If you still haven’t seen ‘Avengers: Endgame‘ and you are even remotely interested in doing so, then avoid this post at all costs! I will be spoiling most of, if not all, the big surprises of the film. If you want to know my spoiler-free thoughts on the film, check them out in the link below this preamble. You have been warned.
It isn’t a secret that ‘Avengers: Endgame‘ is a long movie. Those three hours are all well-spent. Buckle up; we’ll likely be here for a little bit.
First of all: the opening scene of this movie is a fucking doozy. Did you wonder what Hawkeye was up to when Infinity War happened/ended? Well, it turns out that he was just hanging out with his family! It’s pretty cute and fun… until all of them vanish just off-screen. Leaving Hawkeye alone and panicked. All without so much as a note of background music.
Never before have I described an opening scene as ‘mean’. But that’s honestly the only way I know how to paint this particular picture. And I fucking love it!
Next, we have the first scene that completely subverted my expectations. After the title credits role, we see Tony and Nebula struggling to survive out in space while growing closer to one another. They play finger-football (of the American variety), fix the ship, and have a very tender moment where Nebula gives Tony the last of their food. It’s a very sweet and somber scene, one that ends with one of the only Captain Marvel contributions we get in the whole movie.
*Quick tangent: Captain Marvel feels shoehorned in through this movie. Aside from kicking ass in the beginning and end, she doesn’t do anything in this movie. You could have cut her out of the movie, and you would miss almost nothing.*
Tony’s return to Earth is one of the most grim and depressing scenes in the whole movie. Tony is completely broken; he lost Peter, he lost the battle, and his feelings of betrayal and hate leveled towards Cap are stronger than ever. He quits being Iron Man and tells everyone else to deal with it. Tony Stark is done.
Momentarily after this, the movie decides to take your expectations for another ride. Using information gathered from Nebula and Rocket, our heroes head off to take Thanos on once again. But when they arrive, they find that they are far too late. The Mad Titan has already destroyed the Infinity Stones, leaving him half-dead. There is no hope of undoing the damages he’s done.
So to compensate, Thor cleaves his head off and leaves. Of all the surprises in this movie, that was the one that took me most by surprise. I mean… how many kids are going to see this movie? A couple million?
We cut to five years later. Everyone has tried in their own ways to move on, but they’ve failed completely. But hope suddenly returns to their lives when Ant-Man, who had been trapped in the Quantum Realm for the last five years, reappears. And he comes with a shocking revelation: for him, it’s only been five hours. He believes that they could pull a ‘Back to the Future‘ style time heist, take the Infinity Stones from the past, and undo the damage Thanos has done.
Unfortunately, the only one who could build the necessary time machine is less than willing. See, Tony Stark has long since moved on from being a super-hero. He’s got a little cottage, a wife and a little daughter. Why would he risk giving all that up?
Because he’s still Tony Stark. So he builds one anyways.
Luckily, they’ve got another potential helper: Bruce Banner. But he’s a little different then you remember. After the Thanos incident, he went back to the drawing board and did some experiments. Now, he and the Hulk are one, creating the highly popular Professor Hulk!
Shame they resolved all that off-screen.
After some failed and hilarious experiments, Tony presents his findings to the team. Everyone gets in motion, planning to fight their way through the past to get the Stones. All our heroes gather from wherever they may be (including Hawkeye, who had been going around and slaughtering thugs), plan out where and when they’ll go, and initiate their time heist.
What follows is a long bonanza of fan service. Hulk, Captain America, Tony and Ant-Man go back to after the big fight of Avengers 1 to steal the Mind, Space and Time stones. One of the best jokes in the movie happens, Loki steals the Tesseract and escapes when Tony and Ant-Man fail miserably at their mission, Cap fights himself, then he and Tony fly back in time to steal the little blue cube again, as well as some more Pim-Particles.
Meanwhile, Thor (who has let himself go in a rather extreme way) and Rocket head back to Asgard to steal the Reality Stone, where Thor has a touching reunion with his mother. I didn’t think they could make me give a shit about ‘Thor: The Dark World‘, but hey! They managed to succeed! Just barely.
Out in space, Nebula and Rodey knock Star Lord out and steal the Power Stone. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong, and Nebula ends up captured by Past Thanos, Gamora and… herself. They steal info from within her brain, take her time travel gear, and get ready to raid the future.
Unfortunately, the fun and games are still long over. Hawkeye and Black Widow go over to take the Soul Stone. Here, one of the most creative and sad battles in all of Marvel happens. The two fight over who is going to dive off and kill themselves. Silly on paper? Yes. Highly emotional and gut wrenching in execution? Fuck yeah.
When all the Stones are gathered, and Natasha is thoroughly dead, Tony constructs a new Iron Infinity Gauntlet, Hulk snaps his fingers and brings everyone back to life, and… past Nebula brings Thanos to the present, and the war for the gauntlet begins. Again.
While everyone else scrambles to protect the Stones, Iron Man, Captain America and Thor square off with Thanos. Some bad-ass team combo attacks happen, and Thanos kicks the hell out of them. It’s during this exchange that the single most bad-ass moment in the whole movie happens. One that was met with a standing ovation during my first viewing.
Captain America lifts Thor’s hammer.
Despite this orgasmic bit of fan service, Thanos still annihilates our heroes. He tears Cap’s shield apart, calls down reinforcements, and prepares to destroy the whole Earth. Here, the single most beautiful shot in the entire MCU happens, in which Captain America stands off against Thanos and his entire army.
I cannot describe in words how much I love that shot. Seriously, I want to print it, frame it and put it on my wall. If anyone is willing to do that, I’d be willing to pay… at least five bucks for it. Maybe more.
Everyone gathers together (thanks magic), and we get our first ‘Avengers Assemble!’ in the whole series! Then shit goes fucking NUTS!! Seriously, I’d go play-by-play on the action scene, but considering how densely packed this scene is, that’s kind of… completely impossible. Every character in the whole MCU gets a moment to shine. Writing a summary of this scene would require over a dozen viewings and over a thousand words.
After roughly ten minutes of pure chaos, we get to the grand finale. Thanos fights off Captain Marvel, Thor and Captain America to take the gauntlet and wipe out not half of but all of the universe. Unfortunately, Iron Man is too clever for the big dumb Titan. Tony takes the Stones and drops his most iconic line: “I am Iron Man.”
Best. Final line. Ever.
Then, with a simple snap of his fingers, it all ends. Thanos and his men turn to dust, and the war ends. Unfortunately, Tony comes down with a mild case of the dying, and there isn’t much of a cure. It’s at this point that I started crying like a bitch, as the funeral takes up the last ten minutes or so.
Also, quick shout out to the score. Because that makes it far more painful.
But oh, did you think the emotional hits were done? I haven’t even mentioned what happens to Captain America! With a little help from Hulk, he goes back in time to put all the Infinity Stones back. And… he doesn’t come back. At least, not right away.
He decided to go the the long way around. And to go back and bang Peggy a few times along the way. He spent so long that, by the time he finally gets back, he’s an old man. So he decides to just give his shield to Falcon and retire.
Also Thor ditched Earth to team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Just wanted to throw that out there to help life your mood.
I could keep going. For another few thousand words. But believe it or not, I do have a life. Outside of reading books, watching movies and TV, and crying at them, I mean. So I’ll leave it off there.
Words cannot suffice to tell you how much I love this movie. It is the perfect culmination of eleven years of storytelling. By all leaps of logic, this whole cinematic universe shtick shouldn’t have worked. We never should have been able to get to this movie. But against all odds, it not only got here. It surpassed all expectations along the way.
I’m tempted to continue the discussion next week and talk about some of the finer details. But there’s another movie I need to talk about. A rather important film for many people, starring a certain yellow mouse.
But that’s for next week.