I was at a game convention somewhere and a young lady was talking to me about Legend of the Five Rings and 7th Sea. Specifically, she was telling me about characters she loved and how her GM put those characters in their game so she could interact with them. She not only got to do that, but she got to save one of her favorite characters from danger. “That was amazing!” she told me.

“That was the point,” I said. “Make players fall in love with the setting, then put it in jeopardy.”

“But how do you make characters you know the players will fall in love with?” she asked.

I smiled and told her, “Because I fall in love with them.”

It’s a lesson I learned a very long time ago. Way back in the ’70’s when I was still in single digits, my father started watching the Wonder Woman TV show. And that’s when I fell in love for the first time. I didn’t fall in love with Lynda Carter—I have no idea who she is. I’ve never met her. But I did fall in love with Wonder Woman. Like I said, it was 1975 and I was only seven years old, so it wasn’t the fact that she was in that costume or that they put her in slow motion when she ran. I fell in love with Wonder Woman because she cared about people and put herself in danger to protect others. She was fair and just and, most importantly I think, merciful. Just one hour of watching Diana accomplished what my parents had failed to do with Jesus.

What Would Diana Do?

She got me into comic books, and from there, I discovered Spider-Man and Batman and Superman and the X-Men and…man, that’s a lot of men. And over the years, I’ve remained a Wonder Woman fan. I’ve always collected her comics, even when they stink. Fortunately, these days, they don’t stink. Since the movie busted box office records, they’ve put some money behind Diana with talented writers and artists telling her story. And to this day, I’m still a fan. I’m still in love.

But you didn’t come here for her. You want to know what that title is all about. All right, but from here on out, THERE BE SPOILERS. I mean it. I’m going to talk about the movie as if both of us have seen it, so if you haven’t, you’d better beat it. Scram. Get lost. Because I’m talking about the movie in 3…

2…

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and before we get there, let me say this: just because I didn’t like something doesn’t mean you’re wrong for liking it. It doesn’t make me a better person than you, it doesn’t make you a worse person than me. I don’t like asparagus. I know they’re good for me and I know people love them, but I don’t. Doesn’t make me anything other than a person who has different tastes than you. So before you go off on me for not liking something you did, just remember, there’s probably something I adore (Big Trouble in Little China is the Greatest Movie Ever Made) that you think is cheap rubbish. And that’s okay. That’s why there’s 31 flavors of ice cream. This essay is about my feelings, not yours. I’m not telling you whether or not the movie was good or bad or whether you should like it or hate it. That’s up to you. I’m not trying to convince you of anything. This is how feel. Keep that in mind over the next few paragraphs, okay?

Resuming countdown.

2…

1…

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and fuck you, Marvel.

I was having a great goddamn time watching your movie. I mean, a great goddamn time. I did not like Infinity War. Just did not like it. Mainly because I walked out of the theater saying, “Well, the rest of the world is about to discover what comic book fans have known for decades: death means nothing in the Mighty Marvel Universe.”

Quick joke. Jason Todd, the second Robin, dies at the hands of the Joker and heads off to Heaven. There, in front of the pearly gates is St. Peter with his fiery sword and St. Peter says to Jason, “You lived a hero’s life and you died a hero’s death. Welcome, and be at rest.”

And just before Jason walks through, he looks to the side and sees a revolving door. You know, the kind that’s in front of hotels and stores. Jason looks at St. Peter and says, “Hey, what’s that?”

St. Peter sighs. “Oh. That’s for the X-Men.”

(Joke addendum: So Jason Todd goes through the revolving door instead.)

Lots of laughs, the room booms, I take a bow. Tip your waitress.

And in the meantime, fuck you, Marvel.

Another joke.

Hawkeye and Black Widow are on the cliff and the Red Skull says, “You have to make a sacrifice.”

“What kind of sacrifice?” the Widow says.

Red Skull tells her, “You have to sacrifice the token woman in your Marvel franchise.”

Crowd boos. Aw, was that too soon? Yeah, it’s too fucking soon for me, too.

I fell in love with Black Widow back when she was showing up in Daredevil comics, so don’t you fucking tell me “too soon.”

How about this. How about the fact that I was really enjoying the movie. It seemed like a celebration of everything the MCU had accomplished so far. I was loving it. And I mean loving it. I was laughing. I got choked up a couple times. They had me, right there, in the palm of their hand. An incredible job of storytelling. I’m having a blast.

And then, Hawkeye and Widow go looking for the soul stone. And I’m thinking, “Maybe this is where they save Gamora.” And I was excited.

And then, everything stopped. All that celebration and fun just stopped fucking dead in its tracks. Hawkeye and Widow spend a minute or so fighting about who gets to throw themselves off the cliff, making the sacrifice.

And right then and there, I think:

Oh…one of them sacrifices themselves to get the stone! And the Red Skull says, “Nobody’s ever done that before! Here’s the stone and you both get to live!

This is going to be awesome! Because love saves them both! That’s gonna be—

Wanna hear a joke?

That’s not what happens. Widow sacrifices herself while Hawkeye is crying, trying to hold on to her. And she pushes herself off the cliff, and she falls, and there’s a glory shot of her being dead at the bottom of the cliff and Hawkeye wakes up with the soul stone and cries.

That’s the joke. And I’m the butt of it.

Crowd is dead silent. No sound. I’m standing on the stage, looking like an idiot.

From that moment on, it didn’t matter what Marvel did. I hated this movie. Sure, I loved the first act and the first part of the second act, but they fucking killed Natasha when they didn’t have to. When they had an out. A simple, easy out that follows Storytelling 101: Heroes break the rules and that’s how they win.

Let me say that again:

HEROES BREAK THE RULES AND THAT’S HOW THEY WIN.

“Dormammu…I’ve come to bargain.”

Remember that? Remember how awesome that was?

Remember Captain America believing his friendship with Bucky was stronger than Hydra brainwashing?

Remember Star Lord’s dance off?

Heroes break the rules. That’s how they win.

Marvel could have done it. They didn’t. Nope.

And it got worse from there.

Quick story. I was with a party when I saw Captain Marvel. Three women in the party all came out of the movie with the same thought: “I can’t wait to see her kick Thanos’ ass.”

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but that doesn’t happen. In fact, he swats her away like a bug.

Like a bug.

So, that cathartic moment? You don’t get it. Hahah. Neener, neener. I can just imagine all the internet trolls laughing about that moment right there. They’ve probably got it on slow mo, watching it with one hand on the mouse, hitting “rewind.” Assholes.

And don’t get me started on killing Tony Stark. Because that just means I’ll have to come to your house, Marvel, and burn it to the fucking ground.

(Not literally. That’s a metaphor. Or maybe just hyperbole. A hyperbolic metaphor. Yeah. Something like that.)

Tony Stark dying doesn’t mean anything to Tony Stark. He’s dead. It’s his wife and daughter who have to live with that. So, fuck you Marvel for making that little girl who was so awesome an orphan. Because you couldn’t write an ending where Thor and Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel and Spider-Man and everyone else Thanos killed hold him down, beat the shit out of him, cage him, then make him watch as you return the stones back to their proper time lines while he sits in prison for the rest of his…oh, yeah, immortal life. Can’t have that ending. Instead, we’ll have Tony murder a few thousand people.

And hey, Tony didn’t know that Gamora has a good heart, did he? She’s on Thanos’ side, and he murdered everyone on Thanos’ side, which means TONY STARK MURDERED GAMORA, DIDN’T HE?

Didn’t think about that, didya?

Mass murder isn’t what heroes do. It’s what villains do. And maybe that’s why he had to die. Because in the end, Tony Stark chose murder to solve their problem. Fuck you Marvel.

I loved-loved-loved the first half of this movie. And I hated-hated-hated every bit of the second half.

So, fuck you Marvel. Fuck you for giving me a character to fall in love with, then fuck you for giving her a stupid death that doesn’t make sense with the rules you created.

[REDACTED] Died For Your Sins: A Reflection on Avengers Endgame

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