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In the last three days, the world has been split right down the middle in a cultural tsunami. A cultural wave that separates the men from the boys, the girls from the Wonder Women, and the Eternals from the pruney-chinned galaxy-conquering freak baby Eternals.
If you haven’t seen Avengers Endgame, yet, you’re on one side of an eleven-year-old gap in the world right now. If you have seen it, you’re on the other side, and you’ve probably got a lot to say to the people who aren’t.
Everybody has their place on God’s green earth. But not everybody should read the rest of this blog. Because I’m going to spoil everything in my quest to review this movie.
Do you hear me? I’m spoiling the whole damn thing like a five-year-old with rich parents who work too much. You get out of here, now, if you haven’t seen it yet. Go back to your nice home and make a cup of tea and book tickets to see this movie. This blog ain’t no place for you. There’re spoilers everywhere!
You’ve been warned, non-watcher. Spoilers. Okay, now I’m done warning you.
Avengers Endgame: Spoilers of the Universe
Ahem. Alright, now that we’re alone, let’s talk about that damned movie. Whether you loved the ending or you thought it was too depressing, this was the full stop on a decade-long sci-fi sentence that we all loved. And it was so much.
So much what? So much everything! Everything we theorized about in Reddit threads for months, from Professor Hulk to Tony and Pepper‘s kid. From Peter and Iron Man hugging it out to what Peter Quill really looked like singing into that alien rat thing. We got everyfreakingthing!
We went there and back again and now this thing we’ve all been a part of for over a decade is over. So let’s break it down, one last time:
It’s storytelling 101 that every story should have a thing. That thing that is its point. That gives it a reason for existing aside from cool uniforms and time travel.
If your story has no thing, it has nothing. Movie makers who create superheroes with cool powers but without any point to their story are creating a beast without any legs. A radioactive spider can bite a teenage boy and not kill him instantly because that boy has a story and that story has a thing it needs to accomplish.
Avengers Endgame‘s thing is second chances. The kind of second chances you get from sweet sweet time travel. Scott Lang’s return from the microverse brings with it some good news for our heroes. They can use his van to science their way into the past and collect all of the infinity stones.
The Whole Story
Simple enough: five years into the future, a rat hits some sort of power button in Scott Lang‘s van and brings him back from the microverse, where he was stuck at the end of Ant-Man and The Wasp. Lang finds out about the Snappening (alright, “the decimation”) and heads straight for Avengers HQ.
In the period before this, it’s probably important to note that Thor has decapitated Thanos after discovering the Mad Titan destroyed the Infinity Stones to avoid temptation. This happens literally within the first 20 minutes of this movie. It’s nuts.
There’s some back-and-forth between Ant-Man and the Avengers, and they figure out time travel with the help of Tony Stark (who now has a kid). They figure out that the six stones were all in four different places at some point or another. They split into four teams:
- Team New York
- Team Vormir
- Team Asgard
- Team Morag
After some past-adventures, all four teams (mostly) get back in one piece and with all six infinity stones. What was that “mostly” all about, I hear you ask? More spoiler warnings ahead, but if you’ve read this far you clearly don’t care about anything: Black Widow sacrifices herself on the same Vormir cliff Gamora dies on in Infinity War, after a crazy cliffside battle with her best friend, Clint Barton, to decide who should die.
What? You’re crying. I’m not crying. Shut up.
They assemble the stones. Tony (somehow) creates a Stark Industries-style Iron Man nanotech glove to put the stones into, and it’s bombs away for the next part of their plan: Hulk putting on the glove and snapping everyone back into existence. He does, and things start coming back together, before past-Thanos, with the help of a still-evil Nebula who came through the time machine instead of our now-good Nebula, literally drives his space ship through the time machine into our time to take the stones our heroes have just collected.
Go back and read that again if I went too fast. What follows is a massive fight, first between past-Thanos and our heroes, then between past-Thanos, our heroes, and his entire army of ghoulies, and then between past-Thanos, our heroes, his entire army of ghoulies, and all the resurrected earthlings who got snapped out in the previous movie. Here’s a rundown of all the good guys in this scene just from my own spotty, fevered memory:
- Scarlet Witch
- Hank Pym
- Janet Van Dyne
- Doctor Strange
- Black Panther
- Bucky Barnes
- Nick Fury
Captain Marvel comes back from some contrived mission she goes on at the beginning of the movie and teams up with an all-female team of hero types to spike a half-destroyed Iron-Man-Infinity Gauntlet through some sort of wormhole. They’re too late, however, and Thanos puts it on. Iron Man delivers a Hail Mary and tries to wrestle it off but is swiftly swatted off before we realize his final move: to absorb the stones into his armor using nanobots and snap all of Thanos’ everybody out of existence. Also Thanos.
The resulting power surge from the glove kills Tony. At his funeral, Captain America goes back in time to return the stones to their places in time, and never comes back. It turns out, he stayed in the past to live out his life with Peggy Carter. Old man Steve shows up and gives the shield to Falcon, and that’s that for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hawkeye? Meet Hawkeye
Bringing us into a movie filled with emotional beats, the first scene finds our hero Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, having a picnic with his kids. As established in Infinity War, Barton and Scott Lang have both been under house arrest since the events of Civil War. In this scene, Hawkguy (read Matt Fraction’s “Hawkeye” right now if you don’t get that joke) is wearing an ankle monitor at a picnic with his family. As he and daughter, Lila, practice archery together, he turns away from her for a second. When he turns back, she’s been dusted. And while he’s busy being horrified by that, his nearby wife and son dust too.
What’s important to note is that, when Lila shoots a bullseye on her target, Barton calls her “Hawkeye”. Hawkeye famously shares his superhero with an equally talented, younger archer named Kate Bishop in the comics. She isn’t his daughter, but it’s safe to say this is a reference to their relationship.
Harley, The Sidekick
If you’re like I am, you’re 100% not the person who figures out a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference in a scene like the Tony Stark funeral in this movie, no matter how much you love it. And that’s exactly what sent me home after watching Avengers Endgame to Google who the hell that kid was mixed into all the other crying superheroes.
Turns out, the answer’s simple and wonderful: Harley Keener! The kid from Iron Man 3 who loaned out his shed to Tony in return for a can of Stark Mace and a bunch of mean quips. Which is so heartwarming – the 12-year-old (probably) kid who brought Tony back to life all those years ago got brought into the squad for one last emotional scene to send off everybody’s favorite Avenger.
Howard The Duck
This is a short one: you can literally see Howard the Duck in the gigantic crowd full of superheroes who come to the rescue at the end of the movie. It turns out the “master of Quack-Fu” was finally ready to join the greater universe’s fight.
When Scott Lang comes back from the Microverse, his car is parked in lot 616. For those who’ve ever read a Marvel comic, this refers to Earth 616, the reality of the main Marvel continuity.
In a touching cameo, Avengers co-director, Joe Russo, plays a member of the support group Steve Rogers runs. Along with Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos who plays another member of the same group, this fun little nod adds some minor dimension to the movie and reminds us the decimation didn’t just impact the Avengers.
And One Last Word On Time Travel
Finally, as we bring our article to a close, we’ll be covering the convoluted spaghetti mess that is time travel in the Avengers universe because, surprise surprise, it actually all makes sense.
Start with understanding one thing: everything you think you know about time travel is wrong, at least in this universe. Going back in time to kill baby Hitler isn’t going to make Hitler have never done what he did in our standard timeline. How could it? If you erased him from all history, you’d never have had any reason to go back and stop him, and if you’d never gone back and stopped him, he’d have just done what he did anyway.
A simpler idea is proposed: everything that happens in your past has already happened. No take-backsies. But, if you go back in time and change those things, you will create a splinter timeline where things have changed. So, the Avengers go back in time after killing Thanos, retrieve the stones, bring them back to the future (I knew I was going to say that at some point) and make with the snapping. Once they are all done, it’s their job to take them back to the points in time when they lost them, so that they will never have left their previous timeline and things will always play out the way they always have.
Avengers Endgame: A Final Review
I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews of this movie floating around, but I’m here to say I live in Camp “If you didn’t think Iron Man was going to die, you clearly haven’t been paying attention”. We knew they’d have to tie that eleven-year-old bag closed in a decisive way, and they did, and they made the calls they made, and it was good.
I wouldn’t call this my favorite movie, but I enjoyed it. It’s an extremely emotional movie, with a lot of loose ends getting clipped and some honest, slow-paced sincerity. It has its flaws: I wasn’t expecting Professor Hulk to look so much like Shrek, for starters. I think they undersold Black Widow by barely acknowledging her death (see this great article for more on that). And the fact that Tony built his own Infinity Gauntlet means that Thanos creating a magical dwarven glove at Niðavellir was essentially pointless. Tony Stark can pull literally anything out of his ass given enough time and holo-screens.
But Avengers Endgame was a good movie, no two ways about it. I’m going to see it again, once my ass recovers from that three-hour sit. If you’re a Marvel fan and you haven’t gone yet, you’re depriving yourself of a lot of closure. Get to it! And check back in with Dangerpedia in the near future for more of this great content!