Hi Avengers fans! Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame lie ahead. If you haven’t seen it and plan to, turn back now. You’ve been warned. We’re serious.
Avengers: Endgame is finally upon us. The Decimation is fact. And in the opening scene of this 3 hour whirlwind, we get what is perhaps the most heartbreaking look at the result of Thanos’ snap. Yes, even more gut-wrenching than the breathless exclamation of Peter Parker as he turned to dust.
Clint Barton is enjoying a picnic with his family, and archery practice with his daughter, whom he nicknames Hawkeye. His wife is prepping hot dogs and asks if anyone wants mayonnaise on theirs. The audience is treated to a laugh when one of the family asks what we all were thinking: “Who puts mayo on a hotdog?!” Clint looks to his wife as his daughter collects her arrows. When he looks back, she’s vanished. Remember that Hawkeye was not involved in the fight on Titan or Wakanda. Indeed, the latter has just concluded. He calls out for his daughter, thinking that she just ran off real quick and he missed her. As he looks around, we see the dust. Again he turns to his wife and sons, but they too have scattered in the wind. Clint is alone.
The screen flashes out and the Avengers: Endgame title sequence plays. Next, we are treated to the full scenes that were teased in the trailers. First up is Tony and Nebula on the Benatar, where things do not start out all doom and gloom as they were in the first Endgame trailer. Tony is teaching and competing at Table Football with Nebula. She… doesn’t seem like she likes him so much. Her face flashes frowns and scowls aggressiveness at Tony or the game… it’s not clear which. They take turns flicking the small silver football across a table, and whodathunkit, Nebula wins the match! Tony records his trailer message to Pepper and drifts into sleep. Here we see a kinder, gentler side of Nebula, as she carries Tony from his spot on the floor, to one of the pilot’s chairs to sleep more comfortably. A few moments pass before his face lights up from some glow outside the stalled ship. The man that started the MCU opens his eyes to see the most recent addition to the MCU.
Captain Marvel floats before him, ready to tow the drifters to Earth. Cheers and thunderous applause from the moviegoers are surround me. Ironman and Nebula are saved.
Cut to Earth — Avenger’s HQ. We learn it has been just over 3 weeks since the snap. We get to the scene where the team stands outside looking to the stars. Pepper is present and tearfully greets Tony as he stumbles off the ship. They go inside and Tony has a short argument with Steve about the fight that they both recently lost. Tony collapses.
The rest of the team meet to discuss their next steps. Carol begins to depart alone to find and kill Thanos. The remaining Avengers join her when Nebula and Rocket reveal where Thanos escaped to. The mission is fast and only partly successful. They find the Mad Titan alone on his farm and subdue him with little fuss. They chop off his gauntlet encased hand.
But there is a problem. A HUGE problem. Thanos has used the stones a second time. This time, to destroy the stones. His reasoning? Having them is too much of a temptation. A short panicked argument occurs between the team before Thor does what Thanos taunted before the first snap at the end of Infinity War. A large purple head rolls away from a large purple body and Thor exclaims, “I went for the head,” before walking to look out across Thanos’ world. The genocidal Titan is dead. My fellow moviegoers go wild.
The world has not moved on. Some try. Few succeed. Natasha is taking mission reports from Carol, Rocket, Rhodey, and Nebula. Carol is sporting a fresh haircut. Her hologram deactivates as she goes off on her own missions. This is the last we see of Captain Marvel until the climax of the movie. Rocket and Nebula leave too. Rhodes has a report on Clint. He’s gone rogue and is worrying the team. Natasha asks for updates.
Next, we travel cross country to San Francisco, to a self storage unit where we find the X•CON van that was last seen when Ant-Man was trapped in the Quantum Realm. A mouse scurries around and activates the Quantum Tunnel, bringing Ant-Man back into the post-snap world. To Scott Lang, it’s only been five hours since he shrunk down.
We see memorials to the lost, and abandoned neighborhoods, as he searches for his daughter. He finds her. His little girl Cassie isn’t so little anymore.
And now we come to the point where the pace picks up. Scott has an idea. He knows it’s a slim chance, but
it’s the best he can come up with. He gets together with Steve and Nat to get Tony to build a time machine.
Problem for the plan: Tony and Pepper have built a life: a life that includes a scene-stealing daughter. Iron-Man is his past. Tony says no, but only to their faces. After they leave, he begins work on a project he has no real faith in. But this is the MCU. This is Tony Stark, the billionaire genius playboy philanthropist. He randomly finds a way to navigate the Quantum Realm’s Time Vortexes, while Hulk Banner practices a different tech with Scott. We are treated to teenage Scott Lang, Grandpa Scott Lang, and even Baby Scott Lang before Bruce gets regular Scott Lang back. One of these has peed himself…
Tony arrives to save the day. Clint plays guinea pig and tests the new tech. His test pulls at those heartstrings again as he travels back in time to his farm house where he calls out for his daughter, hears her response, and is zapped back to the present. It works. They have a plan.
Go back to times and places where they can find the Infinity Stones, in order to remove them from the timeline temporarily. It’s Nat that realizes there are 3 stones in New York during the Battle of New York from the first Avengersfilm. (I personally find this to be a bit of a plot hole. The Time Stone is in the possession of Tilda Swinton’s The Ancient One. Not Dr. Strange… The Ancient One should be at Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu… Instead Professor Hulk finds her fighting off the Chitauri alone on the roof of 177A Bleecker Street. But… I get it. They needed to find some way to save time. Having the Time Stone in New York aids the story, if not the continuity.) After arguing with Bruce’s astral body, she hands over the Time Stone.
Captain America is in charge of getting Loki’s scepter, which holds Vision’s Mind Stone. He makes it look easy. The scepter is being transported by Agent Sitwell, Brock Rumlow, AKA Crossbones, and other agents, in an elevator. All of these characters are secretly Hydra infiltrators.
The setup looks like a reenactment of the iconic elevator fight scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Steve places himself in the middle of the elevator and says that the director, Fury, has put him in charge of the scepter. Our Steve Rodgers knows that they are Hydra, and when they all start to reach for their weapons, Steve leans over to whisper in Sitwell’s ear. “Hail Hydra.” The audience erupts in screams! Sitwell hands over the weapon and Steve exits the elevator. Then he has a fight with himself. He tells himself that Bucky is alive, which freaks himself out, and allows him to beat himself unconscious and escape with the scepter and Mind Stone. It makes sense when you see it.
Tony and Scott are to obtain the Tesseract. The plan is going perfectly. Scott shrinks down and messes with 2012 Tony’s Arc Reactor, causing him to collapse and drop the case holding the cube. Our Tony grabs the case and begins his exfiltration. He’s almost away when in comes 2012 Hulk, smashing through the door to the stairwell, knocking Tony down and the case away. The case pops open, throwing the Tesseract to the feet of the bound and gagged Loki. Loki snatches it up and vanishes through the power of the Space Stone.
Oops… This creates another continuity problem…
Thor… Oh! By the way. The God of Thunder has really let himself go. What remains of the Asgardian people have settled on Earth in a place they’ve named… New Asgard… Totally original and awesome… Fight me… ? Thor has become the drunken King that only shows his face a couple times a month to obtain a fresh supply of alcohol. He’s no longer the muscular god we know and love. He’s gone totally dad-bod with an overflowing beer gut.
Thor’s mission, along with Rocket, is to retrieve the Reality Stone from his ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, during the events of Thor: The Dark World. When the god and Rabbit first show up on Asgard, they sneak past Loki in his prison cell.
…Which is the cell he is imprisoned in after he is captured at the end of the Battle of New York, which we just saw him escape from… Continuity? Time travel is weird…
Thor has a tearful reunion with his imminently doomed mother as Rocket completed the mission, and gets chased by Asgard security. Three stones down, three to go. Thor steals his trusty old hammer Mjolnir from this timeline before they escape.
Nebula and Rhodey are dropped off on Morag before the start of Guardians of the Galaxy to follow Peter Quill to the Power Stone. Their mission is an easy success, but opens the door to the big bad of the film. Thanos. Along side him? Gamora and Nebula.There are 2 Nebulas in the galaxy and they are both connected to the same network. (Remember, Nebula is basically a cyborg due to Thanos’ “upgrades.”) The Nebula that still wants to please Thanos gets memory recordings from our Nebula. Thanos’ team figures out that the Avengers are gathering the stones. Just as Rhodey and our Nebula are heading home, Thanos captures our Nebula and sends his loyal Nebula back to Earth in her place.
The Master Assassins Hawkeye and Black Widow, Clint and Natasha: they’ve arrived on Vormir, unaware of the cost to obtain the Soul Stone. They are met by Red Skull, though they don’t recognize the WWII villain. He spills the beans on what must happen, and our heroes dance around in a painful argument over who will live and who will die. They’re heroes. They both are ready to make the sacrifice. Clint has enough of the debate and heads toward the cliff. Natasha stops him with one of her taser darts. She starts for the cliff. Clint fires off an explosive arrow to knock her back and down, so that he can make a run and a jump for it. Into the air and down the face of the mountain he goes. But suddenly he stops. Nat has roped him in place, hanging off the cliff. She jumps. He catches her. Then she kicks off the wall and out of his grasp. Clint Barton has the Soul Stone.
Natasha Romanoff is dead.
I missed the next few minutes while utilizing the second Peetime. But we still have 1 stone to obtain. So let me back up a bit.
Loki escaped with the Tesseract. Tony realizes that he knows where and when the cube could be, farther in the past. Steve and Tony send Scott back to HQ while they endeavor to rectify their failure.
1970: cut to New Jersey at a joint Army SHIELD training and research-base. Our favorite leaders infiltrate the hidden bunker. Steve goes to find a younger Hank Pym in order to steal some of the Pym Particles that make their time travel possible. Tony goes to get the cube. Steve gets temporarily distracted when he hides in the office of none other than Peggy Carter. He sees her through a window in another room and stares in longing and amazement.
Tony meets his father. Howard doesn’t know that the bumbling stranger in front of him is his own son. Indeed, Tony Stark hasn’t been born yet. They talk as fellow scientists, and Tony learns a bit of who his father really was. A good man, much like Tony is himself. When they part ways, Howard tells Tony that, even though his child isn’t born yet, there is nothing he wouldn’t do for him.
Steve and Tony return to the present day. All six stones are collected. But there is an imposter among the ranks.
Tony creates an Iron-Man style Infinity Gauntlet and Professor Hulk is the one to try to undo the snap. The stones activate and start to injure Banner, but he fights the pain back and concentrates on one thought: “Bring them back.” He snaps his fingers.Imposter Nebula brings Thanos’ ship through the time machine. Thanos unleashes a volley of missiles to destroy the Avengers HQ.
Steve, Tony, and Thor begin the biggest battle in MCU history. Thanos fights the 3 by himself and very nearly wins. Iron-Man gets knocked out pretty early on. Captain America is stunned for a bit. Thor puts up a good fight. The two grapple and Thor ends up on his back, Stormbreaker shoved into his chest. It all seems lost when Mjolnir begins to move. Thor has a secret move on Thanos, right? The mighty hammer knocks the Titan away and then flies into the outstretched hand of Steve Rogers. The cheers around me shook the theater walls. Our Captain America is worthy after all.
Steve lays an epic beat down on the purple dude. He wields the hammer like his shield and even summons lightning to help beat the bad guy. It all goes well, until it doesn’t. Thanos gets the upper hand and turns the tables on Steve. He very nearly kills him. The round vibranium shield that we all love is shattered. Cap stands across a field from Thanos, ready to continue the fight. But Thanos has had enough. He calls his army. Not only the beasts from Infinity War. But the Chitauri as well. It’s a massiveforce. The likes of which may even dwarf the forces depicted in the Lord of the Rings films. The Outlook is bleak at best. 1 man, superhuman as he may be, doesn’t stand a chance.
“Cap? Cap, can you hear me?……. On your left.”
It’s the voice of Falcon. One of the victims of the decimation from Infinity War. A voice that Steve hasn’t heard in 5 years. Over Steve’s left shoulder, a portal opens. Then another and another. Several portals open and expand to reveal a friendly army of our recently returned Avengers, and Wakandans, and Asgardians. A force to match Thanos.
The War of the Returned has begun.
You can probably imagine how things go from here. The battle rages with small cuts to individual interactions. Spiderman swings in and Tony embraces the kid in a hug. Black Panther leads his troops onto the field, chanting their battle cries. The Guardians of the Galaxy assemble, sans Gamora. Quill does run into the other Gamora, who has since released our Nebula, who killed the other Nebula. Peter is stunned. He reaches out to touch her face in disbelief, and promptly gets a knee to the groin from a Gamora that has never met Starlord. Pepper Potts joins the fight in the highly anticipated Rescue armor. Valkerie flies in on a Valkerie Steed.
The mission at this point, beyond winning the war, is to return the Infinity Stones back to the moments in time that they were stolen from. Thanos’ ship destroyed the large time machine that our heroes have been using up till now. But Scott Lang has a spare in his ugly brown van.
In the middle of the battlefield. Behind enemy lines. Various Avengers make a run for the van with the Iron Infinity Gauntlet. Each passes the prize to another as he or she is pinned down by the enemy. It’s around this time that Captain Marvel bursts onto the scene, taking the gauntlet from a flailing Peter Parker. This pauses the action to assemble an all-female team of ass kicking heroes for what is basically a group photo… it’s cool… but kind of out of place on a battlefield.
Carol takes the gauntlet and nearly reaches the van. But Thanos destroys it just before she gets there. So Thanos and Captain Marvel have a row. Despite Carol being the strongest hero there, the fight is pretty evenly matched. This is after Thanos being worn down by Steve, Thor, and Tony, and with Carol barely coming into the fight from her travels in space. Scarlett Witch has a go at him.
Thanos eventually gets hold of the gauntlet. Then the fight comes back to Tony. Iron-Man tries to wrestle the gauntlet away, but fails. He tries again and fails again. But when Thanos lifts his hand to snap away the universe, this time it’s just a snap. Tony managed to pull the stones from the gauntlet and his armor molded itself around them to make another gauntlet. Thanks looks at Stark and repeats a line that the beheaded Thanos said in one of Nebula’s memories. “I am inevitable…”
“I… I am Iron-Man, “Tony says just before snapping his fingers and bringing the war to an end.
Tony Stark did not decimate half the universe with the snap of his fingers. Not the whole universe, not even a single percent. He only dusted those that were his current enemy. Those that fought against the Avengers in the here and now. The last enemy to be tuned to dust? The Mad Titan Thanos. He sat down in defeat before being blown away with the wind, joining his massive army and their vehicles.
Tony Stark also sat down at this point. Half his body has been burned. He’s delirious and his speech is incoherent. Peter Parker tries to talk to him. Then Pepper arrives to tell him that everything will be okay now. That it’s over. That she loves him.
Tony Stark is dead.
In the aftermath, our heroes attend Tony’s funeral at the lakeside cabin where Steve, Nat, and Scott found him earlier, playing with little Morgan. Tony knew what might happen before the time travel missions. Like everyone knows what might happen being a hero. He had left a message for his family. Not limited to Pepper and Morgan. It’s in this hologram message that he says goodbye to his daughter. “I love you three thousand.”
Clint Barton has a talk and a hug with Wanda. Their connection goes back to Age of Ultron where Wanda’s brother Pietro sacrificed himself for Clint, and their mutual partnership with Natasha. Clint is eventually dropped at his home where he is reunited with his family.
Thor speaks with Valkerie back in New Asgard. Valkerie is trying to get him to stick around and be the king that he is. But Thor intends to take the counsel of his mother and be the man that he is, not the man he is supposed to be. Before he departs, he calls Valkerie Your Majesty, making her the Queen of New Asgard. He then boards the Benatar to join the Guardians and joke around with Quill about who’s in charge. It’s totally Thor…
Finally we come back to the last mission: returning the stones to their places in time. Captain America and Steve Rodgers are undertaking this mission alone. Hulk Banner, Bucky, and Sam are there to see him off. Though they assume he will be back in just a few short seconds. And in a way, he is. Though not exactly where and how they expected. Some short distance from the time machine, sitting on a bench overlooking a lake, sits a well-aged Steve Rogers. Beside him is a round leather case. Sam goes to talk to his very old friend. Sam approaches Steve as Falcon. Then Steve passes him the round shield, with a star and stripes.
Sam Wilson is now Captain America.
The mantle being passed, they embrace. A wedding ring is shown on Steve’s hand. After he completed his mission and returned the stones, he did the only thing he ever wanted to do. The thing he was worried about missing when he awoke in that SHIELD facility in the heart of New York City. He returned to the end of the second world war and danced with Peggy Carter. The woman who would become his wife.
This is the 1 in 14,000,605.
This is the Endgame.
Christopher Estrada is an aspiring writer and photographer, born and raised in the Inland Empire of Southern California. He enjoys many genres of film entertainment, the majority being; Action, SciFi, Comics and Novel adaptations, and the occasional comedy. Follow Chris on Instagram @CR3_Chris.