Before I'd like to begin yes the spoiler ban has been lifted officially by the directors of Marvel's "Avengers: Endgame", so be warned as this article may contain some.
When you think of it, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around now since 2008 when it released its first movie, 'Iron Man'. As Marvel's first independently funded movie, it turned out to be a huge success; surpassing its $140 million budget by grossing over $582 million as well as ranking as the eighth grossing film of the year 2008. But even as early as 2008, Marvel had plans for future superhero movies besides 'Iron Man' and that would all come together form something bigger than just a few solo superhero movies. 'The Incredible Hulk' also came out that same year as 'Iron Man', however, was arguably less of a success with only grossing over $263 million. But due to the success of 'Iron Man', Marvel was not only able to create sequels to that specific hero's film lineup but to also fund later projects like 'Thor' (2011) and 'Captain America: the First Avenger' (2011) that would all lead up to 'The Avengers' (2012).
Of course, all of this wouldn't have been possible without the aid of Merrill Lynch, an American investing and financing division, who loaned Marvel $500 million before 'Iron Man' was even released. Thanks to the success, the loan didn't put Marvel into debt later on and actually helped fuel the cinematic universe we all know and love today. With 'The Avengers' being what the studio originally wanted the whole time, to combine and link together solo superhero movies into one massive movie, later on, it became a massive success grossing over $1.5 billion and ranking as the third highest grossing film of all time as well as of the the highest grossing film of the year 2012. 'The Avengers' included hero's introduced earlier to us, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, as well as Hulk, however, they even tied in two others being Black Widow and Hawkeye. Having that many heroes on one screen can be challenging, however, it was what Marvel planned on building up to ever since 'Iron Man' and fortunately it received massive acclaim amongst critics and fans alike. But unknown to casual viewers of that movie, in particular, was the end credits scene, which has become almost a staple for Marvel movies today, that showed the all-powerful mad Titan Thanos who was the real person behind Loki's attack on Earth.
The idea behind Thanos is arguably as ambitious as was introducing the idea of taking lesser-known heroes, making solo movies about them, and hoping they all succeed enough to create a movie combining them all together. Joss Whedon, the director for 'The Avengers', came up with the idea and ran along with it after having permission to do so but once having brought him into the focus it was then about how to channel future movies into creating Thanos as well as once again leading more future movies into one big finale. The Russo brothers, directors for both 'Avengers: Infinity War' and 'Avengers: Endgame' have done just that with the character as well, but it would take six years after the release of 'The Avengers' to finally reach 'Infinity War'; with sequel movies to characters such as Thor and Captain America as well as introduce more new characters such as Dr. Strange and Black Panther. In between the sequels and additional solo hero movies, there was a second Avengers movie, 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' and also a civil war between our heroes in 'Captain America: Civil War'. Each of the 18 films before 'Infinity War' not only gave us heroes but as well as showed us how they work together as far as dynamics go and really helped viewers create that sense of connection which ultimately helped in making these films the critical successes they are still to this day.
The amount of hype surrounding this movie when it was first announced was incredible to say the least. It's no wonder when you find that this film alone not only did better than "The Avengers", but on its own grossed over $2 billion. With the most insane ending this movie had, people were left wondering, "well since Thanos won, how are the Avengers supposed to win now?", and it is with that tension you create something even greater than itself. 'Infinity War' not only saw the including of every superhero that has had the honor to be in previous Marvel films but also had each one interact with one another in ways we never saw before. Whether it was Thor teaming up with some of the Guardian's of the Galaxy or Dr. Strange joining forces with Iron Man and Spider-Man; all each splitting up to in their own ways defeat Thanos before it became too late. What made this movie the most successful compared to the previous Marvel installments was not only was it the same ambitious energy that the original 'Avengers' had x10, but it also didn't have a throwaway villain. Thanos was amped up ever since 'Avengers' and when he finally made his debut he shocked all fans alike through his sheer power as well as his motives and how driven and understandable his character was. Nonetheless, when the proclaimed evil of the movie wipes out half of all life in the universe, you need a team to save the day and who better suited than the Avengers.
'Avengers: Endgame' was released this year on April 26th and if you have gathered anything about Marvel's movies yet it's that they usually outperform one another. With being the highest grossing film of 2019 so far as well as the highest superhero film and second highest grossing film worldwide, 'Endgame' delivered what every previous movie lead up to. The basic plot of the movie is this: defeat Thanos, bring everyone back. But how does one do that if Thanos, after wiping out half the universe, used the stones to destroy themselves? If you can't use the stones then they're gone? So seemingly, until Ant-Man makes an appearance in this film (after him and Hawkeye weren't to be seen in 'Infinity War') by coming back from the quantum realm on accident and introduces the idea of possible time travel with his incredible shrinking powers to Iron Man. Once Iron Man figured out the perfect equation for time travel it was to suit up the Avengers and travel back in time to retrieve the stones, make a makeshift gauntlet, and recreate the snap to undo what Thanos did. The movie runs for an amazing 181 minutes (three hours) and yet makes you feel so included in its plot as well as grips onto you emotionally that the run time of the movie feels less than that entirely. With this being the movie that ties everything together, it not only lets fans reflect on the past movies and where every superhero came from but as well as how they all got to know one another, become friends, form a team, and how through no matter what Thanos or anyone did to them or the Earth they were always to come back. To put it simply: the previous 21 movies leading up to a climax of epic proportions.
But with Thanos finally being defeated in 'Endgame', what is to come next in the MCU? People have already begun online discussing who the "next Thanos" could be while the MCU has already laid out a few future films for sure being made as well as numerous speculations on any other ones. One thing is for certain though, Marvel is an unstoppable force in the movie industry currently and it seems to no be going anywhere anytime soon.