This is our Avengers: Endgame spoiler review, and we’ll be talking about all the big, surprising moments that unfold in the movie. If you’ve not yet seen the film, but want to know what’s going to happen, read on. Yet, if you made it this far being unspoiled, maybe allow yourself to experience the surprises as they happen on-screen. That’s a rare treat in today’s world, and this is an event movie like no other. The final installment in the modern series of Avengers movies broke almost every box-office record in the book this weekend. However, even in the age of the internet, fans are being very respectful about not spoiling the film. Still, it’s been a few days, so it’s time to dive into the specific story elements that made this movie a unique masterpiece.
Final warning, this the Avengers: Endgame spoiler review, so if you’ve not seen the movie bookmark this page and come back when you do.
A Time for All Things in the Endgame
Any Avengers: Endgame spoiler review should start with a discussion of the role time plays in this film. In any sci-fi franchise, the introduction of time-travel is often a foundation-shaking event. The ultimate fictional “undo” button, time-travel can be hugely controversial because it means that even the greatest stakes aren’t “permanent.” Also, as many of the characters in the film joke, there are lots of “rules” of time-travel that are more rules of storytelling than science. Essentially, in this movie, going back in time can’t undo things. All it does is create a “branch reality,” that unfolds separate from the “main timeline” of the film. What all this pseudoscience really means is that the time-travel solution in this case is meant to be a one-off. Still, there are some lingering questions. The biggest surrounds two fan-favorite characters, Loki and Captain America.
The former disappears with the Tesseract immediately after the events of the first Avengers movie. This is unquestionably a loose thread, one that it’s safe to assume the new Disney+ Loki series will pull on. As it stands, Loki’s disappearance puts the events of each successive Thor film into limbo. The more confusing question is what happens with Captain America. He goes back in time to spend a lifetime with Peggy. Was he always her husband? Because the previous films go out of their way to not show us Peggy’s husband. Thus, if he was always her husband, he didn’t technically change the past? Or is it, as the Russo brothers suggested, an alternate reality that snapped out of existence when Cap returned to the main timeline at some point? So, it’s possible that the fallout from time-travel will be a big part of the MCU going forward.
Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review – Pay-Offs and Professor Hulk
One of the most impressive things about the story the filmmakers built was how well it paid off things set up in previous films. Little things, like Spider-Man’s suit having an “instant kill” mode, are both a treat for the fans and evidence of the meticulous nature of the MCU creatives. For example, the first time Hawkeye and Black Panther meet, the former introduces himself to the latter. They don’t again share a scene until Endgame’s third act, and T’Challa calls Hawkeye by his name. They also pay homage to classic MCU moments. When Captain America joins the Hydra agents in the elevator, fans suspected a repeat of the classic elevator fight in his second film. Instead, Cap outsmarts them by saying “Hail Hydra,” itself a reference to a controversial comic book arc. To quote George Lucas: “It’s like poetry…every stanza kind of rhymes with the last one.”
However, some moments in the film were not so well set-up, and none more so than the introduction of “Professor Hulk.” Sometime over the off-screen five years, Bruce Banner merged his consciousness with the Hulk’s physical form. Given that Endgame is three hours long, not showing us this transition was likely the right call. However, all the previous time with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk suggested that Banner and the Hulk were separate identities. (Although, that the two-sides-of-the-same-identity idea is in line with the Ed Norton take on the character.) Still, that’s the beauty of a multimedia universe like the MCU. That story didn’t really fit into the larger narrative of Endgame, but it’s one worth telling, perhaps in a film, cartoon, or mini-series. Plot holes and hanging plot threads are two different things. Endgame really doesn’t have any of the former, but it does offer plenty of the latter.
Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review – Nat and Clint
The two all-the-way human Avengers have big storylines in this film. Endgame opens with Hawkeye seeing, or just missing, his family being dusted. This sends him on a worldwide killing spree, where he murders criminals he believes didn’t deserve to survive. He gets a new haircut and a sleeve tattoo, along with adopting a sword as his weapon of choice. This is a nod to the character’s time as Ronin in the comics, and a sign that in the wake of Thanos Hawkeye lost all hope. The Black Widow, on the other hand, essentially assumes leadership of the Galactic Avengers. We see her coordinating with other heroes across the cosmos. Both of these characters have, essentially, given their lives over “the job” in the past five years.
Why these are the two who get sent to Vormir to retrieve the soul stone is a bit confusing. Yet, as we fans know, they are the only two who could have gotten it. They love each other, as family, and it takes that kind of sacrifice to end up with the soul stone. The scene where they fight each other for the right to plunge to their deaths is perfect. It’s entirely in keeping with their characters, and they each get the upper-hand on each other twice. Unfortunately for Black Widow fans, she was the one who ended up at the bottom of the soul pit. The decision to kill her is a genuine surprise, since Hawkeye seemed like the obvious choice. Still, with both a Hawkeye-centric series coming to Disney+ and a Black Widow prequel in production, we’ll see both of these characters again.
Chris Hemsworth’s Incredible Work with “Thor” in Endgame
The sheer volume of talented actors assembled for the cast of these two films is mind-boggling. Yet, the actor who stole both movies is Chris Hemsworth’s take on Thor. After a very silly outing in Thor: Ragnarok, the arc Thor takes in these final two films is interesting. After taking the worst beating of his 1,000-year life from his sister, Thor takes an even worse beating from Thanos to start off Infinity War. During that film, Thor’s quest for revenge gets him a new hammer and new allies, but he lost his brother and closest friends. In Endgame Thor finally kills Thanos, but only after all hope is lost. After the time-jump, we see that Thor has basically given up in light of this failure. The physical toll this takes caused controversy, but any Avengers: Endgame spoiler review that paints him as just “Fat Thor” miss the point.
His physical and mental state are such a departure from the Thor we know, and Hemsworth is able to play the physical comedy of it perfectly. Yet, in an instant, Hemsworth has to play Thor as someone deeply troubled and in pain. The scene in which he recounts his experience with the Reality Stone is the perfect example. He describes the plot of Thor: The Dark World in a way that may or may not be mocking the film. Either way, it gets laughs. Yet, he slips into these moments of sadness when talking about Jane Foster or his mother’s death that break your heart. And when it comes time for Thor to suit up and be a hero, he’s able to incorporate it all into the action. It’s a truly masterful performance and the best argument for more Thor-focused films.
Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review – Captain America
While the filmmakers know how to handle all of these characters, it’s clear that Captain America is their favorite. The last we saw of the good Captain in Infinity War, he was knocked on his ass and hopeless. When we see him in Endgame, he’s shaving his beard after meeting Captain Marvel and sending her to rescue Tony. He’s ready to get back to the work of saving the world. After the time-skip, he’s still trying to save people just in a different way. He leads a support group like his friend Sam Wilson did, only instead of war vets this group is for people who survived Thanos’s snap. When Scott Lang shows up with a wacky plan for a time heist, he’s instantly on board. And, of course, he’s finally worthy to hold Mjolnir. If this truly is Chris Evans’s last outing, it was a hell of a send-off.
We’ve already talked about the time-travel problems with his resolution, but if anyone deserves that kind of happy ending it’s Cap. He’s the perfect Marvel Hero, and one whose always been “right” in the movies. Though one relationship that got the short shrift in the movie was the friendship between him and Bucky. The penultimate scene in the movie suggests that Bucky is aware that Cap plans to steal a little life for himself. It’s perfectly conceivable that before that moment, Cap confided in his best friend about his plans. Hopefully, this can be addressed in the Disney+ series starring both the Winter Soldier and the Falcon. It’s a safe bet that Sam weighing the decision to take up Cap’s shield will figure heavily into it. The MCU may have to make do without Chris Evans or Steve Rogers, but it appears that it will always have a Captain America.
Avengers: Endgame Spoiler Review – “I am Iron Man”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe would not exist today if Robert Downey Jr. hadn’t so embodied both Tony Stark and Iron Man. So, after taking a lead role in the last movie, Tony spends a lot of the time in this one on the bench. He gets Pepper that farm he talked about in Age of Ultron, and he gets to be a father. Still, as the character says in the trailer, “part of the journey is the end.” Avengers: Endgame is the definitive end for both RDJ and Tony Stark. In a sneaky move while grappling with Thanos, Stark is able to steak all six o the infinity stones. They embed themselves in his Iron Man armor, an obviously painful and fatal process. Yet, before the power consumes him, he’s able to snap Thanos and company out of existence.
His death scene is incredible. First, they made him look really dead with makeup and effects. He gets heartfelt goodbyes from Rhodey, Spidey, and Pepper. It’s a fittingly epic end to the character who launched a universe. Similarly with Cap, it’s clear that the stage is set for there to be plenty of more Iron Men and Iron Women. Yet, there are no do-overs or open doors for Robert Downey Jr. to step into Tony’s expensive shoes again. One thing comic book stories do, almost to a fault, is make death impermanent. So, no one, including your humble correspondent, would complain if news broke that RDJ signed on for four more MCU movies. Yet, in saying goodbye to their marquee star, the MCU seeks to prove that it’s here for the long-haul.
What Will Happen In Phase 4, Are the Avengers Over?
While we know a little about what’s in development at Marvel Studios, no official announcements have been made. Yet, without the infinity stones, the big question is what the over-arching connective tissue between the Phase 4 films will be. It will be interesting to see if the time-travel shenanigans of the Avengers have larger consequences on the MCU. Perhaps inter-dimensional threats will rise, leading to the introduction of a world where mutants exist? Maybe time-travel will be ignored going forward, and the MCU will focus more on individual franchises. We may not get another “Avengers” movie, regardless of the roster, for years. The future of the MCU is more uncertain than it’s been since 2009.
What would you like to see happen going forward? Tell us in the comments below! Don’t forget to share the article on social media if you liked it, but throw up a spoiler warning just the same.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.