Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame (2019): Anthony & Joe Russo

One year after the incredible, world-breaking, superhero-killing Infinity War, The Russo brothers return with the climactic Avengers: Endgame.

All these heroes have real names and hero names, and I’m going to switch between them often with little rhyme or reason. You’ve been warned.

ONE SENTENCE PLOT SUMMARY: The living superheroes figure out how to move on from Thanos’s devastating, life-halving Snap, then they figure out how to undo it so they don’t have to move on.

Hero (7/10)

Endgame picks up where Infinity War left off. The movie opens on a quiet scene where Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner) teaches his daughter to shoot arrows one afternoon at their home. Barton turns his back on her and -poof- she’s gone, turned to ash. He turns his back on the rest of his family and -poof- they are gone. Snapped into oblivion.

It’s an effective opening that bridges the gap between the year separating the release of Infinity War and Endgame. It reminds us what’s at stake, what the Avengers are and will be fighting for.

With half the world gone, what will the Avengers do? They will avenge. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) nearly dies in space, until Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) saves him and Nebula (Karen Gillan). Those heroes who survived The Snap find out where Thanos is and go to find him.

Many Vanishing survivors prepare to Avenge.

Turns out Thanos (Josh Brolin) has a retirement plan. Living alone on a garden planet, Thanos is nursing a burned arm and some funky space plants. He is immediately attacked by the surviving heroes and killed by Thor (Chris Hemsworth), but not before offering a couple pearls of wisdom: 1) Thanos used the Infinity Stones once again to destroy themselves, reducing them “to atoms,” and 2) what is done cannot be undone. “I am inevitable,” he says moments before Thor goes for the head and decapitates him.

Now what? Skip ahead five years is what. A reduced cast and increased runtime allows for many quieter moments with our favorite characters, the ones classed as “Avengers.” While Infinity War was one of the all-time assembling movies, Endgame is its opposite, a movie to disassemble a franchise that’s told stories for 11 years and twice as many films.

Many of those characters are, as Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) puts it, “only kind of gone.” They will need to get the team back together for a last go around. What is everyone up to?

Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson): She leads the world’s superheroes, now a ragtag group trying to hold together societies already crumbled. It’s a thankless job but one Natasha is glad to have. She’s come a long way from her old days as a murdering Russian spy.

Steve “Captain America” Rogers (Chris Evans): Cap’s been leading therapy groups, and he keeps telling people to move on. “But not us,” he says to Natasha. He drops in at Avengers headquarters every now and then. These two greet Scott “Ant Man” Lang (Paul Rudd). Together they drive to the woods to visit…

Tony “Iron Man” Stark: Tony lives in a cabin in the woods with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and their daughter Morgan (whom Tony envisioned in a dream at the beginning of Infinity War). Natasha, Steve, and Scott ask Tony if he would please invent time travel so they can save their friends. Tony refuses, so they try the next biggest brain they know, which belongs to…

You’ll see these characters (and more!) in Avengers: Endgame.

Bruce “Hulk” Banner (Mark Ruffalo): Banner’s brain is figuratively smaller than Stark’s, but physically it’s much larger, because Banner has discovered a way to fuse his Hulk self with his Banner self. Now he’s strong and smart all the time. It’s the best of both worlds. He doesn’t know how to invent time travel, but he will help. Banner sets off with Rocket to convince the last, and strongest member of the team to rejoin them. It’s off to New Asgard to recruit…

Thor: The ruler of Asgard has removed himself from society, stuck in his house playing Fortnite with his (literal) rock buddies he met on Sakaar. He’s also fat now. He won’t stand to hear Thanos’s name. Thor provides most of the comic relief in Endgame, but it’s at his expense because he’s clearly depressed and drinking himself into oblivion.

People forget that Thor was at the helm when his family died and his civilization collapsed. He also had the best, final chance to kill Thanos in Infinity War, but he “should have gone for the head.”

Now seems like a good time to discuss the use of time travel. Always a tricky proposition, time travel needs to be classified strictly in the realm of fantasy. Let us now lift the device whole hog from consideration as a science fiction plot and leave it in the realm of wizards, flying horses, and Soul Stones.

Avengers about to do a time travel.

Endgame posits a universe where time travel isn’t possible, but time stealing is. The movie hand waves the impossibility of time travel by discounting previous famous movie attempts to explain time travel. No, no, the movie seems to say, THIS is the way to do time travel.

The heroes wear special suits designed for travel in the quantum realm, where Ant Man was hanging out for five hours/years. Somehow that revelation leads the characters to revisit past movie sets to assemble the Infinity Stones before Thanos does, return them to their reality, undo Thanos’s Snap, and return the Stones to exact place-times from which they were removed to prevent reality branching.

Easy peasy. The middle part of Endgame is all about time traveling Stone stealing, and the characters revisit past selves and movies. Tony reunites with his father in the 1970s. Steve spies Peggy Carter once more. Banner converses with The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Loki might be alive again?

To enjoy Endgame, it’s best to ignore the inconsistencies, no matter how glaring. Some might open up possible paths for future Marvel movies; others will likely be ignored forever. As the movie tells us, we must move on.

Villain (5/10)

How is Thanos the villain if he’s dead 30 minutes into the movie? Perhaps you’ve heard of the nifty plot contrivance called time travel. The Avengers do it and we meet Thanos again, before he’s acquired any of the Stones.

Thanks to some bizarre mental cross-pollination, the two Nebulas (one evil and one less so) share memories, recorded and playable on Thanos’s ship. Thanos learns that he will acquire the Stones and achieve his goal, and isn’t that interesting?

Thanks to Bad Nebula, Thanos and his ship are transported through the Avengers time machine moments before Dr. Hulk snaps his fingers and undoes Thanos’s Infinity War snap.

Before anyone can tell if the Desnap worked, Thanos sends dozens of rockets onto Avengers headquarters. He transports himself onto the ashen ground. That’s when we first get some idea of his character.

“You could not live with your own failure,” he says to Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. “And where did that bring you? Back to me.” Thanos accepts the inevitability of his own life, even if the Avengers cannot.

Without the Infinity Stones, this Thanos still needs armor.

So sure of this inevitability, Thanos does nothing to actually acquire the Stones. He dispatches Nebula to help bring his ship through the time travel portal, then again to steal the Infinity Gauntlet from the Avengers. She asks Thanos what he’ll do once he arrives on Earth. “Wait,” he says.

Endgame‘s Thanos doesn’t have the Stones, so he’s stuck with his armor and spinning dual blade, which is very cool. He needs it to block coordinated attacks from Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man. Lightning, flying vibranium shields, hammers, axes, laser blasts–Thanos repels them all. He breaks Cap’s shield, nearly killing him. In a reversal from Infinity War, Thanos nearly plunges Stormbreaker into Thor’s chest.

Thanos changes his plan from Infinity War. After internalizing the Avengers’ desire to undo what was done, Thanos decides to go whole hog. He will wipe out the entire universe and start a new one. A world born from the blood of the old. “They’ll never know it,” Thanos says.

Good thing he fails.

Action/Effects (5/10)

For a three hour movie with most of the superheroes ever seen on screen, Endgame doesn’t have much action. The middle act is a heist movie, where the teams revisit scenes from past Marvel films.

Does it count as a new action scene if we watch the current Avengers watch their old selves? Steve, Tony, and Bruce time travel to the conclusion of The Avengers and blend with their old selves as they fight Thanos’s aliens in Manhattan.

We see Hulk smash some stuff and aliens get clobbered, but mostly the time-traveling Avengers sneak around the 2012 Avengers to fool them and steal the Stones.

What about the effects? Infinity War earned an Oscar nomination, and it’s hard to imagine Endgame having a different fate. Thanos again excels as a character. He might be nine feet tall and purple, but he’s as fully realized as some real actors.

Getting all the heroes together for a final battle likely represented a tremendous undertaking in FX departments around the world. Thanos’s crew is mostly the same. His lieutenants have individuality, but his fighters are the six-limbed aliens and the flying worms.

The heroes, however, are multitude and unique, and in many cases Oscar nominees. We know them, and they have to look like themselves in the battle. Consider all the characters in the team-up shot before Captain Marvel flies the gauntlet toward the time machine van.

Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) rides a white horse. The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) embiggens to her normal size. Captain Marvel is blue flame. Pepper wears a Mark suit. Shuri (Letitia Wright) has her vibranium fists. You got a couple of Oscar winners in there. You know the shot lasts mere seconds, but you can’t mess it up. They don’t.

Sidekicks (4/8)

The five years following The Vanishing further dilutes the heroes hanging out at Avengers headquarters. An early scene shows Black Widow speaking via hologram with several characters. Okoye (Danai Gurira), Captain Marvel, Iron Patriot (Don Cheadle), and Rocket Raccoon maintain order in different parts of the world/galaxy.

A couple of sidekicks get increased screen time.

Thus the movie is stripped to its Original Six Avengers. Captain Marvel, who of all heroes has the biggest commitment issues, won’t pledge her support. I dig it. She doesn’t owe us anything.

OK Nebula rises above the others in importance. Her memory link to Bad Nebula plays a crucial role in events, and we learn much more about her past. OK Nebula tries to convince Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to turn on their father. OK Nebula has helped Thanos achieve his ends, and she’s decided she dislikes his ends.

I don’t know if Nebula can be called a Guardian of the Galaxy, but if so she’s its most interesting person. Karen Gillan does heavy lifting in all of Nebula’s scenes, playing two characters more different than the others twice portrayed in this film.

Gamora returns, though a different version.

OK Nebula fulfills her role as an OK version of herself when she kills her Bad self. Bad Nebula was carrying the Gauntlet to Thanos and was about to shoot Gamora. OK Nebula pulled the trigger first. It might be time to call her Good Nebula. Eh, let’s wait one more movie.

Henchmen (5/8)

Thanos brings back all his creepy Black Order lieutenants and his armies of weird aliens. Most important is Bad Nebula. This Nebula does anything to please her adoptive, manipulative father.

Her first scene occurs during a fight, and she’s knocked to the ground. A hand is offered to help her stand, and when Bad Nebula sees the hand belongs to Gamora, she reacts as if she’d rather die than accept her help. Her pathos is funny as a sisterly spat.

Bad Nebula is dispatched to replace OK Nebula, once the latter is captured on Morag. A gold plate later attached to Nebula’s skull is the only way the audience can tell the two apart physically. Bad Nebula steals this plate and the “time GPS” bracelet and returns to present day Earth to unlock the portal for Thanos’s ship and begin the endgame.

Stunts (2/6)

Much like previous Marvel movies, it’s very hard to judge stunt work in Endgame. Black Widow isn’t around long enough to try her patented flips and neck crunches. Most martial combat occurs against a purple giant.

However, Endgame offers us one terrific fight sequence featuring Hawkeye-turned-Ronin. (No one ever says he’s Ronin; I’ve absorbed that from the culture.) I’ll stick with Hawkeye though.

Post-Vanishing, Hawkeye has broken bad, and is traveling around the world doing his best Dexter impression, killing all the bad guys. Rhoades tracked him to a bloodbath of cartels in northern Mexico, recognizing his handiwork, probably from all the arrow wounds.

Hawkeye/Ronin gets the lone action scene apart from the final battle.

The movie finds Hawkeye in Tokyo. He’s mopping up his last targets, a cell of Yakuza. Hawkeye is hooded and his face covered, partly because of the rain and partly to keep his identity concealed.

The camera tracks Hawkeye’s path through a building, where guys are shooting at him and dying, though the camera stays outside the building; we only hear the carnage. Until two characters burst from a window into the street.

Hawkeye and an unnamed Yakuza boss battle in the streets with swords, as, legally, all fights in Japan must be conducted. The camera encircles the combatants as they trade blows. Hawkeye is first to draw blood, and then second. The Yakuza boss wonders why he is doing this?

“You survived,” Hawkeye says. “Half the planet didn’t. They got Thanos; you got me.” They fight more, but no one can stop Hawkeye, a junior version of Thanos (without the random killings). “What I want, you can’t give me.”

That was a well made fight occurring in a single shot, and in the rain, no less. Black Widow, who saw the whole thing, stands by watching with a cute umbrella, as if she’s a tourist lost in the wrong neighborhood, but watching a sword fight doesn’t faze her.

We also must discuss the other pivotal death in the movie. Hawkeye and Black Widow travel to Vormir, home of the Soul Stone. Everyone watching knows exactly how the the heroes will get the Soul Stone. There’s no sense in building up tension.

The pair meet Red Skull again, and he calls them by their “child of” names, to add gravitas to his persona. He also tells them about the sacrifice part.

What comes next is not a surprise, nor does that detract from its emotional heft. Hawkeye and Black Widow go back and forth about who should die. “For the last five years,” Natasha says, “I’ve been trying to do one thing, get to right here.”

Each thinks they should be the one to sacrifice themselves. They actually fight, tasering each other and shooting explosive arrows and such, as you do. They both topple over the edge. Hawkeye gains the upper hand, holding a cable attached to the cliff face in one and Natasha in the other. “Let me go,” she says.

He does. Clint had a genetic family lost in the Vanishing, and this was a chance to get them back. Natasha had no such family. As her Avengers teammates lament later on Earth, they were her family. What woman wouldn’t crave escape from five brothers?

Kidding, kidding. Black Widow’s death hit me hard. If someone had to go out (and someone did, at least once in a Marvel movie), she had the most impactful death of all, more than Stark’s, who died in front of his lover and was mourned by all the heroes at a funeral at his home. Black Widow, cast aside by the society that made her, made herself into something greater and, eventually, proved her greatest power to be one of sacrifice.

Civil War 2: America’s Ass

The other fisticuffs features two Captains America fighting over the Mind Stone in 2012. It’s not a great fight, and is there more for comedy and for Steve Rogers to admire his own ass. Effective for these reasons, and any time we can see Cap’s shield flying is a good time.

Climax (6/6)

Avengers: Endgame is a good movie, full of quiet moments and characters reconnecting for the first time in a long time and often a final time. Five years pass after The Vanishing, and most characters are worse for it. Seeing the effect of trauma on these heroes means something.

The final battle in Endgame makes for the most cathartic and epic conclusion to the decade’s most epic story, one of cinema’s all-time most satisfying conclusions.

Dr. Hulk snaps his fingers to undo what Thanos did. We don’t know if it worked because Thanos, sans Stones, has come through the time portal to lay waste on Avengers headquarters and try to acquire the Stones all at once.

Once the heroes crawl out of the wreckage, they confront a patient Thanos. Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man are the first to reach the villain. He gives a big speech about destiny and destruction, telling them he has amended is original plan and will now wipe out the universe to create one that will apprecaite what it’s got, not lament what it’s lost.

The Avengers cannot abide, and they fight. Each of the three attacks; each is beaten. Thanos has armor and dual blade as long as he is tall. The weapon absorbs Iron Man’s energy blasts. It cleaves Cap’s shield. Thanos snatches Stormbreaker from Thor and leans on it real heavy, almost plunging it into his chest. He’s only stopped by the thunder.

The ground rumbles. Mjolnir, taking up the entire frame, shakes and flies into the hand of…Goddamn Captain America.


I’ve watched all the Marvel movies, some several times, across the past decade. When Steve Rogers caught the hammer I pumped my fist and thought, It was worth it.

I went into a semi-fugue state following that first of several fan service payoff moments in the final battle. I missed moments. It was euphoric.

Steve uses Mjolnir to cast lighting onto Thanos for a few beats and it is glorious. Recall in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Cap nudges the hammer when all the heroes are trying to move it as a party lark. Did Steve know what he did? Some say he did. Thor saw it, was concerned, is no longer. “I knew it,” he shouts, as his ax is about to slice him open.

Thanos calls down all his forces. The Black Order is there. The four-armed marauders and the flying worms are back. All your favorite Thanos-adherent enemies. Another epic shot shows Captain America, battered and bloody, with only half a shield, standing alone to oppose an army of thousands, the only person between the universe and its annihilation. Probably looked awesome in storyboard.

The music cuts out. Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is heard on the radios that these people always wear but are never seen. “On your left,” his voice crackles. Steve stops cold. He saw Falcon dust away five years ago.


Out of a wizard portal walks Black Panther (Chadwick Bozeman), Shuri, and Okoye, first in silhouette, but any Marvel fan worth their salt can tell who they are. “Wakanda forever!” theatergoers shouted. The Wakandan drums beat. The king is back.

More portals open up. The music swells, bursting at the seams to portray how epic a gathering this is, and it’s working. All the Vanished heroes come back. Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), wizards, Valkyrie, Asgardians, Wakandans, The Wasp, Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and many more. The score builds and builds.

The combatants stand still as two sides take shape. Thanos appears surprised for the first time in any of his lives. As they line up behind Captain America, Steve calls Mjolnir back to him. “AVENGERS!” he shouts, and, catching it, “Assemble.”

Goddamn it. Gives me chills every time. That was “Arise, riders of Theoden” levels of inspiring. The Russos let their imagination land on the most epic possible reunion of the most epic cast of characters and actors ever assembled and NAILED. IT. I didn’t even care if they fought. The assembling was enough.

But they fight. They must. The universe hangs in the balance. The two sides clash. All the heroes land their unique blows. Valkyrie, flying on a horse, takes out a flying worm a la Legolas at the Battle of Pellenor Fields did to an olyphant. The Starks fight back-to-back.

Captain Marvel bursts from the clouds to decimate Thanos’s ship. Iron Man speaks with Dr. Strange. “Tell me this is it,” he says, wondering if they are in the lone victory scenario Strange foresaw in Infinity War. “If I tell you what happens,” Strange says, “it won’t happen.”

The Infinity Gauntlet is tossed around like a football. Spider-Man carries it for a time while attached by webbing to a flying Mjolnir, the kind of thing kids fantasize about and can now see in this movie.

Thanos destroyed the big time machine after blasting the base to ashes. But another machine exists, in the back of Scott Lang’s van. The Avengers borrowed the Stones promising to return them exactly when and where they were removed, so they must get the Gauntlet into the time machine or there will be dire consequences.

Thanos realizes what’s happening, and throws his broken blade into the machine. He also gains the Gauntlet. Now the heroes fight Thanos one-on-one to prevent another Snap. Thor and Captain America both take turns. Captain Marvel absorbs a couple of blows while holding his fingers apart. Thanos takes the Power Stone from the Gauntlet, clutches it in his fist, and punches Captain Marvel into the stratosphere.

Iron Man is the last to fight. He grabs the Gauntlet and is tossed away. “I am,” Thanos says, “inevitable.” He does another Snap. No lights flash. We only hear the sound of metal clinking on metal. Thanos, confused, looks for the Stones. They are gone.

A few yards away Tony Stark is kneeling, the energy of the Infinity Stones coursing along his suit and into his body, lighting it up with color. “I am,” Tony says, “Iron Man.” Snap.

Slowly, the armies of Thanos melt away. The Mad Titan watches as his inevitability is undone. The camera swirls around Thanos as the weight of his failure falls upon him, before it stops in front of his face. Thanos is the last to crumble. The heroes win.

We’re not done yet. Thanos and Hulk did a Snap and nearly died. What chance does Tony Stark have? None. Propped on some dirt, the final breaths of Tony’s life choke out. Peter Parker is very sad, but he’s shoved aside so the real hero can get in.

Gwyneth Paltrow owns the scene. She tells Tony that he can rest now, with all the strength only a truly strong person could muster in that moment. Earlier, when discussing time travel, Pepper told her husband that not getting him to stop was one of her few failures in life. This woman is STRONG, y’all. Paltrow had arguably the hardest scene in the movie, and she nails it.

Tony dies. It’s a truly sad and satisfying ending to his character arc. His first scene, back in 2008’s Iron Man, he brags about sleeping with all the women in the Maxim calendar. In his last scene he dies to save the universe from Thanos. (Actually to kill Thanos, but the universe is safe from him now.)

A stirring funeral occurs. We watch a final message from the Tony, recorded the day before he started the Time Heist. “Love you 3000,” he says, signing off. On the lake a wreath carries the first chest-sized arc reactor and the message, “Proof Tony Stark has a heart.” Again the music is straight fire, equal parts somber and hopeful.

A money shot pans across the cast of heroes and famous actors assembled, possibly the most star wattage ever in one shot. The main cast members from Black Panther, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy are there. Captain Marvel stands alone, proving that once again she’s not too down with her home planet. Finally, on the cabin deck, steps into frame Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), reconstituted along with everyone else. Gut-wrenching is an appropriate term.

How does the 22-movie saga end? The Stones have to go back to square one. Steve Rogers volunteers. Carrying a briefcase with each Stone, he steps onto the platform of a newly made time machine.

Cap disappears and reappears seconds later, but not as folks expected. Bucky is first to spot him sitting quietly on a bench. Sam approaches him and finds a severely aged Steve Rogers. “I thought… maybe I’ll try some of that life that Tony was telling me to get.” Oh and by the way, Sam would like to be the new Captain America? Sam gets a shield and a huge character upgrade.

The final scene flashes back to the postwar Brooklyn, where, in a suburban house, Steve and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) dance, finally.

Tears. Hollywood’s biggest ever gambit pays off spectacularly in its final installment. Making Infinity War and Endgame simultaneously was a smart decision that gave the filmmakers freedom to end character arcs on their terms, and they did so with massive fan service and quiet character-shaping moments.

Those fan service moments in the final battle are home run after home run, making Endgame the most lopsided victory lap in movie history. Cap catching Mjolnir was, for invested fans, the most awesome moment in MCU history.

That’s followed by the stone-silent return of the Snapped characters and fan favorites like Black Panther and Spider-Man. All the characters. Everyone’s back and ready to rumble. Another wide shot shows Thanos’s forces now matched evenly with Avengers forces, and the villain’s frightened look.

The fighting is fine, forgettable, compared its lead-up. Several characters do their thing. Several characters are reunited and it feels so good. The battle slows for these moments.

It’s all payoff. We are richly rewarded.

Jokes (3/4)

Endgame‘s greatest magic trick is balancing levity with gravity. Chris Hemsworth acts in a comedy, not getting the memo that some serious shit went down a few years ago. (Of course, Thor’s jokes come from deep pain; they’re only funny for being sad.)

Who here hasn’t been to space before?

Typical Marvel banter abounds. Characters routinely don’t understand dialogue written for other characters or for fans. Scarlet Witch tells Thanos that he took everything from her. Thanos answers, “I don’t even know who you are.” True. That’s a different Thanos.

Scott Lang is constantly confused. He’s spent the previous five years in the quantum realm, so he missed the Vanishing and his DVR is full. Dude’s out of date.

Even Nebula, queen of pathos, is funny. Tony teaches her paper football, and she enjoys it.

Setting (2/4)

Unlike Infinity War, Endgame keeps its characters on Earth for most of its duration. They visit different times on Earth, but it’s still the same planet. Sort of.

Endgame‘s final, immense tussle between the heroes and Thanos occurs on the smoky ruins of former Avengers headquarters, missiled to death by Thanos’s warship. It is the one disappointing aspect of the movie.

Common to many Zach Snyder-led DC films are the final battles in ruined wastelands. Endgame has the same problem, and it works hard to retain a sense of place atop the desolation. Late in the battle the lake begins to flood the playing field, and only Dr. Strange and his merry wizards hold back the waters.

The battlefield resembles Europe’s No Man’s Land in 1916, but without the hedgehogs and barbed wire that gave those wastelands time and place. It’s an unfortunate place to wage a battle, especially contrasted with gorgeous Wakanda in Infinity War.

Commentary (1/2)

Endgame‘s most interesting statement is never said. Tony Stark settles down with Pepper and they have Morgan. Thor tells Valkyrie it’s time “to be the man I am, not the man I’m supposed to be.” Banner melds his two personalities into a super being. Romanoff dies as sacrifice to redeem herself for all the bad deeds she keeps referencing. Barton is less lame.

Each of the six Avengers achieved their potential…because Thanos wiped out half the population. Yeah, sounds crazy, but you can’t refute the above statements. Black Widow lead a group of heroes. Thor always was a party guy, and now he is again, without the weight of a nation upon him. Iron Man made peace with his father and became one himself, all while saving half the population. Hulk is Dr. Hulk now. Captain America lived a normal life for once.

Powerful stuff. Thanos claims in Endgame, “I am inevitable.” He returns to menace the heroes again. Is fate a real thing? Does it flow like a river, in which its currents might shift but the river doesn’t change? These questions are neither answered nor discussed, but are behind any time travel plot.

Offensiveness (0/-2)

Marvel’s short but prolific life as a studio began with a movie about a billionaire sex addict with work and father issues. The women of Iron Man aren’t exactly treated with a woke mentality.

In Endgame we get that shot of about all (but one) of the female heroes this cinematic universe has produced in its decade. There are many. Sure, there’s more men and they get more screen time, but Marvel is taking note of what people want. Tessa Thompson will, presumably, play the leader of Asgard (a realm of Nordic gods!). The Guardians movies will have a blue woman and a green woman! Black Widow might get her own movie!

Here’s most of the Marvel ladies for you.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s a breakdown of the 20 biggest domestic opening weekends at the box office: five ensemble (mostly male) leads, seven male leads, and eight female leads. (Star Wars and The Hunger Games have contributed to most of these openings.)

The female heroes team up moment shows that Marvel knows what it has. Will it use them in the future or waste them? Marvel’s two highest-grossing single-character movies are Black Panther and Captain Marvel, movies with non-white male protagonists. That’s not an accident, and Marvel best recognize or risk losing its cultural high ground.


  • (2) I can’t say enough about the music. After a lackluster performance in Infinity War, Alan Silvestri saved his big guns for the finale. Stirring and memorable, with call backs to character themes and scenes from previous movies, the composer had as much heavy lifting as the rest of the cast and crew, and he delivered. The upgraded Avengers themes overlaid with the credits was all time. That’s right, even the credits were awesome. Where does he go from here?
  • The Russos seem to get that Star-Lord is a high level douche. I applaud.

Summary (42/68): 62%

An epic conclusion to an epic story line, Avengers: Endgame delivers every emotional and exciting moment a fan could want or dare hope for. The movie juggles several story lines and arcs for a half dozen characters, and manages to shoehorn a time travel plot into its three hours, reaching satisfying ends for these heroes.

All parties can find something to enjoy at this Marvel smorgasbord, likely the last time such a cast will assemble for a single movie. Although, if anyone can afford it, it’s Disney. No movie but one ever made as much money as Endgame.