'Avengers: Endgame' premiered a year ago. A whole lot has changed since then

The Marvel blockbuster premiered one year ago, on April 26, 2019, although just imagining people crowding into theaters, it surely feels a whole lot longer.
A lot, obviously, has happened since then. The anniversary finds Marvel’s cinematic universe in a holding pattern — along with the rest of the world — as coronavirus concerns have closed theaters and delayed major movies, including “Black Widow,” a solo prequel for Scarlett Johansson that had been slated for May 1.

As it happens, other alumni have fresh projects to entertain content-hungry fans sheltering at home.

Two “Avengers” co-stars, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, mark the weekend with new projects not in theaters, but via streaming services. Evans has produced and stars in “Defending Jacob,” a legal drama premiering on Apple TV+; and Hemsworth portrays a brutal mercenary in “Extraction,” making its debut on Netflix. The latter is produced by the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony, who directed “Endgame” and “Infinity War.”

A third member of the original squad, Mark Ruffalo, won’t be far behind, playing a dual role in an HBO limited series, “I Know This Much is True,” landing May 10.

Marvel, meanwhile, has shifted the timetable on its elaborate plans for its cinematic universe — and depending on circumstances, could again. For now, “Black Widow” is set for November, with “Eternals,” “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” now due in 2021, and sequels to “Thor,” “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel” in 2022.

Marvel isn’t for everyone, but no franchise has more reliably filled multiplexes in the eight years since the original “Avengers” became the first movie to cross the $200-million opening threshold.

'Avengers: Endgame'

When clips of the boisterous fan response to the movie circulated on Twitter this month — with whoops and hollers during key scenes, such as when Captain America catches Thor’s hammer — it reminded us of the communal sensation the film provided that has been temporarily lost.

Even watching the movie again at home, its themes feel particularly resonant right now. A team of heroes band together, making sacrifices for the greater good, and dealing with the grief surrounding those they’ve lost. Of course, there’s also the uplifting fantasy of undoing the past and saving the world.

It’s also evident how “Endgame” represented the culmination of everything Marvel had painstakingly built since launching into movies with “Iron Man” in 2008, interlocking its titles as each teased and built toward the next. Small scenes from earlier “Avengers” movies like “Age of Ultron” or “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” paid off in rousing, crowd-pleasing fashion.

Before “Endgame” opened, co-director Joe Russo spoke about Marvel’s communal aspect, saying in an interview, “It’s like a rock concert when you go to a Marvel movie on opening weekend. There’s an energy and an excitement there that you’re not going to get sitting at home. … There are people cheering and laughing and crying and following along with the story collectively in a way I don’t know you’ll see again outside of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise.”

A year later, the future has been clouded by a global pandemic. In terms of movies generally and Marvel parent Disney specifically, it has cast uncertainty over when entertainment consumers will again be able to safely assemble, and left many wondering if this ordeal will fundamentally alter the movie-watching equation going forward.

At this point, to reference an early Marvel comic, that’s a journey into the unknown. Yet it feels safe to say with some confidence that on the other side of this, people won’t have lost their hunger for shared experiences like “Endgame.”

source: cnn.com

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