It was the pre-pandemic movie event of the year. Tickets were sold out weeks ahead of time. Movie theaters may not recover the same feel of a theater full of fans who have been waiting for months to see a story played out on screen.
Avengers: Endgame was an entertaining culmination of 10 years of Marvel movies. It had action. It had drama. It had comedy. It grossed $2.8 USD worldwide. It can only be considered a smashing success. Beneath the surface plot of defeating Thanos and saving the world, there are lessons found in the movie that are worth well more than the price of admission. Here are three of them.
(The movie came out 2 years ago. If you are still worried about spoilers, consider yourself warned…
1. Time is our most precious commodity.
The movie finds our heroes traveling back in time to retrieve the infinity stones and reverse the tragic effects of the Thanos snap of Avengers: Infinity War. When the plan goes awry, Cap and Tony must travel back further to a time when their histories somewhat collided.
Completing their caper in the year 1970, Tony runs into his father, Howard Stark. It is as awkward and endearing of a moment as you might imagine. Toward the end of their conversation, the junior Stark reminds his father of a pearl of wisdom his dad once shared with Tony (in the future): “No amount of money ever bought a second of time.”
Putting aside the time travel debate of who said what, when, the sentiment is clear. We spend our time making money. We can use that money to buy things. Things will fade. We spend more time making more money to buy more things. The cycle continues. Eventually we will run out of time and our money will be worthless. Be careful how you spend your time. Each second spent is worth more than any amount of money. Spend it wisely.
2. Everyone makes mistakes.
After losing his entire family to “the snap,” Clint Barton uses his skills to become a sort of vigilante dispensing his own version of justice. His good friend Natasha helps him escape that life, but the feelings of guilt and shame remain. Natasha knows these feelings well. As the two friends embark on the mission to retrieve the soul stone (not knowing at the time that only one of them would survive), Natasha encourages Clint to forgive himself and move on. “I don’t judge people by their worst mistakes,” she insists.
Everyone makes mistakes. Let anyone who has never regretted past decisions or behavior be allowed to judge someone else’s missteps. Don’t let your worst mistakes define you and be careful to whittle someone else down to the mistakes of his or her past.
3. Being the best version of YOU.
Avengers: Endgame finds Thor in terrible shape, literally and figuratively. Thor blames himself for not killing Thanos before it was too late. He carries the weight of the tragedy on his shoulders. Thor’s time-traveling quest takes him to an encounter with his mother, Frigga. As only a mother can, Frigga sees through Thor’s facade to the pain he endures. “You’re not the Thor I know at all, are you?” she surmises.
After receiving some tough love, Thor says, “I am not supposed to be like everyone else, am I?”
Frigga then drops a pearl of wisdom for Thor and movie audiences alike: “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.”
What expectations, whether external or self-imposed, are you trying to live up to? Are you trying to be someone else? Instead, be the best version of yourself that you can become. You be you and be you well. That’s the only person you can ever be anyway.