Hello, and welcome to the spoilerrific, spoilertastic, Avengers: Endgame Spoilerpalooza.
In case it wasn’t clear? There Will Be Spoilers.
Then let’s dive in.
Goddamn, what a ride. There’s a LOT to unpack when it comes to all of the various threads that were pulled together to make Endgame work. And for the most part, it works spectacularly. It’s fun and funny, and crazy and wild and exhilarating. As many speculated, it delved deeply into time travel as a means of undoing the damage that Thanos did in Infinity War, which really was not that surprising. Some combination of the Quantum Zone and physics and quantum mechanics and all manner of comic book science foofery all came together to create … a retrospective.
That’s what I found the most interesting. The logic behind it is suspect at best. But it created an opportunity for the Russo Brothers to do something I didn’t expect but genuinely appreciated. It let them revisit almost everything. Every major event of the past eleven years. The Battle of New York. The burgeoning years of SHIELD. The Ancient One, pre-Doctor Strange. Vormir. The desolate world where the Red Skull lives out his sad, solitary, wraith-like existence. It touched back on every single story, revisited almost every single character. It gave everyone a moment.
And some of those moments were amazing. OK, quick top five moments of kickassery:
5) Valkyrie and her flying fucking horse
4) The three-pronged attack on Thanos by Thor, Cap, and Iron Man
3) Captain Marvel wrecking everything when she shows up
2) Cap fighting Cap
1) HAMMER CAP
Yes, that list is Steve Rogers-heavy, but I can’t help myself. Chris Evans has been astonishing in that role, and seeing him go — even in such a lovely, satisfying fashion — was one of the hardest parts of Endgame. Yes, Downey’s Tony Stark dying was rough. Especially after giving him a family, a child that he so dearly and clearly loved. But Cap has always been the emotional heart of the Avengers. I’m thrilled that they did what, quite frankly, I’d expected them to do — give him back to the love of his life. Closing the film with the Rogers/Carter kiss was sublime. But they gave Steve and Tony the sendoffs they deserved — Tony giving his perfect life up for the world, and Steve finally getting his life back.
I’ll also miss Natasha, more than I expected to. I was deeply skeptical of Scarlett when she was first cast as Black Widow, but I’ll be honest — I’ve loved her since The Avengers. I loved the dry wit, the camaraderie between her and Steve as well as that of her and Clint. I hated the forced love angle between her and Banner, but that’s Whedon’s fault, not hers, and subsequent directors have done their best to undo that fuckery. But her death was a gut punch, an unexpected one, but as soon as I saw that she and Clint paired off together, I knew something terrible was going to happen.
Anyway. Moments. Everyone got one. Loki got one. And what will that mean for the future? Does Loki disappearing with the Tesseract have any kind of implication? Or does Steve returning to put all the stones back in place remedy that? I DON’T KNOW.
There was so much. BannerHulk, wearing glasses and eating what appeared to be six dozen scrambled eggs. A quick — quick — flash of something between Carol and Rhodey (a nice nod to their romance on the pages of the comic). The reappearance of Harley (Ty Simpkins) — for those who didn’t catch it? That random teenager at Tony’s funeral? That’s Harley, otherwise known as his kid sidekick from Iron Man 3. Sam Wilson’s “On your left” moment. Spider-Man and Tony’s reunion, followed by Peter’s utter despair at Tony’s death. Gamora kneeing Quill in the berries. A completely insane final battle that gave everyone a time to shine. Bucky knowing all along that Cap wasn’t coming back, or at least, not coming back the way they thought he would. Valkyrie as Queen of New Asgard. Steve finally getting an “Avengers: Assemble!” moment. FAT THOR.
But nothing worked better for me than Captain America, wielding Mjolnir. And Thor, gleefully, joyfully, unashamedly proclaiming, “I knew it!” It was such a perfect moment (also, was Cap faking it in Age of Ultron when he couldn’t pick up the hammer? In my heart, I think yes, because that’s just how good a guy he is — he didn’t want to show Thor up). In some ways, that was an even better cap to his arc than the reunion with Peggy. My theater audience lost their collective shit completely — I’m talking spilled popcorn, people jumping out of their seats, applause, audible shouts of “HOLY SHIT!” And I loved it.
That’s it, folks. That’s my jumbled collection of thoughts about this crazy conclusion to a crazy idea, born way back in 2008. There was no way I expected Iron Man to lead us to this, but here we are. I hope you stayed all the way through the credits because even though there were no hidden scenes, sitting in the quiet, dark theater and hearing that soft hammering of Tony forging that first suit was sublime.
Now. COMMENTERS: ASSEMBLE!