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Recap / Avengers: Endgame

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It should go without saying, but this page, and the folders below, contain UNMARKED SPOILERS for the movie. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

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    The Decimation, a Rescue, and Vengeance 
It's a lazy, ordinary weekend for Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye. Even though he is forced to wear an ankle monitor, house arrest isn't so bad: his wife Laura, and his children Lila, Cooper, and Nathaniel are with him. Lila had even developed an interest in archery, and is showing that she has inherited some of her father's skills with a bow and arrow.

After Lila lands a bullseye, Clint goes to retrieve the arrow...

...but when he turns around, she is nowhere to be found...

...and Laura, Cooper, and little Nate are gone, as well.

More victims of the mad tyrant Thanos, who succeeded in gathering the Infinity Stones and using their immense power to wipe out half of all life on Earth, and throughout the entire universe.

Three weeks pass. Tony Stark, the Iron Man, finds himself lost in space with Nebula, a surly cyborg and one of the only two remaining Guardians of the Galaxy, as his only company. Their future is looking increasingly dim as the spaceship they are on drifts, having no power. With rations gone and oxygen near depletion, Tony uses his helmet to record what he believes to be a final message to his fiancée, Pepper Potts.

As he is prepared to drift off into the hereafter, however, he sees a golden glow approaching the ship, at the center of which is an angel with flaxen hair: Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel.

With Carol's help, Tony and Nebula return to Earth and are reunited with the remaining Avengers. Pepper is also waiting for him, having been spared from Thanos's "snap". Unfortunately, after all he had been through, Tony is in no shape, physically or mentally, to be of any help: after having lost so completely to Thanos, and watching those he cared for die around him, he has no fight left in him.

The other Avengers, however, are not ready to give up hope. Captain Steve Rogers, Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff, James "War Machine" Rhodes, Thor, Rocket Raccoon, Bruce Banner, and Carol: they all want nothing more than to undo the damage Thanos caused. Thankfully, they have a clue to his whereabouts: a distant planet that Nebula states Thanos wanted to retire to after seeing his plans through. With a repaired spaceship, the Avengers take off into space...

They find Thanos in a shack, his arm grievously injured from the "snap". The Avengers restrain him and demand the location of the Infinity Stones, only for Thanos to state that they were gone: he had turned the power of the Stones onto themselves to destroy them, so that neither he nor anyone else can use them. The heroes cannot bring themselves to believe him, but Nebula realizes that her father is telling the truth. They have failed. Thanos is touched that Nebula, whom he brutalized for years, would vouch for him, but father and daughter never get the chance to properly reconcile.

"I am inevitable..." Thanos taunts before Thor, fueled by grief and frustration, takes his advice from their past encounter and aims for Thanos' head, lopping it off his shoulders with Stormbreaker and killing him.

Thanos is dead...but the damage is done, and cannot be undone...

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    Five Years Later 
Five years pass...

Humanity has adapted to life after the "snap". Natasha collaborates with Rhodes, Rocket, Nebula, Carol, and the Wakandan general Okoye to help maintain a semblance of order on Earth and beyond while Steve heads a support group for those who had lost loved ones to Thanos. Even though Steve espouses the virtue of moving on, the fact remains that for some, chiefly himself and Natasha, there is no moving on...

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a rat scurrying around an impound lot for food happens across a van that once belonged to a security consultant company called X-CON, containing a Quantum Tunnel developed by the scientist Hank Pym. The rat accidentally activates the tunnel, and in so doing, saves the Ant Man, Scott Lang, from being trapped in the Quantum Realm, his miniaturizing suit damaged, but his body hale and whole.

The world Scott had emerged in is quite unlike the one he left when he became trapped in the Quantum Realm. He eventually learns of how half of humanity vanished overnight, including Dr. Pym, his partner Hope "The Wasp" van Dyne, and his friends. The only loved one who survived was his daughter Cassie...who aged five years while he was gone...

Scott makes his way to the Avengers compound, with a radical idea: even though five years had past since he became trapped in the Quantum Realm, only five hours had passed for him. Time in the Quantum Realm flows differently than in the physical realm. Thus, it stands to reason that the Quantum Realm could be used to travel through time! If they could build a device that would allow them to go back in time, there is a chance they can undo Thanos's damage and bring back everyone that was lost to his scheme.

Such a plan would require a genius mind to see through. Steve knows of one: Tony, who had married Pepper and had a daughter, Morgan, since last they met. Steve, Natasha, and Scott visit Tony to propose their idea, but Tony refuses. He had made a comfortable life for himself, having accepted what happened, and didn't wish to lose what he now had.

There is another genius who could help that Steve and Scott reach out to: Dr. Bruce Banner. Since they last met, though, he underwent an amazing transformation: he accepted the Hulk as a part of who he was, and now existed as someone with Hulk's strength and Bruce's sound mind, a gentle green giant. Bruce agrees to help try to build the time machine...

In the end, however, Tony relents: finding an old picture of himself and the dear friend he lost to Thanos, a kid from Queens named Peter Parker, gives him the impetus he needs to look into whether a time machine could be built. To his own astonishment, he manages to make a breakthrough in the design of the time machine. With encouragement from Pepper, Tony goes to the Avengers compound, and at long last buries the hatchet with Steve Rogers. He offers his aid in what Scott has dubbed the "Time Heist" under one condition: whatever they do, whatever changes they make to space and time, it cannot endanger his family.

As the greatest scientific minds still alive on Earth work on the time machine, the Avengers reach out to others for aid. Natasha travels to Tokyo and finds Clint, now living as a vigilante hunting down the world's surviving criminal population. The death of his family had driven him down a dark path, but the prospect of seeing them again, no matter how remote, sees him return to the fold. At the same time, Hulk and Rocket go to a Norwegian town, "New Asgard", and reunite with Thor, who had become a drunken recluse whiling time away with friends he made on Sakaar. The mention of Thanos's name turns the drunk-yet-jolly god of thunder into a somber and emotional wreck, as he felt personally responsible for what happened after failing to land the killing blow on Thanos when he had the chance. Rocket manages to coax him to return with the prospect of more beer, however...

With the time machine complete and ready, it is time to formulate a plan of action: the Avengers will travel back in time to three different points in history to collect the Infinity Stones. Steve, Tony, Scott, and Bruce would go to New York in the year 2012, when the Space, Mind, and Time Stones can be found in the Tesseract, Loki's scepter, and the Sanctum Santorum, respectively. Thor and Rocket would travel to Asgard in the year 2013, when the Reality Stone materialized as an entity called "the Aether" in the body of Thor's then-lover Jane Foster. Finally, Nebula, Rhodes, Natasha, and Clint would go into the year 2014 to retrieve the Power and Soul Stones from the planets of Morag and Vormir.

They would only have a limited number of time jumps available to them with how few Pym particles were available to them, and the consequences of messing with time too much could be grave. There is only one shot. They must make it count.

With nothing else to lose, the Avengers leap headlong into the breach...

    The Time Heist 
Steve's party arrives in the year 2012, when Manhattan was under siege by Loki and his army of Chitauri. Bruce immediately makes his way to the Sanctom Santorum and meets the Ancient One, the Sorceress Supreme before Dr. Stephen Strange. Bruce asks for the Time Stone, but the Ancient One rebukes him, explaining how the Time Stone was instrumental to Earth's protection against invasions from other dimensions and how displacing the Time Stone could have grave consequences in the future. Bruce, however, mentions that Strange had already given the Stone to Thanos in the future. The Ancient One is shocked: she knew Strange was destined for greatness...so if he gave the Time Stone to Thanos, it must've been for a very good reason. Realizing this, the Ancient One entrusts the Time Stone to Bruce as he promises to return the Infinity Stones to their proper places in time after he and his friends finish their task.

At the same time, Steve, Tony, and Scott infiltrate the Avengers Tower to retrieve Loki's scepter and the Tesseract. Steve goes to retrieve the scepter from the HYDRA agents disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. personnel. The HYDRA agents have their suspicions about Steve, but he manages to put them to rest by whispering to them: "Hail HYDRA." As Steve leaves, however, he encounters his younger self, who mistakes him for Loki in disguise. Steve manages to distract his younger self by mentioning Bucky is alive and subdue him with Loki's scepter.

Meanwhile, Scott and Tony follow Loki and the Avengers to get the Tesseract. Scott shrinks himself, disables younger Tony’s arc reactor as a distraction, steals the Tesseract and gives it to the older Tony. Just as they think they succeeded, Tony gets knocked over by the past Hulk and drops the Tesseract. Loki sees a chance, grabs the Tesseract and immediately teleports away.

Loki's escape with the Tesseract throws everything into jeopardy, but Steve and Tony have one last idea: travel further back in time and retrieve the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s base of operations in 1970, along with more Pym particles for the return trip. Steve distracts a younger Dr. Pym to steal some of his particles, and from a distance, spots S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Peggy Carter, whom he loved and lost nearly eighty years ago. Meanwhile, Tony encounters the last person he expected to see while taking the Tesseract: Howard Stark, his father. Tony has a conversation with his unawares father about family before he and Steve return with their quarries.

Elsewhere and elsewhen, Thor and Rocket arrive in Asgard. Rocket goes to retrieve the Reality Stone from Jane Foster. Thor realizes this is where and when his mother, Frigga, died. Guided by his desire to save her, he goes to find her, only to be found by her. Frigga realizes this Thor is not the same Thor she knows, but is nonetheless proud of the man her son becomes, and assures him that even though he failed to stop Thanos before, the measure of a man, a hero, was their ability to keep trying to make things right. Inspired by her, Thor's resolve is renewed. Before he and Rocket return to the present, however, he takes one souvenir: his warhammer, Mjolnir, before it was destroyed by Hela.

Meanwhile, Nebula's group arrives in the year 2014. The team splits up, with Natasha and Clint heading for Vormir while Rhodes and Nebula travel to Morag, where the interstellar adventurer Peter "Star-Lord" Quill would find the Power Stone.

On Morag, Rhodes and Nebula find Quill as he made his way to the temple. After cold-cocking and knocking out Quill, the two have no trouble retrieving the Power Stone. Rhodes takes to the stone back with him to the present, but Nebula begins to seize up: her neural implants inadvertedly form an uplink with her past self as she and her sister Gamora meet with Thanos in the past to discuss finding the Stones. The past Nebula begins to replay memories of her future self, of the Avengers' plan after killing Thanos. Thanos takes this as a sign that he was destined to succeed, and tasks Nebula with capturing her future self and going forward in time in her stead: the Avengers would have all of the Stones gathered in one place, making his plans to achieve "balance" in the universe that much easier. The future Nebula, however, tells Gamora of her future fate and manages to convince her to help...

On Vormir, Clint and Natasha find the keeper of the Soul Stone, the man once known as the "Red Skull", displaced across the cosmos by the Space Stone and now serving as the Soul Stone's eternal guardian. At the top of a mountain, the Red Skull explains that there is a price to pay for the Soul Stone: one must be willing to sacrifice that which they love most. For Clint and Natasha, this would mean each other. Clint, who already lost everything, is ready to throw himself off to let Natasha take the Stone. Natasha, however, refuses to let her friend define himself by his worst choices and insists he claim it. A duel breaks out as each tries to sacrifice themselves first and spare the other. At its conclusion, Natasha stops Clint and throws herself to her own doom...

In a flash of light, Clint finds the Soul Stone in his hand...the price for it had been paid with Natasha's soul...

    The Battle of Earth 
The Avengers all return to the present, except for Natasha. Her death shakes the heroes to their core...but they press on, determined to bring meaning to her sacrifice by bringing back everyone Thanos took from them.

Tony constructs his own Infinity Gauntlet to channel the Stones' power, in the hopes that they can "snap" back everyone who died. Thor desperately wants to be the one to do the honors, to make amends for his past failings. The task, however, ultimately falls to Bruce: Thor was not in a right state of mind, and Bruce's Hulk body was better able to withstand the Stones' power. With the Gauntlet on, Hulk's right arm is horrifically burned...

...but he manages to muster strength enough to snap his fingers.

There is a flash of light, and the Gauntlet falls to the floor, damaged. Hulk's arm is badly injured, but otherwise he is fine.

...but most important of all, they succeeded. Clint's phone buzzes as Laura calls him, and Scott looks out to see the restored world...

When suddenly, there is a thunderous explosion that levels the Avengers compound!

The past Nebula had used the time machine to pull Thanos's entire army to Earth, and his flagship, Sanctuary II, bombarded the compound.

In the rubble below, Rocket, Rhodes, Bruce, and Scott are nearly buried alive. As they struggle to get back to the surface, the past Nebula leads her father's forces on Clint, who has the Infinity Gauntlet in hand. An escaped present-day Nebula, 2014 Gamora by her side, guns down the woman she used to be. Meanwhile, Steve, Tony, and Thor go to engage Thanos, who came to realize his plan was flawed: even if he succeeded, there would be those who would attempt to undo his balance. The only solution was to break the entire universe down and remake it from scratch in Thanos's image: a perfectly balanced universe, where no one would be any wiser to the sacrifices needed to make it.

Steve, Tony, and Thor fight like hell, giving everything they have to kill Thanos and keep him from getting the Stones. The three of them, however, are not enough: even as Steve proves worthy enough to wield Mjolnir, Thanos is able to match them blow for blow. He incapacitates Thor and Tony, and his assaults shatter Steve's shield. Then portals open behind him, and Thanos' entire army pours forth. Steve drags himself to his feet, straps the remnants of his shield to his arm, and prepares to go down fighting.

Just as it seems victory is beyond reach, however, Steve gets a message from a long-lost ally: Sam "Falcon" Wilson.

A portal opens on Steve's left, through which steps King T'Challa of Wakanda, the Black Panther...

...and he's not alone.

More portals open, bringing with them allies from across all of the universe!

Doctor Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme!
Sam Wilson, the Falcon!
Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier!
Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch!
Hope van Dyne, the Wasp!
Peter "Star-Lord" Quill, Drax, Groot, and Mantis: the Guardians of the Galaxy!
Pepper Potts in her own Iron Man suit, "Rescue"!
Valkyrie leading the combined forces of Asgard and the Ravagers!
Princess Shuri, General Okoye, and the united tribes of Wakanda!
Wong with every Master of the Mystic Arts!
Peter Parker, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man!

The stage is set for the battle that will determine the fate of the universe, as Steve gives the marching orders to his friends:

"Avengers...assemble!"

Scott and Hope make their way to the Quantum Tunnel to send the Stones back into the past as the heroes fend off Thanos and his army while keeping the Stones out of his reach. Thanos tries to wipe out the heroes with bombardment from his flagship, only for it to be destroyed by the timely arrival of Captain Marvel. The Quantum Tunnel is destroyed in the fighting, and Thanos manages to take back the Gauntlet, echoing his future counterpart:

"I...am...inevitable!"

With that, he snaps his fingers...

...but nothing happens.

Thanos watches in horror as Tony reveals that the Stones are in his possession. He takes them in his Iron Man suit's gauntlet before making his retort:

"...and I...am Iron Man!"

And with that, he snaps his fingers!

There is a flash of light, after which Thanos is gobsmacked as his forces begin to disintegrate and vanish like ashes in the wind. The realization that dawns on him is crushing: his army have been routed, his plans and schemes have been completely and irrevocably undone, and the balanced universe he always envisioned will never come to be.

He sits, and takes in the sheer magnitude of his failure before he, too, becomes naught but dust.

The war is over. The heroes have won...but at great cost: the power of the Infinity Stones have ravaged Tony's body. Pepper kneels beside him and assures him that he had finally earned his rest...

Thus, Anthony Edward Stark, the Iron Man, Avenger, innovator, genius, husband, father, and hero passes away, surrounded by everyone whose life was touched by him...

    The End 
The world has been made whole once more. Friends and family are reunited, and everything returns to a semblance of normalcy...and yet, the universe will never be the same: most importantly, for Tony Stark's absence. A funeral service is held for him at the cabin where he lived with Pepper and his daughter Morgan, with a small wreath of flowers floating out into a lake bearing an old arc reactor engraved with the words: Proof that Tony Stark has a heart.

Thor appoints Valkyrie the new queen of Asgard before leaving with the Guardians of the Galaxy, who have made it their mission to figure out what has become of the 2014 Gamora. She did not vanish with the rest of her father's army but nonetheless hasn't been seen since the battle; her friends are hopeful that she is somewhere in the universe. Bruce confides in the others that despite a conscious effort to bring Natasha home as well when he used the Gauntlet, it seems her sacrifice is irreversible. Wanda comforts him, assured that wherever their fallen friends are, they know that what they did was meaningful.

Meanwhile, Steve takes it upon himself to go back in time to return the Infinity Stones, along with Mjölnir, back to their proper places in time. He vanishes into the past...

...but doesn't return!

...at least, not how he planned with Bruce, Bucky, and Sam.

Moments later, the three find Steve sitting on a nearby bench, significantly aged. Steve explains that after finishing his task, he decided to try and live out a normal life. As Sam ponders how the world will go on without Captain America, Steve assures him that it won't, giving a gift to Sam: his shield. The honor, and the responsibility that comes with it, are immense...but Sam accepts Steve's call, becoming the new Captain America...

Steve won't go into specifics about what exactly he did after finishing his final mission, but he finally managed to fulfill a promise to the love of his life, Peggy Carter, and share a dance with her after the end of World War II. He would go on to marry Peggy and, in the end, live happily ever after...

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