There are no Avengers: Endgame spoilers in this post. Fine. Maybe a teensy one, and it’s at the end, so don’t read the postscript!
There was a moment at the beginning, somewhere between the umpteenth car ad (seriously, automakers must have thrown buckets of money at theatres to feature them before showing Avengers: Endgame) and me watching the last few people straggle into an already packed theatre, when I had a thought.
The Dark Knight Rises.
Remember that movie?
Remember 2012, when we were all filled with a similar sort of anticipation (and, in my case, fear that Anne Hathaway, already overexposed by her giant campaign to win an Oscar, would ruin everything) to see how Christopher Nolan would bring his vision of Batman and the world of Gotham to an end?
Remember when, out of nowhere, some gun-crazy maniac decided to come in, guns ablaze, resulting in the most horrific shooting massacre Colorado had seen since Columbine?
That was the thought that shot into my distracted brain in that darkened theatre on a Saturday morning, as I waited for Avengers: Endgame to start, idly watching the latecomers struggle to find their assigned seats, climbing over each other, some arguing with others who’d decided to claim a seat that wasn’t theirs. There were so many of us here, packed to the gills, it’d be like shooting fish in a barrel.
I started gauging the space between my feet and the back of the seat right in front of me, mentally practicing my crouch, eyeing the jackets of the ones still coming in, looking for a telltale twitch or suspicious bulge, some blank-eyed, soulless stare, excessive sweating, nervous scratching, something. Anything. If I was going to die, I didn’t want it to be in Cinema 9 of the Scotiabank Theatre, which wasn’t even IMAX because I’d refused to spring for it.
I get the craziest, most morbid thoughts sometimes.
Can you blame me? Places where people congregate aren’t the safest these days. Mosques. Churches. Schools. Clubs. Sidewalks. Nothing is guaranteed.
So I hoped against all hope that we would all be so united in our collective need to know what happens after Thanos snaps his gauntleted fingers and eliminates half of the Marvelverse, that the drive to find out what happens next would trump any drive to just unload a revolver into a roomful of strangers.
And you know what? It turned out to be one of the best movie audiences I’ve been a part of. Not a single child in sight. Not one squalling baby to be heard. No hecklers, no over-talkers, no armchair quarterbacks or rude, attention-starved, over-reacting d-bags. (Maybe they were all in the IMAX theatre.)
Best, and perhaps most deservedly noteworthy of all, there wasn’t a single bathroom break. Not a one. I don’t know if sales for adult diapers spiked in the days before Avengers: Endgame hit the theatres, or if a few catheters were put in play, but no one got up to pee. We sat there for the full three hours and two minutes and it was perfect. We gasped, we laughed, we choked back our tears, we held on to our seats and we sat in stupefied awe as we took in a fittingly glorious conclusion to an unprecedented comic book saga that took twenty-two movies and a staggering eleven years to complete.
And we loved it.
We loved it 3,000.
ps. you know who turned out to be the biggest hero in Avengers: Endgame, a movie that was all about big heroes?