Welcome to the 2019 CIRCUIT CONSIDERATIONS series. Highlighting the very best in film, acting, and technical achievements for the past 12 months that awards voters may need help remembering. Each day a different writer will make their plea for a specific film in a respective category. If you miss one, click the tag “Circuit Considerations 2019,” and if you have some suggestions, include them in the comments below!
In the Oscars’ ninety year history, comic book films tend to make their greatest impact within the technical categories. Whether it is making Christopher Reeve fly in “Superman” (1978) or turning Chicago into Gotham for “The Dark Knight” (2008), these films create award worthy worlds where reality is suspended and imagination reigns.
In the last two years, the Oscars have recognized two films in categories once thought unattainable to the comic book film universe. “Logan” (2017) told the final chapter of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine saga. The film received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. This is the first and only superhero comic book film to be nominated for writing. And last year, “Black Panther” shattered the norm with seven Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture of the Year.
It would appear that Academy members are softening to the idea that these films are not simply markers of technical achievement, but are worthy contributors to the art of filmmaking in all its facets. Just because a movie’s hero wears armor, does not lessen the story’s words or legitimacy. With this in mind, Academy members should consider nominating Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” for Best Adapted Screenplay.
A nomination for “Avengers: Endgame” is a long shot. The film is facing stiff competition from the likes of Greta Gerwig’s retelling of “Little Women,” as well as Steven Zairian for Netflix’s “The Irishman.” But screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have managed to achieve something very unique within the Marvel Universe. It is one thing to tell an individual story revolving around a single hero. Or even to get a whole group of them together to tell a single story. But Markus and McFeely have managed to do both- at the same time.
“Avengers: Endgame” is a culmination of eleven years and twenty-two Marvel films. The storyboard for this series must have been massive. Each film leading the audience ever so meticulously to this final bow. And what a bow it is. Markus and McFeely beautifully wrapped up a decades worth of storylines. Their efforts created a film that is smart, funny, gripping, heartfelt and somber.
“Endgame” begins with the human race settling into a new norm after the Avengers were unable to prevent catastrophe in “Avengers: Infinity Wars” (2018). Those left behind must come to terms with their heartache and guilt in order to determine what comes next. Handling loss is part of the human experience. And for a large chunk of the film, “superhero” takes a back seat. The audience simply watches a group of friends deal with immense grief. Through the dialogue, Markus and McFeely humanize these larger-than-life characters. Although the stakes and tensions are high, love and respect are the driving force behind every character’s motivations and actions.
Audiences first look into the Marvel Universe came in 2008 with “Iron Man.” The film’s star Robert Downey Jr. closed the film by abruptly announcing, “I am Iron Man.” That one line set this entire intertwining series into motion. In “Avengers: Endgame,” Markus and McFeely bring the story full circle. This time, when Downey Jr. says “I am Iron Man,” chills ran down my spine. The audience’s reaction within the theatre was palpable. Because now, that one little line, meant so much more.