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Nightmare Fuel / Avengers: Endgame

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"It's definitely Barton. What he's done here, what he's been doing, for the last few years — if you'd seen what he's left — I gotta tell you, there's a part of me that doesn't even want to find him."
James Rhodes, explaining to Natasha Romanoff his fears about finding the now vigilante Clint Barton.

Serving as the Grand Finale of the original Myth Arc of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's perhaps fitting that
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Endgame has a far greater dose of horrors than previous films in the franchise. Retaining the copious heaps of Fridge Horror from its predecessor as well as even darker material of its own, as well as genuinely terrifying scenes that easily could have bumped the film up to an R rating, the end of the Infinity Saga will keep you awake at night (at least when you aren't crying your eyes out).
  • The beginning of the film takes place during the Decimation in Clint's POV. He's just spending an ordinary day with his wife and children when they suddenly disappear without explanation while he isn't looking. Adult Fear can't describe how he must've felt during that moment. What really hits it home is that we see wisps of dust billowing away, but it's such a minuscule amount that it's only because we know what happened in the previous film that we recognize it. To those without that knowledge, like Clint, it's a literal Blink-and-You-Miss-It; his family disappeared without a trace.
    • And that's before they even show the film's logos.
  • Five years later, Clint becomes Ronin and turns to vigilantism, going on a one-man crusade ruthlessly murdering the criminal element that remained after the Snap in an attempt to cope with the deaths of his family, clearly bitter that they died while evil thrived.
    Akihiko: [in Japanese] Why are you doing this!?
    Ronin: [in Japanese] You survived; half the world didn't. They got Thanos; you get me.
    • When Natasha and Rhodey are monitoring Clint's movements, Rhodey expresses horror over what Clint has done, even admitting to Natasha that a part of him doesn't want to find him, presumably because he'd have to bring him in.
  • The film also shows what places like NYC and San Francisco look like after the Decimation: Completely lifeless. The weather is murky and dark, showing how low the atmosphere has fallen with only half of life on Earth. Keep in mind that Thanos wanted to erase half of life in the universe to have resources last and reduce the risk of the Overpopulation Crisis that befell his home planet Titan. And this is the end result: Earth didn't thrive; it is utterly silenced and rotting.
  • The confrontation with Thanos in the Garden features a few examples of Nightmare Fuel.
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    • Thanos is shown to have most of the left half of his body singed, greatly resembling Two-Face in The Dark Knight. When the Avengers find no Stones in his Gauntlet, he explains that he used them to destroy each other, deeming them an unnecessary temptation upon his reaching his goal. The immediate realization is that the Decimation cannot be undone and the Avengers, this time, have failed permanently.
    • Thor actually does decapitate Thanos with Stormbreaker upon this realization. His arm was only severed to take the Gauntlet off of him; this time, Thor is in a sufficient rage to truly "[go] for the head". What's worse is the buildup: Firstly, Thanos congratulates Nebula on noticing his honesty and even regrets his abusive treatment of her. Then, all of a sudden, the familiar sound of Stormbreaker activating, with its blade glowing blue and Thor's cry of rage, are all signs that warn viewers of Thanos' quick end.
      Thor: ...I went for the head.
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    • Past Thanos viewing the same scene in Nebula's memories actually shows the cut where Thanos' head was for a split second, though its being seen through a hologram partially censors it.
    • Thanos himself doesn't even flinch at what is basically his own recorded death, making you wonder what deep shades of hell made him so cynical that he isn't disturbed by such.
    • Before the Avengers actually manage to find Thanos at the Garden, they spend the entire time looking for him via any means possible. Steve even presses Tony for any clues Thanos may have given him during their fight. If you think about it from the remaining Avengers' perspective (with the exception of Tony's because he absolutely wants nothing to do with Thanos anymore after nearly getting killed), the mere thought of a near-omnipotent madman just roaming around doing God-knows-what somewhere in the universe is frightening enough that they are willing to instantly jump at any info about Thanos' whereabouts. Even worse is the possibility of Thanos coming back to Earth with his entire army brought back using the Infinity Gauntlet and deciding to finish the job. Even with Captain Marvel on their side, the Avengers know that they lack too much manpower to mount a proper defense so they decide to ambush Thanos. This conversation between Natasha and Steve sums up the desperation everyone feels as they go to what they felt was a Suicide Mission:
      Natasha: [Ambushing Thanos] is going to work, Steve.
      Steve: I know it will... because I don't know what I will do if it doesn't.
  • Think about Scott Lang for a moment. He gets pulled out of the Quantum Realm by a rat randomly hitting the button needed to pull him back. From his perception, he was gone for only five hours. When he gets back, he learns that five years have passed...and the world has lost half its population, including the Pyms and the Wombats. Scott Lang finds himself in a Bad Future that few can dream of. The fact that he didn't fall into a Heroic BSoD from sheer horror is phenomenal.
    • He finds a memorial to "The Vanished" and frantically searches it while uttering a Rapid-Fire "No!", hoping not to see Cassie's name. Her name isn't there, but another one is: His own. His little girl thinks her father, her hero, has been dead for five years... and Scott has missed five years of his beloved daughter's life.
    • Cassie and Scott are both visibly shaken when they see each other again. It takes him a while to realize this strange teenage girl is Cassie, and she's doubting her eyes as she tries to fathom how her father's return is even possible. Look at her body language; you get the sense she's expecting this to be some cruel trick. It's basically a fulfillment of Hope's Adult Fear moment in Ant-Man and the Wasp; after all this time, would a parent and child even recognize each other?
  • Everything about Nebula's terrible experience in the past. While everyone else (but Clint and Nat) get adventures in the past that are either lighthearted, fun, or heartwarming in some way or another, Nebula's takes a deep turn into misery when Thanos finds out what the Avengers are up to. It says a lot that Nebula, usually unflappable and emotionless, reacts with unbridled terror upon realizing that he's cottoning on. We once again see how he treats his so-called children: He tortures Past Nebula in order to figure out what appears to be nothing but a simple glitch. And her own past self, desperate for her father's recognition, brutalizes and nearly kills her in turn...and can't even break free even when it's clear on some level she wants to. As Nebula isn't one of the primary Avengers, the whole sequence comes with the very real fear that she's about to be killed at any moment, especially when Thanos decides to do what was very nearly a Kill and Replace to sabotage the Avengers' efforts.
    • The bookends of the segment really sell it. Nebula begins it by desperately trying to warn everyone that Thanos is aware of what's going on, but fails. It ends with her captured and her psychopathic past self heading to the future in her stead with her unable to do anything but beg Past Gamora to stop it from happening.
  • Think about the Battle of New York in the new timeline, from the point of view of the original Avengers of that period. The battle is won, Loki is in custody, and the Tesseract and the Scepter are being taken away. Then, suddenly, Tony has a heart attack and, in the confusion, Loki grabs the Tesseract and teleports away while, as far as they can tell, someone who may be Loki or an unknown third party impersonates Captain America and tricks S.H.I.E.L.D. into giving him the Scepter. Also keep in mind Loki's objective was to get the Tesseract to Thanos and he's probably going to go deliver it now, and the HYDRA agents inside S.H.I.E.L.D. briefly think Steve Rogers has joined them (though in after-action reports, they'll probably deduce it was Loki). Whatever is going to happen in the future of this timeline, it can't be good.
    • The heart attack becomes worse when you remember that Tony already had a near-death experience just about an hour ago. The others might be worried if it's a side effect of whatever happened to him in space.
    • The time for Scott and Tony between when Loki teleports and Tony figures out another time to take the Tesseract must have been a nightmare. Everything up to this moment said everyone had one shot at this and they missed. Even worse, Tony — the one who took the responsibility of protecting the Earth from Thanos the most personally — has now failed in what is most likely their last chance. It’s a worst case scenario made real.
  • Remember wincing at seeing Gamora's corpse at the bottom of Vormir after Thanos sacrifices her for the Soul Stone during Infinity War? Now you get to see that all over again...but with longtime Avenger Natasha/Black Widow instead. That also comes with the bonus of the blood spatter on the rocks around Natasha's head not being Alien Blood as it was with Gamora. All of this after seeing Natasha and Clint effectively having a skirmish of who would sacrifice themselves first so the other could leave with the stone.
    • Natasha's death also serves as a explicit confirmation about what is easily the most harrowing things about the Soul Stone: a sacrifice for the stone is a permanent exchange. Anyone whose soul is given up for the stone cannot be brought back, even with all of the Infinity Stones in tow. Banner intones with regret near the end of the film that when he used the stones to revive everyone Thanos erased, he tried bringing Natasha back as well, but to no avail. By the same token, the Gamora that now exists in the current timeline is a different Gamora from the past that does not know any of the Guardians. The Gamora that previously existed in this timeline and was sacrificed by Thanos for the Soul Stone is still extinct, and it's only through Past Thanos taking Past Gamora with him into the present that any Gamora exists in this timeline at all.
  • The full extent of the damage that the Infinity Gauntlet exerts on its wearer is shown. The initial surge of radiation upon the Stones ingratiating with the wielder causes Hulk to double over in pain. He survives activating due to the radiation already in his body, though it costs him the use of his hand. Tony's use of it, while being a normal human, is what causes his death: After donning it, he only has enough strength to speak his Pre-Mortem One-Liner, while after activating it, he dies where he stands, with his final word being a barely-audible "Pepper".
    • As Tony wields the Stones, you can actually see the energies tearing through his armor. After his snap, his body is so badly damaged, his ear has burned off. And Tony, one of the most notorious Motor Mouths in movie history, can't even speak to Rhodey or Peter when the two discover his damaged state.
    • The Mood Whiplash after the successful snap back, Clint getting a call from his wife, Scott admiring some birds seemingly returned in one of the compound's gardens...and then a wounded Bruce looks up and sees the shadow of the ''Sanctuary II'' opening fire...
  • In the immediate aftermath of Thanos' bombardment of the compound, the explosion has trapped Banner (who's effectively down an arm due to using the Gauntlet), Rhodey (who is paraplegic and now stripped of his mechanical leg braces), and Rocket (who, despite his enhancements, is still a raccoon and physically pretty weak) under tons of rubble as water from the river pours in. For anyone suffering from claustrophobia and/or hydrophobia, it's a terrifying sequence. Rocket, in particular, is freaking out. He eventually reaches the point where he just stops talking and starts to cry out, sounding like a terrified animal or kid, made even worse by the fact Rocket almost never shows fear like this.
    Rocket: [crushed under debris and straining to speak] I can't breathe, I can't breathe!
  • Immediately after this, Clint has been knocked somewhere into the ruined bowels of the Avengers' base along with the Infinity Gauntlet. He seems fine, picks up the Gauntlet, and prepares to find a way out. Then he fires a light arrow at the darkness behind him, revealing a screaming pack of Thanos' Outriders charging him, out for blood. The cramped setting, red lighting, and snarling monsters evokes images of Aliens.
  • Spider-Man going all-out and activating Instant Kill Mode turns him into an eight-legged whirlwind of death, stabbing Outriders to death with his mechanical arms almost faster than the eye can see, complete with Glowing Eyes of Doom. One shudders to think what such a function could be used for if not facing an enemy as monstrous as Thanos and his armies...
  • Doctor Strange being Creepy Good in the Marvel Universe has always been constant, but his role in Tony's death makes him a good bit scary. The shot of Tony staring at Strange just before he marches at Thanos to switch the Infinity Stones, especially the ominous image of him raising that finger, signaling to Tony about what he should do and the fact that he had seen this come to pass, makes him look like the Angel of Death stringing Tony along to his final fate.
    • Made even worse by his completely blank face at Tony's funeral. His 1/14,000,000+ odds of defeating Thanos depended on manipulating two good people into making Heroic Suicides, the latter of which played out right in front of him. This is almost definitely a reflection of the guilt that entails, but it doesn't make his stoicism look any more comforting.
    • And remember his minor Heroic BSoD in his own film? "It's not Mister Strange, it's not Master Strange; it's Doctor Strange! I swore an oath to do no harm and I've just killed a man! I'm not doing that again." Strange may not have killed Tony or Natasha, but he arranged a situation where their fates were the only option.
  • Thanos's ever-so-casual admission that, due to the Avengers refusing to accept the loss of half of all life in the universe, he has decided to do the facile act of destroying all of the universe and making it anew just so, that way, there will be no one left to remember the old one, and the new universe will believe that The Extremist Was Right all along. It goes to show that Thanos may bill himself as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but in reality, he simply cannot accept that his methods are completely twisted and wrong and just doesn't really want to save the universe as much as he seeks admiration from, and control over, all life.
    Thanos: You could not live with your own failure. What did that bring you? Back to me. I thought by eliminating half of life, the other half would thrive. But you've shown me; that's impossible. And as long as there are those who remember what was, there will always be those that are unable to accept what can be. They will resist.
    Iron Man: Yep, we're all kinds of stubborn.
    Thanos: I'm thankful. Because now, I know what I must do. I will... shred this universe down to its last atom. And then, with the stones you collected for me, create a new one. Teeming with life, but knows not what it has lost but only what it is been given. A grateful universe.
    Captain America: Born out of blood.
    Thanos: They'll never know it. Because you won't be alive to tell them.
    • He even also admits that he has grown to despise Earth simply because of the Avengers' efforts to stop him, going into Brutal Honesty mode and saying that he will take great pleasure in annihilating the planet. This is the true Mad Titan, folks. This is the beast hiding behind a well-meaning mask. He may not be lusting after Death herself like he does in the comics, but he's still pretty damn close to that point.
      Thanos: In all my years of conquest, violence, slaughter, it was never personal. But I'll tell you now, what I'm about to do to your stubborn, annoying little planet... I'm gonna enjoy it. Very, very much.
  • Something that's not often talked about is how Thanos switches to Berserker Rage when beating the Avengers. We're so used to seeing Thanos being Affably Evil that it's jarring to see him just wailing on Steve, managing to hack his iconic shield to pieces with his sword and previously throwing Tony in front of Mjolnir like a rag doll. If it wasn't for Doctor Strange and his sorcerer allies bringing in the cavalry, the Avengers would have been done for. It then happens again when he's up against Carol Danvers, where he manages to hold his own against her.
    • Keep this in mind, Carol's power comes from the Space Stone which is one of the most powerful stones and it's how she's able to withstand a headbutt from the Mad Titan. Thanos manages to grab the Power Stone, which burns itself into his hand, and smack her halfway across the battlefield with one punch.
      • Carol's Death Glare when Thanos headbutts her is absolutely terrifying. It basically says, "You are going to die, and I'm going to enjoy it."
    • Thanos gets to push Stormbreaker into Thor's chest this time, where you can actually see the blade pierce into his flesh slowly. The Mad Titan wears a Slasher Smile during the act.
    • Really, Thanos in combat during the entire climax, period. Just because he doesn't have the Stones doesn't mean he's not dangerous.
  • Remember how nasty the hallucinations were that Wanda inflicted on the Avengers in Age of Ultron? Thanos may have been lucky that she was in such a white-hot fury when she went up against him, because if she'd taken her time, she could've probably dug up something really nasty to conjure up in his head....

I used the Wiki Magic to destroy the Word Cruft...it nearly Zapped the page, but your life is ruined. It always will be.
I am... ineditable.

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