I decided to see Avengers: Endgame without having seen basically any films of the MCU, to see if I could figure out what the heck was happening, and because I had nothing better to do.
It starts with Iron Man in space. He looks very sad, and he’s with a blue woman, who whispers when she talks. I take it he’s sad because Thanos killed most of the Avengers last movie, something I learned without trying — not cause I was avoiding spoilers, but cause I didn’t care. Suddenly Captain Marvel appears, cause she recently had her own movie, and since she can fly through space, she carries the ship back to Earth while glowing.
Captain America is flying through space with Scarlett Johansson. He has a lot of makeup on his face, and he is also sad. He stares at a black-and-white photo of a woman inside a pocket watch, likely indicating a backstory of loss, just like the nine thousand other stories featuring a longing stare at a black and white photo. Scarlett Johansson calls Captain America “Steve.” Captain America and Johansson arrive at Avengers Studios, where they’re joined by Iron Man and the blue girl. Iron Man calls Captain America “Cap.” They reference setting aside a rough history — I’m assuming they’re talking about fighting each other in Civil War, which, along with Black Panther and OG Iron Man, was one of three MCU movies I actually saw, and which I found very dumb. They’re best bros again.
I’m surprised then to see Don Cheadle here. There’s something unnerving about it. Maybe flashbacks to Boogie Nights.
The Avengers go inside and talk about how they failed — mostly Cap and Iron Man, who started this whole MCU. Hovering holographic photos remind the audience who is dead, including Chris Pratt, Black Panther, and Samuel L. Jackson. Michael Douglas’ face makes an appearance.
Iron Man looks like R. D. Jr. used to look, when he was an addict, before these movies made him successful again. He starts yelling and passes out on the floor. The raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy is here, and he speaks only in sarcastic quips. Right away he’s my least favorite character. At some point Mark Ruffalo pops in mid-sentence. I feel palpable sadness seeing Mark Ruffalo here — he was great in Spotlight. Didn’t he almost win an Oscar? I figure most of these actors are cashing in bigtime on this, so they don’t mind setting aside their artistic integrity. They got bills, too.
Thor is present, grumpy and distant, and I’m impressed at how handsome this particular Hemsworth is. The Avengers are all saying they want to find Thanos, and the blue girl whispers she knows where he is. So they fly on an eagle-looking ship to some planet.
Thanos is cooking rice and living like Obi-Wan in a hut. The Avengers barge in and hold him down, and Thor chops off his arm. That arm is wearing some metal glove, which the camera zooms in on. There’s a dramatic pause, and the Avengers appear afraid. Thanos starts talking about “Infinity Stones” and says the sentence, “I used the stones to destroy the stones.” The blue girl speaks to him, and she ends her sentence with the word, “Father.” In case you missed it, Thanos ends his reply with the word, “Daughter.” Thanos’ chin looks like the Devil’s Tower, which reminds me of Close Encounters, which makes me think of Richard Dreyfuss and mashed potatoes. It comes to light that Thanos used the Infinity Stones to wipe out about 15% of humanity, several not-totally-central Avengers included. He says villain-like things about “rebalancing the universe,” standard genocide talk. Thanos leans forward and says, “I am inevitable” in an emphatic way, indicating this is some sort of tag line. Then Thor chops off Thanos’ head. At least three people in the theater laugh, and I am definitely one of them.
A character says, “What have you done?” Thor still looks angry. I’m reminded of Osama bin Laden, both in his “rebalancing” things via destroying the towers, and in the U.S. finding him in isolation and killing him, as if that would give reparation to his atrocities.
After the longest ‘5 Years Later’ title card in cinematic history, the film travels to New York City. It looks post-apocalyptic. Captain America is leading a support group, and three minutes of screen time go to a random guy talking about his tough relationship, casually slipping in the fact that his partner is male to remind us that Disney is socially responsible and promoting of homosexuality, despite the fact that all these Avengers are clearly very straight. After this support group, we go to San Francisco, confirming that this support group scene was the full reason we traveled to New York.
At this point, I’ve become very bored. It is a struggle to stay focused. Iron Man is living with Gwenyth Paltrow and their daughter in an idyllic home in the woods. Scarlett Johansson is doing something — I still have no idea how she’s involved. Suddenly in some warehouse a costumed figure gets shot out of a van, and it’s so slapsticky comical I know before he takes off his mask it’s gonna be Paul Rudd. Paul Rudd makes some jokes, and he goes outside all confused at why the city’s a ghost town. He goes to a memorial graveyard by the Golden Gate Bridge and frantically scans for the name of a woman. This is feeling like a bigtime ripoff of The Leftovers. Rudd pauses on the name “Scott Lang,” who I figure must be Captain America or something.
Rudd visits a girl who turns out to be his daughter. He says she looks so big. Then she disappears from the movie, and he visits Cap and Scarlett, who are having a conference with Emperor Palpatine holograms of Captain Marvel, Don Cheadle, and the stupid raccoon, whose hologram even quips. I’m not sure if people like this raccoon, or if he used to be funny, but no one is laughing at his jokes.
Captain Marvel’s hair is shorter, so another character is obliged to mention that her hair is shorter — Cheadle, I think. This movie does not want the audience to think for themselves. This movie wants to acknowledge that it knows every thought it is making the audience think. It wants them to think that this mind-reading means the movie is smart, and not actually extremely dumb.
So Paul Rudd makes jokes to Cap about how Cap wouldn’t know who he is, setting up this running gag that his Ant Man is a B-level superhero and sorta starstruck at these classic Avengers. I realize Ant Man is actually Scott Lang, and Cap is Steve, not Scott. Ant Man starts talking about “The Quantum Realm” and says that’s where he was during the Thanos wipeout, and while five years had passed for everyone, only five hours had passed for him.
The moment he says this, I know time travel is coming. How else can you bring back numerous dead characters and continue banking off their movies?
For about fifteen minutes, the characters address the audience’s skepticism about time travel by being skeptical about time travel. They even talk about time travel movies and shows, mentioning The Terminator, Quantum Leap, and Back to the Future. They don’t mention Interstellar, which feels like a diss to Chris Nolan. The whole theory espoused here is about Quantum Relativity, and the plan is to go back and get the Infinity Stones before Thanos does. Ant Man says he knows it sounds crazy, and Scarlett J. makes a joke about how when there’s a talking raccoon, nothing seems crazy. Once again, no one laughs.
At this point, I’m convinced this time travel stuff is lazy screenwriting garbage that will erase the full significance of what happened in the movie before, yet equally convinced that Marvel fans will still totally love it.
So they go to San Fran to recruit Iron Man, arriving at his idyllic home in an Audi that looks like a Tesla. Iron Man’s like, Nope. I’m happy now. Go away. Even Cap can’t convince him. So they recruit the next smartest guy, who is Hulk, whom they meet in a diner, and a scene-long joke is made about how he stays in Hulk form now, even in public. I see now that Hulk is Mark Ruffalo. I remember when Eric Bana was Hulk. I still got excited about superhero movies then. What happened to Eric Bana? Paul Rudd sort of looks like Eric Bana, but with a thinner face. Ruffalo Hulk is now a calm Hulk who enjoys wearing normal clothing. Kids run up to him and ask for his autograph, and Hulk takes selfies with them, making this movie all meta. A few more Ant-Man-isn’t-famous jokes, and Hulk’s on board with time travel.
Iron Man looks conflicted in his kitchen. He goes to his thinking room and plays with holographic images. When the images form a loop, he goes, “I’ve figured it out.” He tells Gwenyth Paltrow he’s figured out time travel, and unlike Adrienne from Rocky 2-4, she encourages him to join the Avengers.
At Avengers Studios, Hulk, Cap, and Ant Man test out the time machine. Ant Man gets sucked in, and each time he’s shot out, he’s either really old or baby-young. Tensions go up, and at the last minute Rudd returns and makes a joke about peeing his pants that made me laugh. He’s the only funny character. Other characters sound very forced delivering those Marvel one-liners, especially the whispering blue girl. The writers seem to think these one-liners must end every scene.
Cap goes outside to stare longingly. I figure this is where Iron Man shows up, and a second later, Iron Man shows up. He’s also driving a Tesla Audi. Audi definitely paid Disney a lot of money. Iron Man makes arrogant and sarcastic jokes, then comes in and explains how to time travel properly. There’s at least one more Back to the Future reference. The rules of this time travel world are totally rushed through, which is really dumb, given this movie has no problem spending fifteen seconds on a ‘Five Years Later’ title card. The rules make no sense, but Iron Man mentions the Planck constant, so we figure he’s got it worked out.
At some point during all this, they’re all in outer space again, and Captain Marvel zooms at a planet and disappears from the movie.
Around now we cut to Tokyo, where a Japanese man is having a sword fight with a masked guy. The masked guy mentions Thanos. The masked guy kills the Japanese man, and slowly takes off his mask. It’s the guy from The Hurt Locker. I miss his ensuing convo with Scarlett Johansson cause I’m trying to remember this damn actor’s name, but all that’s coming to mind is James McAvoy and Liev Schreiber. Anyway, he’s on board.
Last stop is to go to Asgard in Norse Land and get Thor. Hulk goes to Thor’s place, and Hemsworth’s wearing a nasty fat suit that looks as bad as Fat Bastard’s from The Spy Who Shagged Me twenty years ago, which was intentionally made to look bad. Fat-suit Thor is an alcoholic, something that is treated only as a joke throughout the movie. Two nonhuman characters are playing Fortnite on Thor’s couch. Thor looks traumatized when Hulk mentions Thanos, and he’s not down to help. Then Hulk says something about how Thor once helped him, and Thor totally changes his mind.
Lots of jokes are made about Thor’s gross body and drinking. It’s very clear the screenwriters think this is hilarious, and also think everyone will think this is hilarious. And they’re probably right, because if a MCU fan is still reading this, they definitely hate me and can’t wait to go to the comments section to tell me what a dumbass I am. The MCU is a very exclusive society. The jokes in this movie are almost all in-jokes that require familiarity with the characters, which requires familiarity with the twenty-one 2+ hour films that came before this one. It’s like how in Ready Player One there are all these references so fans of the reference points can be like, “I got that reference! I’ve seen that movie! I’m awesome!” Except this time all the references are to previous Marvel movies, so it’s even more of an echo chamber, and it’s a really low level delight that Disney’s selling over and over again. And when you’re unfamiliar with the reference points, the jokes all seem unbelievably dumb and lazy.
Anyways, what ensues next is the sequence that now takes the cake for the most bored I have ever felt in a movie theater, topping the previous record holder of Ron Howard’s Inferno when Tom Hanks is looking for Dante-related items in numerous European cities. Cap rallies the gang to travel back in time to get the Infinity Stones before Thanos. Someone explains more about time travel and why they can’t just go back and kill baby Thanos and erase everything that happened. This is Cheadle’s idea, complete with hand gestures insinuating strangling a baby. The reason why they can’t do that makes no sense. They split into teams, and Cap says a line like, “Six stones, three teams… one chance.” Heavy American football vibes. A character comments that Cap’s good at pep talks, making the pep talk ironic, just so you know the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously — even though clearly it does, because finding the stones takes a solid forty-five minutes of screen time, and there’s very little action, but a ton of long conversations.
Jokes are made about watching their former selves, like calm-Hulk seeing past-Hulk smashing taxis and roaring. I hope the reason for his present calmness was given in Infinity War. Hulk visits a bald alien-looking woman on a roof who looks really familiar and I think once won an Oscar. Tilda Swinton? She’s got a stone on her necklace and when Hulk tries to take it, being all “I’m not asking,” she destroys him with Buddha energy. Then they talk a while and she won’t give it up, but when Hulk tells her something that her boy Doctor Strange will do in the future, Buddha woman totally believes him and forgets everything about sacredness and protection and just gives Ruffalo the stone.
Thor and the raccoon go to Asgar. Thor is looking for booze. Raccoon is still annoying. Thor sees his a woman who I might be his mother who doesn’t want to hear what happens to her in the future. If you’re bored reading this, imagine the experience watching it. The only moment I enjoyed in this sequence was when I suddenly remembered the name of the guy from The Hurt Locker. Jeremy Renner. Oh, and Thor gets his hammer back.
Renner and Johansson go to the coolest setting of the movie, some dark Mordor planet with a big eclipse in the sky. They encounter a floating specter in black who reminds me of Darth Maul. Comments are made about backstory, Renner and Johansson hold hands, then something bad happens, and Johansson falls down a pit and dies. Renner was holding her hand, and for reasons unclear to me she told him to let go.
If a Marvel fanboy is still reading this, he definitely just got really pissed off at how I didn’t know why Johansson told Renner to let go.
Iron Man goes to some university and digs around in a basement lab, where he meets a man I figure out is his dad. It’s definitely the most well-acted scene of the movie, despite that it’s clearly another Back to the Future reference. Iron Man gets a stone.
Cap infiltrates some base that has definitely been in these movies before. He then fights Past Cap, who is an idiot. Didn’t this happen in Toy Story 3? Buzz v. Dumb Buzz? I’m still waiting for something original to happen in this movie.
At some point in the time travel, Chris Pratt is seen dancing in the woods — just to remind everyone of Chris Pratt, I imagine.
I forget what Cheadle is up to. But one big plot point is that Thanos finds out what’s going on. The blue girl has some weird memory thing going on where her past self goes all R2D2 and projects images of her future self conspiring to stop Thanos. This flashback Thanos is way meaner than Obi-Wan Thanos, and so he locks up blue girl and sends past blue girl, who is evil, back to the fut — damnit.
Blue girl has a green sister. They bicker. Blue girl tells her green sister that bad things happen in her future. Green girl is tormented.
By the time the Avengers return to Avengers Studios with the Infinity Stones, which they captured without a hitch, Thanos is well aware of the plan. They’re all sad Johansson is dead and do an epic-movie-send-her-out-to-water farewell.
I’m bored writing this, but I was way more bored watching this. At this point in the movie, I couldn’t believe an hour still remained.
They put the Infinity Stones on a glove and Hulk puts it on, saying he’s the only one strong enough to handle it. The glove is destroying him, and then he snaps his fingers, and he takes it off. The snap is important. Apparently it’s why so many people are dead. Hulk doesn’t die, but his Hulk arm can no longer Hulk smash.
With the blue girl’s help, Thanos discovers time travel and travels to the future to stop the Avengers from stopping him. Time for the big standoff. Lots of fighting. Thanos busts out this double-sided blade, and then takes on the Big Three of Cap, Iron Man, and Thor. Strong similarities to double-lightsaber Darth Maul fighting Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn. In fact this whole last sequence feels like The Phantom Menace, with several climactic storylines bouncing around. People rip on The Phantom Menace, but I’ll take Jar-Jar over this damn raccoon any day.
Thanos has an orc-like army complete with cave trolls. Ant Man is now very tall and lays the smackdown on some flying creature. One of the female bodyguards from Black Panther is now here. Then suddenly this sorta Annihilation shimmer opens, and all the dead Avengers are back. Not sure why this happened — cause Hulk snapped? So there’s apparently a thirty minute delay? Either way, it’s a game changer. We got Strange. We got Panther. We got Winter Soldier. We even got Pratt. Now it’s a total Battle Royale.
Peter Parker is also here. Iron Man and him share a few father-son moments. I get the sense even R. D. Jr. thinks this relationship is dumb. At some point the past blue girl’s about to kill Pratt, but the green girl saves him. They suggest a romantic backstory in which Pratt was an asshole. Basically the same relationship he had with Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World. Gwenyth Paltrow has joined the brawl, and so has Evangeline Lilly. Lots of female power, including one scene where about 9 female characters — including T’Challa’s sister, who apparently flew in from Wakanda — rally together and take on the orcs.
Something happens with weird creatures and Renner shooting them with flaming arrows. I think the blue girl’s somehow involved in that.
But the real show is the Big Three v. Thanos. They Big Three are getting wrecked. It’s sorta pathetic. All three at once, and they can’t do anything. Suddenly Thor’s hammer flies into the hand of Cap. Thor smiles and goes, “I knew it.” Cap leaps through the air and starts wrecking Thanos. It’s really badass. I get chills and my mind is like, “Yeah! Get him, Captain! Kill that terrorist bastard!” Similar emotions to a sudden Rocky comeback v. Ivan Drago — except then Cap gets totally wrecked.
Suddenly a light across the sky — it’s Captain Marvel! She swoops in from wherever she’s been for the last two hours, and she starts wrecking Thanos. Exciting stuff, until Thanos wrecks her, too.
Not looking good. Cheadle’s got nothin. Even Black Panther with his fancy suit can’t do much. He gets about four lines. This movie is bigtime missing Michael B. Jordan.
Thanos somehow gets the Infinity Stones. Everyone is like Oh shit we failed again. Thanos is about to destroy the whole world this time when Iron Man suddenly catches Cumberbatch’s eye. Cumberbatch raises an index finger. Iron Man nods, then runs to Thanos, grips his metal glove, and gets wrecked. Thanos says villainy things, then, as the music crescendoes, he snaps.
But wait! Nothing happens!
We cut to Iron Man, who now has all six stones on his iron hand, opening the door for a quippy remark. I have no clue how they got there. If it was that simple, why he didn’t he just do that earlier? Iron Man snaps, and Thanos’ orcs turn to dust. Then Thanos withers away, and all the consequences of the last movie are officially erased, making its existence totally pointless.
Well, except, of course, for the fact that hundreds of millions of people think this stuff’s totally awesome, and every time Disney makes one of these movies, they make billions of dollars.
Like at the point of this writing, on May 20, 2019, this movie has made over $2.6 billion, second only to Avatar, which it will likely soon pass to become the highest grossing film of all time. So let’s say the average the ticket price is $13 — which is quite generous, really. That means 200 million tickets have been bought. This movie is 180 minutes long. So, that means between its April 22nd, 2019 release date and today, 36 billion minutes have been spent watching this movie. In numerical form, thats 36,000,000,000. That means 600 million hours of human lives have been spent watching this movie in less than a month of the year 2019. To put it in individual context, there are 8,760 hours in one year. For one human to experience 600 million hours, they would have to live for 68,493 years. If we unite all 22 of the MCU films into this equation, the number of hours humans have spent watching these movies over the last decade would be so frightening that even Thanos might implode.
Anyways, after the battle, Iron Man dies. They give him a long funeral. All the Avengers are there, and so is Jon Favreau. William Hurt makes an appearance. Last but not least is Samuel L. Jackson, who walks onto a porch and looks out over everyone, wearing an eyepatch. Storylines are wrapped up. Favreau talks to a child on a bench. Thor joins Pratt on a ship, indicating he’ll be in the next Guardians of the Galaxy to quip with Pratt for alpha bro dominance.
Cap gets the final word. He travels back in the time machine to return the Infinity Stones to rebalance things or something, and then he comes back very old. He says he got to live the life he always wanted, and we cut back to him slow dancing with the woman whose picture he looked at in the pocket watch to indicate he missed her. Then the movie finally ends, and I get the hell out of there as fast as I can.
This was my experience watching the movie that very likely will soon have made more money than any movie in the history of all movies. Thank you for listening, and Cap save us all.