Avengers: Endgame is just the beginning of so many questions

Jen and Achariya had far too many thoughts about Avengers: Endgame. We’ll dive right in and discuss each of the original Avengers’ story arcs by character, so be warned, there are spoilers below the cut.

Tony Stark

Jen: Tony’s story arc was definitely focused on the most, and it’s fitting since RDJ’s success with Iron Man was part of the reason the rest of the movies happened at all. I’m not a Tony Stark stan but I do like his character, especially more since Ultron. And I was with RDJ through his dark years (anybody else here see In Dreams because he looked good with long red hair? ANYONE?) and seeing his personal journey has done my heart good.

Achariya: I am definitely not the world’s biggest Stark fan, and at one point I had the hilarious thought: What if this movie was one big plot by Dr. Strange to rid the world of Tony Stark? One possibility in (whatever) billion, my ass — Strange simply realized that the world would be a better place without him. JUST KIDDING JUST KIDDING. But yes, Stark got his dramatic foreshadowing (Look at all the stuff he could lose! Like this little girl!) and his hug with his kinda son Peter Parker (…the dad issues Peter continues to have, my god) and his posthumous last word. There really was nothing else left to say.

Jen: So many of my childhood heroes have come to sad ends – Christopher Reeve, Robin Williams, and most recently Michael Jackson after the Leaving Neverland doc, that it’s nice to see someone survive a public battle with personal demons with their dignity intact. I think realizing a character like Tony Stark is what actors dream of and even though the character can be obnoxious, he’s still a hero.

Achariya: That is nice, and I think the Russo brothers agree with you. They definitely ship a different pair of superheroes than I do. There were so many nice Captain America/Tony Stark moments that I just wished were Captain America/Bucky Barnes. “That’s America’s ass” — if only this line were Bucky’s. But I guess he’s a little too hurt and bewildered by a lifetime of being a Hydra assassin, or something. Still, if you love Tony and Cap interacting, their friendship arc is definitely completed here.

Jen: I hadn’t thought of that! What a neat take! I really wish they did more with Bucky. Maybe that TV show will explore more of his mental state and set him on the road to healing.

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Black Widow

Achariya: WHY SHE GOTTA DIE? Natasha had no big funeral like Tony Stark. And the most character development we ever got for her was when she expressed that she was extremely sad that she’s had enforced sterilization. (Although I realize that Joss Whedon’s discomfort with the female was on full display in this writing and maybe it can be carefully retconned out.) I feel like she held everything together for five years and was basically unthanked and unmourned, and her lack of a fitting end was my biggest issue with Endgame. Did they kill her instead of Hawkeye because Tony Stark already took the role of “dad who dies”?

Jen: If we take the character as she’s written, at face value, she’s had many rough years and was, above all, tired. Those five years took a lot out of her. Barton leaned into the call of vigilantism but Nat was left holding down the fort, basically running the remains of the Avengers. For years, Nat was an assassin against her will. Then she joined Shield, ostensibly to be a better person, and that organization, that ‘second chance,’ turned out to be corrupted. It shook her so badly she imagined a possible future with Banner. She didn’t need a tragic backstory about being forcibly sterilized to make her want to bang Banner. But I digress!

Achariya: I wonder if the Black Widow standalone movie will be about her work during these five years, or if it’ll just be the saddest backstory movie ever because we know how she’s going to die. (And will Bucky Barnes show up and be her love interest in the past in a dysfunctional brainwashed assassin kind of way?)

Jen: I didn’t have a problem with her dying because the situation reminded me of, years ago, a pre-serum Cap jumping on that grenade to save his squad and therefore proving himself a hero. This was her decision. (Although if you think about it, Hawkeye probably should have had to sacrifice one of his kids to get the Soul Stone but we won’t see anything that dark in an MCU film).  

Achariya: (Or heck, Cap could have pushed Bucky off the Soul Stone ledge. Imagine the haunting similarities to Bucky falling off the train bridge? But this time Cap needs to murder him on purpose? Anyway.)

Jen: I think that of all the MCU, Black Widow is the least realized because she’s had so many writers using her for different purposes without really considering the character. In her intro in Iron Man 2 she was a femme fatale, in Avengers she was more of the same. In Winter Soldier she started taking on a more original shape under the Russos, and all of that development was clumsily expanded upon in Age of Ultron, which honestly didn’t need to happen.

Achariya: I guess we’ll just have to see what they do with her standalone movie.

Hawkeye

Achariya: Clint Barton. We see one tiny minute-long scene of him being Ronin, his more murdery alter-ego. His arc seems quite complete, from watching his family get snap’d to watching him try his best to stop Black Widow from falling onto the Soul Stone death rocks. He got his moment, I am basically content with what they did for him. I am wondering how he manages to square his five years of murder with being a dad though. Will he go to PTSD counseling? Does he go to prison? Will he work for Shield again?

Jen: Well I think his family probably grounds him quite a bit. I mean he was a spy before he worked for Nick Fury (if I remember his backstory right) so he already had some questionable points in his past. He’s come a long way from his first appearance in Avengers but he’d probably square his murder rampage the same way he did with his spy stuff. Also, the hair was magnificent and a great look for Renner.  

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War Machine

Achariya: James Rhodes. I … have no idea what his backstory is, but at least he has his moments where his friendship with Tony is explored (calming him down at the beginning), and where he discusses his “cybernetic” relationship with his body to Nebula. The moment when James clambers out of his suit and has to save Rocket is excellent to me because they did “he’s paraplegic” really well — the way he moved was  consistent with how paraplegics move. It was subtle but I appreciated that he climbed out of his suit and WAS PARAPLEGIC while saving Rocket.

Jen: Indeed! I liked the little moments he had with Nebula, too. They weren’t long moments but it was nice seeing them together on screen – I think I had to run to the bathroom right when their moment started (FAN FAIL) so I missed any nuance other than ‘We both have robot parts.’ I also appreciated that moment when he was out of his suit – and I was legit upset when Rocket was crying out ‘I can’t breathe!’ from under the rocks.

Hulk

Jen: I think Bruce is in a good spot character-wise because his arc does feel complete to me. Smart Hulk is the compromise between the two extreme sides of Banner’s poles. A lot of that conflict setup was explored in Ragnarok by establishing a constant Hulk state that allowed for other emotions (laughter, even fear) and came to fruition in Infinity War with him being unable to  control his fear enough to even get angry. That dose of Gamma radiation is never going away, and smart Hulk for me is the best of both worlds.

Achariya: I feel like Bruce gained enlightenment when he integrated Hulk with Banner, but I feel an odd disconnect with his storyline. Wasn’t there a side plot where he and Natasha really liked each other? I didn’t see much of a resolution to that except for the one moment where Hulk throws a bench into the water while processing Natasha’s death. It was also an interesting choice to have his inner struggle be off-camera in the five gap years, and think that maybe this made his storyline less compelling for me. Professor Hulk was cute but I preferred the Jekyll/Hyde sides of his personality — and they made a huge fuss over his inability to Get it (hulk) Up in Infinity War that didn’t conclude in a satisfactory way for me.

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Thor

Achariya: I like that Thor was depressed and working through depression. I did not like other characters shaming him about who he was while working through grief. His reaction to losing his entire family and half his subjects was ENTIRELY FINE, and the fact that people called him Lebowski and Cheez Whiz and various things was massively callous. 

Jen: I am 100% sure that Depressed Thor was Hemsworth’s idea. Sort of like how he’d only agree to do Ragnarok if he cut Thor’s hair and got to be sillier. The fat-shaming thing definitely got old, but I appreciated that he didn’t shrug his justifiable depression off after a single pep talk and Rocket had to do the figurative heavy lifting of their mission.

Achariya: His arc was fantastic — he saw his mother again and got closure (all salad comments aside), and gave up his throne to the most qualified person in New Asgard. I like that he’ll be heading off into the universe with the Guardians, and loved the ending scene where he and Starlord square off for who gets to captain the ship. Thor and his sense of humor will hopefully get to have more excellent adventures.

Jen: Sidenote – I totally imagined Rocket pretending to be a cute stuffed animal so Jane would just pick him up and am still kind of bitter that didn’t happen. Also really looking forward to him appearing in the next GoTG movie because I am picturing Drax being into him no matter his appearance and saying supportive things about body acceptance while still giving Starlord epic shit.

Achariya: Speaking of Thor — how about that Loki? Let’s say that the second half of Avengers never took place. Is this where Loki’s TV show begins? If so, great. I couldn’t handle Loki being dead yet again, and sincerely desire him to be causing mischief for the entire universe for decades to come. (Now do the same for Natasha, Marvel!)

Jen: Yes! I am hoping Nat wakes up in an alternate timeline where she can time travel back or something. IT’S COMICS IT CAN HAPPEN. Also I am excited for the Loki TV show and the Black Widow movie. I hope to god they do her justice. THIS JUST IN: David Harbour and Rachel Weisz are going to be in that movie according to the IMDB, and my interest has been raised from Excitedly Interested to Toddler At Disney.

Captain America

Achariya: Steve Rogers. Broke my goddamned heart. There was not enough of a resolution scene with Bucky, who was in way too little of this movie for my sake. I did like that Steve handed his shield off to Sam, much like in the comics. And — was it just me or did Steve Rogers become ACTUAL MISTER ROGERS? THAT CARDIGAN. HE WAS SO ADORABLE.

Jen: YES. Happy that Steve Rogers didn’t miss out on a life with Peggy, but also wondering how does that alter not only his timeline but Peggy’s – does she still become the badass Agent Carter and head of Shield that we all love? If so, how does she do that and keep her relationship with Steve a secret? I guess if the head of an international spy network can’t keep a few secrets she’s doing the wrong job, but it just left me with a lot of questions.

Achariya: Yeah, therein lies my biggest plot question — have there always been two Steves, one living quietly with Peggy all these years, as her massive secret? I am so confused about how they dealt with time. Anyway, I’m extremely glad he had all those years to make happy memories with Peggy, and leave the world saving to his other self (???).

Jen: I thought that Cap (or the writers) actually did Bucky wrong – among the two of them Bucky was more deserving of a chance at a missed or stolen life. Cap at least volunteered for the Super Soldier Program before he went into the ice; Bucky didn’t, and then he was brainwashed and reactivated countless times to perform actions that were against his will. If he really found peace in Wakanda I wish they had emphasized that more. I get that Cap went back and jumped at an opportunity, and I was glad that he did something for himself after all the years spent serving the Greater Good, but it felt off. Especially when he didn’t talk to Bucky at the end. “I’m with ya until the end of the line or I just get worn out and need to give Sam Wilson my shield.”

Achariya: Pour one out for Bucky Barnes, y’all. Steve wasn’t with him until the end of the line.

Best moments:

  • America’s ass
  • Scott and Bruce: Taco Bros
  • Steve cursing – shouldn’t have been hot but was
  • Thor, Mick, and Korg hanging out waiting for the cable guy
  • Alternate Gamora wrecking Starlord’s balls and then being disgusted her other version was into him at all. WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE.
  • How about you guys?

 

One thought on “Avengers: Endgame is just the beginning of so many questions”

  1. I won’t belabor both of your detailed and thoughtful commentary, but I have a few thoughts…

    Tony Stark – I loved the end of his arc, it was fitting and fulfilling after 10 years of watching totally kill it as Iron Man. I didn’t get a lot of the Cap/Iron Man bromance, but I was always firmly on the side of Cap during Civil War; it almost made me not like Iron Man! But, like his real life, IM’s redemption and final heroic action were fantastic. I’ll miss him in future phases!

    Black Widow – I’m probably going to be in the minority here, but I really have no investment in BW. She and a couple of the characters, I just don’t care about them or their back stories. I guess we all have our favorites and those a little less so. Her death in the movie I thought was a heroic denouement for BW, and maybe since this was the end of phase three, all the older characters who have been around since the beginning were probably clamoring for heroic deaths like all the stars in Poseidon Adventure (Gene Hackman insisted he got the biggest death in the movie!) .

    Thor – It was so heartwarming to see Korg and Mick with Thor playing video games. I would have liked to have seen Thor a little more affected by his weight and recent slovenliness, maybe a couple beats of hands on knees sucking wind between killing monsters, like Mr. Incredible. Or duct taping his armor on because it’s now a little too small for him and the buckles won’t reach. Well, I would have liked that…! Can’t wait for GoTG 3!

    Post-Snap world – I found it interesting that a lot of exposition was used to see the survivors of Thanos’ pogrom trying to live normal lives again. It’s a concept that is rarely observed in movies where whole cities get destroyed, swaths of people injured, displaced, or outright killed in superhero/supervillain battles. Thanos thought only of statistics and logistics, and nothing of relations. Even the moment he killed Gamora, his love for her couldn’t keep him from his desire for genocide and the “good” he thought it would bring. The old saw of “ends vs. means”. But it was obvious that even with half of all people gone, Thanos’ vision of heaven was nothing but hell for the survivors. I think Thanos even said something about that during the battle; like he couldn’t believe the half that was left wouldn’t be so grateful to him (try as I may, I couldn’t commit to memory three hours and two minutes of dialog…at least before it hits Netflix…). Thanos just didn’t get it.

    Epic Battle – of course, seeing all the heroes, villains, armies, and monsters line up for the final epic throw-down was intoxicating! The theater I was in erupted in 10 straight minutes of cheering and whooping! It was tough to see EVERYone that got a second or two of screen time, but it was amazing.

    Villainy – I’m a big fan of Carrie Coon, who voiced Proxima Midnight in Infinity War; so I was a little disappointed when I saw her strike a pose before the battle, but she didn’t get to growl a catchphrase or say something derogatory about the heroes. Oh, well. Towards the end of the movie, I was struck by something. Thanos was a GREAT villain! Insurmountably strong, a great fighter, evil henchmen, a dastardly, world destroying vision, and he looked menacing. I put a lot of weight on a story’s villain; to me, that’s the meat of the narrative. I love heroes, but how great can a hero be without a great villain? Having also seen Shazam, the comparison between that movie’s villain and Thanos was huge, which is why Shazam, which was good, but just wasn’t as satisfying to me. The Marvel heroes victory in End Game felt earned, through blood, sweat and loss.

    Final note – I do wish they fan-serviced a scene with Deadpool after the movie running onto an empty field saying “guys, guys, sorry I’m late! wait, is the battle over!? What the SHIT!?” The internet was on point with that.

... but what do YOU think?

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