Endgame – It Took A Lot

11 years, 22 movies, 1 epic saga.

I am fresh off my first viewing of Endgame ( Yes, I plan on seeing it multiple times) and am honestly blown away at the work the Russos did with this film and their previous entries in the MCU. These two guys went from having their biggest directorial accolades being the paintball episodes of the TV show Community to directing Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War & Avengers: Endgame!

This is going to be a lengthy post where I discuss many of the amazing points of Endgame and the things they did well to help set up the future of the MCU.

SPOILER ALERT!

Seriously… SPOILERS that will ruin Endgame if you haven’t seen it yet!

FINAL WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD!

TIME TRAVEL

I would just like to say that I, like many others, called it right form the get go that the entire problem would be solved with the use of Quantum Time Travel! Now that that’s out of the way, time travel?!? I mean it had to come into play at some point, but they never mentioned it until Ant-Man and the Wasp, and even then it was a blink and you’ll miss it moment from Michelle Pfeiffer. Despite all the pop culture references that both Rhodey (Don Cheadle) and Scott (Paul Rudd) make to previous time travel films, Endgame makes it’s own rules in regards to that. Vulture Magazine does a great job of explaining the school of thought that went into to Endgame’s time travel, their article is here:

https://www.vulture.com/2019/04/how-does-time-work-in-avengers-endgame.html

For those that don’t want to read it all I’m going to give an abridged version…

Linear time. That is the method of time continuity utilized in the MCU.

This goes against every single previous film where various characters established that by influencing something in the past, that drastic changes could happen in the future, think the Butterfly Effect. This also brings into the effect of the “grandfather paradox” wherein you travel back in time and meet a girl (or guy or person or sock puppet… I don’t judge) and end up having an offspring. This child grows up to become your parent who then goes on to have you, who grows up to go back in time and complete the loop. Or you go back in time and accidentally kill yourself by some freak accident or on purpose, this erases you from the timeline and your future self ceases to exist because you died earlier in the timeline, Looper is a prime example of this.

Banner quashes this notion right away as they begin meddling with their time travel experiments. “If you travel back into your own past, that destination becomes your future, and your former present becomes the past, which can’t now be changed by your new future“; this is the explanation he offers when Rhodey suggests going back and killing baby Thanos. Basically, even if they went back and killed Thanos as a baby it wouldn’t change their future because the ‘snappening’ already occurred. By killing Thanos it would create an alternate timeline where the snap didn’t occur. This explanation helps to establish early on that this won’t be an easy fight for the Avengers. Time travel tends to be an easy out for a lot of difficult situations and while yes, it can very well be, the fact that they can’t just go back to a previous time and beat Thanos means that they need to find a different way to win, and they do, kind of. They still use time travel to go back and get the stones, but they take them from points in time where they were not actively being used, also resolving to return them to the exact moment when they were taken so as not to upset the flow of time and create an alternate timeline.

The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) explains this to Banner when he goes to the Sanctum Sanctorum to get the Time Stone from Strange. She explains that when a stone is taken out of “its reality” this creates a diverging path on the time stream which makes an alternate timeline. Banner reasons with her that Strange had to know this would happen which was why he gave up the time stone to Thanos in Infinity War. The Ancient One finally agrees stating that since Strange is destined to become the greatest Sorcerer Supreme, he must’ve know what he is doing.

Stone Retrieval

This portion of the movie made me extremely happy when I saw it. Obviously, because of each of the stones being at different points in time and locations in the universe, small teams had to be made to grab each stone. I’m going to break them down into their locations:

New York, 2012: Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man and Hulk

This squad had to travel back to the Battle of New York and try and abscond with two separate stones following their victory. Cap ended up having to fight his past self and beat him to obtain the scepter/mind stone. Tony and Scott nearly had the Tesseract/Space Stone but an untimely entrance from an angry Hulk let Loki use it to disappear. This led to Tony and Steve going further back into the past to get the Tesseract and more Pym particles to make the trip home. Having the future crew slinking around the post battle New York trying to steal the stones made for a great “Time Heist” as Ant-Man so aptly put it. We were also given a nice little nugget when Cap gets into the elevator and takes the scepter from the Strike team. I was preparing for another epic elevator fight but Cap just leans in and whispers in Sitwell’s ear “Hail Hydra” letting him walk away with the scepter no questions asked.

Asgard, 2013: Rocket and Thor

Arriving on the day of Malekith’s attack on the fabled city, “fat Thor”, as he has come to be coined by the fans, and Rocket need to sneak up on Jane Foster and steal the Aether/ Reality Stone out of her using a menacing looking needle. Thor has a panic attack and runs away because of his failure in stopping Thanos previously. He meets up with his mother and she instantly recognizes him as her son from the future, because and I quote “I was raised by witches boy”. She helps Thor to realize that it wasn’t his fault and that he did everything he could while Rocket plays a very weird game of secret agent following Jane around trying to poke her. When they finally get the Aether and are ready to leave, Thor calls Mjolnir to him proving he is still worthy of his Godhood and the power he wields.

Morag & Vormir, 2014: War Machine, Nebula, Widow and Hawkeye

The Morag crew lie in wait for Star Lord to do his entrance from the first Guardians film to the tune of “Come and Get Your Love” playing on his walkman. They ambush him and knock him out stealing the Orb/Power stone before he or Korath and his necro soldiers could get it. As they leave, Nebula malfunctions and is then abducted and has her place switched with her past angry and relentless self.

The Vormir crew were doomed from the start. We as fans knew what the cost of obtaining the Soul stone was, but Clint and Nat didn’t. Watching them bond and take comfort in each other’s company on the way there and act like nothing has changed was saddening. They met with Skull and were told the same thing Thanos was in Infinity War, in order to obtain the stone they must lose what they hold most dear… a soul for a soul. Natasha ended up making the sacrifice play so the team could get the soul stone.

Avengers Assemble

They get the stones, they put them on the gauntlet and Hulk puts it on and snaps his fingers. Nothing happens. Then, 2014 Thanos and his invasion Army show up and attack the Avengers compound, decimating it. Thor, Cap and Iron Man decide to take the fight to Thanos and hopefully kill him so they can reset the timeline. The battle gets intense with Cap picking up Mjolnir showing, that like many have suspected since Age of Ultron, he is worthy of the power of Thor. Even two hammer wielders are not enough and the trinity is beaten with Thanos shattering Cap’s shield. As Cap stands, bloody, exhausted and beaten facing down Thanos, his Children (Corvus, Ebony, Proxima, Cull) and his invasion army, he gets a call over his comm from Sam (Falcon) saying the cavalry is coming. Dozens of sling ring portals open and the people of Earth, sorcerers, Wakandans and heroes newly revitalized emerge onto the battlefield and stand with Cap. He stares Thanos down and gives a rousing “Avengers Assemble!”The heroes charge forward and the battle starts.

Throughout the battle each hero is given their own little bit of the spotlight while the good guys and their allies are playing a game of keep away from Thanos. Several of the heroes have heartfelt reunions like Tony and Peter showing the stakes they were all fighting for. The game of keep away intensifies as Thanos grows enraged at the heroes tactics. Peter takes the gauntlet, activates his instant kill mode and runs through the battle. Panther and the Wakandans deal blow after blow but somehow Thanos gets closer to the gauntlet. Wanda stares Thanos down for what he did to Vision and begins beating him and crushing him with her powers, the ship fires on his position further decimating both sides of the battle. Captain Marvel shows up in a new suit with a new haircut and takes the gauntlet from Peter. She teams up with every female hero and they blitz through the battlefield to get the gauntlet to Scott to hide in the Quantum realm. Thanos destroys the Quantum tunnel leaving the heroes with only two options, kill him or use the gauntlet. Despite their efforts, Thanos gets the gauntlet and Tony tackles him. As Thanos throws Tony off and snaps his fingers he says ” I am inevitable” (*cough* Agent Smith *cough*). When nothing happens he looks at the gauntlet to see all the stones gone. Tony pulled them all off and set them into his armour. He looks at Thanos and replies with ” and I… am Iron Man” as he snaps his fingers. Thanos and all his troops and children turn to dust with Tony bringing back everyone that had previously been snapped out of existence. Tony dies of the toll using the stones took on his body, but he died a hero for the entire universe.

Passing the Torch

This is it, this is the end of the path he started us on. It began in 2008 with Tony and Iron Man, it ended in 2019 with Tony and Endgame. During the funeral service for Tony where we see all the heroes and their families who are alive because of him and his actions, we are also shown a (now teenage) Harley Keener, the kid who helped Tony in Iron Man 3, attending the memorial service solo. Happy is having a tough time with Tony’s death and talks with Tony and Pepper’s daughter Morgan, who asks him for cheeseburgers. Happy smiles and tells her that her dad loved cheeseburgers as well vowing to get her all the cheeseburgers she could ever want.

Steve and Bruce use a now rebuilt and smaller Quantum platform to send Steve back in time to return all the stones to their original points where they were taken, thereby setting the timeline on its correct path. Steve however never returns. When Sam and Bruce freak out trying to find a way to bring him back, Bucky spies and old man sitting on a bench overlooking the lake. He tells Sam to go talk to him and as Sam approaches it’s shown to be an old Steve Rogers. He tells Sam that after he sent the stones back he decided that the future wasn’t for him and returned to the love of his life Peggy. They got married and grew old together. He then bequeaths the Captain America shield (now fixed because it was taken from an alternate timeline) and gives it to Falcon naming him the next Captain America.

I spoke with my oldest friend, Malcolm Cottle, about his thoughts on the movie and we both felt that it would’ve meant more to Steve’s arc to give the shield to Bucky. He went through so much trouble to get Bucky back and then he just gives his mantle and prized possession to some guy he met a little over 2 years ago? Doesn’t make sense. I know Falcon is the current Captain America (in the Marvel Comics) but I think it should’ve gone to Bucky so he could help to redeem his past deeds as Winter Soldier.

CONCLUSION

I honestly can say that I loved this movie. I thought it was a great ending to the story that began all those years ago and helped to set up the new crew as the Avengers. Obviously I am sad to see the original 6 go, but their story has been told and they need to make room for different characters. I would rate the movie a solid 9.9/10. I take off 0.1 points because they killed Widow and Bucky didn’t get the shield, but other than that I really don’t have anything to complain about at this time. I’m sure that through some subsequent viewings and some deliberation something may come up but at this point as long as you can wrap your head around their time travel rules, this movies is perfect!

“Whatever It Takes” – Avengers Endgame

I spent a large portion of the week waffling over two separate ideas for this week’s post and then my oldest friend Malcolm sent me a golden nugget that I could use… the new Avengers Trailer! Now for those who haven’t seen it, this isn’t a regular teaser like the last one they published, with all the heroes looking defeated, this is a full blown trailer! Check it out below:

Oh boy! So many goodies! Let’s dive in!

THE TRAILER

This one like the previous teaser starts with an exposition by Tony as he drifts through space following the defeat of the Avengers on Titan. He reminisces about how everything started with him 10 years ago (which we now know is false, thanks Captain Marvel) and how it’s going to end with him alone in space. He expands on how he has let Pepper down and hoped he would be able to pull one last amazing surprise out of the bag for her (implying his evading certain death on multiple occasions), but this time he sadly won’t.

While this exposition is going on we are shown black and white shots of Tony after he crashed during his initial escape from the Ten Rings in Iron Man from 2008. The interesting thing is that despite the rest of the shot being black and white, every instance of red is vibrant to show a great contrast.

Black Widow and Ronin/Hawkeye

We switch perspectives to see Steve’s beginnings with Peggy Carter voicing over saying ” The World has changed… none of us can go back. All we can do is our best… and sometimes the best we can do is to start over”. We are then shown shots of Steve in a support group for survivors of the snappening and a nice wholesome shot of Clint Barton (Hawkeye/Ronin) teaching his daughter how to shoot an arrow like him. This is a great shot that further highlights Clint as a family man and a nice Easter Egg to female Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) in the current Marvel comics. The final shot of Steve’s sequence comes from Peggy’s funeral where he was a pallbearer. Again, with keeping in the theme of Tony’s exposition, it’s in all black and white except for the colour red on the flag draped over Peggy’s casket.

Hawkeye training his daughter

Thor’s exposition comes accompanying black and white shots of Asgard, his father and him, and him watching as the other heroes disintegrate following the snappening. The colour red is again amplified in the bleak black and white frames.

We shift back to Steve saying that he has been telling everyone they should move on, but then he finishes with saying “…some do, but not us”. The colour returns to the trailer to show him sitting at a table in Avengers HQ with Black Widow and Bruce Banner. We see Scott Lang standing in front of his ex wife’s/ daughter’s home which looks like it hasn’t been touched in a while and staring at some missing flyers posted to the telephone pole.

Widow delivers a great line saying ” Even if there’s a small chance, we owe this to everyone who is not in this room, to try.” We are shown some various scenes of the heroes looking angered and resolved that they are going to try to set things right.

Steve responds by saying “We will. Whatever it takes”; which is echoed by Widow, Hawkeye, and Tony voicing over shots of them each individually. The Avengers theme blares through the trailer as we finally see the Avengers walking through the hangar at the Avengers HQ wearing their white Quantum suits. Cue the title card! The purple Avengers symbol is now being put together as the title ‘Endgame’ appears in a flash of purple light.

The final shot of the trailer shows Thor walking up behind Captain Marvel, her turning around and standing her ground as he calls Stormbreaker to him. When she smirks at him as he stands there resting on his hammer he looks up to the others in the room and says “I like this one”.

MY THOUGHTS AND PREDICTIONS

Oh boy. This trailer gets me super excited to see this movie! Although, for the first time in a LONG time, I will not be able to see it opening night. I’m going to have to wait a full 4 days before I’ll be able to see it! I digress…

First thing that’s very evident from this and the previous teaser is that despite having lost everything the Avengers are not going to let this slide. That should be evident, because they’re the Avengers, but this shows that while they may accept that they finally lost a fight, the war is far from over.

Captain America in his Quantum suit with Nebula in background

It’s sad to think that this is going to be the last time we see the original Avengers on screen together. We know all of their contracts have officially run out. There may have been some back room extensions on certain contracts (Scar Jo and her Widow solo film), but Chris Evans has stated that he is officially done as Captain America. RDJ is amazing as Tony Stark but let’s be honest, Marvel can’t afford to keep him around much longer. We have Captain Marvel and Black Panther set to take over as the leaders of the team following the departure of the founding members. They will be joined by newcomers: Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Scarlett Witch, Ant-Man, Vision and maybe Hulk will stick around.

One theme that is running throughout the Marvel comics is the belief that the Avengers are invincible. This belief is held by the population of Earth and even some of the Avengers themselves, that no matter what happened they will pull through because of who they are. The MCU has taken this concept and incorporated it into their version of the team.

Infinity War showed us that while they may be Gods among humankind, they are far from infallible. Thor’s hubris led to Loki’s invasion of Earth, Tony’s narcissism created Ultron and despite their best efforts, they could not stop Thanos from getting all the stones and causing the snappening. As I’ve said before, they may be down, but they are far from out.

Tony said it best in Avengers from 2012, ” You’re missing the point. There is no throne. There is no version of this where you come out on top. Maybe your army comes and maybe it’s too much for us, but it’s all on you. Because if we can’t protect the Earth, you can be damn well sure we’ll avenge it.

BONUS

Rocket and War Machine

My new favourite power couple from this trailer is Rocket and War Machine! I don’t know what they’re looking at in this scene, but if Rocket is smiling it’s either really really good or really really bad, there is no in between…

Avengers:Endgame is released on April 26, 2019. See you next week!

Avengers: Endgame – Trailer Breakdown & Plot Prediction

Earlier this morning we were gifted with an early Christmas present, the new Avengers trailer! Originally it was supposed to be released on Wednesday earlier this week; however, due to the untimely death of past President George H. W. Bush, it was pushed to today to accommodate his televised funeral service in Washington. I was not familiar with his policies and and acts as president of the United States  but from what I understand he did a lot of good for the country and he will be sorely missed.

Onto the trailer!

Ever since the ‘snappening’ at the end of Infinity War, fans have been speculating as to what will happen to the defeated team. With Ant-Man and the Wasp, we were shown a probable solution to the Avengers’ problem of dealing with a fully powered Thanos with all the Infinity stones, Quantum Time Wells. In the post-credit sequence of Ant-Man and the Wasp, original Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) was coaching Scott on what to look for in the Quantum Realm. One of the anomalies that she cautions against is Quantum Time Wells, which (I think) is how the Avengers are more than likely going to beat Thanos. 

Let’s breakdown the trailer…

We start with a lonely Tony recording a voice message in hopes that Pepper will one day see it and know that in his last moments he will be thinking about her. He states that his oxygen will run out by the next day and power a few days after that, but he wants her to know that in his final days she was all he could think about. Which shows a lot of personal growth for Tony, ever since we were first introduced to him in 2008’s Iron Man he has been a fairly narcissistic person. Pepper was the one person that he could care about and who he wanted above all to protect. 

Tony recording the message for Pepper

The title card for Marvel Studios got a bit of a redo since the ‘snappening’ and now shows the title discarding into dust much like some of the heroes did after the snap.

We are shown Thanos’ armour arranged on a stand to represent a scarecrow as Thanos walks through a field of alien plants still wearing the damaged gauntlet. Apparently after Thanos murders half of the life in the universe he decided to become a farmer?

Thanos scarecrow

We are shown some exterior shots of the Avengers compound while Widow is summarizing what Thanos did to a startled Bruce Banner. We see a shot of a now beardless and groomed Cap shedding a tear for either Bucky or his friends and allies. Banner is amazed at everything that happened and see all the people they lost as their faces begin rotating through a wheel on the holo-screen in front of him.

Cap sheds a tear for the fallen

We get a shot of the empty Avengers compound and then more shots of the survivors from the ‘snappening’ as they mourn their friends and loved ones. We get a nice voice over from Captain America as he states that they all lost someone either friends or family and that they all lost part of themselves when it happened. 

Ronin

We cut to a shot of a hooded figure cleaning a bloody sword on their sleeve while Widow watches in a town somewhere in Asia. The figure removes their hood and mask to reveal Clint Barton who has adopted his Ronin alias. Cap’s voice over then says “This is the fight of our lives” as we see him looking at the picture of Peggy Carter he keeps in his compass. Inside of a Quinjet, Widow turns to him and says that their plan will work while Steve says ” I know it will, because I don’t know what I’m going to do if it doesn’t”.

Cap in Quinjet

We then get the title card for the movie where the avengers “A” is being put back together from broken stone on a purple background. The Avengers title appears on the screen with the subtitle “Endgame” appearing out of a purple flash. The final shot of the trailer shows us Scott Lang arriving at the Avengers compound and talking to the security camera asking to be let in. He introduces himself as Ant-Man and that they would remember him from the airport in Germany. Cap stands up with a determined look in his eyes asking if it’s an old message with Widow stating “No, this is at the front gate”. We then get a purple title card stating April 2019 with the ‘A’ in April as the Avengers ‘A’. 

April 2019

My prediction of the plot is as follows:
Scott Lang arrives along with Clint who has assumed the Ronin persona to the Avengers compound where Captain America and Black Widow are thinking up a counterattack. He explains how everyone (Hank, Hope & Janet) were wiped out and he needs to get them back. Cap and Widow will then explain what happened with Thanos and they will take some time coming up with a plan.
Tony is floating in space in the Milano (Peter’s ship from Guardians of the Galaxy) but without any fuel or knowledge of how the hip works/to fix it, he is set to drift in the void between Titan and Earth. He will be found by Captain Marvel who is answering Fury’s call from the post-credit scene in Infinity War. They return to Earth where the remaining Avengers and those that survived the ‘snappening’ are formulating their plan. 
Thanos is a farmer? and he is happy at what he has down knowing the universe will spin on. Though he knows something isn’t quite right.
The remaining Avengers decide to use Quantum Time Vortexes to go back in time to the battle of New York from the first Avengers film. Tony poses as a SHIELD security agent in order to help break Loki out so he can tell them where Thanos is. The original avengers and the new squad ally together during the battle of New York. The new squad are responsible for protecting the city while the original crew head through the wormhole to confront Thanos on the Chitauri station when he doesn’t have any of the stones.
In the climactic battle the portal will need to be closed . The original crew will still be fighting Thanos and they’ll make the sacrifice to hold the line while the new squad closes the portal to Earth, stranding them in Chitauri space. Cap and Tony will make a final stand against Thanos with both dying in the fight. With Thanos being defeated and not lasting to get both the power and space stones, the other stones are then returned to their rightful places and the timeline is reset. 

There you have it! My breakdown of the trailer and my prediction of the plot. I am super excited for this film and hope that it’s going to be even better than Infinity War was! See you next time!