Avengers: Endgame Review

Olivia Mistretta, Staff Editor

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Before we get started, it’s worth noting that this article will contain spoilers for the movie! If you haven’t seen it and don’t want to read any spoilers, click out now. If you have seen it or don’t mind spoilers, enjoy my take on the movie!

So, this movie had some pretty big expectations circulating around it. Avengers: Endgame is the final movie in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) arc, which has 22 movies all told. Beginning all the way back in 2008 with Iron Man, the Marvel universe has seen considerable development since it began. The empire took over a decade to build, so of course the final movie would have to be something that represented all the characters and did right by each storyline. With that, the Russo Brothers created the 3-hour movie that broke the all-time high for Box Office revenues. The movie has grossed over a billion dollars just in opening weekend alone, and is set to surpass the record for highest grossing movie of all time.

But money isn’t the sole factor of success, especially not for Marvel fans. How was the pacing? Did everyone’s favorite characters get good endings? How was the plot? Well, there were a lot of twists and turns for sure. The movie began with Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Nebula floating through space with the oxygen on their ship about to run out. By morning, Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) had flown in to rescue them and brought the ship back to Earth. Here, they met back up with some of the members of the original Avengers team and others. Tony, malnourished and still bitter about what happened during Captain America: Civil War gives Steve Rogers (Captain America) a piece of his mind before everyone calms down and Nebula tells them where Thanos (the villain from Infinity War who killed half of life on Earth and many of their friends) was hiding. After suiting up, the Avengers found Thanos on his space farm and discovered he had destroyed the Infinity Stones (the precious magical stones he used to obliterate half of the earth’s population) and was planning on living a peaceful life in isolation. With that, Thor lopped his head off with Stormbreaker (his new ax) and the team was left hopeless. How could they bring everyone back now?

The answer was time travel. 5 years go by and everyone goes their separate ways. Tony and Pepper Potts finally marry and have a daughter, Morgan. They live in a little cabin in the woods together and live as peaceful of a life as they can. Others are not so lucky. Steve has started a support group but remains grim in demeanor. Natasha (Black Widow) communicates between the team but spends a lot of time crying and feeling awful about what happened. Thor now has a drinking problem and spends most of his time at home, trying to forget his brother’s death. Clint Barton (Hawkeye) who lost his entire family has become a vigilante hit man who targets criminals internationally. Bruce Banner (Hulk) tries to find semblance in life by being himself and Hulk at the same time. So who came up with the idea? After being trapped in the Quantum Realm after his friends were snapped by Thanos, it was unlikely we would see Scott Lang (Ant-Man) again. But, as luck would have it, a rat ran across the transponder to the machine that trapped him and he was returned to his normal state. For him, 5 years had simply become 5 hours, and he remained one of the only optimistic ones about getting the stones back. By using the Quantum Realm and his friends’ technology, the Avengers would have a shot to go back, retrieve the stones, and bring back their friends as well as everyone else who was snapped out of existence.

At first, Tony didn’t want to be involved. After all, he finally had his long-awaited family. But after he figured out a way to perfect Scott’s idea, he joined the others for the mission of a lifetime. Alluding to past movies, the Avengers went back in time not just in their universe but back into other movies in the MCU to find the Infinity Stones.

Tony, Steve, Bruce, and Scott went to retrieve the Time, Space, and Mind stones from a spot in MCU history during 2012- The first Avengers movie. Bruce has to negotiate with the Ancient One (from Doctor Strange) to get the Time stone while Steve, Tony, and Scott have to chase down the other two stones before Loki is taken back to Asgard and Hydra steals the Space stone.

Meanwhile, Thor and Rocket (the Raccoon) went to Asgard (Thor’s homeworld) to retrieve the Reality stone (this point in the timeline took place in Thor: The Dark World). Tony and Steve also had to go back further in time to a point not designated in the MCU timeline, the 1970’s, to take the Space stone and more of the particles that allowed them to travel back in time in the first place.

Here, Tony encounters a younger version of his father and makes conversation with him. Steve peers into one of the windows at the military base they find the find the stone in (the one he became a soldier in) and sees the love he left behind when he went into the ice, Peggy Carter.

After this, Nebula and James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine) went to Morag (a realm in space) and knock out Peter Quill (Star-Lord) to steal the Power Stone for themselves. Finally, and most heart-wrenchingly, Clint and Natasha go on to Vormir in search of the coveted Soul Stone. However, as viewers of Avengers: Infinity War know, the Soul Stone comes with a price. Thanos sacrificed his favorite daughter Gamora to get the stone in the previous movie. Now, Natasha and Clint fight over who must be the sacrifice before they end up hanging off the cliffside. Natasha lets go, the magic happens, and Clint wakes up with the Soul  stone in his palm.

Finally, with all the stones collected, Tony and Bruce assemble a makeshift gauntlet to hold all the stones. After speculation on who should wear it (the stones are extremely powerful and can destroy any living being who channels their power at once), Bruce steps up to the plate since his Hulk form would be able to protect him against the raw cosmic power of the Infinity Stones. After his arm becomes maimed after putting on the gauntlet, he manages to snap and reverse Thanos’s erasure of half the population. Everything should have been fine, right? Nope. It just so happened that while Nebula and Rhodey were on Morag to get the Power stone, Nebula’s past self-bridged with her future self mentally. She was still loyal to Thanos at the time, so he found out about the plan to destroy him in the future. With that, Thanos, stoneless in this new timeline, came to Earth with a huge army assembled and bombed the Avengers compound to smithereens. The Avengers lived through the initial attack and engaged the ‘Mad Titan’ in a rather fruitless battle that ended with Steve’s shield broken in half and Tony and Thor on the ground, beaten and broken.

As all hope seemed to be fleeting, Steve gets a crackly message in his headset from an all-too familiar voice, “On your left.” It is none other than Sam Wilson (Falcon) making an old inside joke. The camera pans out, and several of Doctor Strange’s portals open. The remaining Avengers and others who were dusted in Avengers: Infinity War all emerge in an epic resurgence. Soon, Thanos is surrounded. Proud soldiers from Wakanda line up behind King T’Challa (Black Panther) and his closest advisors, Dr. Strange and Peter Parker (Spider-Man) come into frame, the Guardians of the Galaxy walk through a portal with their heads held high, Valkyrie sits proudly on top of her pegasus with Asgardian soldiers behind her, sorcerers of all types assist Stephen Strange in opening more portals, Pepper Potts flies in with the R.E.S.C.U.E suit Tony made her, and everyone comes to the forefront. Peter and Tony finally get their long-awaited hug, other groups finally meet up again after five long years, but the battle soon begins.

For a while, the respective “good guys” clash with Thanos’s huge space army and blow through the hoard of aliens with ease, but things obviously can’t be so easy. Since Bruce’s arm was severely injured by the gauntlet, he had to remove it after he reversed Thanos’s snap. The gauntlet was subsequently buried in the rubble after the initial attack on the compound, and was found shortly by Clint who struggled to keep it away from Thanos’s minions. Soon, the battle became a game of ‘pass-the-gauntlet’ and it soon landed in Peter’s hands. At this time, Thanos’s army began to overwhelm the defenders, his main ship rigging up for what would probably be the final blow to Earth’s mighty fighters. Out of the blue, an orange force comes blasting through the sky and rips through the entire ship- It’s Captain Marvel! Heading the call for battle, Carol retrieves the gauntlet from Peter who is being shielded by a group of Marvel’s fiercest female warriors (a shame Natasha wasn’t in this shot) and zooms across the battlefield. Thanos, unfortunately, stops her before she can get to the portal that will bring her and the gauntlet away from harm.

Carol has no choice but to turn tail. The camera pans to Dr. Strange, who exchanges a knowing and howring look with Tony, holding up the number 1. This represents the 1 possibility for a good outcome that Stephen talked about in Infinity War. Tony knows what he has to do. Right before he grabs the gauntlet, Thanos delivers his tagline, “I…Am inevitable.”  But as he snaps, the quietest sound cuts through the air. The stones are missing. The camera pans to Tony, who has glowing colors running up his right arm as he grimaces in pain, “And I…Am…Iron Man.” And just like that, the shot heard around the world rings out as Tony snaps his fingers. Thanos and his army turn to dust. It is an ideal ending, except for the fact that the power of the stones and the action alone completely destroyed all hope of Tony’s survival. The sheer power almost took out the super-human Hulk, but even Tony’s Iron Man suit could not save him from the atomic levels of gamma-radiation the stones pumped into his body.

He can barely make out the beginning of Pepper’s name as he is leaned against a crashed ship. Peter runs into his arms, begging him not to leave. Pepper gently pulls him off and tells Tony, “You can rest now” and gives her husband one last kiss on the cheek. In possibly the most heart-shattering moment in Marvel history, Tony slumps down and the arc reactor on his chest ceases its usual blue glow. Earth loses her best defender once and for all, and there is no going back.

The rest of the movie is a blur, everyone showing up for Tony’s funeral at the cabin, seeing his final message, a hologram for his wife and daughter. As a reference to earlier in the movie, hologram-Tony turns to face them and says, “I love you 3,000” and the video cuts out. It is a heart-wrenching moment to be a fan in the audience. After things settle, Steve Rogers is tasked with returning the Infinity Stones to their proper places in history. He says his usual goodbye with Bucky (The Winter Soldier) and the two share a knowing look. When he doesn’t return from the time machine right away, Hulk and Sam (Falcon) begin to panic until Bucky points to an old man sitting on a bench with a bag next to him.

Instead of coming back to the present, Steve decided to go back in time and live out his life with Peggy Carter, his one true love. He has aged considerably, and passes the shield to Sam before the movie ends with a shot of Steve and Peggy, dancing at home. This one final scene is meant to be moving because in the original storyline, they never got to have their dance together because Steve crashed his plane and went into the ice for 70 years. It was meant to be a comforting ending, and for many it was, but many fans felt it was out of character for Steve. Regardless, it was the ending we were given, so there is no changing it.

What did I think of the movie? I thought it was great. Any Marvel fan could say the same. The task at hand was massive for the directors, including every single character and tying up the loose-ends of so many superheroes while setting the stage for future movies must have been extremely taxing. The pacing wasn’t as good as Infinity War, but I didn’t feel bored at all during the movie. There were loopholes, of course, like all sci-fi movies, and some of the endings definitely felt like they were trying to sell the fact that the characters weren’t going to come back. When it comes down to it, the era had to end, and it was going to happen one way or another. I enjoyed the thrilling conclusion, but I’m excited to see what Marvel has in store for the new heroes, and it was never going to be easy to say goodbye to beloved characters like Iron Man who is the foundation of the entire MCU. Many fans worldwide agree that the feel of the MCU will really never be the same again now that things have ended. At least Black Widow will be getting her own prequel movie soon enough, and there will be a new Spider-Man movie coming out in July. I give Avengers: Endgame a 9.8/10, especially when seeing that this movie was able to bring together a decades old fan-base and an impressive cast of talented actors together one last time. Thank you, Avengers cast, and especially Robert Downey Jr., for giving us something to believe in and a place to belong.

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