And there came a day unlike any other, when earth’s mightiest heroes were united against a common threat! On that day, the Avengers were born! To fight the foes no single hero could withstand!
The cheesy quote above is how the Avengers are commonly introduced in the comics. It perfectly captures how the team came together and who the Avengers are. If you’re going to build a movie around this quote, Avengers: Endgame would be it.
Avengers: Endgame is about the aftermath of the traumatic events of Avengers: Infinity War and how the survivors deal with a loss of that magnitude. It’s about making things right, whatever it takes. It’s about concluding the Infinity Saga, the MCU’s 22-movie magnum opus. It’s about closure. It’s about all of these things, but above all, it’s about what it means to be an Avenger.
WARNING: SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT
Hawkeye: Dear Mr. Fantasy
Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton has always been the butt of jokes since the first Avengers movie. He’s an extraordinary archer, sure, but he’s still just a dude with arrows fighting aliens, gods, and robots. At best, he was the guy with a family who we all thought would die in Age of Ultron. Nobody cared about Hawkeye.
But Endgame gives us the best Hawkeye. We get a Clint Barton who’s living a quiet life and everything gets taken away from him. He falls from grace, travels through time and space, and loses a beloved friend. But he presses on to fight impossible odds, not just to be reunited with his family, but to save the universe as well. Because he’s an Avenger and that’s what Avengers do.
Endgame gives Hawkeye justice. It took them a while, but they’ve finally given us a reason to care about Clint Barton. And that makes us all happy.
Black Widow: See You In A Minute
Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff started off as a S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy with red on her ledger who became a founding MCU Avenger. She always played second fiddle to the boys in Iron Man, Avengers, and Captain America movies.
It took a while, but she eventually became the mother hen of the team. The glue that keeps them all together. The soul of the team. An assassin from the Red Room has found a family in a bunch of avenging weirdos. But Infinity War broke that family apart, so in Endgame, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to bring everyone back and keep her family together. Because she’s an Avenger and that’s what Avengers do.
Having red in her ledger has always been Black Widow’s thing. Making the ultimate sacrifice to bring back The Vanished is one hell of a way to wipe out the red in one’s ledger. She has found absolution.
It sucks that we don’t get to see Natasha rushing the field with Captain Marvel, The Wasp, Valkyrie, and the rest of the female characters in Endgame‘s climactic battle. It’s heartbreaking to see her plunging to her death as Clint watches in anguish. But it was a good death — the Soul Stone for the soul of the Avengers.
The Hulk: HULK SNAP!
Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk has had one hell of an arc. Banner tried to keep the Hulk at bay in The Avengers and then lost control in Age of Ultron. Hulk completely took over in Thor: Ragnarok and then completely checked out in Infinity War. It was a constant struggle for dominance.
Endgame finally gives us the conclusion to the Banner-Hulk war. Banner and Hulk finding peace with each other gives us Professor Hulk, a smart monster who takes selfies with kids, screws around with time travel, and saves half the universe. Because he’s an Avenger and that’s what Avengers do, I guess.
Professor Hulk is a total reversal of how everyone sees the Hulk. From a giant rage monster who screams “HULK SMASH!” and leaves a path of destruction everywhere he goes, we now have a Hulk who is an instrument of salvation. Instead of using his strength to punch things, he uses it to survive the Infinity Stones when he snapped The Vanished back to existence . It’s almost like he was made for this.
Thor: The Dude of Thunder
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor Odinson has always been a tragic character. From his early Shakespearean appearances up to Infinity War, he has always dealt with loss and failure.
Endgame continues the renaissance of Thor which started in the amazing Thor: Ragnarok where he lost his friends, his father, his hammer, and his entire home planet/realm. Infinity War was basically his hero’s journey, ending with his greatest failure.
Thor deals with that massive failure in Endgame. He kills Thanos in cold blood. He lets himself go by drinking a lot of beer and playing a lot of Fortnite. But after talking to his mother from the past, he starts to pick himself up. He reunites with Mjolnir, realizes that he’s still worthy, and becomes the first body positive MCU superhero. He gets back up no matter how hard he was knocked down. Because he’s an Avenger and that’s what Avengers do.
It doesn’t look like we’ve seen the last of Thor in the MCU based on the “Asgardians of the Galaxy” tease towards the end. I hope we’ll see more of him, preferably still with the fat suit because that’s amazing.
Captain America: It’s Been A Long, Long Time
Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers didn’t start off as the most interesting Avenger but he worked himself up to be the most important Avenger of all.
Steve Rogers always helps people in whatever way possible. He let a bunch of scientists turn him into a super soldier to fight Nazis. He sacrificed himself to save thousands of lives. He woke up in the future and dealt with alien invasions, terrorist organizations, evil robots, superhero civil wars, and his long-thought dead friend trying to punch him with a robotic arm.
The Captain has gone through some shit even before 50% of living creatures in the universe were wiped out with a snap.
Endgame shows us that Steve doesn’t just help people by hitting bad dudes with his shield. He also helps survivors of The Decimation in dealing with their loss. He helps them move on even if he himself can’t and won’t. He does whatever it takes to help. Because he’s an Avenger and that’s what Avengers do.
Endgame gives us some of the best Captain America moments ever, including the most epic: Cap wielding Mjolnir. I will always remember that moment and the deafening reaction it got from the people in the cinema. Also, Cap-on-Cap action.
More importantly, Endgame gives Steve Rogers what he deserves: a life. After all the things he has gone through and after all the people he has helped, the old man deserves to actually grow old and live a happy life.
Steve is finally reunited with Peggy at the end of Endgame. They finally get that dance. They kiss, once again. It’s been a long, long time.
Iron Man: All The Cheeseburgers You Want
Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark started it all and it’s just appropriate that his death ends the Infinity Saga. The whole MCU was built around Iron Man, so the funeral in the end also felt like a somber goodbye to the incredible first 22 movies of the MCU.
His story is of daddy issues, dealing with the consequences of one’s actions, and doing what’s right, no matter what. All of these things kept him working on new technology and ways to protect innocent lives. He talked about settling down with Pepper but he kept going back to the fray. His work is never done — until The Decimation, it seemed.
Endgame gives us a Tony Stark who has finally settled down. He lives in a lakeside cabin with Pepper and their daughter Morgan. He finally gets to go off the grid. But still, he can’t rest because there’s still work to be done.
In Endgame, Tony finally gets some closure with his father. He does the right thing knowing full well the consequences. He risks never seeing his daughter again to save the universe and he pays for it. Because he is Iron Man. He’s an Avenger and that’s what Avengers do. You can rest now, Tony.
We’re on it, Cap!
I want to give a special shout-out to Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and Evangeline Lilly’s The Wasp. After all these years, it still bums me out that Ant-Man and The Wasp were not involved in the founding of the MCU Avengers. They haven’t even been featured prominently in any of the previous Avengers films.
I’m glad Endgame finally makes Ant-Man important, not just to the Avengers, but to the whole MCU. I love how everything blossomed out of his return from the Quantum Realm and his idea for a time heist. An extra shout-out goes to that random rat in that storage facility guarded by Ken Jeong.
I’m also happy that The Wasp has finally interacted with the rest of the MCU. I love that small (hyuk! hyuk!) moment where she takes orders from Steve and goes “We’re on it, Cap!” I hope she becomes a more prominent member of the Avengers moving forward. Because it’s about damn time.
In comics, the difference between the Avengers and other superhero teams is that there’s a certain prestige attached to being an Avenger. It means something.
In the MCU, we’ve seen this weight given to the “Avenger” designation when Hawkeye gave Scarlet Witch a speech about being an Avenger in Age of Ultron. An empowered Wanda came out of that building with hex powers blazing. We also saw it when Iron Man officially made Spider-Man an Avenger in Infinity War. Peter Parker was super elated.
In Avengers: Endgame, we see the ultimate representation of this prestige.
As a lone Captain America faces off against Thanos and his forces, seemingly about to suffer defeat, the returning Falcon radios in. “On your left,” says Sam, and then almost all of the MCU’s good guys arrive through sling ring portals. Once the superheroes, Wakandans, Ravagers, sorcerers, and Howard the Duck are ready to kick names and take ass, Cap utters the phrase that I’ve been waiting for since Marvel announced that they were going to make an Avengers movie: “Avengers Assemble.”
An army of evil aliens from 2014 bent on dusting the whole universe knocks on the Avengers’ door. It’s a day unlike any other. The good guys rally behind Captain America when all seems lost and they make their last stand. Captain America calls all of them “Avengers”, so they are all Avengers — Earth’s mightiest heroes ready to fight foes no single hero could withstand. They charge to battle in a scene straight out of a George Pérez 2-page spread. It’s beautiful. I choked up. A lot. OK, tears were shed.
I wish Stan and Jack were here to see this.
Avengers: Endgame is a fantastic ending to the Infinity Saga. It’s an insanely entertaining movie especially if you’ve been following the MCU since the beginning. It’s a love letter to Stan and Jack and all the comics creators who worked on the Avengers books throughout the decades. I love it 3000.
Avengers: Endgame is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and stars EVERYONE. It’s in theaters now, possibly until the end of time.