Avengers Endgame, set for an April 26 release, has in just hours broken previous records for maximum pre-booking of movie tickets.
The earlier record was held by Star Wars; The Force Awakens and Avengers: Infinity War. Overall excitement on what the latest offering from this super successful franchisee has in store is building up at a frantic pace.
The franchisee, which made $18.5 billion for its makers, is the most successful film franchisee ever with 21 movies already made and 10 more in different stages of production. However, viewers want more and more. Each movie has crossed $500 million, four have crossed $1 billion and Avengers: Infinity War became the first super hero movie to earn over $2 billion.
This blog of mine sums up what the series is all about and sets things in perspective for those who have followed the series while seeking to give an idea to those who have not but still wish to be part of the frenzy.
So here goes:
The origin is comic books published by Marvel Comics. Marvel studios came to us with the brilliant idea of creating a whole new Marvel cinematic universe based on these comics. Avengers Endgame is the 22nd movie in the series and culminates in what will be the end of the third phase of “The Infinity saga”.
Phase 1 began with Iron Man, one of the most successful movies of all time, one that gave the hugely popular Robert Downey Junior unprecedented success in the role of Tony Stark, a businessman superhero with a quirky sense of humour. Stark has an armoured suit with weapons, which he uses to protect himself and save the world from dangerous foes. Creator Stan Lee reportedly based the character of Tony Stark on American billionaire Howard Hughes. The other movies in stage 1 were The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger and the final movie of phase 1, The Avengers.
Each movie in this phase and, in fact, all phases have a purpose, which is to introduce us to a new superhero with specific powers and to bring them together where their powers can complement each other, since the foes are becoming more and more dangerous and powerful. The Incredible Hulk introduces us to Bruce Banner, who transforms into an enormous humanoid monster with superhuman strength when agitated. Iron Man 2 carries the Tony Stark saga forward and explores the conflict between him and the authorities, which want him to hand over his power to the government. Thor introduces us to Chris Helmsworth as the God Thor who has been banished to earth by his father Odin, with his godly hammer, which can be used only by someone worthy of it. Captain America: The First Avenger stars Chris Evans, who plays the role of Steve Rogers/Captain America, a young man whose potential is enhanced to the maximum as an experiment to aid USA’s war effort. The final movie in phase one is The Avengers where Tony Stark, Thor, Steve Evans and Bruce Banner come together to prevent Thor’s evil brother Loki from taking over the earth.
Phase 2 has six movies, the first three being one movie each of the maverick Tony Stark (Iron Man 3), Thor (Thor: The Dark World) and Steve Rogers (Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Movie 4 is Guardians of the Galaxy, where some new interesting characters are introduced such as Gamora, Root, Rocket and so on.
The leader of the Guardians is Quill (Chris Pratt) and Gamora is played by Zoe Saldanha. Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper provide voice and motion capture for Root and Rocket. Gamora is the daughter of Thanos, the most fearsome villain ever. The fifth movie in stage 2 is Avengers: The Age of Ultron and it once again brings together all superheroes who together fight Ultron, an Artificial Intelligence which wants to make humans extinct. The sixth and last movie of Phase 2 is Ant Man, which is the story of Scott Lang, who has a shrinking suit and can become the size of an ant and then expand very fast, at will. Once again, the overall thematic presentation is the same – introducing new super heroes and preparing the audience for future movies.
Phase 3 has nine movies. Captain America: Civil War, Thor Ragnarok and Ant Man and the Wasp tell us more about these three loved superheroes. Doctor Strange, the 12th movie, introduces us to Dr Stephen Strange, a brilliant neuro-surgeon who has amazing gifts such as time-travel, levitation, teleporting throughout the world and so on.
Popular British actor Benedict Cumberbatch plays the role. Phase 3 also has Black Panther, the first Marvel movie with a predominantly black cast and Captain Marvel, the 1st female superhero movie. After a deal between Marvel and Sony, Spiderman too entered the Marvel Universe with Spiderman: Homecoming. We have the second part of Guardians of the Galaxy movie in this phase and also Avengers: Infinity War, which became the fourth biggest hit of all time.
In Avengers: Infinity War, we see the rise to power of Thanos, a despot from Titan and father of Gamora. His belief is that the world is becoming over-populated and his intense desire is to acquire the power to re-balance the world by making half of the world disintegrate – with a click of his fingers. He indeed does that to the dismay of fans of the franchisee throughout the world.
This then is the backdrop to Avengers: Endgame. Will those who have disintegrated come back? Thanos has the kind of power never seen before. Will all super-heroes combine and complement their powers to defeat the Titan?
We will know all this on April 26.