Michael Sangiacomo: Avengers preview

Photo courtesy Marvel Studios

Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans)

“Avengers Endgame” is almost upon us and, given the ridiculous amount of security surrounding it, it would be stupid to make predictions about the much-anticipated ending.

Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who grew up in Cleveland and were rabid comic book readers, have steadfastly refused to provide even the slightest spoiler to the grand finale of the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film opens Friday, April 26.

But Anthony Russo did say this in a telephone interview from California: “ ‘Endgame’ is the ending of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe that started with ‘Iron Man.’ It all comes together here, all of it.”

When asked about the post-Endgame Marvel Universe, he was emphatic.

“No, I can't speak to it,” he said. “I won’t give any spoilers. Joe and I want to make sure that people can have the full experience in the theater. As I said, this is a closure of the Marvel Universe, but with every closure there is a new beginning.”

As anyone who’s seen “Infinity War” can attest, there is not much of the Marvel Universe left after the end of that movie.

(Spoiler alert for the benefit of the seven people who have not seen it yet. What follows are some facts about the first film, Avengers “Infinity War,” which made more than $2 billion worldwide.)

In the 2018 film, the evil, godlike Thanos took possession of the six Infinity gems, which gave him control of everything: time, space, reality, the whole shebang.

Thanos believes the universe would be a better place with fewer people, so with all the power combined into a specially made gauntlet, he snapped his fingers at the end of the film and half the living creatures on Earth, and likely the whole universe, dissolved.

Among the heroes shown dissolving were Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Nick Fury and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Also gone were Hank Pym (original Ant-Man), his wife, Janet van Dyne, and their daughter, Hope Pym.

The survivors included the original cinematic Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. Also among the surviving were Rocket, Ant-Man (Scott Lang), War Machine, Captain Marvel and Nebula, who will take on Thanos.

Suspicious people have noted that the “survivors” included the big paycheck actors whose contracts were ending, so maybe they are really the ones on the way out.

“Keep in mind that there was a rift between Cap and Iron Man in ‘Civil War,’ that has never healed,” Anthony Russo said. “They did not reconcile in ‘Infinity War’ and that prevented them from working as a team. Perhaps that is the reason Thanos won. I’m not saying anymore.”

I don’t wish to challenge the director, but it seems to me after rewatching “Infinity War” that there was one pivotal moment: when that idiot Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) punched Thanos just as the other heroes were about to remove the infinity gauntlet causing Thanos to hold onto it in the confusion.

So, keeping in mind I’m just spitballing here, if someone were to travel back in time and stop Star-Lord at that precise moment, everything would change.

Also, there has always been a line between the cinematic Avengers and the classic comic book Avengers. The movie band has a lot more in common with “The Ultimates,” the Avengers of the Marvel Ultimate Universe, which has since been destroyed.

Perhaps “Endgame” closes with a shift from that universe to the more familiar Earth of the comics, known to comic geeks as Earth 616. That would allow new actors to take on the familiar roles of the expensive guys.

Again, I know nothing. Just saying.

Michael Sangiacomo, who wrote about comics and movies for The Plain Dealer for 30 years and is enjoying semi-retirement, can be reached at mikesang@aol.com. His entertainment column appears in West Life every other week.

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