You probably already know how you will feel about a Tonight Show video in which Jimmy Fallon and ten actors from the Marvel Cinematic Universe recap the events of the aforementioned cinematic universe to the tune of Billy Joel’s 1989 boomer anthem “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” You are exactly right, and here is the proof:
Wow! Let’s take a moment to consider the many ways in which this is a brilliant concept for an Avengers: Endgame promotional stunt:
• The comic book staging means that the actors don’t have to be in the same place at the same time, since they’re never in the same panel together, which must have made scheduling easier.
• The comic book panels also provide a seamless way to integrate footage from the movies and give the impression that many more MCU actors participated than the ten Fallon got. (Those ten for the record: Don Cheadle, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Chris Hemsworth, Brie Larson Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, and Mark Ruffalo.)
• Even the least musical actor in the world can sing the verses of “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” because there is no melody.
So definitely an enviable triumph in terms of logistics and planning. It’s also less tacky and exploitative than the original song’s music video, because Fallon had the good sense to pose in front of the S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers logos instead of photographs of a lynching, a summary execution, a murder, and an arms dealer. Sure, I’ll embed it:
Not exploiting photographs of other human beings at the moment of their death is a low bar, but Fallon and his team cleared it. But as an actual recap of the Marvel franchise, it is at least as useless as the original Billy Joel song. Try to reverse-engineer a narrative from this verse:
War Machine, Falcon spin, Bucky Barnes is back again,
Star-Lord, Gamora too, Drax, Rocket, “I am Groot.”
Vision, Mantis, Nebula, Ultron in Sokovia,
Civil War, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man.
Doctor Strange, Ra gnarok, Henry, Janet, and the Wasp,
Black Panther in Wakanda, Shuri, Okoye, Killmonger,
Captain Marvel, Goose the cat, then flying higher, further, faster,
Thanos in Infinity War, I can’t take it anymore!
“We Didn’t Start the Fire” also devolves into a list of context-free character names pretty quickly, but you still come out of it with the distinct impression that JFK was blown away. Still, it is probably better to write a musical version of The Chris Farley Show about the characters in a long-running movie franchise in order to promote the next film in that franchise than it is to do the same thing with the actual people and events of the 20th century. Excelsior!