Never mind Thanos – who would be foolish enough to take on Avengers: Endgame? The blockbuster has felt like global culture’s ultimate end-of-level boss, dominating the online conversation while raking in over two billion dollars in less than two weeks. Yet one other franchise went toe-to-toe with Endgame last month, attempting to make an artistic and commercial dent in the same release window. Was that brave? Foolish? Or simply an act of hubris comparable to creating a cool playable ninja that is you and your buddy’s surnames backwards?
It was, of course, Mortal Kombat 11 that was Endgame’s challenger. But despite having a much longer, bloodier history and an inventive arsenal of Fatal Blows, the latest incarnation of the most notorious beat-em-up of the 1990s was never going to have anything like the same impact as Marvel’s capes-and-japes capstone (although it does resurrect Noob Saibot, the scowling spectral shinobi named for original creators Ed Boon and John Tobias).
What feels a little strange, though, is how attuned these two presumably long-gestating works feel, to the extent that even vague discussion about the structure and plot of Endgame could be construed as spoilers for Mortal Kombat 11’s high-kicking, realm-spanning, entrails-stretching story mode. So if you are unnerved by the idea of knowing too much about either, best skip the next par.