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Avengers: It really is the end

It’s a good way to go.

Eleven years. Twenty-two movies. And one blockbuster to end it all.

There were so many trailers. So many featurettes, interviews, promos. There were jackets and tumblers and mugs. Billboards everywhere. Standees in every cinema lobby. Every media outlet, blogger and fan had a theory or ten. And questions, so many questions. Could the Snappening be reversed? Which of our favorite heroes would die? How would it all end?

I ignored it all.

I watched two or three trailers, and ignored everything else. I walked into the theater with no expectations, no theories, no speculation. Only excitement, trepidation: a quivering in my heart in anticipation of tears and joy, in eagerness for what would inevitably be a spectacle to end an epic saga.

And I was not disappointed.

Eleven years. Twenty-two movies. I’ve seen them all.

I wasn’t a comic book fan—I didn’t even read comic books. But Iron Man happened in 2008. I didn’t know anything about the character, and I wasn’t a particularly big fan of superhero movies, but that one stuck. It was fun, it was quotable, and it had none of the hubris, the gloom and doom, the drama that permeated the X-Men movies. And Robert Downey Jr. was just irresistibly charming.

Over the years, what came to be known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe made its mark on my life—and in my geeky little heart. I fell in love with Captain America and his moral compass. I was awed by Black Widow and the steel in her heart. Hawkeye, I found uninteresting until Avengers: Age of Ultron where he became dad, hero, husband, friend. The love/hate relationship between Thor and Loki, the absolute trust between Nick Fury and Maria Hill, the amazing force that is Captain Marvel, the real world issues tackled by Black Panther, the humor and nerdiness of Ant-Man–the list goes on.

I didn’t grow up with these characters, not the way I did with Star Wars, but their stories filled me with joy and sorrow, excitement and anger. These characters navigated inner and international conflict, struggled with responsibility and retaliation, overcame history and adversity, discovered new worlds and unlikely allies.

All these stories, all these characters, everything came together and led to this: the Endgame. And it was glorious. It was everything.

If any of these movies ever meant anything to you, if any of these stories touched you in any way, if any of these characters caused a quiver in your heart however briefly, then Avengers: Endgame will truly feel like the end of an era, a fitting conclusion to an epic tale of many chapters, an apt ending to eleven years of… so many things.

You will cry. You will laugh. You will cheer at the top of your lungs and you will be awed and surprised. And you will say thank you.

I did.

Art courtesy of Jappy Agoncillo. You can find more of his work here and here.