Top 100 American Movie Quotes of the 21st Century: #80

The actor:Josh Brolin
The character:Thanos
The film:Avengers: Endgame
The quote:“I am inevitable.”

There are two moments from the MCU which feel essential to me not just as part of this business venture, but as emblematic, historical moments in American cinema. The first, which I’ve talked about a lot already, is from The Avengers. The camera circles around the first Avengers as they all pose for it, truly assembled for the first time after spending so much of the film fighting each other with their superpowers or bickering among one another. In a movie which works less for me every time I see it, even now that I’ve actually seen all the movies preceding it (which was not the case when I went to see it in theaters), it’s still pivotal. It’s not the culmination aspect that works for me so much as the camera, the fleshing out of a democratic Knights of the Round Table, a flashing reminder of what these people have the power to do.

“I am inevitable” is the second one. Not the Snap, which certainly riled people up but which I’ve always argued was a fundamentally meaningless gesture. It exists to be undone, something which I think even people there on opening night must have recognized underneath the shock that I understand rippled through moviegoers for days after. Not Tony Stark’s return snap/death, which, to be perfectly honest, was as inevitable and barren as the Snap. (Jesus, who was born to die as much as Tony Stark was at this moment in Endgame, had the ability to surprise people with his sacrificial death and add to their grief. Alas that godlike Tony Stark could not be Jesus of Nazareth.) It’s “I am inevitable,” a moment of relative tension next to Endgame‘s time travel shenanigans which, even in much better movies, struggle to be truly tense. The closest thing that I have to compare it to is that slow-motion series near the tail end of The Return of the King where it looks like our heroes have failed on all fronts. Aragorn, who we have never seen this close to defeat in combat because he’s outfought (rather than dragged off a cliff), is on the ground, his friends too far away to rescue him. Frodo, his finger bitten off, is likewise groundbound as Gollum cavorts with his Precious. That’s what “This is inevitable” is. Even after all of the second effort, even in the space of this great battle being fought next door to Joseph Smith’s ancestral home, he has still managed to collect the gems to place in his gauntlet and end the world anew.

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