If you are a human being who leaves your house and interacts with people, there is a fairly large chance you’ve at least heard someone express some excitement about the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe installment “Avengers: Endgame.” I’m not here to try to spoil anything, or even try to convince the skeptics why they should see it. This is the sort of movie that if you haven’t already been a fan, it might not be your thing. If you are a fan, you’ll for sure enjoy it.
This series of films has resonated with audiences so well for tons of reason. They’re fun, modern epic myths that occasional make the Iliad seem like the story of a backyard brawl in comparison. And generally they are all perfect “popcorn” movies. But one underrated thing that the MCU has consistently done well, especially in Endgame, is elevate and even normalize deep friendship. In a culture that I think can sometimes be plagued by surface relationships and statistics that show loneliness to be an epidemic, I think a grand epic movie that actually puts its friendships at the forefront over its romances is refreshing and even countercultural. In the MCU, friends sacrifice for each other just like you’d expect, but it’s not all stoicism or tough guy warrior schtick. It's also offering sandwiches, telling the truth, being vulnerable, playing paper football, not letting anyone give up, and in general not being afraid to say that people mean something to you.
Stereotypically at least, male friendships can often be extremely fraught with the surface level, “we just do things together” kind of relationship. But that’s not so in the MCU. These male friendships contain conflict that gets worked through, mentorship, and integration into makeshift families. Yeah, Endgame is still a movie with tons of quips and crazy super hero antics. But it's also a window into something most of us want. Friends who become family. Friends who work hard to pull us out of uhealthy ways, guilt, or depression. Friends who would do just about anything to save us. Pretty deep stuff for a movie with a purple CGI villain.
Strange Perspective is a weekly look at all things pop culture by Progress columnist Rachel Strange.