one film and the feeling of living with these characters for over a decade can never be replicated again; because the INFINITY SAGA will always be the first of its kind. So wrapping up the saga with anything even slightly underwhelming would have been criminal; but one can indubitably say that ENDGAME is the perfect climax that this series of intricately interlinked films and these larger than life heroes deserved. A highly rewarding, albeit bitter-sweet ending to a long and exciting journey.

What made this journey all the more satisfying, were the lucidly well developed characters. The plots, the battle sequences, the CGI, were all crafted with great care and precision; but in the queue for being granted the uppermost significance, everything stood behind the deservedly overpowering characters; and we continued to get film after film with characters that we could relate to, look up to, get miffed with, lament for, rejoice with and most importantly, unabashedly love. While every MCU character has something of value to offer, I personally feel that Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are the greatest heroes of not just the MCU, but of our times. Between them, they stood for the right as well as the not so right, the Establishments as well as the Citizens, for might as well as frailty and for anger as well as love. Strip down their powers, and one would find two of the most flawed yet moral human beings. They represented the limitations of humanity; and that made their powers even more enjoyable to behold. ENDGAME is their film, and rightfully so. While I have always enjoyed and appreciated the work of Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr has been my most adored artist from the saga. He epitomized the brilliant casting decisions that the good folks at Marvel have always taken. For most superheroes, the alter egos mean precious little without their respective superhero versions. However, Tony Stark was as much interesting, if not more, than his armoured saviour avatar. This could only have happened because of the charisma and the razor sharp performances of RDJ. Again, it fills me with joy knowing that the story of Tony Stark as enacted by RDJ unfolded neither before, nor after my time. He was created for me and for many other devoted fans all over the world and we shall all continue to talk about and celebrate the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist right till we are all too old to even remember our own names! 

Watch our video review of Avengers: Endgame

Marvel can make another character don the Ironman suit, they can get another actor to play Tony Stark, but RDJ as Tony will never happen again, and that makes the INFINITY SAGA all the more unique. What’s commendable is that right till the very last minutes of ENDGAME, the makers stayed true to the character of Tony Stark and his story arc (Pun intended). The awe-inspiring action set pieces in the film (People are going to lose their minds when Captain America finally gets to say, “Avengers, assemble!”), which if I may add, will stay unmatched for a very long time for its sheer scale and audacity; the sensational narrative with its heady mixture of sci-fi and magic, Alan Silvestri’s goosebumps inducing background score and the phenomenal CGI worked very well in unison; but what worked best for the film was the way the characters of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers managed to find closure. This showed that Marvel cares about its characters and cares about the fact that we, the fans, care deeply about those characters too.

11 years and 22 films later, I can say sans any doubt that living this experience was and will always be extremely special and gratifying. So despite the heavy heart, I should like to thank Marvel for bringing joy, celebration and hope to this much troubled world. Thank you Kevin Feige, thank you Jon Favreau, thank you Joss Whedon, thank you Joe and Anthony Russo, thank you Chris Evans and from the bottom of my heart, thank you Robert Downey Jr and thank you Stan Lee. This was a nonpareil journey; and like the Avengers throughout their own journeys, your fans will always assemble!

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!

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