On Writing: The Paradox of Endings

I’ve just finished reading James Scott Bell’s The Last Fifty Pages and something in particular struck me about his analysis of endings…

The Last Fifty Pages: The Art and Craft of Unforgettable Endings by [Bell, James Scott]

that being the paradox of endings, at least for novel length pieces of work. You see, for the most part, if a reader has made their way all the way to the end of your book then you’ve succeeded. The beginning and middle have done the true heavy lifting of enticing and engaging your audience to deliver them to the final words of your story. Commercially they’ve bought your book (or never were going to) and artistically the reader has committed the time to your pages and characters.

And yet what do readers talk about after the book is over? I mean sure they’ll mention their highlights from the tale, but endings are what people mull over, discuss and debate and at times lambaste.

In my experience readers don’t typically appreciate the efforts of first pages, introductory acts or skillful handling of the middle of a novel – by which I mean they unconsciously enjoy the book, however they don’t put a book down and go “what about that cross-over to the second act?”

So whats going on here? Maybe its just recency, i.e. literally just the last bit of the book to stay in a reader’s memory, or perhaps its a cultural phenomenon to make a big deal about how a story ends.

I think the truth is something more complex. Endings are not just about tying up and resolving the lose threads of plot you’ve developed, nor are they just a writer trying to add a final flash to their prose. Endings I think are a final statement on the story, we all know that fiction can live a life of its own away from the writer, however an ending is like the author tugging on the lasso and bringing the story down to earth. “And they lived happily ever after” isn’t just a mildly cheesy and idealistic statement about post-fairy tale life, its a statement about the resolution of the story, which again paradoxically isn’t just a bold prediction that the characters lived out the rest of their days in happiness but also a statement about the rightness of the story and the characters that they tend lived ‘happily ever after.’

Imagine if you crammed “and they all lived happily ever after” in the concluding statements of classic Romeo and Juliet? I mean obviously there are some practical speed-bumps to this statement  (spoiler alert I guess) however it wouldn’t just be the fact that we know our leads are not even living that would put this ending at odds it would be the dissonance created by making such a statement about the story we’ve just heard. If Google is to be trusted the last lines of Romeo and Juliet are in fact:

“For never was story of more woe. Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

Almost the opposite of happily ever after right?

Just to be clear, my point isn’t about the very last line of novels, but endings in general.

While I think there is an awful lot to cover about endings (and an awful lot that could be covered by better writers than me!) I found this paradox of endings quite interesting. James Scott Bell points out that readers unsatisfied with your ending won’t by future books, however I find most writerly advice about endings focus a lot on the sort of ‘practical’ side as it were, whether plot points are tied up, whether the MC has learnt something and so on. These are super important elements to get your head around, however as always I like to use this blog to explore the odd and untrodden elements of fiction.

So in conclusion, I think endings are important for many things, but one particular strange aspect that writers often don’t talk about. That being endings are a final thesis statement reflecting on the rest of the story. Twist endings for example throw our perspective of the tale into turmoil.

Thanks for reading – what are your thoughts on endings?

 

 

Advertisements

On Writing: Thoughts about World Building

The truth is I’ve been thinking about this topic for ages, but avoiding it for equally long. This is because to be perfectly honest I don’t know a lot about the finer points of World Building and there really is a tonne of resource out there already from people wiser than I.

Image result for a planet being built

But in my usual style I do have some random thoughts and insights that I though worth mentioning.

A good start might be to discuss what exactly is ‘World Building’ and address an interesting controversy of whether all books contain World Building or whether its a specific technique typically present in certain genres but not others.

While World Building seems pretty straightforward and obvious as a term I think as story component it’s place is somewhat confusing. For me World-Building exists as an extended part of the Setting, essentially as in implication of what ‘the world’ is like outside of any given scene. That is not to say that World Building isn’t present directly in the scenes but its how it sits with the reader, and the sense of this is what the world is like.

An example to make my gobbledygook clearer – contrast two books with similar basic names: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Emma Donoghue’s Room. Almost every scene of The Road is desolate and horrible, and every effort is made to communicate that this is what the world is like now, so not only are individual scenes constructed to present this Setting, its strongly designed to create a sense of a world that is the same. In Room, the setting is a claustrophobic and horrifying situation where child and their mother are trapped in said Room. Part of the tension of the story is the unknown of the wider world, and the design of the story is not to imply or describe the wider world beyond the setting to maintain the intense feel of the setting.

What I’m trying to say is that different stories have different World-Building needs. Not every story creates a sense of the wider world within its tale, and this is OK but the way I would phrase it, is not that some stories don’t have World-Building but that the focus of the story is on the immediate settings of the characters, and the implications of the wider world are less significant.

So why is World Building considered so important for certain genres?

This is where things start to get really tricky. I’m going to start with Epic Fantasy as this is where people usually talk about World Building, but I think there are a few things going on. First of all I think there is a weird amount of pressure in the Fantasy Genre to ‘World Build’. This has created an unusual backfire effect where every author and their dog are trying their best to come up with the most epic world ever, kind of making World-Building a bit trite and overdone, in that way its almost just a trope for Fantasy, meaning that readers would find it weird if a Fantasy story didn’t contain World Building elements. Equally Fantasy tends to require World Building to support suspension of disbelief. Trying to tell a story of dragons and magic in the ‘real world’ creates all sorts of double takes. Harry Potter managed to pull off a World where the magic community existed in secret alongside the ‘real-world’ but I feel like it was a challenge.

But World Building isn’t just restricted to Epic Fantasy, Historic Fiction requires a different sort of World Building Technique, where the author communicates an authentic (but still purely fictional) sense of a past time. Even contemporary fiction creates a ‘World’ for us even if it is being sold as ‘real life.’

Some common pitfalls:

In discussing all that, I think its worth mentioning some common problems with World Building. The main issue being a contrary sort of positioning of this fictional element, you want to create a sense that your characters exist within a world, yet too much focus of the narrative on said world and not the action of the scene will often ruin both. For me the trick is about character reactions. The way that characters navigate the scenery tells the reader about the World. To go back to a previous example, Harry Potter’s reactions contrasted with his experienced friends helps create the Wizarding World for the reader. The way Gandalf teaches Frodo about Middle Earth as they journey through it creates a strong sense of World.

That said always recognizing what is harder to believe for the reader and planning how to introduce fantastical elements is super important. I’ll never forget a ridiculous fantasy story I was reading and eventually put down – there were numerous problems but one hilarious one was the author had set up a gritty Game of Thrones/Gladiator type setting where a couple of characters escaped a tyrant’s city. Once they were outside the city walls one character was like “right I’ll just call my gryphon.” Up until that point there had been no suggestion that gryphons or any other similar creatures existed in the world, let alone that the MC had one they could summon!

The previous example was about too little World Building but new writers often struggle with too much. Or in my opinion not paying enough attention to timing. Many authors attack their World Building in a logical manner starting their stories “In the beginning” (i.e. with the beginning of their universe) – I think this is in part why Prologues are somewhat of a dirty word in new fiction because of the tendency to dump World Building information into the start of the book. While a sturdy creation myth or fictional history is great to have underlying the stories within your world, its rare to be a useful part of the actual story you’re trying to tell. This may come as a a surprise to many who follow the Stereotype of Lord of the Rings but Tolkien’s classic doesn’t actually contain that much World-Building per se. Or more specifically the creation myths, explanation of character origins and so forth is relegated to the appendix, or the Silmarillon. The World Building that occurs in Lord of the Rings is what fits with the narrative of the story.

I’m waffling on a bit for the topic, I just wanted to hit one last insight which I stumbled on recently, and that is what makes a “good” (man I’ve overused quotation marks this post) Fictional World?

Most people will advise a great depth of construction of your World, but I have a different take:

A good fiction world is one that sparks the imagination.

While there is no doubt that Tolkien’s thorough creation of Middle Earth added to its appeal, I also think the World has a sense of many more adventures that could be had within it than just the stories told. Same for Hogworts or the Wizarding world of Harry Potter, while there is a lot of detail creating an authentic sense, the way of the world is built creates a feeling of there being more out there, more potential especially.

I’m not saying that good World Building means the opportunity for fan-fiction, its more that what is laid down in the story inspires rather than limits the reader’s thoughts. Even bizarre and simple concepts like Pokemon are super-popular because of the way the World can act as a template for more adventure. Again not necessarily advocating for endless sequels either, its more that the sense of the World for the reader creates fuel for the imagination. Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogworts, Even the Districts of the Hunger Games provide possibilities and potential beyond the exact story. I think often writers feel they have to precisely dictate their world’s in order to be acceptable and create a tight story, but my suspicion is as readers we’re willing to accept plenty of random and spontaneous stuff as long as the world feels alive and filled with possibility.

So that’s my thoughts – keen to hear yours!

On Writing: What makes a good series?

These are the best series, according to readers!

Recently I’ve just finished a couple of series that I first started about 10 years, ago and of which the first books of were some of the first books I ever reviewed online. Both were 5 book sequences and finishing them off got me thinking about what actually makes a good series.

First of all it might be worth mentioning some external motivations for series. I think that as writers we tend to be a little idealistic about series, feeling that not only are our characters delightful enough to warrant multiple books, but wanting that sense of a work being a part of something bigger. Novels aren’t typically just a flash in the pan, but there is nothing like a long running series to create a sense of something epic and significant.

In a similar vein traditional publishers are typically happy with a successful series. While a new author might be a risk to promise multiple book deals, a well selling series is a good investment, regardless of quality or art, its nice to have a steady source of sales based on name (author and titles) alone.

Regardless of the why we like series though, it thought it might be useful to consider what actually makes a good series:

Familiar but with something new:

Part of the key of a good series is striking a balance between offering what fans want more of, and having something novel within each story. While there is some argument that there are plenty of repetitive series out there that sell and sell (and sell), I would counter that the really striking books that stick in our heads and spark talking points in reading circles all over strike the right balance.

A good example would be Harry Potter. The series essentially grows up with Harry and the audience at the time. While each book contains familiar settings, and certain plots points, each book is also quite different in many ways.

For a counter example I would suggest Laurel K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. While some people don’t mind them, I think that the radical changes to content, and focus of the stories (if you’re unaware of the series it kind of starts of like Buffy with Guns, and is still going as 50 Shades of Grey with Vampires). That example is probably more of an abrupt shift in the series as a whole, but provides an example of not straying from the core values of the series.

Balancing Tensions

Probably the most challenging elements of series is mapping an overarching journey while still having compelling individual installments. I notice that a lot of long running epic fantasy series suffer from this, often having the lame fourth book, and for some reason always a ‘flashback’ novel.

I think the reason this is difficult is that its difficult to sell a tense novel when its set within a larger context of a series, like when they arrest a suspect within the first 15 minutes of the CSI episode and you know its not them, or it is them after they get let out though…

This could just be my stance on this, but I think the trick is avoid linearity, or at the very least avoid multiple installments on the same trajectory. Often I see writers take the risk of just divvying up the steps of the “heroes journey” or other scheme into multiple books, which can make things pretty stale. What I mean by avoiding linearity is to not make the whole series about one journey, for example even with the same MC Book 1 could be the more traditional hero journey, book 2 more about hubris and fall from grace, and book 3 about redemption. OR each book can deal with a different direction of the heroes journey.

Careful with Stakes

One of the most troubling elements of series is dealing with the stakes. In the MCU people are concerned (note I haven’t seen Spider-man yet) about how Endgame managed to create some of the most epic stakes ever, and how the universe can go on to still entice viewers afterwards.

Not all series reach such heights but stakes do get very challenging. Setting them too low might make an individual story dull (although could actually be one’s best bet) trying to ramp up stakes has multiple issues. First if you overdo it then people will haven trouble getting invested, once you’ve had the MC save the world its hard to get enthused about them saving the local community in the next book. This sort of applies to “this time its personal” stakes, although in this situation if you put the MCs love interest, then their mother, then their business partner in harms way it just starts to feel mildly abusive or something perpetuating the stories.

Also burnout becomes an issue (no not yours you silly writer, although could be a topic for another post), but for readers really believing that MCs have gone through XY and Z, often in short spaces of time becomes unbelievable, or rather unbelievable that they keep being the hero rather than a nervous wreck (note some series deal with heroes becoming nervous wrecks and I think that is super cool [not the wreckage the fact they address it])

The obvious solution to stake issues is to slow build, although this can sabotage individual stories within the series. The other trick is not to meddle to deeply with the actual stakes but exactly what they mean. For example having a villain in book 2 that isn’t actually that much worse than the serial killer in book 1 except its the MCs brother (ok cheesy AF I know but it shakes up the formula). Finally switching the type of stakes up, having global issues versus more personal ones, challenges that address different elements of the characters, different sacrifices that have to made, that sort of thing.

Ending a great series

This is a huge topic and possibly meriting and entire post in itself, I don’t really have all the answers as a writer, but can offer a few thoughts as a reader.

I think the best endings, perhaps somewhat obviously, have to deliver on the promise of the series. One of the reasons people are pissed at the GoT TV series is there was so much raised throughout the series that didn’t have any resolution. While there were some callbacks there wasn’t really a sense of tie in between the beginning of the story and the end. While an overarching question or thematic issue isn’t always possible there should be some sort of sense of a major question being answered. Like in GoT it would have been nice to have a better sense of did characters make the right choices, did they do OK? While some it was suggested as such there was a real sense of things weren’t terrible and the villains died so shows over alright? Not all series have one overarching point, but a good ending plucks a string of resonance that fits with the whole sequence. For example if Childs ever decides to resolve Jack Reacher’s story it should finish with something that fits (but fits I mean says something about not necessarily being super tidy) with his actions throughout the show. So if he settled down with a wife it was in a way that contrasted his nomadic ways and made sense in the story, OR say the series ended with Reacher sacrificing himself to save an innocent bystander, it was in a way that resonated with all his past actions.

Endings don’t necessarily have to tie up lose ends definitively, buts its always important to say something, to give readers a sense that things are supposed to be left open, or unaddressed or concluded as they are. Not saying spelt out just not neglected.

Speaking of endings that is about all I can think of for this topic!

 

What series do you think ended well (whether it be books, TV, movies)?

What do you think makes for a bad series, or a promising but ultimately disappointing one?

 

 

 

On Writing: A small thought on maintaining sanity

I think, for me at least, which means at least for one or two others, one of the challenges with writing, in particularly novels is the sense of there being many many “moving parts.”

Cogs in a machine by Ben Mcleish, via Dreamstime

That is to say there are really several (if not dozens) of elements to a novel that have to work together. I’m not just talking about multiple characters and scenes (although that is one major complication) but also ensuring that description grounds the reader, that transitions between scenes are effective, the individual prose is tidy and well balanced, tension is introduced and varies dynamically.

Anyway the point isn’t to raise those elements and stress people out, but just an insight I that it often feels like a writer needs to keep all of those elements in their head all at once. For example I often find myself settling down to write a passage, perhaps a straightforward scene and then find my mind wandering to various other elements the story will need – and before you know it my head is so wound up I can’t even start the easy scene.

I think there are two key parts to countering this sort of thinking. One is to accept that a novel is bigger than one’s own brain. 80-100,000 words of dynamic fiction contains a million different elements that its actually OK to not be on top of every second of writing, it’s OK to write a scene as a piece of a novel without encompassing the whole story in your working memory.

(don’t get me wrong as part of the editing process a writer will be going through their story and making it appear seamless)

And the other part is remembering that novels are not made of “moving parts” even though it can feel that way to the brain. What I mean is that words are static. Once you have scenes written, there they are. Sometimes I think a novel can feel like a festival or group project of some kind, where our brains are filled with all the different things that have to happen alongside each other. Now the experience of reading a novel might make it seems the same, but ultimately the words on the page are set. If you skip to page 200 of a story the same words are there, then if you read properly.

What I’m trying to say in my roundabout odd fashion is that to the writer who is midst story it can feel like the tale is happening in some sort of real-time and thus needs to be corralled, managed and kept in mind like an event. But this isn’t the case, its OK to ‘park’ elements of a story, or to just get what you need on paper (word processor) first without having to juggle all elements in your head.

Well just some thoughts anyway, possibly its only my brain that does this, but I would be interested to know what insights others have about not overwhelming themselves with writing?

On Writing: Is Courage a requirement?

I mean obviously it is for the writer!

Giclee Print: Wizard of Oz, 1939 : 24x18in

But I’m actually talking about Protagonists here. On an interesting Twitter poll in the last couple of days, someone asked about most important traits for an MC. Courage was the clear winner over intelligence, strength and beauty (I think those were the other options can’t find the darn link.)

The poll prompted some thoughts from myself. Not only could I not think of any Protagonists that were not courageous, at least in some way – whether it be socially, physically, emotionally or even internally, the only MCs that lacked courage were of course within stories about them gaining said courage. If This link is anything to go by, cowardice is generally speaking, a much hated character trait, and probably death on a main character.

Why is this trait so important? I mean when it comes to other aspects of people we tend to enjoy a broader range right? We like both heroes and anti-heroes, relate to klutzes, laugh along with doofuses (doofus’s? doofui?).

Yet we don’t tremble along with cowards…

I suspect there are a few elements to this trend:

First from a fictional point of view it ties in with our need for action. Whatever the faults of an MC, its commonly agreed that pro-active characters are a must, people do not like plots that consist only of things happening to a character. Granted this isn’t synonymous with courage or cowardice, however a certain degree of courage is needed for a character to take action, and cowardice stands as a potential barrier to said action.

Secondly, for a more controversial stance, I believe cowardice is in fact too relatable. I know we’re told many times to make characters sympathetic to readers, however I think cowardice, if not presented as a trait to overcome that is promised as part of the book’s progression, is just a little too cosy with our own traits. Let’s be honest, we all suffer fears, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say most of us have probably either done (or not done) something out of said fear. Now, this sort of commonality, could in theory be gold for fictional relatability, however its an uncomfortable reminder, the very definition of “commiserate.” We might like flawed heroes, but we still need them to be heroes and preferably not remind us of our flaws.

This idea does perhaps add another reason that Horror is a tough genre to write. We want scary content, but brave protagonists – so solve that one writers!

I think its a great tip that Protagonists, whatever they are doing, do so with courage, or on a journey to. Bear in mind as mentioned above courage doesn’t necessarily mean action star physical danger, it could be political, social, even just getting out of bed in the morning.

Ultimately it kind of remind me of a bit of psychological advice, its much healthier to focus on what you want, and try to obtain that, rather than what you don’t want and try to avoid. And it seems that is what we want in our characters too!

 

What are your thoughts on “courage”? Do you know of any MCs that are not courageous in some way, or do not fit the thesis above?

 

 

Game of Thrones: Doomed from the Start?

GOT SPOILERS!! Duh?

So I’m probably a fortnight too late to really catch GoT discussions etc, however for the most watched/analyzed and discussed show ever I’m having a bit of trouble actually saying something different, as people more smart, invested and with more time on their hands have already pored over the material.

GoT ending: a happily ever after, or an all in fight to the death? Game of Thrones. Memes. Love it cool and geeky!

I did have one insight though.

In case you’re reading this from under a rock many people are upset and did not like the final season of Game of Thrones. Complaints run from ruining characters, inconsistency, rushed plot points, and for the most part “bad writing.”

I’m not really looking to get into all of that, however I do have a theory about why the conclusion of GoT is so unsatisfying to many, one that relates to both book and TV show. My theory has to do with the nature of GoT, its sprawling characters, intricate politics and each character’s individual story.

Now here’s the thing, many aspects of GoT overarching plot are not unique. Within the genre of Epic Fantasy, its quite common to have a dangerous supernatural threat from outside the kingdom/realm/land, but conflict within said kingdom also threatens to prevent the human population from properly responding. Also I hope it goes without saying that high numbers of characters is pretty common in fantasy.

Where GoT (by the way I’m just saying Game of Thrones for both written and screened stories, I know that the books are A Song of Fire and Ice) differs however is in the intricacy and nature of people’s stories, along with a fair dose of subversion. For most fans they would describe the stories as a lot of bad things happening to good people, and you don’t know who will die next. How this looks literary though is that GoT is predominantly setup, and does not contain a lot of resolution.

Reflecting on the current 5 books, I realized that part of GRRM’s brilliance is building incredible tensions, and then somehow continuing to raise the stakes. That’s not to say that nothing ever gets solved, but almost always in a manner towards more problems. For example:

  • Joffrey is a dangerous psychopath, however when he is finally killed Tyrion is falsely accused of his death, and Sansa flees the city with potentially even more dangerous people
  • Jon Snow helps defeat the Wildlings in the North but his decision to help the survivors and invite them through the wall results in some members of his watch betraying him

I think all the books end on dangerous and tense scenes, not always cliffhangers, but situations that resolve one issue only to create a bigger one.

As mentioned this creates a great story that terrifies and builds investments, however it creates an absolute nightmare for finishing. I could go on and on about all the individual characters and their stakes, but I’ll jump to the wide-scale issue this creates:

Overall what is Game of Thrones actually about?

  • Defeating the Night King?
  • Who will sit on the Iron Throne?
  • Dany/Jon?
  • The Starks?

Part of the problem with so many layers of tension is that as an audience you don’t know which to feel most about. I think the show actually did a good job pulling together so many diverse plots, but part of the problem is creating a sense of an ending. In some respects the ending of the show was like a reveal of what we were supposed to care about the whole time, which is an odd way to feel about a story to put it mildly.

If you contrast with Lord of the Rings, which has multiple characters and plots but one fairly obvious plot thread to focus on, Game of Thrones is an absolute blast to get into, and then an absolute nightmare to resolve.

All I can say it I’m desperate for those books to come out. I think there will be more opportunity to resolve satisfactorily and while I’m not a adaptation nit-picker I am interested to see the comparison.

 

Thoughts on Game of Thrones – what disappointed you about the show? what didn’t?

Naming Characters in Fantasy

Great Fantasy guide!

The Story Scriptorium

(Source for img: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/381046818470811031/)

NAMES

1. Not only does this site provide generators for established fantasy races/cultures, but it includes real world languages as well as well:

         https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com

Sometimes I mix and match to create a pleasing phonetic effect appropriate to my culture. For example, the Flaurians are northerners ruled by a brotherhood of knights, so I chose Danish/Scandinavian roots for the northern effect and combined those with suffixes from diff languages (Roman especially) for the grandiose knightly effect. With such results as Laine Caruth; Wynvert Cordray, etc.

2. Another trick is to combine two words. One of my characters for WoW RP was named Jeth Holywrought. (Holywrought being a play on words because he used to be a paladin but became a death knight, so the holiness rotted).  You’ll see this all over the genre; from Magni Bronzebeard to Sam Overhill.

3. A…

View original post 151 more words

Endgame: A 1/2 Spoiler Free, and 1/2 Spoiler Filled Review

Don’t worry I will warn yas before any spoilers (but consider yourself warned! No reading until we’ve gone to it together Disgruntled Luddite!!)

Streaming Movies Underground: Watch Avengers: Endgame FULL MOVIE HD1080p Sub English

I just got home after Endgame and am just putting my thoughts together.

Probably the first thing that is worth saying is that this movie feels a lot different from other MCU movies, including Infinity War, which to me was quite interesting. It’s hard to explain without spoilers, but given the ending of the previous movie its hopefully no surprise that Endgame is quite dark. Although tonally the movie is quite a ride, the Russo Brothers successfully managing to pull off quite a dynamic movie – almost bizarrely so.

Where Infinity War was long because the number of character’s included, Endgame felt long because of the depth of the character work, and oddly was quite light on action for the majority of the beginning arcs of the film.

Ultimately the film was a fitting “end” for this massive and ambitious project by Marvel Studios, and it felt like a suitable conclusion to Infinity War.

Now onto the Spoilers.

SPOILERS

Really, people are taking Endgame spoilers serious no peeking.

SPOILERS

Some thoughts on Infinity War (Beware Spoilers)

I’m not going to rehash all the events of the film but there are some major events that I want to respond to, starting with the nitpicks.

Firstly I found a couple of characters ‘development’ pretty unpredictable and weird. Thor becoming a fat depressed oaf was certainly surprising – Banner and Hulk actually becoming The Credible Hulk (google it) was again very unpredictable – kind of awkward and not really earned. After becoming shy in Infinity War, all of Banner’s and Hulk’s development happened purely off-screen. He didn’t even participate in any fights as said sensible Hulk could have been an interesting play.

Tony and Steve’s reunion was probably my biggest disappointment of the film – I wasn’t too sure exactly what I expected but an infirm and starved Tony ranting at Steve like a demented older relative just felt kind of odd choice (post rant they got along just fine).

My final odd issue with the film is that the way the story is constructed it sure led to some weird tensions, the big bad being a past Thanos who managed to hijack the Avengers attempts to right ‘present’ Thanos’ snap. The action and sequences all worked on paper – it just created a weird sense of dissatisfaction – for example when Scarlett Witch confronted Thanos he admitted he didn’t even know who she was.

Still the writers and directors managed to pull together an appropriate conclusion to a vastly ambitious precursor – and a massive and sad send-off to at least 2 of the main Avengers. The final scene(s) were incredibly intense and absolutely masterpieces of action directing. What probably served the film well was some incredible acting – and equally incredible passion for the project. I think in the future Endgame will sit aside from the other MCU films not just in being a conclusion 10 years in the making, but as something very different – an unusual and strange film, that could certainly not be argued to be formulaic, not by any stretch.

If anything, as Marvel have always been brilliant at doing is creating a sense of more adventures to come, which after 10 years of build-up is quite a feat, to the point of cultural phenomenon. I’d kind of love to see what future analysts will say about the MCU and Endgame!