Avengers: Endgame is difficult to put into words. I honestly don’t know how to describe it. Phenomenal? Exceptional? Extraordinary? I could praise this movie with every hyperbolic adjective I could think of, and I still don’t think I’d be able to adequately describe how I feel about this film. Bittersweet comes to mind, but I feel like that implies a sadness. I don’t want to feel sad when I think about Endgame. I don’t want to mourn this film or what it means for the MCU. I want to celebrate it. I want to celebrate what this film has accomplished, not just as a standalone film, because let’s face it, this is not a standalone film. It’s the culmination of more than a decade of hard work. The coming together of more than 20 movies and dozens of intertwining storylines and character arcs. The final piece of a massive puzzle which was still being made as it was being put together. I have a lot I want to share (full spoilers ahead!), and this post will probably end up being quite long, but I think this film deserves it.
Life after the Snap
Seeing what happened to Clint Barton’s family during the snap was a good way to start the movie. I like how we jumped right in. No b-roll footage, no graphics. Just straight into the story. We saw how the snap affected Scott Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp, so being able to start off by seeing what happened to Clint was a good start. It was also very interesting to see how the world had changed since the snap, and how the remaining Avengers dealt with their grief. For starters, Tony and Nebula had to work together to survive in space and probably would’ve died had it not been for Carol. Tony was quite literally nothing more than skin and bones by the time she found them. Upon returning to Earth it was sad to see that despite everything that happened, Tony still held a grudge against Steve.
I was surprised to see that the team actually found Thanos and took him out so early in the film. The fact that they were still too late and Thanos had already destroyed the Infinity Stones set a real sombre tone from the get go. Thor’s decapitation of Thanos really showed how desperate, how angry, and ultimately how dejected they all were.
The five year time jump was a surprise. Literally. Myself and others in the cinema let out an audible gasp when we saw the text on screen. Seeing the Avengers actually lose in Infinity War was tough, to watch them fail a second time was another blow, but to see that they had moved on for five years? That’s like a definitive sign of failure. Steve was hosting a support group. Tony had run off with Pepper. Natasha was trying to keep some semblance of a team together. Which by the way, I felt was a powerful emotional scene on her behalf. Like she told Steve, this is the only thing, the only family she has ever had. Meanwhile, Rocket, Nebula, and Carol were flying around space. Okoye returned to Wakanda. And Rhodey was trying to find Clint, who had taken a bad turn and became Ronin. Things were bad. Worse than bad. Until a rat saved the day by releasing Scott from the Quantum Realm.
Time travel was always going to be part of this film in one way or another. Killing Thanos was never going to bring back the fallen. Somehow, some way, the remaining Avengers needed to mess with time to fix what Thanos did. I was expecting them to time travel and stop Thanos’ snap from ever happening all together, but as Hulk Banner (who btw, was hilarious) rightfully pointed out, time travel doesn’t work that way. Instead, they travelled back in time to steal the Infinity Stones, which gave fans some amazing throwbacks to enjoy.
Going back to New York during Loki’s invasion and seeing what happened after the Avengers captured him was really fun. The transfer of the scepter and the Tesseract to the “SHIELD” agents who were actually Hydra agents was a good way to incorporate Steve’s “Hail Hydra” scene, no doubt paying homage to the comics. It was also great to see that The Ancient One was also involved during the invasion, though her duties were restricted to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Her exchange with Banner was pivotal, as The Ancient One's trust in Dr. Strange was the only reason she parted with the time stone, and the requirement to return the stones back to their original time after the Avengers were done with them would have enormous consequences later on in the film. The scepter and the Time Stone were successfully retrieved, but since they lost the Tesseract (which might setup Loki's standalone series for Disney+), Steve and Tony needed to take a detour before returning home.
Even heroes need their parents
When I first saw Tony living in a cottage in the woods calling out to someone, I thought he had a pet 🤣. I was genuinely surprised to see he and Pepper had settled down and had a kid. Was not expecting that. I also wasn’t expecting to see Tony meet the younger version of his dad from before he was even born. The exchange they had, talking about parenting and having kids was heartwarming. Tony got to thank his dad for everything, even before it all happened.
Thor meeting his mother again was yet another step in his character development. Thor has probably transformed the most among all the Avengers since this all began. From an arrogant, powerful, and reckless heir to the Asgardian throne to the goofball we saw in Thor: Ragnarok. Some of us may think of Thor (and other Asgardians) as Gods in the MCU, or demigods, but in actuality they’re all just another race of aliens. They eat and sleep, they have families, they bleed, they die. Odin died of old age. Loki was killed by Thanos, as was Heimdall. Thor, despite his amazing God-like strength and power, has always suffered from a very human condition - self-doubt. The fact that he went off mission to speak with his mother proves just how human he is. He needed his mother’s assurance, her advice to get him back on track. If there’s one point of contention in the film, it could be how “un-Godlike” Thor was with his beer belly and lack of conviction. I’ll touch more on this later, but this shows that Thor is just like all the other Avengers. Extremely powerful, possibly the most powerful, but still flawed in his own way.
Side note: dual-wielding Mjölnir and Stormbreaker? Super cool!
We were expecting there to be deaths in Endgame, I just wasn’t expecting Natasha Romanoff’s to be one of them. In Infinity War, Gamora’s death on Vormir was one of the most emotional scenes of the film. Natasha’s death was worse. Her back and forth with Clint as they each raced to sacrifice themselves, thus saving the other was heart-wrenching. The way she threw herself off the edge to catch Clint and save him, only to then push herself off and fall to her death had me in tears.
“Black Widow walked so Captain Marvel could run”. I saw this comment on a YouTube video once, referencing the lack of female leads/heroes in the MCU back when it started and comparing it to Captain Marvel’s recent box office success. We’ve all made fun of Black Widow in the past, from her “pew pew” guns to the fact that she’s just an assassin and not technically a “superhero”. But she’s more than just an assassin, and I found her death in Endgame to be somewhat symbolic, which I’ll come back to a little later on.
“Life, uh, finds a way”
Ok, wrong movie to quote, but I thought it was brilliant how Thanos was once again, the biggest threat to the Avengers despite being killed early on in the movie (time travel, wow). Anyway, when he (from 2014) was figuring out what (future) Nebula’s memories meant, I was just going “Oh no, oh no, oh no” repeatedly. It’s kind of like the unwritten rule of time travel. No matter how careful you are, your actions will always have unintended consequences. I for one thought this was a brilliant plot twist which gave us another epic battle between the Avengers and Thanos’ army. Speaking of that.
Holy mother forking shirtballs! He finally said it! After 10 years Captain America finally said it! We got a tease at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he finally said it! That final battle with Thanos was freaking epic! When the portals opened up and everyone came back to finish off the fight with Thanos I was bouncing in my seat with excitement! But the thing that got me pumped up the most? Captain America wielding Mjölnir! OMG that was amazing! He got it to budge ever so slightly back in Age of Ultron, but here he was full on wielding it! Summoning it from a distance and summoning lighting, the whole shebang! The way he dual-wielded his shield and the hammer? So much awesome in that fight scene I just...wow.
Pretty much every hero had their moment in the final battle. Spidey featured quite prominently, Scott and Hope had their moment, as did Star-Lord and Gamora (from 2014). I’m disappointed that Thor seemingly got nerfed though. After Ragnarok and Infinity War he had cemented his reputation as the mightiest Avenger, but in Endgame he wasn’t. I was also hoping that he and Captain Marvel would put on a light show and blast the Chitauri to smithereens together, but I guess that would’ve been too easy. We also didn’t get to see Hulk smash anything which was a bummer.
What we did get though, was a significant girl power moment. We had one in Infinity War when Black Widow, Wanda, and Okoye fought with Proxima Midnight in Wakanda, but in Endgame it was on a much grander scale. Every female superhero in the MCU all in one shot charging at Thanos’ army. Some might say it was a little lame or politically motivated, but I liked it. After 10 years, a moment like that was long overdue, no matter how cheesy it may have seemed. Earlier I said that Black Widow’s death was symbolic, and this moment in the final battle is what I meant. She may have died, but she opened the door for female heroes in the MCU. She stood alongside the original Avengers, fought with them for 10 years, and now she’s passed on the torch. We have the likes of Wanda who overpowered Thanos, forcing him to decimate his own army, and of course, Captain Marvel flying in to save the day, taking a headbutt from Thanos without even flinching. Young girls now have many female heroes to look up to, and Black Widow got the ball rolling.
“I am Iron Man”
That final battle was all kinds of epic, but it came at a huge cost. Tony’s death was tragic, but at the same time it feels kind of, fulfilling, if that makes sense. He was the one who started it all. From being a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, he will now forever be known as the man who with a snap of his finger, defeated Thanos once and for all, sacrificing himself in the process. It’s sad to think that the MCU may very well continue without him but like I said, as tragic as his death is, it also feels like his life has come full circle. Like Pepper said, he can rest now.
“I can do this all day”
And he did. Steve Rogers always gave his all, standing true to his principles even when his teammates disagreed with him (like in Civil War). If anyone other than Thor would be worthy of wielding Mjölnir, it was always going to be Captain America. I love how his story ended. I don’t think we could’ve survived seeing both Tony and Steve dying. When Steve headed back to the past to return the Infinity Stones, I had an inkling that he wouldn’t return, and I was right. He got to live his life with the woman of his dreams, and now finally, he can put the shield down. Which leads me to the final part of this lengthy post.
Where do we go from here?
As much as Endgame is meant to conclude The Infinity Saga (I know we have one more film but still), I can’t help but think about all the questions we’re left with. Now that Sam has Cap’s shield, will he actually take up the mantle and be the new Captain America? Will somebody fill in Tony’s shoes? Who will lead the next generation of Avengers? Will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 actually be "Asgardians of the Galaxy" (I hope it is)? Did the time heist cause any as of yet unseen repercussions? If everyone came back to life after 5 years, are they all younger than they should be? Will all future MCU movies be set in the future following the events of Endgame? If Thanos destroyed all the Infinity Stones and the stones that were borrowed were all returned, what happens to Dr. Strange and his duty to protect the Time Stone? How were Clint and Natasha breathing on an alien planet with no space helmet on? Now that the Disney-Fox deal is done, who can we expect to join the MCU? So many questions!
We’ve been given more than 20 interconnected movies for over 10 years. Marvel Studios has accomplished a remarkable feat which I don’t believe has ever or will ever be replicated by anyone else. Ever. As amazing as Endgame was, it wouldn’t have been possible without every preceding movie that came before it. The way everything came together, first in Infinity War then now in Endgame is just so freaking amazing. The original six Avengers have given us what are probably the most memorable performances of their careers. Their individual credit scenes with their signatures at the end was such a perfect way to close the saga. It was so cool and emotional to watch. Earlier I said it was difficult to describe the film, but after getting all my thoughts out, I think I know how best to describe it - satisfying.
Thank you, Avengers.