If you yourself didn’t actually cry while watching Avengers: Endgame for the first time, then maybe one of your friends did. Really, my Facebook feed has been lit up by people saying they “needed all the tissues,” or by those posting photos of themselves following a thorough sobbing.
Truth be told, it’s understandable for folks to let loose the waterworks because we’ve all grown highly attached to these superheroes in the past eleven years. Sure, they’ve all been on the printed page for quite some time, but something is added to the mix whenever the right actors portray these characters onscreen.
If anyone is to be a chief example, it’s most assuredly Iron Man. After all, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance in 2008’s eponymous film not only kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it helped raise Shellhead from being a C-lister to a household name.
Given that, I found it fitting how the story began and ended with him, as Tony Stark made the ultimate heroic sacrifice in order to take down Thanos and his army in Endgame‘s unforgettable third act. Unsurprisingly, directors Joe and Anthony Russo sought Downey’s approval before pulling the trigger, with Anthony telling The Hollywood Reporter the following:
“We did pitch Robert his arc because he kicked off the entire MCU. The Tony Stark arc is the longest and perhaps fullest in the MCU. Once we decided we wanted this kind of ending for the character, we certainly wanted to make sure Robert was comfortable with it, just because of his enormous contribution to the MCU. We did pitch it out. We went over to meet with him and we pitched it out to him.”
Well, it was inevitable that Downey exit at some point because it’s rare for an actor to stay attached to a franchise forever, but he eventually saw things the Russos’ way after they provided some convincing. Here’s what Anthony had to add:
“A lot of the actors are not opinionated about what we do. They like the fact that we are sort of in control of these stories and we are driving where they should go and we have a vision for where they should go and they trust in that. I think Downey may have had mixed emotions about thinking about [where Tony Stark ends up in Endgame], but I think at the end of the day, he totally accepted it.”
In my view, both Iron Man and Captain America’s journeys came to beautiful endings in Avengers: Endgame. Yes, their respective sendoffs were very different from one another, but I’m sure we’ll adjust to the new status quo before long.