I’ve never cried as many times in one film as I did during Avengers Endgame. It shattered me in ways that are hard to describe.
Before going further with this Avengers Endgame review, please make note that this website is primarily for analysis and opinion. It will be extremely difficult to analyze the film, the future of the MCU, and state my opinion on the whole thing without discussing spoilers. This review is NOT meant for someone who has not yet seen Avengers Endgame. It’s meant for discussion among those who’ve already had their hearts ripped out so we can console each other and talk about what comes next.
So basically, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS ENDGAME SPOILERS. We’ve got a lot of emotions to unpack and anything beyond this paragraph will be a safe haven to discuss them. But please don’t go ruining the film for those who have not yet seen it. That’s just a dick move. And it’s absolutely not what we want to do here. That’s what is meant when we say that “Thanos demands your silence.” Don’t just, like, tweet it out okay? Keep the spoilers confined to safe places. But if you haven’t seen it, turn back now and save yourself.
You’ve been warned. Repeatedly. There are SPOILERS ahead.
So on with the review…
How exactly do you summarize your feelings on the conclusion of a series that’s been a part of your life for over a decade? When the MCU first started I was still in college and was a very different person than I am now. I didn’t know how much it’d grip me at that point. I didn’t know how many hours of fanfic I’d read and how much fanart I’d consume over the next eleven years. I didn’t know how many thousands of words I’d write to try to express how meaningful these characters were to me. I certainly didn’t know how many Captain America shirts would make their way into my wardrobe, but it’s such an integral part of my life now I can’t imagine who I’d be with out it.
In fact, I think I’ve been in a sort of state of denial that this could end. I can’t even picture a time in my adult life where Iron Man and Captain America weren’t there. But it’s over. They’re gone. And like the survivors of the film itself, I have to go on. Tony and Steve got very different conclusions in Endgame, but their arcs have each come to an end all the same. And they both elicited tears from me in a very visceral way that’d I’d been bracing myself for for months. I know I’d cry, but damn, I’m a mess half a day after seeing it. It punched me hard in the feels.
Both conclusions lend themselves to fanfiction to “fix” it, though, and I have no doubt we’ll see a barrage of fix-it fic very soon. While I don’t necessarily think they were awful ways to end their stories, I can see how people who want their stories to continue can find ways to make it happen. Stucky shippers in particular have set to work on making a continuation of their romance possible (without damaging Steve/Peggy, of course, because we tend to be the friendliest rival ships in existence). Steve has a full life to play with in fanworks. And we have time travel now. So many doors have been opened for us and I’m eager to dive into the wave of new fic.
I am a bit disappointed that we didn’t get a canon farewell between Steve and Bucky. Yes, I’m a Stucky shipper, but I was under no illusion that we would actually get that to go canon. I advocated for canon Stucky, sure, but I knew we weren’t going to get it. Still, I wish they’d have some final parting words at the very least. It’s better than my expectation that Steve was going to die before Bucky was resurrected and they’d never see each other again, but it’s not a lot more than that. It did set up the upcoming Winter Soldier and Falcon Disney+ show, however, so there’s that at least. And, as mentioned, fanfiction is a thing. Oh, boy, is it a thing.
Tony’s story in Endgame is a bit more difficult to play with in transformative works,. He didn’t get to live his full life into a ripe old age. He went out in a moment of self sacrifice and as beautifully noble and heart breaking as it is, it’s extremely final. But there’s five years of him being a family man to explore and he’s left an incredible legacy behind him with Pepper, his daughter, and Happy. I suppose time travel could always create more options to explore more of his story, but I’m not sure I’d enjoy fanfic that retcons his death. But hey, fandom is big and for those that want to do so, more power to you. Fanfic is a sandbox for everyone.
Beyond fanfiction, I do wonder where we go from here with the MCU in general. This is definitely the end of the Avengers as we know it. Both Tony and Natasha are dead. Steve is alive, but elderly and in no condition to fight. Thor seems to be off with the Guardians now. Clint is likely going to focus on his family for a bit. And Bruce is… doing whatever he’s doing. But we know there’s a Black Widow movie. How will that work? Will it be set in the past? Maybe in Budapest? Will Clint be part of it? We know nothing about it at this point. And maybe that’s intentional.
Side note: Natasha’s death got me good. I knew it had to be her, but it didn’t make it any easier. I’m not even sure I’d categorize it as a fridging. It made a lot of sense narratively. Still hurt, though.
Other aspects of the MCU also have interesting paths ahead of them. Now that all the Guardians are alive again, the Guardians of the Galaxy vol 3 film is nicely set up, but what about Gamora? She’s not the same Gamora who fell in love with Quill. And I’ve only seen the film once so forgive me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall seeing her on the ship with the Guardians leave earth. They won’t be the same either.
In what is probably the most confusion post Endgame spin off, we have rumors that WandaVision will be set in the 1950’s. First of all, Vision is still dead. Second of all, Wanda is still in the present. Though I suppose we do have time travel now. And Shuri is alive again, so maybe she can bring Vision back. Still, I’m having some major confusion about this one.
And, well, we also have the Loki spin off. And, like, he’s ‘dead.’ But okay.
That one I’m not too worried about, honestly. Loki is Loki. It’ll work. I ain’t bothered.
Back on the topic of my uncontrollable sobbing during this film, not all of the sobbing was out of sadness. Yes, me crying about Tony’s death or Captain America’s retirement was a deeply mournful sobfest. But there were some happy tears, too. The first moment where the tears started to flow in earnest was the “on your left” line. Each time a new portal opened and characters we previously thought were dead appeared, I just started bawling. It was magnificent. And when Captain Marvel got backup from literally almost every woman in the MCU possible, I fist pumped towards the sky. More of that, please!
Honestly, though, I wish we’d had a wee bit more Captain Marvel. But I have a feeling she’ll be much more present going forward. So I guess I can accept that this was a farewell film and she’s not saying goodbye here. She’s saying hello.
These were tears of pure joy and I honestly couldn’t have asked for more from that fight sequence. I’m always hesitant to call anything ‘perfect’ but honestly it applies to that entire sequence. It was the best sequence in the entire series so far and capped things off in the exactly correct way.
Tears of joy. Tears of sadness. Just… just a lot of tears, dude. And while I know I’m a damn mess in this picture, I feel like a shot of my blood shot watery eyes is appropriate here (see me on the right). I took that shot as I was exiting the theater and a few of the theater staff were alarmed, but hey guys this was intense. Deal with it.
Now that I’ve gone on and on about how emotional I was and how perfect certain aspects of it are, it’s time for me to get a bit critical. Yes, I was critical of the lack of a goodbye between Steve and Bucky and how little Captain Marvel we got, but that was a fairly minor preference disagreement on my part. It’s not really biting criticism of the film itself. But this film did have one fairly glaring flaw that has kept it from being perfect all the way through for me. That would be the way they turned Thor’s depression weight into the punch line of several scenes.
Depression is a very real thing and I’ve been through it on and off for years. For the most part they depicted Thor’s depressed state of mind fairly accurately. When you go through a period of depression your home tends to become a mess, you stop grooming yourself properly, you distract yourself with entertainment to an extreme degree, you isolate yourself, and your weight fluctuates. I’ve done all of these things so props to the writers for depicting that realistically. HOWEVER, using the weight gained during his depression as a punch line sort of reverses the accuracy of this depiction. Yes, he has a gut now. But did we really need it played for laughs like four times? It happens. It’s part of depression.
I hope Thor’s journey with the Guardians help him heal. And I hope his depression continues to be depicted realistically without the jokes at his expense. It’s a lot funnier watching him and Quill bickering about who is ‘in charge’ than it is making fun of the physical repercussions of his mental state. I’m very much looking forward to his journey going forward.
Was Endgame perfect? No. But it’s what was needed and it closed things off in a way that fits the 22 films that preceded it. It’s so damn close to perfection I almost want to call Endgame the best MCU film to date. I’ll hold off on ranking it definitively as such for now, though. I feel like Winter Soldier and Civil War are still superior in my mind, but I haven’t quite settled down from this film yet. Once I’m over the loss, my ranking of these films may shift. We’ll see.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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