Avengers: Endgame has finally arrived and the people rejoice. 11 years of hard work through a plethora of talented actors, directors, special effects wizards, writers, producers, and so many others has culminated in a splendid 3-hour-long spectacle. And if the box office revenue and praise from fans and critics alike is to believed, spectacle is certainly the right word.
With Endgame being the finale of the Infinity Saga, Marvel has accomplished something unlike anything in the history of film-making. Sure, there have been shared universes before. But none have given characters arcs that have required viewers to see every movie they’ve appeared in to fully appreciate them, even in those they are not they main star.
Putting aside the vast amount of money this franchise has been able to make, Marvel’s film universe has achieved the arguably more important goal of forming a strong bond between the company and their passionate fans. It’s what Stan Lee always felt was most important as it was the fans that brought their success. And Endgame seems to have given fans exactly what they were hoping for.
However, nothing is perfect. As entertaining as the movie is, every cinematic venture still has flaws. Here are the 22 best things about Avengers: Endgame and 8 things we didn’t like at all.
30 Best: The Opening Thanos Twist
Everyone undoubtedly wondered how the Avengers would be able to undo Thanos’ actions. But there’s no way anyone could have guessed that their one shot of hope, which came from the addition of Captain Marvel, would be snuffed out in the opening sequence.
Having it so Thanos had destroyed the stones, and having Thor subsequently behead him for it, accomplished a couple of interesting things. It was certainly surprising, but it made it so there wouldn’t be a quick fix. The team would struggle. But also, it allowed the movie to show a world still grieving even five years later.
29 Best: A Trip Down Memory Lane
The so called time heist let the team venture into timelines to visit past movies of the MCU. And while this made for some fun Back to the Future moments of heroes being in the same space as their past selves, it also let viewers witness these time periods from different perspectives.
It was nice to see that the Ancient One had helped defend New York even if she didn’t join in on the big fight, just like it was nice to see War Machine’s first impression of Peter Quill.
28 Best: The Long-Lasting Effects Of Thanos' Actions
People may go to comic movies for the action and special effects, but it’s important to remember the characters at the heart of them. Infinity War ended on an incredibly somber note, so it was really touching to see Endgame focus on how that ending affected the world and its characters.
Key scenes that helped build up the story were that of Steve’s support group and the confused Scott’s interaction with a boy on a bike as he wondered what happened. These moments, while small, served the incredible purpose of showing how Thanos left everlasting scars.
27 Worst: The Amount Of Captain Marvel And Okoye
I completely understand why the marketing had to make it seem like Captain Marvel and Okoye would play bigger roles than they did. Okoye had survived the final fight in Infinity War and Captain Marvel had just been brought into the universe. And they certainly didn’t want to give any plot details away.
But the two are actually barely in the movie, which is a tad disappointing. One could argue that Captain Marvel is too powerful and it would be best to keep her out to create more tension, but Okoye was one of the best characters in Black Panther.
26 Best: Ant-Man
Say what you will about the Ant-Man movies, but Paul Rudd is definitely the highlight of them. He brings his signature boyish charm that has made him so popular over the years and he has a firm grasp on what makes Scott Lang work.
So his inclusion in Endgame was a welcome one. He gets some of the funniest lines but was also given a chance to stretch his dramatic muscles during his reunion scene with his daughter. He also plays a crucial role as its his idea to travel through the quantum realm.
25 Best: Hawkeye's Journey
Of the six original Avengers, Hawkeye has always felt like the most underdeveloped. He’s really only been used for big team up movies while Black Widow has been given more room to breath through supporting roles in Iron Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
But in Endgame, he finally gets more to do. And it is one of the more emotionally heavy parts of the movie. His entire family is wiped out by Thanos, so it is not only logical what he turns into, but the audience sympathizes with him as well.
24 Best: Thor's Depression
To get a proper feeling of one of these characters, it is now essential to see each movie they’ve appeared in. Thor has now been given one of the most impactful arcs within the MCU and it’s been explored over several films.
His mother's demise in The Dark World, his father’s demise in Ragnarok, and the loss of the majority of his people in Infinity War have taken a heavy toll. Not to mention he was unsuccessful in stopping Thanos. Everything added up and broke Thor emotionally, with Endgame seeing him at his lowest point. And it’s excellent character work.
23 Worst: How Everyone Treats Thor
As good as it is that Endgame addresses Thor’s state of mind, it also unfortunately takes pleasure at kicking him while he’s down. This takes shape in a number of ways.
With Thor’s mind turning weak, his body follows in the form of weight gain and an unkempt beard/hair. And several of his teammates, who should feel sympathetic towards him, crack jokes and make snide remarks. There are exceptions like the Hulk but for the most part, Thor’s physical state is used as a source of comedy and that makes the overall character development a bit weaker.
22 Best: New Asgard
Those who had read the comics would’ve known that New Asgard was coming as soon as Ragnarok’s climax occurred. While the screen version wasn’t as majestic as the page version, it was nice to see the remaining Asgardians living a peaceful life.
But what’s most exciting about New Asgard is who ends up on the throne. At the end of the movie, Thor leaves to adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy, leaving Valkyrie in charge. Hopefully, this will allow the fan favorite heroine to get more screen time in the future.
21 Best: Alan Silvestri's Score
A film’s score can often define each scene. An expert composer must know when to have the strings swell, when to have the cymbals clash, and when to have the horns burst. And Alan Silvestri knocked it out of the park with this one.
He’s been responsible for several other MCU movies, such as The Avengers and Infinity War, so he already knew which beats to hit for each moment and character. At times, the Endgame score can be triumphant while at others it can be downright heart-wrenching. And it’s thanks to Silvestri’s work that each scene is carried spectacularly.
20 Best: It Addresses Common Time Travel Plot Holes
It can be hard for movies to get time travel right. As it has obviously never been proven to be possible, countless films have fallen prey to common plot holes.
Marvel was fully aware of how movies had tackled time travel in the past and it was intent on avoiding common problems. Hulk explaining that altering the past will not change the future and the Ancient One describing that taking an Infinity Stone from the past will create an alternate timeline, therefore dooming her reality while the future of the Avengers is saved, are key scenes.
19 Worst: There Are Probably Still Plot Holes
While I do commend Marvel for trying to avoid the problems of other time travel movies, it’s basically impossible for a film to be centered around the idea without any plot holes. And I’ll also admit that time travel is too dense a subject to be discussed properly in just a couple of paragraphs.
Though I can’t help but wonder. Why is the act of taking an Infinity Stone from the past the only thing that has an alternate-timeline-sized impact? Why do the demises of 2014 Nebula and Thanos in the future have no effect on the timeline?
18 Best: Thor's Relationship With His Mother
The first two Thor movies were packed with characters, so it’s understandable that many of them felt underused. One of the characters we should have spent more time with but didn’t was Thor’s mother, Frigga.
Endgame fixes this problem. By having Thor go back to the time of The Dark World, he’s able to share a heartfelt scene with his mother. And because of how broken he is and how nurturing she is, it makes her demise in The Dark World much more meaningful.
17 Best: Tony Gets To See His Dad Again
Thor isn’t the only character who gets to address some regret when it comes to a parent. In Civil War, Tony stated that he never got to have a proper goodbye with his father before he passed. Endgame gives him a chance to have that moment when he and Steve venture to 1970.
It’s interesting to see Tony revert to a flustered mess at the appearance of his father when he’s normally so confident, adding another subtle layer to the character. But it’s also just fascinating to see the two finally interact after all these years.
16 Best: The Hulk/Banner Hybrid
Yes, despite the dab. The most interesting thing about Bruce Banner was his struggle to keep the beast at bay. But Marvel couldn’t keep doing that forever as it would have gotten stale.
Since Age of Ultron, Bruce has been on a path that was leading towards the fusing of his mind and the Hulk’s strength. Endgame saw this come to fruition and Banner is a better character for it. Not only can he now serve as a more stable and reliable team member, but the character can now lead a somewhat normal life. And I’m happy for him.
15 Worst: Black Widow's Sacrifice
Black Widow sacrificing herself in general is not a problem. It fit with how her character wanted so desperately to save those she had lost. The problem is how, cinematically, it is exactly the same as Gamora’s in Infinity War.
Sure, Natasha chooses to jump whereas Gamora was thrown. But it’s still the same outcome with the same shot of her body and the same exact score. Someone was always going to have to sacrifice themselves to get the Soul Stone. But it’s a shame that a character we’ve watched since 2010 couldn’t have been given a more original send-off.
14 Best: Captain America + Mjolnir
A moment from the comics that was hinted at in Age of Ultron was Captain America wielding Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. And it is just as glorious and cheer-inducing as one might expect.
Yes, it’s pure fan service. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing because it also fits with Steve’s characterization. With The Winter Soldier and Civil War forcing him to question his faith in the government and put his morals above everything else, he deserves this moment. There’s no braver Avenger than Captain America and, other than Thor, no member more worthy of wielding that power.
13 Best: "Avengers Assemble"
It’s a phrase Cap has yelled with ferocity many times in the comics and one fans were always waiting for him to say in the movies. And I’ll be forever thankful to Marvel that they didn’t let him say it until the final battle against Thanos’ forces.
They teased it at the end of Age of Ultron, but it’s much more impactful for him to say it before what is the most glorious superhero battle ever put to film. There are too many wonderful moments in the fight to list here. But it’s everything we could have ever hoped for.
12 Best: Peter And Tony's Reunion
Tony butts heads with so many heroes that it was always refreshing to see him interact with Peter. And it made him even more likable than he already was to see how Peter idolized him.
Peter’s fate in Infinity War was certainly one of the sadder moments. And the first thing I thought of upon seeing him in Endgame (after the pure joy, of course) was how Tony would react. That moment didn’t disappoint as the two shared a hug. It reflects the awkward moment from Spider-Man: Homecoming and speaks volumes about Tony without him having to say anything.
11 Worst: No Nakia
Nakia’s exclusion from Endgame doesn’t hinder the plot but her absence, at least for me, was noticeable both here and the Wakanda battle from Infinity War. She and Okoye were two of T’Challa’s most trusted allies in Black Panther, so it seems like she should’ve been there to help during the final conflict. Even M’Baku could be seen charging.
Or she could have been seen during Tony’s monologue as it showed the heroes with their loved ones. There’s a shot of T’Challa with his mother and sister and it would have been suitable for his love interest to be there.
10 Best: Doctor Strange's Finger Raise
Iron Man and Doctor Strange’s dynamic in Infinity War was one of the most entertaining as the two obviously didn’t like each other but were forced to team up. And Strange’s final line made us aware that he had given up the Time Stone because he had to.
There are a lot of wonderful moments in the final battle, but Strange has one of the most subtly great. After stating he couldn’t tell Tony what happens, he raises a finger to let him know this is that 1-in-14-million moment. It gave Tony the hope he needed to defeat Thanos.
9 Best: Girl Power
Marvel’s movies haven’t usually put their female heroes in the spotlight the same way they have the male ones. It took until this year for them to release a female centric movie with Captain Marvel, but there is a moment during the final battle that hopefully signals a change.
It’s when every female hero on the battleground bands together to help Captain Marvel get through a horde of aliens. Even though it doesn’t make sense for them to all be at that spot at that exact time, it was an incredible cinematic moment.
8 Best: "I Am Iron Man"
It’s that magnificent moment when Tony puts his life on the line, when Thanos seems victorious and all hope lost. Most viewers knew going into Endgame that Robert Downey, Jr.’s contract was up and this would be his final appearance.
It’s fitting that Tony would sacrifice himself for everyone else given that he almost did in The Avengers. His final line is not only an excellent comeback to Thanos saying, “I am inevitable,” but it is also a great callback to his reveal in the first Iron Man.
7 Worst: Multiple People Hold Infinity Stones With No Consequences
Guardians of the Galaxy tells us that Infinity Stones can only be held by beings of immense power. Peter is half-Celestial, but still needs his team at the end to help him carry the Power Stone. However, multiple significantly less extraordinary people hold Infinity Stones in Endgame without a problem.
It’s possible that it’s only the Power Stone that is so difficult to carry. But Hawkeye still runs around carrying the whole gauntlet like it’s nothing, as do several others. Do the stones only take a toll when someone puts the gauntlet on? What gives?
6 Best: Asgardians Of The Galaxy
Thor’s brief pairing with the Guardians of the Galaxy in Infinity War led to some humorous moments, but there understandably wasn’t enough time to explore their relationship as a team.
I was already exceptionally excited at the prospect of a third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but the addition of Thor makes me even more so. Ragnarok let Chris Hemsworth flex is comedic chops and the character was better for it, so I can only imagine what he’ll be like in the hands of James Gunn. Let’s hope that the Endgame tease is a glimpse of what’s to come.
5 Best: Tony Stark's Funeral
When a character who began an 11-year-long franchise sacrifices himself to save the greater universe, your movie better have a suitable send off. And Tony’s funeral in Endgame was as suitable and touching as you can get.
There were many elements that made it work. Happy promising to get Morgan all the cheeseburgers she wants in a reference to the first Iron Man. The return of Harley from Iron Man 3 as well as every living character in the MCU. Tony’s hologram goodbye. “Proof that Tony Stark has a heart.” It was respectful, endearing, and somber all at once.
4 Worst: It Leaves You With A Lot Of Questions
The solution the Avengers come up with is to bring back everyone they lost into the current time period. It’s fitting seeing as how Tony doesn’t want to lose his daughter. But this solution also left me with questions outside of the superhero bubble.
How will this solution impact the larger world? How will those who have healed after losing loved ones react to their return? How will spouses react if their loved ones have moved on? This victory will have significant ramifications on the universe, but it doesn’t seem like Marvel would take the time to address them.
3 Best: Cap Passing The Mantle
In the comics, the mantle of Captain America has been held by two others after Steve: Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson. With Chris Evans exiting the role, many were wondering which of the two would be taking up his shield, if at all.
As it turns out, Steve bestowed the shield onto Sam Wilson aka Falcon. This is the more appropriate option for the movies to take. For one, it’s unclear if Bucky may still have some healing to do from his previous brainwashing. For another, Sam has spent all his screen time upholding everything that Cap believes in.
2 Best: Cap's Happy Ending
Cap was only able to pass the mantle because Endgame allowed him to get the happy ending he never had a chance of achieving without time travel. He’s the very definition of a patriot and letting him end up with Peggy, the love of his life, feels like something he’s earned.
Also, it’s nice to have a big budget action movie end on a small, intimate character moment. It showed that having a character leave the series didn’t mean they had to die but instead could choose to leave of their free will.
1 Worst: Time Travel Could Solve Any Future Problem
With Hank Pym being brought back into existence and Bruce Banner understanding how time travel operates with the quantum realm, the Avengers now have a solution for any future problem. If any villain is victorious, they can now just go back in time to fix it. And that makes the world far less interesting.
But this also means they could restore their dead heroes. It’s never brought up but if they desired, they could grab any Natasha or Tony from the past to bring them back. Gamora now being alive proves this and it makes their sacrifices less significant.