dear mr fantasy avengers

Tony Stark, hippie jester in billionaire-industrialist-superhero’s clothing, we hardly knew ye.

Of all the movies you might walk out of saying, “Man, music supervisor Dave Jordan really earned his salary on that one,” “Endgame” does not rank high.

Like other “Avengers” movies, it doesn’t interrupt Alan Silvestri’s score for much else, usually throwing in pop only during a few key “Guardians of the Galaxy” crossover moments are happening, referencing the all-but-constant stream of ‘60s and ‘70s songs that figure into that universe as actual story points. (As “Guardians” viewers will recall, Quill/Star-Lord had his mother’s precious Walkman full of vintage songs smashed to bits in “2,” but quickly inherited from the late Yondu an equally dated and emotionally fraught piece of music hardware, the playlist of which will figure into “Guardians of the Galaxy 3,” James Gunn has promised. The obvious tonal explanation: Traffic’s observation that (to quote the Eagles) most of us are sad is apropos, coming on the heels of an introductory scene that reminds us half of civilization went ashes-to-ashes at the end of the previous movie, a mass disappearance overseen by the malevolent rapturer Thanos (Josh Brolin). Well, he’s Iron Man, of course — who in this sequel merits a more somber theme than either Black Sabbath or AC/DC could provide. The needle is up almost as quickly as it was dropped: three hours doesn’t mean there’s time to fetishize a record (or MP3) collection.

The literal explanation, clear to anyone who’s a little bit up on the Marvel universe: Glum Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are playing flick football and awaiting certain death in deep space aboard the Benatar, where the Microsoft Zune belonging to absent Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) would have to be their source of tuneage.

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“You are the one who can make us all laugh, but doing that you break out in tears.” Is Tony still an emotionally warped guy, despite all the domestication he’s been through since first appearing as a playboy billionaire in 2008? Read Next: Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom Buy $14.2 Million Montecito Compound, Paul McCartney Teases a ‘McCartney III’ Album on the Way, Benmont Tench on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Legacy and Letting ‘Wildflowers & All the Rest’ Reach Full Bloom, Jennifer Nettles to Receive First ‘Equal Play Award’ From CMT Awards for Women’s Advocacy (EXCLUSIVE), ‘Avengers’ Stars Encourage Fans to Vote Blue During Biden Fundraiser, Trump Cuts Short a '60 Minutes' Interview, Then Teases Lesley Stahl, ‘Fast and Furious’ Franchise to End With 11th Film, Justin Lin Directing, 'Willow' Sequel Series Officially a Go at Disney Plus, Jon M. Chu to Direct, Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in HBO Limited Series ‘The Son;’ Denis Villeneuve, Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy to Produce, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom Buy $14.2 Million Montecito Compound, ‘The Vow’: What Happened to Keith Raniere, Allison Mack and Other Key Figures, Beastie Boys License a Song for an Ad for First Time Ever, for Joe Biden Spot Focused on Live Music Shutdown, Apple Launches 'Apple Music TV,' a 24-Hour Music Video Livestream, ‘The Old Guard’ Viewed By 78 Million Households in First Four Weeks, Says Netflix, ‘Willow’ Sequel Series Officially a Go at Disney Plus With Jon M. Chu to Direct, Disneyland to Reopen at 25% Capacity as Strict Guidelines Are Set, Netflix Misses Q3 Subscriber and Net Earnings Forecasts, Stock Falls, Brian Wilson Disavows Trump’s Beach Boys Benefit in California (EXCLUSIVE), Ari Emanuel Drops $27.5 Million on Grand Beverly Hills Estate, Gary Oldman Stars as ‘Citizen Kane’ Screenwriter in ‘Mank’ Trailer, Zenith’s New Limited-Edition Chronomaster Watch Is a Nod to the Fervor for Vintage El Primeros, Tom Brady’s Business Empire Expands With IMG, Fanatics Partnerships, These 14 Robot Vacuums Are the Best Bots for the Dirtiest Jobs.

And boomers who are well familiar with the Traffic tune as an FM staple for the last half-century may not be that much less initially puzzled by its appearance than millennials: Why isSteve Winwood warbling aboard the starship Benatar? That it can serve a similar, lightly ominous purpose in a comic book franchise laden with heartache in 2019 is an interesting addition to the zeitgeist in a year when we’re trying to decide whether resuscitating Woodstock is a good idea or not. “Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy,” sings Winwood, maybe referring — 50 years ahead of time — to Stark’s role as joker.

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