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Tear Jerker / Avengers: Endgame

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"I know I said no more surprises, but I gotta say, I was really hoping to pull off one last one. But it looks like... well, you know what it looks like."
"If you find this recording, don't post it on social media; it's gonna be a real tearjerker."
Tony Stark, with a bit of an understatement.
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Avengers: Infinity War spared no expense in wringing as many tears out of its audience as it possibly could. Endgame doesn't skimp on the tearjerkers, either; in fact, for all of its triumphs, it's much more tragic than its predecessor, as it is the End of an Age within the MCU after 11 years.


Trailers:

  • Tony has been drifting in space alone (with Nebula, as the film reveals), as he indicates in a message he records for Pepper. His food and water have run out and he's also about to run out of oxygen, and he just sounds so hopeless.
    • Not only that; Tony sounds completely okay with dying. The loss of Peter and his failure to stop Thanos have taken away his will to even live, it seems.
    • And then there's how Tony signs off.
      Tony: When I drift off, I will dream about you... It's always you...
  • Natasha telling the other Avengers that Thanos accomplished his goal. She's a hardened assassin, and she sounds like she's about to break down... then the camera pans over to Steve, who already has tears running down his face.
  • Bruce, Thor, and Nebula standing in different parts of the Avengers' compound, motionless and distraught.
    • The look on Thor's face combines guilt, anger, and sadness all in one.
  • For that matter, what Bruce looks at that makes him put his head in his hands is images of different superheroes; clearly, the Avengers are trying to see what superheroes besides themselves they can rally if they want to fight Thanos. It seems like a moment of Dramatic Irony, at first, with Scott Lang (since we know he's actually trapped in the Quantum Realm)... then it pans over to Shuri, who is deemed missing or dead, and why would the Avengers, who were fighting in Wakanda only in the last movie, not be in contact with one of the only remaining members of their royal family?
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    • It gets worse. The image of Shuri changes to Peter Parker. As if the last movie didn't crush us enough by making us watch him die, we now have to see his picture on the screen with the word DECEASED next to it.
  • Steve looking at a picture of Peggy is yet another example of Fridge Horror, since we know Steve clings onto ANY part of his past, and now his one link, Bucky Barnes, is gone... meaning that he falls back on the thing in his past he arguably loved most.
  • The conversation between Steve and Natasha is heartbreaking.
    Natasha: This is gonna work, Steve.
    Steve: I know it is. 'Cause I don't know what I'm gonna do if it doesn't.
  • We see Clint Barton, now Ronin instead of Hawkeye, and the look on his face tells us that not all of his family made it out of the snap alive.
  • Scott's appearance at the end of the trailer comes as a bright spot in an otherwise bleak trailer. But a bit of Fridge Horror sets in when it's suggested that he has no idea what's happened.
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  • This trailer to great effect emphasizes the fact that for the first time since they were assembled all those years ago by Nick Fury, the Avengers have failed.

Movie

  • The very first pre-logo scene shows the Barton family together at their farm. Clint is teaching Lila how to shoot a bow, Cooper and Nathaniel are playing catch, and his wife Laura is setting out the table for a picnic. Laura calls out that lunch is ready, Clint looks away from his daughter for a couple of seconds to say they're coming, and when he turns back, she's gone and there's a fluttering of ashes where she was standing. He looks around for her and calls out to Laura, but she and their sons are now gone too. Poor Clint is left alone, screaming for his family with no idea what's just happened to them. Adult Fear doesn't even begin to describe the sheer terror Clint must be feeling in this moment.
    • And the next time we see Clint, he's killing Yakuza with swords and throwing stars, not a bow. Conspicuously not a bow, his signature weapon. The last moment he shared with his family, he was teaching his daughter how to use a bow. Odds are that he can't bear to use one anymore without being reminded of his little girl, and he doesn't arm himself with one again until Natasha offers him a chance to get her back.
  • The first we see of Tony, he's playing a friendly game of paper football with Nebula, guiding her patiently, almost paternally, to a victory and offering her a good game handshake. It's an eerily serene moment in the midst of truly terrifying circumstances, and it would be pure Heartwarming if not for the realization that this is the nicest we have EVER seen Nebula treated to this point. Thanos tortured her from childhood, and Gamora unknowingly facilitated that torture for her own survival. Nebula hasn't known Tony Stark for more than a handful of days at this point, and he's been more of a father to her than Thanos ever was.
  • The second time you watch this film, listen very carefully to the gentle and heartwarming piano motif played after Tony records his will to Pepper and falls asleep, accepting his imminent death by suffocation. It's the same theme played at his funeral in the finale, except this time, he sleeps forever. Ouch.
    • Furthermore, at the beginning of the movie, some parts of the dialogue Tony records are different from the ones heard in the very first trailer. At the end, those missing parts are heard; they are from his very last recording.
  • When the Marvel Studios logo is flashing onscreen, take a close look at the images. All of the dusted characters are gone. (Ant-Man is, too, but for another reason.)
    • Furthermore, the song playing during the logo is "Dear Mr. Fantasy" by Traffic. The lyrics correspond too well to the current predicament of the Avengers as a whole; and perhaps even the audience.
      ♫ Dear Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune
      Something to make us all happy
      Do anything, take us out of this gloom
      Sing a song, play guitar, make it snappy. ♫
  • Tony, upon coming back to Earth, mournfully tells Steve that "I lost the kid." When Steve later tries to seek his help in locating Thanos to avenge their mutually-lost loved ones, Tony erupts into a grief-fueled emotional meltdown on The Good Captain, outraged that his attempts to have a unified force capable of defending the planet from outside threats (the Ultron Program, the Sokovia Accords) was opposed by Steve at every turn and how, when the big battle happened, he fought it relatively alone with none of his teammates (particularly Cap) there with him. It's heartbreaking to see a man thwarted time and again in his efforts to protect the world, and witness firsthand the price of his failure in the form of an innocent child weeping and crumbling into ash in his arms, and then be forced to carry the burden of living to mourn him. What really cuts deep is, near the end of his "Reason You Suck" Speech, he says he has no trust in him, then calls him a liar in a cold whisper, referring partially to Steve knowing that the Winter Soldier had killed his parents and didn't tell him. The venomous hatred in his voice also implies that he had to place the blame for the Avengers' destruction and therefore Peter Parker's death squarely on Steve's shoulders.
    Tony: I saw this coming a few years back. I had a vision. I didn't want to believe it; I thought I was dreaming.
    Steve: Tony, I'm gonna need you to focus—
    Tony: And I needed you, as in past tense. That trumps what you need. It's too late, buddy. Sorry. [standing up] You know what I need? [knocks his cereal bowl away in anger] I need a shave. And I believe I remember telling all of youse...
    Rhodey: Tony, Tony, Tony...
    Tony: [rips his IV off] ...alive and otherwise, that what we needed was a suit of armor around the world! Remember that? Whether it impacted our precious freedoms or not, that's what we needed!
    Steve: Well, that didn't work out, did it?
    Tony: I said we'd lose; you said "We'll do that together, too." Well, guess what, Cap? We lost. And you weren't there.
    Tony: But that's what we do, right? Our best work after the fact? [to Rhodey] We're the Avengers, we're the Avengers? Not the Pre-vengers, right?
    Rhodey: [trying to keep Tony off of Steve] Okay, you made your point. Just sit down, okay?
    Tony: Okay, no, here's the point. [about Carol] You know, she's great by the way. [to Carol] We need you; you're new blood. Bunch of tired old mules. [storms up to Steve] I got NOTHING for you, Cap. I got no coordinates, no clues, no strategies, no options, zero, zip, nada. No trust. Liar.
    [Tony takes off his arc reactor and slaps it into Steve's hand]
    Tony: Here, take this. You find him and you put that on. You hide! [collapses onto the floor]
    • To top it off, Tony is weak and tired both physically and mentally. He's visibly thinner from malnourishment and needs an IV, but musters just enough strength to express his anger, hurt, and disappointment in Steve before collapsing.
      • There's no nice way to say this; with his gaunt appearance and strung out demeanor, Robert Downey Jr. looks pretty much exactly how he did before he quit drugs. He'd always been hesitant to portray Tony's addiction from the comics because it would lead him down a dark place, but he summoned some of that previous sickness for this one scene. Seeing Tony this worn out and angry, we're seeing him at his worst as opposed to his best like in the other films.
    • Here's a point that makes it even worse: Tony's ranting is an inversion of his Badass Boast to Loki all the way back in The Avengers. The contrast between the Tony Stark who confidently declared "If we can't protect the earth, you can be damn well sure we'll avenge it" and the Tony Stark who throws in the towel (at least, at first) is saddening.
    • And Robert Downey Jr. is not acting on that "Liar." He'd gotten so deep into character that he snapped out the line unscripted, to everyone else's genuine horror.
    • What hurts more is the sheer Dramatic Irony of Tony's entire rant. He did try to call Steve, but he actually hesitated to make the call in the first place before getting interrupted by Ebony Maw's attack. It's Bruce who picked up the dropped cellphone and made the actual call so, as far as Tony knew, Steve was never active at all when we, the audience, know that to not be true at all. Furthermore, looking back at that scene in Infinity War, Tony's clear hesitation was him TRYING to put his own ego and grudge aside long enough to ask for Steve's help, which he certainly struggled to do.
    • When Tony calls him liar, Steve has a look of immense hurt and sadness. Lying to Tony about his parents was probably the thing he was most ashamed of, so to be reminded of it especially now really cut him deep.
    • Also while they may not have always gotten along, Tony was still a really good friend of Steve’s, so it most definitely broke his heart to see that one of his closest friends still resented him immensely.
  • The moment Rocket sees Nebula exiting the Benatar without Quill or the other Guardians, he immediately knows that it means they too did not survive Thanos' Snap. Having already lost his best friend, Rocket now has lost the only family he ever had and sits quietly next to Nebula, the two of them holding hands in mutual understanding.
  • As Natasha bitterly tells the team that Thanos has succeeded in wiping out half of the population, the hologram detailing those known to be missing changes to a picture of Nick Fury, whom Carol looks at tearfully. Fury was a trusted friend who helped her discover her past and true identity all those years ago, and both of them have mutual respect for each other to the point that Fury even named the superhero project he spearheaded after Carol's former call sign. To see one of the only friends she has left on Earth among the victims of the Snap breaks even Carol's normally stoic exterior, and she does not hesitate to go after Thanos to make him pay for what he did.
    • It's subtle, but when the image of Peter's face comes up, Tony glances away and puts a hand to his face. He can't even look at it.
  • The Avengers are surprised upon knowing that Thanos really did retire completely, never turning back to go out and defeat the rest of the heroes or rebuild his army and start conquering planets. And just to punctuate the point that his journey was over, he destroyed the Infinity Stones and, effectively, the Infinity Gauntlet itself. If not for the Quantum Realm, this would have cemented the fact that there truly was no hope to restore the executed half of the universe. They were gone, forever; without any hope of return now that the most powerful artifacts in the universe are gone with them. It was over.
    • Thanos' first appearance in this film is kind of sad as well. He's now living as a farmer on a remote planet, his former glory as a Galactic Conqueror now behind him, symbolized by the fact that he now uses his ornate armor as a scarecrow. We also see him with a limp and, after he gets ambushed by the remaining Avengers, we get to see the extent of his injuries (that were later revealed to be the result of destroying the Stones): Half of his body is burned and the now-useless Gauntlet is fused to his arm (before Thor chopped it off, thinking it still worked). How does he face his impending death? He takes it solemnly, getting in one last shot at telling the Avengers (more likely Thor, in particular) that because they didn't finish the job the first time, they will now have to live with the fact that they will never be able to undo his life's work and his death by their hands would simply be an act of petty revenge. To top things off, his final words aren't even a Badass Boast; it's simply him thanking Nebula for believing his claim about destroying the Stones and admitting that he'd been too hard on her.
      • Thanos committed many atrocities in his lifetime, but never regretted doing them. The one thing he does regret? His treatment towards Nebula.
      • And after he's decapitated, Nebula caresses his head and closes his eyes. She may hate him for everything he's done to her, but he was still the only parental figure she'd ever known.
  • What encourages Tony to join the Time Heist? Looking at a photo of him awarding Peter the Stark Internship.
  • While he's the main source of comic relief in the movie, the state Thor has fallen into after the Time Skip is nothing short of heartbreaking. He's become a reclusive and washed-up shut-in, drowning his sorrows away with copious amounts of alcohol and junk food, and generally looking like a total mess (complete with a Beard of Sorrow) and so crushed by his sense of failure that he cannot bear the mere mention of Thanos' name.
    • When you compare Endgame Thor with how prideful and arrogant he was in his first appearance, it's especially jarring to see that he's become a slovenly and alcoholic recluse. His grief and depression over his failure to stop Thanos has completely broken him.
    • And even when he does get the chance to kill Thanos, which he takes, it is exceedingly obvious that it did nothing to help him cope because what the Mad Titan did to the universe was already irreversible, and killing him simply did nothing at all but slay a retired man.
      Rocket: Thor? What did you do?
      Thor: [with broken realization] ...I went for the head.
    • Consider the fact that Asgardians have an extremely high alcohol tolerance, so in order for one to even feel a bit drunk, they'd have to probably drink a lot of alcohol. As Valkyrie points out when Bruce and Rocket arrive at New Asgard, Thor has been drinking so much his monthly supply of beer is a large pile of kegs.
    • Although his drunken ramblings about the events of Thor: The Dark World is Played for Laughs for the most part, the way that he clams up when he mentions that his mother died that day is still saddening.
    • When the new Infinity Gauntlet is built, Thor immediately tries to bum rush and take claim over being the one to use it. At first, he tries to justify it by saying he's the strongest Avenger (which Hulk, at least at this point in time, obviously is), but as Tony and Steve try to talk him down, it's clear he just wants to not feel like a failure and might have even become a Death Seeker given how everyone is pretty sure in the deteriorated state he's in, he'd probably die.
    Thor: Look, sitting here staring at that thing is not going to bring everybody back. I'm the strongest Avenger, okay? So this responsibility falls upon me. It's my duty.
    Tony: No, no, listen...
    Tony: No, it's not just the fact that that glove's channeling enough energy to light up a continent. I'm telling you, you're in no condition to.
    • It's a bit sobering to see the surviving Asgardians living quiet lives as a fishing town after spending three movies of them as a Proud Warrior Race. As Bruce put it, they lost their home in Thor: Ragnarok, half the survivors when Thanos claimed the Space Stone by attacking the Statesman, and another half after the Snap. Seeing them live mundane and safer lives hits home that the people that were once about honor and glory have become an endangered species.
    • In contrast to his other family members, Thor doesn't talk about Loki at all, and doesn't even acknowledge him when he and Rocket visit the past. Far from being a Forgotten Fallen Friend, it seems likely that the memory of his brother's death is just too painful for Thor to think about.
  • The shot of New York five years in the future is dark and dismal. The Statue of Liberty is surrounded by boats of refugees while Citi Field is deserted, the parking lot filled with cars no doubt there since the Snap took their owners.
  • The five-year Time Skip shows us that people have just been unable to move on from their friends and family members and just half the population suddenly vanishing, and culminates in Natasha, now ostensibly the leader of the Avengers, taking reports, then breaking down crying.
  • A man at Steve's support group mentions that he went on a date, and his date started crying when the salads came out. Another member of the group simply asks "What about you?" He replies, "I cried right before dessert." Everyone is so depressed that no one finds it the slightest bit odd for people to randomly break down crying.
  • When Scott escapes the Quantum Realm, only five hours have passed for him, while half a decade passed outside. Alone and confused, he is forced to discover the horror of what happened to everyone he knows and loves. Desperately searching a list of names on a memorial to the lost, frantically hoping not to find familiar names, he only finds his own instead. And even when he does find Cassie alive, he still has to deal with the fact that after everything he's been through in his own movies, he lost another five years of his daughter's life.
    • When Scott returns, he's wandering down a street, passing by long-abandoned cars and trash piled up along with a pole covered in "MISSING" posters. A kid on a bike passes by and when Scott asks him what happened, the kid just gives him a look clearly showing he lost people himself before biking on.
    • While explaining what happened to him to Steve and Natasha, Scott stumbles over how to refer to Hope. He stops and starts several times before finally calling her the person who was supposed to bring him out of the Quantum Realm. It's clearly too painful for him to refer to her as anything else, having lost her again so soon after they'd mended the rift between them. Even worse, for the rest of the Universe The Decimation was five years ago and they had time to put things in perspective (some more than others) but, for Scott? it was five hours ago.
  • The scene of the memorials in San Francisco is chilling in itself. There are over 50 large stone markers in various rows, each one of which is covered, front and back, with thousands of names of those vanished. People are seen looking at the names, clearly affected by the loss. It's like a larger version of the Ground Zero or Oklahoma City memorials. There are hundreds of thousands dead. And this is just one city.
    • One possible extra tearjerker is the blink-and-you'll-miss-it addition of one "Stanley Lieber" on one of the markers.
  • It's a small thing, but Bruce mentions to Scott that he felt the loss to Thanos twice as bad. First only the Hulk lost, then he lost, then they all lost. And he blamed himself for it, as the strongest Avenger and the "big brain" both failed to step up when they were needed. Hence, his solution of merging them both, bringing peace to the split personality problems, but still keeping himself as a reminder to his failures in having both Banner and Hulk for all the world to see.
  • Clint has spent the last five years as the masked Ronin, dishing out brutal attacks on various criminals. When a gangster demands to know what he did, Clint fires back "half the world died and you stayed." By the time Nat finds him, Clint is clearly a lost soul.
    • Even worse is the idea that Clint is risking his life so much because he wants to die and be with his family. The sardonic, affable family man has basically become Frank Castle.
      • It's painfully clear that what he's doing isn't justice. He proactively wipes out criminals because not only are they stress toys to vent out his pain on, but because deep down, he envies the fact that his family died and his targets lived instead. His claims of them hurting people even though they weren't responsible for the Decimation that killed his family feel really hollow for a man who really acts because he's got nearly nothing left, as evidenced by Akihiko's response.
    • When Nat says there's a way to fix things, Clint nearly cries "don't give me hope."
  • Clint volunteers for the first proper test of the "time jump" and it's clear he's perfectly okay with the possibility that he won't come back. He ends up back at his farm, overjoyed to find his son's baseball glove. He's racing to call out for his daughter when he's pulled back to the present before he can see her; she hears him call out but arrives seconds too late to see him. However, when Clint reappears in the present, he is still holding the glove, symbolizing that all hope isn't lost and the plan can proceed.
    Clint: It works.
  • During their time jump to Asgard in 2013, Thor sees Frigga and realizes it is the day she will be killed. What's more is, while he tries to do something about it, Frigga seems to know what's coming and tells him to not worry about her fate. Thor is just both elated and devastated to see his mother again, even though they both know it won't end well for her. This line from Frigga is especially heartbreaking:
    Frigga: The future has not been kind to you, has it?
    • During Thor's conversation with his mother, it's pretty clear to everyone that Thor has been wallowing in self-pity and hatred for half a decade now. He tells her that he wasn't supposed to fail because he's a hero, but Frigga promptly puts a stop to that by reminding him that heroes aren't above everybody else; they're still people, albeit people who do the best with who they are.
    Frigga: Do you know what that makes you? Just like everyone else.
    Thor: I'm not supposed to be like everyone else, am I?
    Frigga: (shaking her head while fixing his hair lovingly) Everyone fails at who they're supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.
    Thor: (smiles sadly) I've really missed you, mom.
    (the two share a Headbutt of Love)
    • In an earlier scene with the other Avengers, he had brought up his mother's death and was brought to the verge of tears just talking about it. He was also depressed when having to mention Jane; despite his claim of a "mutual dumping" in Ragnarok, the break-up clearly still hurts him.
  • On a similar note, Tony meeting with his father in 1970 is equal parts heartwarming and funny, but like with Thor, Tony knows how things will turn out and can't save his father from his inevitable fate.
    • On the other hand, Steve, while hiding from some soldiers, finds himself in Peggy's office by accident. He doesn't even realize it's hers until he sees a pre-serum picture of himself on her desk - the very same one the army gave her after he went under. To make matters worse, Peggy is literally only a wall away, unaware that the man she loves is right there in her office. The look of sheer longing on Steve's face just hammers it in even more.
      • The background music is also a reprise of the piece that played in Captain America: The First Avenger when Steve fell into the ice and Peggy is left behind to mourn him. Pass the tissues, please.
  • Unlike in Avengers: Infinity War, when the time comes to trade a soul for the Soul Stone, both Clint and Natasha refuse to let the other sacrifice themselves, despite both of them being very willing to do so. Their fight and scramble to cast themselves off the cliff is heartwarming, but ultimately tragic as Natasha sacrifices herself in the end. Fittingly, the pose of her dead body is much the same as Gamora in Infinity War, symbolizing how no matter how the heroes can fix things, some sacrifices seem always inevitable. There is also no coming back for her, even if Bruce says he tried when his turn to use the Stones came.
    • The setup is rough as each realizes what it means and share one last Headbutt of Love.
      Natasha: If we don't get that stone, billions of people stay dead.
      Clint: Then I guess we both know who it's gotta be.
      Natasha: I guess we do.
      (Clint takes her hand and Nat grips his firmly with both of hers)
      Clint: [looks Natasha straight in the eyes] I'm starting to think ... we mean different people here, Natasha.
      Natasha: For the last five years, I've been trying to do one thing. Get to right here. That's all it's been about. Bringing everybody back.
      Clint: No, don't you get all decent on me now.
      Natasha: What, you think I wanna do it? I'm trying to save your life, you idiot.
      Clint: Yeah, well, I don't want you to. How's that? (trying not to cry) Natasha, you know what I've done. You know what I've become.
      Natasha: Oh, I don't judge people on their worst mistakes.
      Clint: Maybe you should.
      Natasha: You didn't.
      Clint: You're a pain in my ass, you know that?
      (Nat nods, and Clint gives her a Headbutt of Love)
      • Right before this, you can just see in Natasha's face how scared she is of what is about to happen. Then it's gone, and she's back to steeling herself because, as she put it earlier on in the film, they owe it to everyone who got dusted to at least try.
      Nat: (whispering to herself) Whatever it takes.
    • Natasha never knew her father's name. This either means he abandoned her before she was even born or she was taken from her family by the Red Room very early in her childhood just like the other Red Room girls.
  • As Clint makes to sacrifice himself, he shares one Long Last Look with Nat as he runs past her, clearly trying to tell her it's okay, you can let me do this. However, she tackles him at the last minute, which leads to the both of them hanging off the edge with only a single harness anchoring them to the cliff side. Clint, who barely just managed to grab Nat's hand, tries to reach her with his other one, but can't, because she's too far away.
    Clint: (clearly frustrated) Damn you.
    • He then tries to plead with her not to do this, but Nat, having already made up her mind, gently tells him to let her go. It's only when it becomes apparent that Clint will never do so that Nat finally kicks off the wall, wrenching herself out of his grip, to fall to her death. If you weren't crying by now, Clint's heartbroken look as he screams "NO!" will definitely get you.
      Clint: Wait.
      Nat: (gently) Let me go.
      Clint: No. No. Please, no.
      Nat: It's okay.
      Clint: Please.
      (Nat lets herself fall)
      Clint: NO!
      • You can just see that the only thing stopping Clint from going after her is the fact that if the both of them died, no one will be left to bring back the Soul Stone, and Nat's death will all have been for nothing.
      • The broken, defeated way Clint just stares at the Soul Stone after they've obtained it. His family is dead, his best friend is dead, and there's absolutely nothing he can do about it, except to cry and punch at the water surrounding him.
      • The Deleted Scene makes this either softer or worse. In an alternate take, Thanos catches up to the duo after capturing Future!Nebula and sets his retinue on them before the two can decide who will make a sacrifice. Natasha makes a decision and lets herself get shot by charging forward. All Clint can do, after giving a silent Big "NO!", is to provide cover and fight off the mooks one by one as an injured Natasha drags herself towards the edge of the cliff. Her last action is shooting a mook about to overwhelm Clint and smile at him, before letting herself fall. All the while, Clint is reaching for her and begging her without words to not do it. He seems almost disappointed when the Soul Stone's emergence saves him from Thanos as the figure approaches. No, the music doesn't help.
  • In the immediate aftermath of Natasha's death, her five original teammates (Tony, Steve, Thor, Bruce and Clint) huddle in grief near the lakeside. The first dialogue uttered shows just how badly they're taking it.
    Tony: (visibly trying not to tear up) Do we know if she had family?
    • Bruce, in particular, takes Nat's death the hardest. It's obvious that he still harbors feelings for her from back in Age of Ultron, and his decision to use the Infinity Stones himself despite knowing that the raw energy it released could kill him could even implies that he's a Death Seeker willing to risk his own life to get everyone back, and even if it does revive the people killed by the Snap, he couldn't bring back the woman he loved.
      • This is made even more powerful now that, at this point, Bruce is the Merged Hulk. Given that he is part-Hulk, one would think that the Hulk persona would suddenly burst right back out and do what he does: smash things. Except, apart from throwing a table into a lake, he doesn't. The camera focuses on his heartbroken expression, and all he does is sulk down, giving the floor one soft punch. It's bizarre, but incredibly powerful to see someone like Hulk, the pinnacle of Unstoppable Rage, react in such a subdued and human way.
      • Worse. At that point, it's been five years that Banner's been back on Earth, most of it with control over the Hulk. There's nothing to suggest that he and Natasha hadn't pursued a relationship at some point in that time, or that they weren't still involved when she died.
    • And then there's Clint's reaction. Already broken by the death of his family, he nearly hits the Despair Event Horizon with Natasha's death. As the remaining Avengers gather to remember Nat, he tearfully says that it "should have been [him]" that died, not her. And then he blows up at the team when they insist they can try to bring her back, telling them her death is irreversible.
      • Even before they get to Vormir, there's a small dose of tragic Fridge Horror. As everybody is getting ready to head to the past, Natasha and Clint state that they're heading for the Soul Stone. Then you remember where said Stone is and what you have to do, and the realization hits you: One of these two is not coming back alive...
      • Even worse was Natasha's final words to the group as a whole. Hearing her happily tell everyone she will see them all in a minute and knowing her fate hits hard.
    • And unlike with Tony, there is no on-screen funeral for her, and as far as we know, Clint was unable to reclaim her body to bring it back to earth.
    • You might notice Thor's reaction is quite different from the others when they're by the lake. He seems annoyed that they're mourning her when they have the stones, believing they can bring her back. This denial is sad enough on it's own. But when you look deeper, it might mean that Thor was holding on to some hope that he could also bring back Loki, Heimdall, and the Asgardians that Thanos murdered on the Statesman with the Stones as well. This brings his despair into even more context as at the beginning of the film he realized that he was not getting back what Thanos took from him, and when he found out that the Stones make a distinction between "death by Snap" and "natural death", he had to realize that all over again. This must have been a serious gut punch for Thor who just had his spirits raised.
    • After Tony's funeral, Clint and Wanda share a quiet moment together. He confesses to her how much he wishes Nat was there with them, and to tell her somehow that her sacrifice saved countless numbers of people.
  • As the crew is deciding who should perform the snap with Stark’s gauntlet, Thor is quick to volunteer with Tony having to talk him down because he is in no condition (mentally or physically) to do so. Thor clearly doesn’t care and begs Tony “Please, let me do something good..” because he just wants to make up for his failures more than anything. The cracking in his voice as he begs is nothing short of heartbreaking.
  • Vision is still gone for good, as he perished before Thanos did the Snap. Wanda mourns him and avenged him by taking on Thanos. This means that not only the last remnant of JARVIS and the original Edwin Jarvis is truly lost forever, but the final shred of Ultron, an idea having gone horribly wrong yet could have easily become a hero with the right exposures, is forever extinguished.
  • Even if 2012 Loki is alive somewhere after escaping with the Tesseract, he's lacking all of the development he experienced in The Dark World and Ragnarok, including his repaired relationship with his brother. Thor is still all alone and has lost everything: His family, his closest friends, his entire kingdom (save for around two dozen survivors whom he isn't even ruling over anymore), and his right eye. Even after this quest to eliminate Thanos and give everyone back what they lost, Thor, beyond regaining his fighting spirit, is still left with nothing whatsoever apart from a spot in the Guardians team.
  • The Gamora we knew in the first two Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity War is gone. The one we got here and will probably see again in the MCU is the pre-Guardians version. Even if she was already rebellious and does in fact make a Heel–Face Turn, it's hard to shake off the sensation she won't be exactly the same.
  • Nebula's entire arc. She becomes an Unwitting Pawn of Thanos because of the existence of two versions of her in the same timeline, which allows him to access her memories remotely and know what happened originally; she's captured and replaced by her counterpart, who hasn't gone through her own Character Development yet and makes it possible for Thanos to travel through time and launch a massive attack; and finally she has to kill her other self to prevent her from harming Gamora, but leaving the doubt that she could be redeemed. Notably, a tear falls from the eye of Past Nebula as she dies, indicating that even as she tried to shoot Gamora down, she was already conflicted.
    Present Nebula: You can change!
    Past Nebula: He won't let me.
    • During the confrontation with Present Thanos, he does something unusual: he gave Nebula something like a compliment. After a lifetime failing to get her adoptive father's approval, she only gets it at the very end. It's obvious she still feels something as she closes his eyes. And then Past Nebula, who was still desperate for Thanos's approval, sees the same thing through the memories.
      • Seeing Past Nebula's desperation for Thanos' approval is deeply saddening. She has been so broken by him, yet she still craves his acceptance (and, possibly, even his fatherly love). You can see it in how deeply she bows to him, and how terrified she is when he sees Present Nebula's memories through her cybernetics, as she hysterically babbles that she isn't a traitor and that it wasn't her. That Thanos grants her that approval, for the first time in her life, is even more heartbreaking; you can see the relief and somewhat disbelief on her face when he pulls Ebony Maw's chains away from her neck and cups her face. To reiterate: this is the man who abused and tortured her for her entire life, replacing her body parts with cybernetics in a way that's both incredibly painful and also manages to convey his disapproval with her "failures". And seeing her kneeling before him makes her look a great deal like a kicked puppy who still loves her master. Stockholm Syndrome at its most heartbreaking. Present Nebula even has a pained look on her face while seeing these interactions.
    • When Rhodey and Nebula are grabbing the Power Stone, Nebula partially destroys her cybernetic arm retrieving it. When Rhodey looks shocked by it, she quietly says that she wasn't always like this. Rhodey sympathizes, as his life has also led to him requiring cybernetics to operate.
    • For that matter, the other person she bonds with in the film is Tony, the other cybernetic Avenger, while they are stranded on the Benatar.
  • Bruce, Rhodey, and Rocket being nearly drowned/crushed in the rubble when Sanctuary II attacks the Avengers HQ. Rhodey grimly accepts what seems inevitable. Granted, they get saved by Scott moments later, but that is the first time we've ever seen Rocket terrified.
  • Clint gets to hear Laura's voice on the phone for just a matter of seconds—the hope he'd shied from Natasha even daring to proffer, fulfilled after five agonizing years—before Thanos' attack cuts their conversation off, mid-word. To Clint, it's got to be the cruelest Hope Spot imaginable; for Laura, who was likely just resurrected to find that her husband has abruptly vanished from a suddenly-unkempt yard, it probably sounds like he's just been violently killed.
  • When Thanos's army arrives after his speech in the present, it seems like despite what the Avengers did, all hope is lost —again— as the nearly battered Captain America appears to be the only hero left, and he prepares to go down fighting alone. If Doctor Strange hadn't opened the portals when he did and summoned the biggest ass-kicking army in history, we would have watched Steve Rogers sacrifice his life instead of Tony Stark.
  • Wanda attacks Thanos with everything she has in the ultimate Roaring Rampage of Revenge, clearly still in pain about losing Vision (who still isn't back in this movie, mind you). This quickly becomes the ultimate Crowning Moment of Awesome for her once she hands him his ass in the Curb-Stomp Battle of Thanos' life.
    • This becomes even more tragic when you remember that technically speaking, it was only minutes prior to coming back that she had lost Vision and her own life. Unlike the other Avengers who had five years to ponder and cope with the loss of nearly everyone around them, Wanda literally just lost the one dearest to her, and unlike everyone else, he isn't coming back. Safe to say, her anger at (who she thinks is) the one responsible isn't unfounded.
  • 2014 Thanos's Ignored Epiphany once he travels to the present. Instead of admitting he was wrong, he forgoes halving the universe for balance and instead decides to destroy the entire universe and remake it so that everyone will appreciate what he did. While on one hand it is absolutely terrifying, on another it is very tragic. This is a man who genuinely wanted life to prosper, to ensure that no one else goes through the Overpopulation Crisis that his home planet went through. His methods were insane and twisted beyond belief, but deep down, he did mean well. To see this Well-Intentioned Extremist coldly devolve into an Omnicidal Maniac who shows no more good will is downright hollowing.
    • And the reaction makes sense in a way. He sacrificed everything to bring about balance in the belief that, one day, people would appreciate his "gift." Instead, he sees that they will always resent him and attempt to undo his life's labor, and that no matter what he does they may still find a way.
  • For all of his brutality, ruthlessness, and misguided altruism, 2014 Thanos's death counts. Once Iron Man does his own Snap on him and his forces, you can just see it in his eyes that, given his knowledge of the Stones, he knows that he is already a dead man. In fact, he seems already demoralized once he sees all of his army - the closest thing he ever had to a family of sorts - fade away into dust. His reaction is probably the worst bit: he does not scream in fury, nor let out a defeated Big "NO!". He just ... silently looks on, in despair. No last words. No Skyward Scream. No Heel Realization. Nothing but the most solemn way to Face Death with Dignity and the absolute pinnacle of defeat. Combined with the fact that he is one of the MCU's most well-developed villains, it's actually very sad to see him go for good.
    • As a Call-Back to Infinity War, he sits down and gives one final expression: instead of The Garden's peaceful sunrise which he contently looks upward at and warmly smiles upon, he rests in the devastated wreckage of the Avengers Compound, looking up at the dark sky with an expression of agony. He slowly lowers his head, eyes closing, body sulking down to the ground, and mind, albeit with dignity, only able to embrace failure. A cathartic, but poignant case of Book-Ends.
    • This gets even sadder when you remember that, at the end of Infinity War, Thanos survived, but had lost his entire army and his favorite daughter Gamora; something that 2014 Thanos most likely discovered as well. Now, he has to experience all of that all over again firsthand, but this time, it's every single one of the forces he's gathered over the years disintegrating right before his eyes ... and he's next. While there is the solace in that his version of Gamora is still alive, she completely turned against him by the time the war began. He had nothing left by his dying minutes.
    • Let's twist that knife even deeper. Word of God says that Thanos was ostracized for his mutant appearance, way back on his home planet, Titan. Regardless of this, Thanos still wanted their acceptance, and likely viewed that his solution to saving it would lead to him finally being welcomed. He then extended this to the universe. As he dies, Thanos is likely going through the realization that any acceptance, glory, and gratitude that he thought he'd receive is now going to go (wrongly, in his view), to the Avengers and their allies. He viewed himself as the hero, but now Thanos irrefutably knows that he'll always be seen as a monster. A final ultimate rejection from the entire universe.
  • In the background of the final battle after Tony's Snap, as Thanos's army is disintegrating, on the right side of the screen, you can see Proxima Midnight cradling Corvus Glaive's body while she dissolves. Sure, they were both unrepentantly evil servants of the greatest supervillain the MCU has ever known, but they were still husband and wife, and given that a lot of the other soldiers kept up the battle literally until their last breaths, it speaks to how much he meant to her that she chooses to spend her last moments holding onto his body instead of fighting.
    • In the same shot, you can see Ebony Maw stumbling towards Thanos and reaching out his hand to the man he saw as a father, even as he turns to dust.
  • Look at Doctor Strange as he signals to Tony. His hand is trembling, and there is clear pain and regret on his face that suggests that the trembling is not just because of his injured hands; he is asking him to make a Heroic Suicide. It's the same good doctor who hit a Heroic BSoD over killing a villainous mook in his solo movie: "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." Sure, Strange doesn't kill Tony (or Natasha, for that matter) himself, but he has to choose the version of the future where the deaths of two good people were unavoidable, and it will haunt him for the rest of his life.
    • Also, recall that, during Infinity War, he claims that he will not hesitate to sacrifice lives if it means the safety of the universe. Given that Strange still holds the Hippocratic Oath as a personal creed, he is clearly disturbed by the fact that he has to sacrifice a life for the sake of the universe or else more lives will be lost.
    • With this comes the realization that when Strange was looking through the over 14 million timelines in Infinity War, he most likely witnessed the one where Tony sacrifices himself early on and kept going so he could see one where they defeat Thanos and Tony survives, only to fail. He truly didn't have any other choice.
  • After eleven years of being a key figure in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, going through 16 years in-universe a number of hardships, battles, and being involved in creating The Avengers and forming (and briefly destroying) close bonds with those who supported him, it finally culminates with his ultimate fate in Avengers Endgame - the sacrifice and death of Tony Stark himself.
    • In elaboration, Tony uses the Infinity Stones to finally end Thanos' threat once and for all, but at the cost of his own life. It's fitting that the one who started this journey is the one to end it, even if he leaves Pepper and their daughter Morgan behind. Just look at the expression on Tony's face as he is about to use the Infinity Stones. He's tired and scared and fighting back pain that even the Hulk couldn't take, and he steels himself to do the one thing that his entire journey has led him to. And he says this with defiance against Thanos, before he does the deadly deed:
      Tony: And I... am... Iron Man.
    • The three people beside him in his last moments are Rhodey, a crying Peter Parker (if you thought his own death in Infinity War was heart-breaking, just watch him here), and Pepper who, after a medical scan by FRIDAY, cannot do anything but accept they're losing him. The very last words we hear from Tony are from a hologram, a farewell message he left just before the fateful mission, knowing there could have been no coming back.
      Pepper: [while holding back her tears] Tony. Look at me. We're gonna be okay. You can rest now.
    • Those words of Pepper's go back to the conversation they had with each other before Tony goes off to help the Avengers again. There, Tony admits that he could easily keep his findings about Time Travel secret, but Pepper wonders aloud if he could rest easy with what he knows. It goes back to all of Tony's actions post-2012: making all the armors in his paranoia, creating Ultron, the division of the Avengers due to the Sokovia Accords, and the trip to Titan that ended up killing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and all the Guardians present with them save Nebula. He's spent the past few years causing more harm than good in spite of his best intentions, and has continued down this path even more to atone in what seemed to be a never-ending cycle. Pepper's final words to Tony could be her own way of trying to comfort him by releasing him from it all.
    • Despite the fact that his body has been completely savaged by the energy released by the Stones, Tony looks like he is still struggling, still refusing to let go, as if he's not convinced that the fight is over and the war has been won. It's only after Pepper tells him to rest that he stops struggling and slips away.
    • It's even worse in Peter's case. The kid has just come back to life and got to fight alongside his mentor again one last time. For him, it was just fifteen minutes before when Tony was holding him as he died in his arms. Now Peter has to go through all that again, except their positions are now reversed, and it's final. And it's also likely Tony is the second father figure Peter had to watch die, in what must be barely more than two or three years from his perspective.
      • Even more so if you consider Peter's perpetual Survivor Guilt in the comics. If this Peter is similar, he blames himself for this. If only he had done more, been faster, fought harder, been stronger.
    • "I don't want to go!" was cited by many as the most gut-punching moment of Infinity War. Here, Peter is right back there, weeping and terrified, all while begging to Tony to stay. And just as he starts to break down completely, Peter only then whimpers out a broken little "Tony..." If the last film didn't hammer it in enough, the audience is once again reminded that Peter Parker is still just a kid.
      Peter: Mr. Stark? Hey, Mr. Stark! Can you hear me? It's Peter! ... we won, Mr. Stark. We won, Mr. Stark. We won, you did it, sir, you did it. ... I'm sorry... Tony...
      • Just as an extra knife in the gut, this means that Peter's last words to Tony—twice—were "I'm sorry."
    • One of the worst parts about Tony's death is that his Snap took so much out of him that he can't even speak. The wisecracking billionaire playboy who never seemed to shut up can't even say anything in his final moments. He occasionally attempts to say something, but it's clear that even taking a breath is a challenge in that moment. No comforting words to his loved ones, no Rousing Speech, no final snark to go out on; the only thing he can manage to say is "Hey, Pep."
    • During the battle, Tony asks Strange if this was the one scenario where the Avengers prevail that he foresaw back on Titan. Strange replies, "If I tell you what happens, it won't happen." Strange knew that Tony would have to make the ultimate sacrifice to defeat Thanos once and for all, and did not want to risk anything that might compromise their already-slim chances of victory.
      • Considering the context, it's more likely that in at least one scenario (if not many), Strange told Tony the truth ... and they failed, most likely due to Tony hesitating or becoming distracted by his impending death to perform the final snap. Strange knew this, and had to condemn a man to his death for the sake of the rest of the universe.
    • Consider that, just a few minutes earlier, Rhodey was close to death and resigned to it, going as far as giving his farewell to Rocket, until Scott saved him, Bruce, and Rocket. He's back into the battle, then Thanos' forces are reduced to dust, meaning they have won; he reaches his best friend ... and realizes that, for that victory to happen, he's now dying.
      • To make it sadder, in contrast to Peter and Pepper, Rhodey doesn't say anything to Tony when he sees him in his fatal state; he only comforts him by caressing his face.
    • Right when he dies, Tony's arc reactor dies out with him. This is even more punctuating once you remember that thing used to basically serve as his heart, that and the suit could most likely no longer detect its user without his heart rate. It's only to hammer in the fact that the original MCU hero is dead, never to return.
    • Steve himself is watching this with tears in his eyes. He and Tony butted heads at almost every turn, but they were still comrades fighting for the same side and team. Several times Steve has called Tony selfish and only looking out for himself, and now? Steve is watching Tony die a painful death to save the entire universe and life itself. Of course he's crying.
      • The worst part? Steve is forced to watch the guy who has essentially become his brother die. It's been constantly implied throughout the MCU that part of Cap and Iron Man's tension is due to Howard Stark, with Steve thinking Tony isn't as good a hero as his father and Tony resenting Steve for being "the guy my dad never shut up about." After watching as Tony saves the world and die, that resentment all but goes away.
      • Even more so hard-hitting is the fact that, in the first Avengers film, Steve told Tony he would never be the person to lay on the wire and let the other man crawl over him, that he'd never make the sacrifice play. And in that moment, when the biggest battle has ended, Steve knows that Tony is indeed that kind of person and he did make the sacrifice play to finish the fight. Rest well, Mr. Stark. You've earned it.
    • Unlike in the first Avengers movie, there is no Hulk scream or magic MacGuffin to bring him back. He truly is gone.
    • A Deleted Scene makes the moment even worse. As Tony passes and Pepper gives him one last kiss before mourning, the rest of the heroes look devastated and unsure of what to do. Then Clint drops to one knee and starts praying. T'Challa sees it and does the same. Then Carol and Peter Quill and everyone else, no matter where they're from. And poor Steve, battered black and blue, struggles to drop to his knee. What's most heartbreaking, however, is Strange's utter devastation and regret at having led Tony to his death, hammering in how much he didn't want Tony to die, even if it was necessary.
    • Robert Downey Jr. said in an interview that the Mk 85 suit wasn't even designed for Tony to survive using it, and was all about pushing beyond its 'safe' parameters to save the universe. This is a stark contrast to his first suit, which was entirely about Tony's survival, and shows Tony's Character Development throughout the entire saga.
    • Tony's holographic goodbye message for his loved ones is also a touching Call-Back to Howard Stark having left Tony a secret message of pride and affection on an old film reel, decades before. His Final Speech is just perfect, especially when the hologram turns to Morgan at the last line, sharing one touching smile before the recording ends.
      Tony: Everybody wants a happy ending, right? But it doesn't always roll that way. Maybe this time. I'm hoping if you play this back, it's in celebration. I hope families are reunited, I hope you get it back, and somewhat of like a normal version of the planet has been restored. If there ever was such a thing. God, what a world. Universe, now. If you told me ten years ago that we weren't alone, let alone, you know, to this extent, I wouldn't have been surprised, but come on, you know? The epic forces of darkness and light that have come into play, and for better or worse, that's the reality that Morgan is gonna have to find a way to grow up in. So I thought I better record a little greeting, in case of an untimely death ... on my part. Not that death at any time isn't untimely. This time travel thing we're gonna try to pull off tomorrow, it's got me scratching my head about the survivability of this whole thing. Then again, that's the hero gig, right? Part of the journey is the end. What am I even tripping for, everything is gonna work out exactly the way it's supposed to. I love you 3000.
    • Rhodey is openly crying while watching, and isn't even bothering to wipe his tears away.
  • Speaking of Tony's loved ones, just imagine Morgan being told that Happy would be babysitting her while Pepper went to help Tony, and waiting. Then when Pepper returns, Morgan sees the pain on her mother's face and knows her dad isn't coming back.
    • All the ones who came back to life couldn't have possibly known that, during the five years they were gone, Tony had become a father. Therefore, they must have discovered it only in the aftermath.
    • Tony's funeral. The camera pans over every character who are positioned by how personally/emotionally close they were to him. Pepper and Morgan; Happy and Rhodey; Steve, Peter Parker, and Aunt May; Bruce and Thor; Doctor Strange and Wong; Scott, Hope, Hank, and Janet; Nebula and the Guardians; T'Challa and the Wakandans; Clint and his family; Bucky, Sam, and Wanda ... Even Secretary Ross, Carol, Maria Hill, Nick Fury, and Harley Keener (the kid from Iron Man 3) are there, and remember Hank and Ross didn't hold any good will towards the playboy/billionaire all along. It really drives home how much of an impact he's had on everyone.
      • Bruce is wiping tears.
      • Doctor Strange looks almost emotionless, as though he's still in shock that he had to put Tony on a path to sacrifice himself.
      • The Guardians, normally more lighthearted characters, look just as somber as everyone else. Even though they didn't know Tony for very long, he still meant a lot to them.
      • Imagine what is going through Star-Lord's mind at this time. Whether or not Strange told him that this had to happen for victory, Star-Lord likely feels a tremendous amount of guilt for screwing up back in Infinity War, which put them on the path to this. And assuming he's met Tony's loved ones at the funeral, he may begin to believe that his actions deprived Morgan of her father, and Peter Parker of his father figure (a direct parallel of his own relationship with Yondu). As an added bonus, this is the first time he's been to Earth since his mother's death as a child and he made it very clear that he had no interest in ever returning. So now he has even less motive to return.
      • Nebula, in particular, truly looks saddened as she bows her head during Tony's funeral. Even though it was brief, she really enjoyed her time on the Benatar with Stark.
    • There's also the fact that a grieving Sam and Wanda comfort a repentant Bucky as the White Wolf lost an opportunity to make amends regarding Tony's parents.
    • After the funeral, Morgan and Happy are sitting together. It's obvious Happy is trying his hardest to not cry, for Morgan's sake. Let us repeat: This is Happy Hogan!
      • And then Morgan asks for cheeseburgers, and Happy (and the audience) start crying again, knowing cheeseburgers were Tony's favorite food. This is followed by Happy telling her he'll get her all the cheeseburgers she wants. It's even more meaningful if you remember why cheeseburgers were referenced in Iron Man.note 
      • Remember that Happy Hogan is played by Jon Favreau, the man who directed Iron Man and helped make the MCU possible. How fitting that HE should be the one to not only call back to the original film but have the final line in the entire Stark story.
    • The fact that Tony, who could've retired and lived the rest of his life with Pepper, who was this close to a happy ending, dies before any of that happens. And the script revealed a devastating fact about Tony as he died. He had one last thought on his mind, directed towards Pepper: "I'm sorry". This highlights just how heavy of a cost Tony's sacrifice brought. Sure, he defeated a mad titan that crippled the universe with a single snap of his fingers, but now, his daughter Morgan is left without a father, and Pepper has lost a dear husband.
    • Tony's send-off at the funeral takes the form of his first arc reactor, the one he cobbled together in a cave with a box of scraps, sitting in a flower boat for a Viking-style funeral.
      • That original arc reactor still has the words "Proof that Tony Stark has a Heart" emblazoned on it.
    • And, in making this sacrifice, Tony is no doubt going to reunite with the man who saved his life: Ho Yinsen. After 16note  years of hardships, heroism, and his ultimate Heroic Sacrifice, it is very clear that Tony kept his promise all those years ago: he never wasted his life and instead made the best out of it.
  • Following everything, Peter returns to high school and gives Ned a tearful welcoming hug. Spider-Man is back and alive, and Peter can finally resume his young life, but he is no doubt forever scarred by not only dying, but watching his mentor die as well. At the end of Infinity War, Peter dies terrified and alone save for Tony. At the end of Endgame, Peter is broken by coming back to life, only to lose the same man who was with him when he died.
    • There's also the fact that quite a few of the people he went to school with likely weren't killed by the Snap, which means that they are now five years older than him and have moved on with their lives.
    • Ned is clearly vastly overjoyed to see Peter alive and well, and still his own age. Knowing that his best friend didn't get himself killed in battle before or after the Snap is probably as great a relief as Ned's felt since coming back to life himself.
  • Steve travels back in time to live the rest of his life with Peggy after refusing to use the time machine to return to the present day. There's something life-affirming yet tragic in seeing the Star-Spangled Man With a Plan having had the normal and happy life he always wanted, but now is an old and withered man.
    • It also solidifies that this movie is Cap's last hurrah as well.
    • It also means he watched Peggy die, unlike in Civil War (where she passed on in her sleep).
    • As Steve prepares to travel back into the past, the others talk about how assured they are that Steve will back in the present the way he is with no trouble whatsoever. As they do, Bucky's face can be seen giving off a rather somber expression, giving the implication that he knows his best friend is going on a one-way trip he doesn't plan to come back from.
    • Bucky now finds himself in the same position that Steve did when he first came out of the ice: as the lone still-youthful member of a proud WWII military unit whose former comrades — even his closest friend, now — have all died or become very old men.
    • Earlier in the film, Tony had told Steve to simply settle down and live the simple life, which he does after his death. It's obvious that part of the reason Steve does this is to honor the man that he once told "would never make the sacrifice play". As he said, he wanted to try the life that Tony was talking about.
    • Even though Sam was genuinely happy that Steve finally found his peace and happiness, he still breaks down as he gave voice to the bittersweet grief in the viewers of having to finally say goodbye to your childhood heroes:
      Sam: The only thing bumming me out, is having to live in a world... without... Captain America.
    • And then Steve gives Sam the shield, symbolically telling him that he doesn't have to live in a world without Captain America at all; he can be Captain America.
  • Bruce's situation in the end is incredibly bittersweet. He's merged forms, no longer has to fear losing control, can resume work as a brilliant scientist, and has gained the love and trust of the world that once despised him. But all the people he was closest to are gone. He's lost Nat, the woman he loved. He's lost Tony, his best friend. He's lost Vision, his greatest creation. Steve went back in time. Thor left with the Guardians. Granted, there's still Valkyrie, Clint, and Rhodey, but it's just not the same.
    • Bruce reveals to Steve that, when he performed the Snap to restore everyone to life, he was also trying to reverse Nat's Heroic Sacrifice but, to his disappointment, it didn't work for her.
    • The sole saving grace for Bruce: Betty Ross is alive again, and her father doesn't seem to be after him anymore. So, given his restored self-control, he may be able to see her again.
  • Hell, the entire ending is a very Bittersweet Ending which leans slightly on the "Bitter" part. On one hand, Thanos is finally defeated once and for all and everyone killed by his Snap has been brought back. However, every other death that occurs before or after the Snap sticks. That means Thor still lost most of the Asgardians, including Heimdall and Loki; the original Gamora is still dead, Wanda still lost Vision, probably half of Xandar is still annihilated, Eitri is still the sole surviving dwarf of Nidavellir, Knowhere is still a pile of rubble with probably all occupants dead, and now Tony and Natasha sacrificed themselves without any known means of resurrecting them.
    • All things considered, the original band of the Avengers Initiative is all but disbanded by the end of the movie: Tony and Natasha sacrificed themselves for the final victory; Steve allowed himself to age to a point he has to pass his mantle to Sam, and Thor has left to join the Guardians; Bruce and Clint's positions are ambiguous but, considering Bruce suffered from a probably-lasting Game-Breaking Injury (or if that heals, he still has the chance of living the normal life he's dreamed of having for years), and Clint now has a chance to reunite with his family (not to mention bearing all the scars throughout the years), it's highly likely for them to retire from fighting. The exclusive credit-tribute for the six only further fueled the feeling of the End of an Age.
    • Not to mention, before the remainder of the credits roll, each member of the original group are given their own styilized credits with the Avengers theme playing. And they saved Robert Downey Jr. for last.
  • The very, very end of the film. The credits just finished rolling. The Marvel Studios logo and the "Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures" credit... then it cuts to black. You wait, expecting there to be a post-credits scene like always. Seconds pass, and then you slowly realize something: there isn't one. There are no post- or mid-credit scenes, nor any "X will return" messages. Just the Marvel and Disney credit... the end. It really solidifies the fact that after 11 years, the Infinity Saga is finally over.
    • There's a brief, quiet sound of clanging at the end of the credits. No images or any other sound, just the sounds of Tony Stark hammering away on his first suit back in that cave.
    • Also, as a final sendoff to Tony, we hear a slow jazzy instrumental version of "Make Way for Tomorrow Today" over the credits.

"Mr. Stark? Hey, Mr. Stark! Can you hear me? It's Peter! ... we won, Mr. Stark. We won, Mr. Stark. We won, you did it, sir, you did it. ... I'm sorry... Tony..."

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