It all started in 2008 with Iron Man and 22 movies later, we’re in the Endgame now in April 2019. Marvel Studios blew us away with Avengers: Infinity War one year ago. I left the theatre wondering how they would top that movie. Infinity War was the best we had seen so far. The Russo brothers did it yet again. Endgame gave us everything we wanted, and more.
Before you read on, this review contains spoilers. It is my personal opinion that this type of movie is best experienced with an empty mind. Before watching it for the first time, it’s best to not look into it too much, maybe watch the trailers and that’s it. You have been warned.
Avengers: Endgame is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who return for their fourth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after having directed Captain America: Winter Soldeier, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Even though the directors are the same, Endgame is a very different movie from Infinity War.
The first act feels very sombre. The heroes have lost, many of their friends have been lost to the snap. Their first impulse is to find Thanos again, which they do very quickly. This time, Thor goes for the head. He gets his revenge, but it is in vain. Thanos has already used the stones to destroy the stones.
Five Years Later
Five years later, the heroes have tried to move on in their own ways. Tony Stark decided to marry Pepper and has a daughter named Morgan. She delivers one of the most memorable lines in the movie: “I love you three thousand.” Natascha is trying her best to keep the gang together, it’s the only family she ever had. Col. Rhodes, Rocket and Steve Rogers are still with her. Thor and a few of his companions (including Valkyrie, Korg and Meek) settled in New Asgard, a fisherman village in Norway. Thor completely lost it and is now fat and addicted and a drunk.
After a rat walks over the controls of Scott Lang’s van, he comes back and becomes the catalyst to get everyone together. One by one the heroes are brought back together to pull off a time-heist.
Now that the heroes have hope again, the pace starts picking up as the heroes get ready to travel back in time. Cap, Tony, Bruce, and Scott go to 2012, during the battle of New York for the Space, Mind and Time Stones. Rocket and Thor travel to Asgard in 2013 for the Reality Stone. Rhodes, Nebula, Clint and Natascha travel to 2014. Rhodes and Nebula steal the Power Stone from Morag before Quill and Clint and Natascha go to Vormir to get the Soul Stone.
Each of these teams goes through their journey and this part is filled with many iconic and memorable moments. Tony and Cap make fun out Cap’s outfit and the “American Ass”. Loki’s Scepter is taken by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (who are actually Hydra) and Cap gets into an elevator with them, a big callback to the elevator scene from Winter Soldier. Steve takes the Scepter and whispers “Hail Hydra.” before calmly walking out of there. Cap then runs into his past self and we get the famous line from 2012 Cap: “I can do this all day.”. Cap fights his past self before regrouping with Tony and Bruce.
Tony and Steve also travel back to 1970, where Tony runs into his father, when his mother was pregnant. They have a heart to heart conversation about being a father. Tony gives his father a big hug before going back to his own time.
Thor also has his share of emotional moments when he is in 2013. He meets his mother, who immediately recognizes him as being from the future. Pouring his heart out to his mother on the day she died, Rocket gathers the Aether from Jane’s body. Being chased by guards, he reaches Thor who is still talking to his mother. Realizing it is time to say goodbye, Thor has one more surprise for us. He summons Mjolnir and find out he is still worthy.
Clint and Natascha have a long history together and this makes their journey to Vormir extra emotional. When arriving there, they find out one of them will need to die for the Soul Stone. Both want to sacrifice themselves, but eventually, Natascha is the one to go, very much against Clint’s will.
Meanwhile, Nebula’s memory module starts to malfunction. She is sharing the frequency with 2014 Nebula. Her module also malfunctions and this enables Thanos to find out our heroes from the future have come for the stones. He uses this malfunction to look into future Nebula’s memories and figures out their entire plan. Thanos, being the intelligent supervillain he is, gives the eager 2014 Nebula a chance to prove her worth and infiltrate the heroes team.
Back in 2023, everyone returns with their Infinity Stones, but Bruce asks where Natascha is. Devastated by her loss, they all group up outside mourning her, while Nebula disappears.
Deciding that they need to make Natascha’s sacrifice worth it, the debate moves to who should wear the glove. Thor, who found a purpose again, is eager to use it, being the self proclaimed ‘strongest Avenger’ (throwback to Ragnarok). The other Avengers deem him unfit, because Thor is in no condition to wield it, mentally or physically. Bruce then steps up for the reverse snap.
As Bruce is getting ready to snap our fallen heroes back into existence, 2014 Nebula stole the required items to bring Thanos and his entire army into 2023.
Bruce snaps. Clint gets a call from his wife and as he hears her voice over the phone, the Avengers’ base is shot to shreds by Thanos.
Thanos awaits them in battle, out in the open. Thor, Captain America and Tony Stark find each other. Knowing they are walking into Thanos’ trap, they do it anyways. The battle is about to begin.
Even without the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos is a formidable opponent. Donning his full armor and a new, double-bladed sword, Thanos fights our three Avengers. The fight that follows is the best we have seen yet. Almost every moment of is iconic in one way or another.
Thor dual-wields Stormbreaker and Mjolnir. Tony uses Thor’s lightning to supercharge his blasts. Thanos still manages to fend them off. As Thanos is trying to sink Stormbreaker into Thor’s chest, we see Mjolnir lying on the ground.
Captain America himself picks up Mjolnir in one of the most breathtaking moments of the fight. Summoning thunder with Mjolnir, he blasts Thanos. He throws his shield and then he throws the hammer after it, banging Thanos. But none of this is enough. Thanos breaks Cap’s shield with several blows from him sword.
Battered and bruised, Steve gets up, barely being able to stand. He tightens the strap of his broken shield. He stands alone against Thanos and his army.
Captain America against the world.
On your left
But then, Sam calls out to Cap. “On your left Cap.” All the heroes Bruce snapped back into existence have returned. Doctor Strange portals all of them into the fight. Black Panther. Spider-Man. Doctor Strange. Everyone.
Captain America and everyone else against the world.
The final fight is truly epic. You thought Wakanda was cool? Wait till you see this.
The gauntlet that Tony made for Bruce ends up being tossed around during the fight. Hawkeye, Spider-Man and Black Panther and Captain Marvel keep it away from Thanos. But Thanos still manages to get his hands on it. Or rather, he gets the glove on his hand.
Tony himself steps in and manages to hold Thanos off for a few moments, but is then pushed away.
Thanos: “I am inevitable.”
But his snap does nothing as Tony has gotten the stones from the glove.
Tony Stark: “I am Iron Man.”
It had to be Iron Man. It is the perfect ending to his character arc. As Thanos and his army turn to dust, we see a dying Tony Stark, his protegé Peter Parker and his wife Pepper standing over him. “You can rest now.” she says as Tony Stark lets out his last breath.
I have never seen a crowd go so silent. I hear sobs all around me. Tears roll down my cheeks. The next few minutes are a blur for me, literally. My vision is blurry from tears.
We see Cap being tasked with returning the Stones and Mjolnir to their original timelines. He does. And then he gets a life. Cap returns as an old man, having lived a full life with the love of his life, Peggy Carter.
The movie ends as we see Steve have his dance with Peggy Carter.
Avengers signing off
As I sat there, waiting in vain for an end-credits scene, the original six Avengers sign off with their autographs in the end-credits. Avengers out.
Endgame serves as the final piece of the 22 movie series Kevin Feige dubbed the Infinity Saga. It serves that purpose very well. For many characters their conclusions make sense.
Tony Stark came a long way. Back in the first Iron Man movie he was a selfish narcissist who looked out only for his own interests. Steve Rogers even mentioned in the Avengers that Tony is not the one to make the sacrifice play. Yet here we are and Tony did make the sacrifice play. It just shows how much he has changed over the course of nine appearances in the MCU. Pepper could not have said it better: “You can rest now.”
Steve Rogers has also developed into much more than a loyal soldier who follows orders. Steve has never lost his focus and kept his strong will and moral compass. He will always stay true to himself. He will always stand up against bullies. He will always fight for the right thing. He never faltered, not once. Others gave in at some point. Star-Lord was willing to sacrifice Gamora because she wanted him to. Wanda was willing to destroy the Mind Stone and Vision with it. But Steve does not trade lives. That is why it was extremely satisfying that Steve decided to finally get that dance with Peggy and live a life for himself.
Similar to the two leaders of the Avengers, other character arcs were handled in a very satisfying way. Thor realized being a king is not for him. His friendship with Rocket was one of the best relationships in both Infinity War and Endgame. I cannot wait to see the Asgardians of the Galaxy. Natascha’s sacrificed herself for the only friends she really had. Clint’s has got his wife and children back. Bruce has found his peace with Hulk. All six of the original Avengers have completed their journey.
The fan service in the movie was also incredible. The highlight reel of the movie is massive. It makes me want to rewatch the movie over and over again. Cap vs. Cap, Hail Hydra, Cap picking up Mjolnir, Thor, Iron Man and Cap vs. Thanos, all the heroes being ported into the fight, I am Iron Man. This is just a handful of the best moments.
The movie left me fully satisfied. The character arcs made sense. The story made sense. Time-travel can get paradoxical, but they did not make any glaring and obvious errors in time-travel. It is not action packed like Infinity War, but it is an emotionally very satisfying movie.