– By Tyler Carlos –
NOTE: MAJOR SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME and the SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME TRAILER
Well, after 11 years and 22 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally wrapping up its “Infinity Saga,” and believe me, it went out on a major high note. Avengers: Endgame is undeniably one of the greatest cinematic experiences of the 21st Century and, personally, is the most fun I have ever had in a movie theater. It is truly a perfect culmination of all that Marvel has been building toward for 11 years – and a financially successful one at that. In only its first weekend, the film earned $1.2 billion at the global box office, breaking several records and solidifying Endgame’s place in cinematic history. In its second weekend, it broke the $2 billion mark and beat out Titanic to become the second-highest grossing film of all time. All that stands in the way of Endgame claiming the top spot is James Cameron’s Avatar and roughly $600 million worldwide.
In such a large film, there are simply too many favorite moments, surprises, or outcomes to choose from. The film is non-stop fun and full of heart-stopping moments that had my theater laughing, crying, and applauding from start to finish. But for the sake of this article, I’ll accept the challenge to try to narrow it down. So, before I jump into where the MCU goes from here, and based on my own personal opinions and the reactions of my original audience, here are the top 5 moments, surprises, or outcomes of Avengers: Endgame (listed in chronological order).
Top 5 Moments from Endgame
1. Fat Thor
While there has been a lot of debate about this first surprise, the fact remains that, when Fat Thor made his big screen debut in Endgame, there was basically a collective gasp and shocked laughter that spread throughout the entire theater. This was one moment I don’t think anyone in their right mind saw coming, but I gotta say, it fit really well into what the filmmakers were going for. After the events of Infinity War, each character had to grieve the heartbreaking loss in their own way. Apparently, because of Thor’s guilt at not “going for the head,” he spiraled into apathy and simply stopped caring. The character made for some great laughs throughout the film, thanks in part to Chris Hemsworth’s comedic chops, but based primarily on the fact this is a side of Thor that no one ever expected to see. I mean, he’s…Thor, the God of Thunder. Who ever expected to see Thor hit rock bottom like this? But as we come to find out, he’s still a worthy hero, and as Thor remains alive in the MCU, odds are that we’ll see the God of Thunder return to his glory days soon enough.
2. Black Widow’s Sacrifice
As the Avengers spread throughout time to retrieve the Infinity Stones, it seemed cruel but necessary that Black Widow and Hawkeye would be the ones sent to retrieve the Soul Stone, which requires sacrificing a soul in order to retrieve. Both characters were willing to take the plunge to retrieve the stone, and quickly began fighting each other in order to save the each other. Though the fight scene was quick, there was plenty of back and forth to a point that we just couldn’t know what would happen. There was a complete silence in the crowd during this scene, followed be collective heartbreak when Black Widow won the fight and fell to her death to get the Soul Stone. She was the first of the original Avengers to die, but she was willing to make the sacrifice to save both her best friend and humanity. And her sacrifice was not in vain.
3. Captain America Picks Up The Hammer
If anyone was ever worthy, it was Captain America. As the battle against Thanos began, there came a point when Steve Rogers, Captain America himself, proved himself worthy to pick up Thor’s original hammer, Mjolnir, to battle the titan. And let me tell you, the audience lost it. I lost it. This was a moment fans had been waiting for since Age of Ultron, and at last it was here. We’ve always known Cap was worthy, and fans were ready applaud and cheer when all those expectations finally paid off.
4. The Avengers Assembled
As the battle against Thanos continued, it seemed like our heroes would, in fact, be defeated again. That is, until a portal appeared behind Captain America. Then, slowly but surely, the characters we thought we had lost all returned. On that battlefield, heroes from across the universe banded together and assembled into an unstoppable force ready to defeat Thanos once and for all. It all culminated in one incredible camera shot that pans across the army, showing off all the characters that we love, ending with Captain America finally saying the words “Avengers Assemble” before the final assault began. Audiences around the world cheered at this moment, because this was the first, and possibly last, time in history that every living Marvel character joined together on screen. What a historical moment.
5. I…Am…Iron Man
As we know, a true hero will do whatever it takes to save the people he loves, including making the ultimate sacrifice. In order to end Thanos’ reign of terror, Tony Stark, our beloved Iron Man, used the Infinity Stones and saved the universe with one snap of his fingers. Unfortunately, the energy expelled from an Infinity Snap is so massive that only titans like Thanos or the Hulk would have a chance at surviving. So when Tony snapped his fingers, his body simply couldn’t handle the impact, and he died surrounded by the people he loved the most, knowing that his family would be okay. This was the end of an era, and it left more tears shed than any other moment in the film. But part of the journey is the end, and Tony Stark will continue to live in the hearts of both the characters and us fans.
Where Did Everyone End Up?
Now that the Infinity Saga is drawing to a close, every character is basically getting a new beginning as we move forward. As there are so many characters to cover, here is a list of where all the surviving characters ended up at the end of Avengers: Endgame:
- Steve Rogers / Captain America – After the events of Endgame, Steve travelled to the past to return the Infinity Stones to their correct time. Instead of returning to the present, however, he remained in his own time and finally had his dance with Peggy Carter. They eventually got married, and presumably after Peggy’s death, Steve traveled back to the original timeline. Now, Steve is a very old man and has passed on the mantle of Captain America to his friend, Sam Wilson / Falcon.
- Bruce Banner / Hulk – Now a combination of both Banner and Hulk known as Professor Hulk, Bruce is still around, though what’s next for the character is unclear.
- Thor – Having passed on the mantle of king to his friend Valkyrie, Thor is taking off with the Guardians of the Galaxy to find his own place in the universe, and hopefully lose a few pounds along the way.
- Clint Barton / Hawkeye – Now that his family has returned, he’ll probably try to retire from hero work; however, with a Hawkeye series planned on Disney+, odds are his retirement won’t last long.
- Pepper Potts – Now widowed, she is retiring from hero work to raise her daughter, Morgan Stark, with the assistance of Tony’s right-hand-man, Happy Hogan.
- Scott Lang / Ant-Man & Hope Van Dyne / The Wasp – Having reunited after Endgame, they’ll stick together and continue crime-fighting while Scott also raises his now teenage daughter.
- James Rhodes / War Machine – He’ll most likely be sticking around the Avengers HQ, though his future is unclear.
- Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel – She’ll be returning the stars to protect the planets in the universe that the Avengers can’t reach.
- The Guardians of the Galaxy (Peter Quill / Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, Mantis, Nebula, Groot) – Accompanied by Thor, they’ll be heading back into space to protect the galaxy and cause trouble along the way.
- Gamora – her status is currently unknown. While the “present-day Gamora” died in Infinity War so that Thanos could get the Soul Stone, a “past Gamora” came to the present with Thanos in Endgame. She turned on her father in the final battle and helped bring him down; however, we don’t know if she disappeared in Tony Stark’s Infinity Snap. Hopefully, we’ll eventually see her reunited with the Guardians.
- Peter Parker / Spider-Man – After the battle, Peter returns to school still heartbroken at the loss of his trusted mentor. We won’t have long to wait, however, as the next film in the MCU, and the final film of Phase 3, is Spider-Man: Far From Home, which comes out July 2.
- T’Challa / Black Panther, Shuri, & Okoye – T’Challa has returned to Wakanda, where he’ll continue to rule as king. Alongside him are his sister Shuri and his best general, Okoye.
- Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch – Still mourning the death of Vision, she’ll be continuing her work as a hero. How long she’ll be mourning, however, is a mystery, as a series with both Scarlet Witch AND Vision is planned for Disney+.
- Sam Wilson / Falcon – The new Captain America, he’ll continue as a hero while trying to live up to the massive responsibility of filling Steve Rogers’ shoes. He’ll be joining Bucky Barnes in a Disney+ series focused on the two heroes.
- Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier – Now that Steve is gone, Bucky will have to find his place in the world without his best friend. He’ll be joining Sam Wilson in a Disney+ series focused on the two heroes.
- Dr. Steven Strange – Still the Sorcerer Supreme, he’ll be returning to the Sanctum Sanctorum to protect Earth against magical and inter-dimensional dangers, with his loyal friend Wong by his side.
- Nick Fury & Maria Hill – as the leaders of SHIELD, they will return to protect the world and aid Earth’s heroes as best they can. They’ll be returning in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
So, Where Do We Go From Here?
One very important thing to note is that Endgame is NOT the final film in Marvel’s Phase 3, even though it has basically been billed as such. As mentioned above, Spider-Man: Far From Home comes out on July 2, and will be showing us the immediate effects of Endgame on the world. According to the directors and Kevin Feige, FFH will bring the Infinity Saga, and Phase 3, to an end. A trailer for FFH was released on May 6, and was riddled with clues as to what’s going on following the death of Tony Stark. As the world mourns the loss of its greatest hero, young Peter Parker continues his work as Spider-Man while grieving his mentor. Desperate to just be a kid for a while, he goes on a European trip with his classmates. But when Nick Fury shows up, it seems like Peter will have to choose between being a kid or filling Tony Stark’s shoes. On top of that, it seems like FFH will be introducing us to the Multiverse which, as those of you that saw Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse know, opens up infinite possibilities about who could be joining the MCU in the future. To see the full trailer, click here.
Beyond FFH, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe remains, for the most part, a mystery. We know there are several sequel films in the works, including a Dr. Strange sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a Black Panther sequel, a Captain Marvel sequel, and an Ant-Man and the Wasp sequel. After the events of Endgame, there’s even the possibility of another Thor film. Though not officially confirmed, it’s widely suspected that Chris Hemsworth has signed a new contract with Marvel to continue the character for a few more years.
On top of these, two films featuring new characters are in the works as well. A Shang-Chi film is currently in the works as we speak, and will be the first Asian-led Marvel film. In March 2019, it was announced that Destin Daniel Cretton would be directing the film. The second film in the works is an Eternals film, which will focus on a group of heroes known as the Eternals, who are celestial-like heroes. In fact, Thanos is partially related to the Eternals (he is an Eternal-Deviant hybrid, according to the comics). It’s been reported that Angelina Jolie is in talks to take the (possibly lead) role of the character Sersi, while Kumail Nanjiani may be joining the film as well.
In addition to these films, several heroes will be making their way over to Disney+ to star in their own series that will be based in the MCU. Those confirmed so far are Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and Hawkeye. There will also be a Loki series based around Thor’s mischievous brother, who was thought to have died in Infinity War, and will star the original actor Tom Hiddleston. While not confirmed, it’s rumored that this series will focus on what happened to Loki when he disappeared with the Tesseract in Endgame, therefore creating an alternate timeline. But we’ll have to wait and see where this will all fit in.
Speaking of fitting in, despite the events of Avengers: Endgame, there is one character that will finally be getting her own story on the big screen: Black Widow. Yep, you read that right, a Black Widow film is currently in development at Marvel, with Scarlett Johansson set to return. How is this possible, you might ask. Well, as I see it, there are two possibilities. 1) The film will be a prequel film and cover her journey from Russian assassin to American hero, perhaps by telling us the unknown of story of Budapest. Or, 2) After Steve Rogers returns to the Soul Stone to Vormir at the right point in time, it will make it as if Natasha never died. While neither of these is confirmed, this would be my best guess. But for all I know, it could be neither of these…or possibly a combination of both.
Lastly, there has been some speculation about other characters that could eventually join the MCU, but there are 2 hero teams in particular that I’d like to see make their way over eventually: The Fantastic Four and The X-Men. Yes, both of these teams have had their own films before. Heck, Chris Evans was once apart of the original Fantastic Four, and the X-Men films are still going on as we speak. However, there’s been a lot of discussion amongst fans about how these teams could eventually make their way into the MCU, and now that Disney has finalized its acquisition of 20th Century Fox (who owned both properties), it seems inevitable that these characters will join the MCU before long. Kevin Feige has even commented that after the X-Men: Dark Phoenix film comes out in June, all of the X-Men will be recast EXCEPT Deadpool. So, there’s lots to look forward to there.
A New Beginning
At the end of the day, let’s just face it, nothing like Avengers: Endgame will ever happen again. Even if Marvel goes on for another 11 years and makes another 22 movies, I can’t see it ever matching the buildup and anticipation that led up to its most stunning spectacle. These characters have been a staple of the current generation, but now that these original characters are (mostly) wrapped up, starting a new saga in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be like starting from scratch.
As the sun rises on a new day in the MCU, let us never forget the journey we took to get here. Just as Tony said in his parting message to his daughter, “Part of the journey is the end.” So thank you, Marvel. Thank you for the laughs and the tears. Thank you for the heart-racing and heart-stopping moments. I think I speak on behalf of all fans when I say…I love you 3000.
About the Author
Tyler Carlos is a proud nerd originally from Baton Rouge, LA. He completed his undergraduate in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University, and graduated from JPCatholic’s MBA in Film Producing in 2016. In his off time, he enjoys Crossfit, escape rooms, and watching Gotham and This Is Us. His ultimate goal in life is to learn how to fly.