Beware. Spoilers below.
Eleven years ago, I walked into a movie theater to see a new Marvel movie. Iron Man was never one of my all-time favorite characters but, as a lifelong comic book fan, I would always go to check out the latest movie adaptation to see how these characters would be brought to life. And I had heard that this was a good one.
Little did I know that walking into that one little movie was the start of a decade-plus adventure with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For the last 11 years, I’ve made the pilgrimage to the movie theater multiple times a year to catch the latest entry from the MCU. I’d usually walk to the Uptown Theater, a great, old, art deco theater with a big curved screen and a balcony (not always though; I saw “Thor” in Bethesda, Maryland and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in Georgetown). Typically, I’d take a day off from work to catch the first matinee’ on opening day.
Over those years, I became enthralled with the MCU. The amazing mixture of humor, sadness, adventure, and excitement always kept me coming back for more. And to see it with a cheering, laughing, and crying crowd made it even better.
But it was more than just entertainment. Seeing an MCU movie was like visiting with old friends. It was comforting and welcoming, regardless of what was happening in my life. And I couldn’t wait for the next one to have that same feeling once again.
Like most everyone else, I was once again anticipating the next MCU movie “Avengers: Endgame.” But it wasn’t until I saw the trailer above – and had an unexpectedly strong emotional reaction to it – that it really hit me that this movie would be the end of an era.
Sure, there will be more great MCU movies to come. The next Spider-Man movie opens in a couple of months. Sequels to “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Black Panther,” and “Doctor Strange” are on their way. And we know the Fantastic Four and X-Men are coming to the MCU eventually.
But it won’t be the same. It won’t be the same without Tony Stark’s quips. It won’t be the same without Chris Evans’s earnest portrayal of Captain America. It won’t be the same without the camaraderie of the Avengers. It just won’t be as warm and welcoming as it has been for the last 11 years.
So, while I will continue to make the multiple times a year pilgrimage to see the latest offering from the MCU, it simply won’t feel the same. An era is over. A new one begins.