Thanos mentions destroying the Infinity Stones because after having used them to enact his culling of the universe, they only exist as a temptation now. Did he mean solely as a temptation for the heroes to set things right, or was he feeling tempted to try and reverse what happened out of a belief that it wasn't worth what it cost him? Or, was he feeling tempted to use the Stones to further exert his will upon the cosmos and destroyed them to prevent himself from sullying his "noble" mission? Also, if he recognized that his plan went badly, the Stones would present a temptation for him to go further down the slippery slope and try to destroy and recreate the entire universe according to his desires, like alternate Thanos planned to.
With his last breath, Thanos thanks Nebula for admitting he is not a liar and ponders aloud if he treated her too harshly. Is Thanos sincerely rethinking his treatment of her, or is he just trying to weasel his way out by trying to manipulate his abused daughter into possibly turning on the Avengers and giving him a chance to escape? None of Thanos' previous behavior indicates he has ever reconsidered his abuse towards Nebula, strongly suggesting the latter, but his unconditional love for Gamora (who he has also abused) shows he's not incapable of showing love and kindness to his victims. It's also possible that losing the rest of his children gave him a Jerkass Realization of how he had taken Nebula for granted. Plus, Nebula did say her father is anything but a liar, so that does make it harder to dispute his sincerity, and Nebula does know her father well. His 2014 self also shows genuine praise for 2014 Nebula... after Nebula has completed her mission, of course. Is he going for a bit of both options? All in all, it's hard to get a 100% fix on Thanos' approach in his last moments.
2014 Thanos motivation. He tries to present resetting the entire universe as the ultimate mercy, having come to realize erasing half the universe will leave the remaining half utterly miserable. Is he honestly thinking that? Or is he trying to salvage his initial idea of helping the universe through death by taking it to next level? Is it simply a knee-jerk reaction for how ungrateful everyone seems to be for his future sacrifices? Is he simply going more mad because he cant accept his entire life work to be a colossal failure?
The conclusion of Thors story arc raise a question: Did Thor ever personally want to be the king of Asgard, or was it a role he was groomed to assume no matter what? His first solo movie established he would have been a terrible ruler, and he seemed almost relieved when told Odin will keep on ruling for a while. The Dark World then shows him explaining to "Odin" that he dislikes rule and the only time he ever actually takes the crown is in Ragnarok, which is thrust upon him. Now, he is outright leaving the remaining Asgardians to be ruled by Valkyrie. Going by all the events up to now, finding someone who could rule instead of him seemed inevitable.
When Thor retrieves Mjolnir from 2013 Asgard, does he do so purely for himself, to prove that he is still worthy of wielding it? Or did he do so intending for Captain America to wield it as well?
2014 Nebula's Redemption Rejection. What makes it odd is that present Nebula was quick to betray Thanos at the given opportunity, yet 2014 Nebula still chose to side with him. Was it wholly out of fear of Thanos as she reasons, or something else factored in as well? Earlier, 2014 Thanos affirms his trust in her when Ebony Maw deemed her a traitor and later on commends her for successfully bringing him to the present. It's possible that finally getting validation from her adopted father (possibly for the first time in her life) fully reinforced 2014 Nebula's loyalty to him, which could explain why she's much more unwilling to betray Thanos than her present counterpart, who had never gotten the same praise.
None of the un-dusted heroes seem to have any qualms about the fact that they were dead for five years until they weren't. It's at least partially justified in that, according to Peter Parker, the experience was simply like passing out and then waking up. Notably, Peter does have an emotional reaction to meeting Ned again, suggesting that the lack of angst over the situation was because they had more important things to worry about like having a massive battle to fight with the fate of the Universe at stake.
Morgan is definitely unsettled by Tony's final message to her, but after all's said and done, she's mostly just hungry and in the mood for a cheeseburger. Justified rather heartbreakingly in that while she's implied to be a genius, she's still only 4-years-old and thus doesn't possess the capacity to truly comprehend the concept of death on an emotional level yet.
Thanos himself at the beginning of the film is killed pretty easily by Captain Marvel, the Hulkbuster, War Machine, and Thor... although this is a clear tip-off that this isn't the final battle with him. It helps that Thanos was severely injured from destroying the Stones two days earlier.
2014 Nebula goes down with a single shot through the chest by her prime timeline counterpart. Considering that she's the impetus for the entire third act of the film, that's a surprisingly quick fight.
Corvus Glaive and Cull Obsidian die pretty uneventfully during the final battle as Cull is stomped on by Scott and Corvus is quickly impaled by Okoye during the "girl power" charge before getting disintegrated along with the rest of his allies.
Thanos's flagship, the Sanctuary II. First, it turns its full broadsides on the heroes at Thanos's orders... and despite its guns being larger than battleship cannons, and firing at foes with no cover, it does very little damage and overall displays extremely pathetic firepower (near-misses impacting literal inches from regular humans — and Rocket — fail to make them flinch).note For comparison, generic 155mm HE artillery shells have a kill radius of 50 meters against men in body armor Then, a few minutes later, Captain Marvel simply flies through it and wrecks it from within, setting off internal secondary explosions that cause the whole ship to go down in flames. This is especially bad because barely 20 minutes earlier, the missile armament of the same ship utterly annihilated the Avengers compound in a couple of shots, seemingly having firepower comparable to modern cruise missiles; they're never used again, possibly because the initial salvo was all they had.
Apparently, the filmmakers were very much aware of the criticisms and flaws in Thanos's original plan; his perfect, "grateful" world, while the water is cleaner, is full of haunted survivors and dirty streets. Furthermore, when he's presented with proof that his plan will fail, he makes adjustments, but probably not what the critics were expecting — he thinks it's everyone else's fault that it fails because the survivors still "know what they've lost," so he just goes right ahead with rebuilding the universe from the ground up, perfectly balanced from the start. This also addresses both the "Thanos was right" cohort, not to mention splitting the difference between the people who liked his portrayal in the first film and the fans who didn't like how his motivation was changed from the comics from being an Omnicidal Maniac who wanted to kill as many people as possible to a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to prevent greater suffering.
Ebony Maw was the most popular member of the Children of Thanos in Infinity War, and fans weren't happy when he was the first to die and killed so early into the movie. In this movie, Ebony Maw undoubtedly has the largest role out of the four members and this time actually lasts all the way to the end, outliving all his "siblings" and only dying when he gets dusted by Tony using the Infinity Gauntlet Mark III.
On a similar note, after years of chagrined Marvel TV fans bitterly lamenting that despite the "it's all connected" message that was pushed in the early days of the MCU, none of the TV characters ever actually got to show up in the movies. Here, an aging Edwin Jarvis shows up in the flesh as Howard Stark's driver, to the no-doubt delight of many Agent Carter fans.
Some fans criticized the portrayal of Wakanda in Infinity War, particularly the fact that the entire Wakandan army seemed to be composed of a few hundred foot soldiers and approximately half a dozen vehicles. This time around, the Wakandan army stretches beyond the horizon and includes an entire fleet of aircraft and vehicles.
A minor one, but Thanos' sleeveless "Casual Friday at Work" outfit in the previous film was promptly memed into oblivion, together with his distractingly massive bald head, by fans who found it difficult to take seriously. The younger version of Thanos that makes it to the final battle spends almost the entirety of his screentime in full armor, making him much easier to buy as a brutal Galactic Conqueror.
Scott playing a very important role in coming up with a plan to reverse Thanos wiping out half of life and having as much screen time and importance as the original Avengers seems to be an apology for not having Ant-Man be one of the founding members like in the comics (albeit with Scott taking over Hank Pym's role), as well as his absence in Infinity War.
Iron Man 3 was criticized for totally bungling the idea ofan empowered Pepper not once but twice, first when she wore Tony's armor for all of five minutes during the Mandarin's attack on his house, and secondly when she got Extremis superpowers in the climax that were removed a scene later. This movie finally gives the MCU's first leading lady the honor she deserves, by letting her suit up in full Rescue armor during the final battle, and even fighting by her husband's side.
Some fans were disappointed that none of the characters's individual themes from their solo movies, apart from Black Panther (2018), were present in Infinity War. Here, all the characters get a few bars of their character themes during their moments to shine, but especially the themes for Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and Captain Marvel.
Thor, who goes from being able to take out Thanos's entire army singlehandedly and wiping the floor with Thanos with a single lightning bolt to being easily manhandled by Thanos even when wielding both Stormbreaker and Mjölnir. Sure, he's washed-up and very fat, but it's still disheartening to see him struggle.
Corvus Glaive and Cull Obsidian; in Infinity War they were able to beat Captain America and Iron Man respectively, but this time around they both die without fanfare, as if they were just any Mook. Obsidian is also the only Children of Thanos to fall before Iron Man uses the Infinity Stones to erase them from existence while Corvus is apparently knocked out and heavily wounded after he's impaled by Okoye with Vibranium spear and doesn't do anything else before getting disintegrated. Obsidian, unfortunately, can't exactly avoid a Giant-Man foot that squashes him like a bug; Glaive at least has the dignity of surviving until after Captain Marvel arrives, while Obsidian dies not long after the battle begins.
Averted with the initial confrontation between the Avengers and Thanos. He's barely alive and in retirement, with the following scuffle being a total Curb-Stomp Battle. Any relief that audiences might have evaporate the instant that it's revealed that the Infinity Stones are gone, leaving no apparent solution to undoing the deaths of half of an entire universe. Even with Thor lopping off his arm and then beheading him with Stormbreaker, there's not a lasting sense of satisfaction that comes with this scene, but defeat.
Conversely, all the scenes of the Avengers landing a blow on Thanos, be it Captain America pummeling him with Mjölnir, Wanda ripping his armor apart while sending him in the air, or Captain Marvel bending his fingers backward and taking a headbutt from him with no reaction whatsoever, are all extremely cathartic after seeing Thanos almost always getting the last word.
Thanos' 2014 self gets the Gauntlet and makes a second snap... only for his smug look to disappear when nothing happens and he realizes that Tony has transferred the Stones to his own suit of armor. Tony then makes his own snap, and this time it is Thanos, his children, and his entire army that are dusted. After all that the Mad Titan has done, it is immensely satisfying seeing him bow his head in utter despair and defeat before being utterly dusted himself (it certainly helps that he sticks around a minute longer than everyone else, so he can fully absorb the impact of seeing everything he's worked for utterly destroyed).
Watching Ebony Maw fade as he pathetically reaches out for his father-figure (echoing Spider-Man's dusting) and Proxima Midnight cradling her beloved's dead body as she too drifts away (exactly mirroring Scarlet Witch's death) are both magnificent to behold.
Clint had been the Memetic Loser of the MCU for years on end for his perceived uselessness, which even seeped into the narrative itself with his teammates mocking him at times. Here, after his whole family died, Clint dons the identity of Ronin and proceeds to show the world why his comic counterpart is considered one of the toughest Avengers even with no powers. Ronin slaughters Yakuza left and right, and holds his own in every encounter like a champ. In fact, opposite of being a Memetic Loser, Ronin is The Dreaded in the criminal underworld.
Thanos gets two cases of this.
He loses most of his Adaptational Nice Guy from the previous film by the end of this one, more closely resembling the megalomaniac from the comics. His plan goes from "destroy half of the universe to save the rest" to "destroy the entire universe" when he learns that the Avengers aren't grateful for his "sacrifice", and are looking to do something to undo it.
While he was praised in Infinity War, there was criticism that Thanos relied too heavily on the gauntlet to a fault, which made some wonder if he had power without it. This time around we get to see what he's really made of, going one-on-three against Iron Man, Cap and Thor while easily being on the winning side, all without him having to use it. In fact, he only uses the Power Stone once, and he had to take it out of the gauntlet to do so as Captain Marvel was holding the gauntlet open on his hand.
2014 Gamora's introduction and actions in the movie seem to indicate that she'll be closer to her comic book characterization as being "the most dangerous woman in the galaxy" going forward, instead of being the Team Mom for the Guardians... Which, if anything, makes her prime timeline counterpart's demise even more tragic.
"And then all of a sudden Black Panther and all his horde of people coming out of the woodwork are they the Avengers too? Like, why didn't they just help them the entire time, and then none of this craziness would have happened?"
Captain Marvel: Hey, Peter Parker. Got something for me?
There are also a subset of fans who believed that Hawkeye should have sacrificed his life for the Soul Stone, and that Black Widow should have married his widowed wife.
Also, Thor and Carol, based on the scene from the trailer and the movie where Thor says he likes her.
Thor: I like this one.
Crosses the Line Twice: Rhodey suggesting infanticide by using the time machine to travel back in time to strangle baby Thanos somehow loops back to being hilarious thanks to his nonchalant and serious tone, pointing out it's Thanos. Bruce's horrified reaction makes it even more so.
Though her role is pretty minor, Cassie Lang was welcomed by the fanbase in part because she welcomes her father back in open arms five years after thinking he died, and is now a lovely young lady. Oh, and of course, the potential for her to become Stature increasing by multiple magnitudes is a plus.
By a similar token, Morgan Stark as the daughter of Tony and Pepper. She's also cute as a button and a Daddy's Girl, endearing her to the fanbase.
Frigga's appearance in this film is well-liked, in part because the first two Thor movies barely used her before killing her off, and in part because she's able to get Thor back in the right mindset of being a hero in spite of his failings, even when this version of him isn't technically her son.
Howard Stark has only a brief role, but his unknowing conversation with his future son has caused many to see him in a new and better light.
James D'Arcy makes a brief appearance as Jarvis, to the utter delight of Agent Carter fans, in the first time a character/actor who originated in one of the MCU TV shows has migrated to the movies.
Pepper Potts as Rescue was a point of praise for many, seeing her finally join in on the action with Tony as a Battle Couple was a real treat.
The title itself, given the secrecy behind it, was the subject of a lot of speculation. Popular candidates for the movie's name included Avengers: The Infinity Gauntlet,note which was Jossed shortly after the release of Infinity WarAvengers: Infinity Crusade, note the name of the sequel to the original Infinity War comicAvengers: Secret Wars,note which the directors heavily implied was not the case when they mentioned a desire to adapt such a story in case Disney acquires FoxAvengers: Secret Invasion, Avengers Disassembled, Avengers Forever, note which the directors have stated was the closest guess to what the actual title isAvengers: Annihilation, and Avengers: Endgame.note Ironically implied not to be the case at the time because the directors stated that the title of the fourth Avengers movie was not spoken in Infinity War... which, of course, later turned out to actually be false.
The set photos showing an older Tony Stark and Scott Lang interacting with Steve Rogers as he appeared in The Avengers, along with some other set photos showing characters in costumes that they wore earlier in the continuity, have led to the theory that Avengers 4 is a movie based around Time Travel. Adding to this is that Kevin Feige mentioned that the Grand Finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation ("All Good Things..."), which prominently featured characters jumping through time, was a key influence on this story, along with set photos showing Scott interacting with Gamora and Nebula as they appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy.
The fact that (A) Clint will return as Ronin rather than Hawkeye, and a solo project was announced possibly involving him training a younger archer; (B) a casting call was leaked for baby twin boys who are believed be those of Scarlet and Vision; (C) Patriot was originally planned to appear in Black Panther before being cut due to the Loads and Loads of Characters; and (D) Cassie Lang has been aged up to a teenager (in line with her comics counterpart) has a number of people suspecting that a Young Avengers movie is being set up by the MCU for Phase 4, starting from here. Like the Guardians of the Galaxy, they wouldn't exactly be expected compared to other big names with longer histories, seeing as they were only introduced in 2005.
There's also the theory that the day that Marvel took the "class photo" was the day that they filmed the big sequence with forty characters that has been confirmed to appear in this film. The actual movie casts a very dark shadow over this, as the only scene that most likely involved all these actors, without having to green-screen them together like a Big Badass Battle Sequence would need, is the funeral of Tony Stark.
As his actor was allegedly been spotted on set, the acquisition of Fox by Disney granting Marvel the X-Men film rights, and the theories that the movie will involve time travel, many believe that Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver will be brought back to the MCU after his death in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Sadly, this turned out to not be the case.
Some believe that the franchise's new status quo will revolve around an older Cassie Lang rebuilding the world years in the future, with any reversals to Thanos wiping out half of the universe's life being fairly minor. It turned out to be incorrect, but the movie does keep an older Cassie Lang around that leaves her role in future movies open for exploration.
A contingent also suspect that with the reshoots taking place, and neither it nor any concept art seen so far showing anything past-related, that the idea of Time Travel being part of the plot was a smokescreen intentionally made to fool the audience and cover the real plot of the movie, the bulk of which filmed in reshoots rather than the original photography. Adding to the theory, Word of God confirms they've filmed fake scenes specifically to provide fake spoilers and keep the film under wraps.
The fact that Clint will be appearing not as Hawkeye but as Ronin has led many fans to assume that his wife and kids were killed in the Snapture. This is confirmed in the opening scene of the film.
The first official trailer showing that Tony and Nebula are trapped, adrift in space in the Guardians' spaceship, the Benatar, has prompted some suggestion that they'll be rescued by Kraglin. Others have theorized they'll instead be picked up by Korg, Miek, and Valkyrie (along with any Asgardian survivors). They are ultimately rescued by Carol in the film.
A leaked photo suggests Pepper will be suiting up as Rescue. She does.
Some speculated that Drax's death would be permanent due to Dave Bautista's objection to the firing of James Gunn and publicly expressed his doubt for returning for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, before the latter was re-hired. This ended up being Jossed as Drax ends up living.
2012 Loki escaping with the Tesseract and never appearing again provoked some suspicion that rather than being a prequel, his series on Disney+ will be about this Loki's adventures on the run.
With Disney now having bought back the Marvel properties owned by Fox, quite a few people guessed the briefly mentioned underwater earthquake is foreshadowing for Namor the Sub-Mariner.
With time-travel being a key factor in the movie, a lot of fans began speculating that Kang the Conqueror may play a role in Phase 4. Some fans even theorise that due to Tony Stark being the first to successfully pioneering time-travel, Tony Stark may be Kang's ancestor in this continuity as opposed to Reed Richards or Doctor Doom in the comics.
The heroes undo the snap and wipe out Thanos' army, but they stop at only undoing the snap, and the way it works essentially results in all those wiped out just suddenly appearing, five years after disappearing, having not aged. Ignoring the long-term psychological effects for people who lost five years, the damage their time missing would have on their loved ones, and the dissonance that will arise from trying to fit back into their old lives, this indicates that anyone who died indirectly from the snap, either beforehand as a result of Thanos' conquest (IE, Loki, the Asgardians, Vision), or after as a result of those people disappearing (IE, passengers on planes whose pilots were snapped away, people in medical crisis after doctors are snapped away, people who couldn't handle the loss and committed suicide, etc), wouldn't be returned.
The conclusion to Steve's arc, in the minds of some. After years of trying to build a new life for himself, getting Bucky back and forming new friendships with Sam and the other Avengers, he decides to go back in time and live out his life with Peggy. The explanation of how timelines work by the Ancient One has given rise to two theories; the first possibility, supported by the directors, is that Steve went to an additional timeline to live his entire life with Peggy, coming back at the end to give the shield to Sam, that requires to ignore how time travel has worked for the entire movie... and the other, supported by the writers, that Steve came back to the past and ignored everything that happened for the sake of the space-time continuumnote Between the many things that he would be required to ignore, you would have HYDRA infiltrating his wife's organization, Bucky being used as a weapon and tortured for over 70 years, the murder of Stark's parents, etc. Not helping matters is the fact that it was confirmed back in Winter Soldier that she married and had a family after she moved on from Steve, so his action here indicates that either he supplanted another man's life, or that Peggy was talking about him this whole time, which leads to a great deal of Fridge Logic. While the former sidesteps a lot of the Fridge Logic of the latter, it still comes with some additional issues of its own, like Steve knowing Sharon since she was a baby, knowing his past self would go on and be romantically involved with her, having another Steve frozen in the Arctic while he stays with Peggy, and the fact that he comes back to Peggy with a metric ton of emotional baggage and trauma. Another issue taken with the ending is that learning to adjust to the modern era was a running subplot of Steve's previous movies; his choosing to return to the past renders it all for naught at best and an utter failure at worst.
There's also the other damage unintentionally done to the alternate timelines as well. While all the Infinity Stones are indeed returned to their rightful, respective timelines and locations, other things go wrong as a result. These things include, but are not limited to: Loki escaping with the Tesseract, Crossbones and Sitwell targeting the Cap when the other one made them believe he was HYDRA and got the staff from them, the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility going into a panic with the Tesseract disappearing there too, Cap having questions about Bucky as well as how or if Loki knocked him out while disguised as him, Mjölnir going missing at a crucial time Thor could have needed it, whatever crazy (but probably very comedic) thing might have happened when Jane had the Aether pulled out of her by Rocket and so on. Just one of these things alone is sure to bring about even more problems as well.
Even Better Sequel: Considered by some critics to be better than the first three Avengers movies, and better than all MCU movies other than Black Panther. It should be noted that this is not an universal view, though, with other critics holding Infinity War up as the better film, citing it as having better pacing and a more tightly written plot.
The Russos statement that Cap was always worthy of Mjolnir and just pretending not to be able to lift it to spare Thors feelings is a bit controversial, with several fans saying it makes for a much less interesting story than his having to work to be worthy of it just like Thor himself. Joss Whedon at least stated that this was his intent with the scene in Age of Ultron after the movie was released, so it's at least consistent with what was established.
There's also contention about their reason for Steve giving the Captain America mantle to Sam rather than Bucky, which is that Bucky isn't completely deprogrammed yet and wouldn't want to risk falling back on his programming while acting as Captain America. Fans pretty much ignore this since it undermines both Bucky and Sam's characters, and hold that the shield went to Sam simply because he fits the necessary attitude better than Bucky.
Additionally, this give potential material for stories set in the alternate realities the Avengers created while traveling through time, like what happened to 2012 Loki, after he escaped with the Tesseract.
And what happens to the Cosmic side of things when 2014 Thanos vanishes without any explanation, leaving a power vacuum.
How did Steve return all the Infinity Stones? How much did he change things in his other reality? How did he come back to this one? What happened when he went to Vormir and saw the Red Skull again?!?!
The directors states that Steve going back to marry Peggy created an alternate timeline from which he returned for the final scene. And he'd definitely want to take care of the growing HYDRA seed inside SHIELD and save Bucky in the meantime.
The writers states that Steve going back to marry Peggy happened in the same timeline (he was Peggy's husband all along). And their two children have somewhat super soldier DNA.
Since it's confirmed that he was at least still alive (and serving the Starks) into the 70s, when exactly did Jarvis die, quit, or cut ties with them, considering that Tony has never referenced him and Tony's parents were alone when Bucky killed them both?
Fans Prefer the New Her: A lot of people like Clint better as the vengeance-seeking archer-samurai Ronin than he was as the superhero agent Hawkeye. It even extends to his Ronin costume, which as many would say it's an improvement in coolness factor over his standard Hawkeye gear... Although a lot of fans could do without the new]hair.
Kevin Feige's and Marvel's frequent deflecting when asked if there would ever be a Black Widow-centered movie can come off like this given that Natasha gets Killed Off for Real here.note That said, the Black Widow solo movie is still happening, it will presumably just be a prequel or interquel.
Not counting Peter vanishing in Infinity War, Iron Man is the third iconic Marvel hero to die majorly in a movie following Wolverine and Spider-Man, with roughly a year separating each. Each also dies mortally wounded with his successor or next of kin at his side and having just saved them.
As much as Star-Lord essentially messed things up in Infinity War because he was upset about Gamora's death, this film reveals something that ends up making it a little more understandable, even if he didn't know it. Being a sacrifice for the Soul Stone makes it unable for Gamora to come back, so he really has lost her, and now has to settle for a past version of her who doesn't know him.
Might cross slightly into Heartwarming in Hindsight as well, but in Avengers: Age of Ultron Clint and Lauras unborn (later newborn) son was named Nathaniel after Natasha (and would have been Natasha had it been a girl). Come this film, Nathaniel Pietro Barton is now the namesake of two people who sacrificed their lives while saving Clints.
In the Iron Man stinger, Fury is introduced mocking Tony saying "I am Iron Man". Well, the phrase certainly doesn't look like anything to mock now...
Peter has now lost three father figures, counting what almost certainly happened in his past to Uncle Ben and the fact his biological parents arent around.
On a second viewing, Black Widow's joking, "See you in a minute!" to the other Avengers on the quantum tunnel platform before they leave on the time heist mission becomes this, knowing she won't be coming back.
He Really Can Act: Paul Rudd's role as Ant-Man in previous films usually portrays him as a funny comic relief character who makes the audience laugh with his antics. In this film, however, he gets to work on his dramatic chops as he participates in several serious scenes after coming back from the Quantum Realm and finds himself five years into the future. His frantic search through the memorial of those that perished from Thanos's snap hoping that he won't find Cassie's name on it, his tearful reunion with the now teenage Cassie, to his serious attempt to convince Tony to help him in creating a working Time Machine to bring everyone else he lost back, all show Scott Lang at his most vulnerable moment yet, and Paul Rudd sells those moments perfectly.
The directors indicated that this would be the movie that has the big sequence with a total of forty characters in a single action scene. The actual battle turns out to be even bigger than that — not only does it indeed feature almost all the surviving heroes going against Thanos and his Children, but it also includes both Thanos' entire army of aliens against the combined forces of Wakanda's army, the surviving Asgardians, and Dr Strange's sorcerers in a gigantic battle.
The scene at the end of the first act where the Avengers find the retired Thanos and literally butcher him in minutes with Thor hacking off his arm, and then chopping his head off for good measure.
The world after the Decimation has plenty of unpleasant things to think about, like how the absence of half of all of the planet's life would impact the environment, society, and the economy, not to mention that it would also likely lead to further loss of life that would result from the sudden absence of doctors performing operations and pilots guiding airplanes... And that's just on Earth. These sorts of events are happening across the entire universe.
But what may actually be just as bad is the undoing of such an event; given that the Earth (and other planets by extension) managed to adjust to five years of these changes, the sudden reversal to pre-Decimation numbers for all populations involved could result in similar crises. Now, there are a number of mouths to feed without the usual means in place to feed them with. Hundreds of millions are without jobs and homes due to the economic turmoil that's happened. And that's just the start... Indeed, some of these consequences are explored in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and likely will continue to be explored for several post-Endgame movies.
Black Widow's death, not helped by that fact that a.) Hawkeye explicitly didn't want her to die and b.) she's the second female hero in a row to be killed for the Soul Stone in what many consider a very ignoble ending for the MCU's leading lady. It doesn't help that unlike Tony, she doesn't get an onscreen funeral to give the character a proper send-off. Though the film by that point was already just shy of over 3 hours long, a wreath floated down the river beside Tonys would have been an easily achievable gesture of respect regardless, considering Romanoffs sacrifice was no less heroic and just as important as Starks in the context of the final heroic victory.
The Russos' statement that Endgame introduced first LGBT character in an MCU movie — a man at Steve Rogers' therapy session, played by Joe Russo himself — has caused backlash not only from members of the LGBT community, who found that a nameless character with no story significance and a single scene was not exactly something to brag about, but continuity sticklers given that Jeri Hogarth from Jessica Jones was a lesbian, Joey Gutierrez from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was gay, and Valkyrie from Thor: Ragnarok is bisexual, the latter especially getting backlash due to Marvel originally refusing to shoot a scene that confirmed it despite both Tessa Thompson and Taika Waititi wanting to.
Sure, Avengers: Infinity War killed off a bunch of characters, but few fans expect most of them will actually stay dead. In particular, the resurrections of Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and at least some of the fallen Guardians are seemingly Foregone Conclusions, given that they all have sequels in development — one of which was officially scheduled for after the release of this film.
In a traditional example, an early part of the film tries to suggest that Tony is in very real danger of dying from running out of oxygen while stranded in space. Given this is the first ten minutes of the film, and this would be an incredibly low-key and undignified send off for the franchise's most important character, almost no one was buying it.
Wow, would you look at that! Thor chopped Thanos' head off fifteen minutes into the movie, in a story featuring time travel! I'll bet that's the last of Thanos we're seeing, for sure...
Continuing on from the last film, Star-Lord is still this for many. He constantly gets screwed over throughout the film's climax, which includes getting kneed in the groin by 2014 Gamora. Not to mention that he's still being overshadowed by Thor, even when the latter's still out-of-shape. The poor guy just can't get any respect. Even his 2014 self gets the same treatment, courtesy of getting knocked out by War Machine for the Power Stone.
For similar reasons, Spider-Man subsequently got hit with a sort of Memetic Molestee treatment, not only for his scene with Captain Marvel, but because all the female superheroes in the MCUnote including Valkyrie, Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, Okoye, Shuri, Scarlet Witch, and Rescue end up surrounding him before the big Action Girl sequence. Some have even joked that he's the superhero movie equivalent of a Harem Genre protagonist.
Prime timeline Thanos destroying the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Stones is a gesture that establishes that there's no going back from what he did... At least, not until Ant-Man shows up. Thanos himself argues against that it was a moral thing to do, noting that he destroyed them to resist any future temptation to use them.
2014 Thanos deciding that he's going to go full Omnicidal Maniac and become a god when he learns that the Avengers of the prime timeline aren't happy with him killing half of all life, effectively revealing that for all his talk about wanting what's best for the universe, he was always a genocidal monster.
Although Thor picking up the slack after spending most of the film as an overweight, drunken wreck is awesome, his prominent gut throughout the climactic fight somewhat ruins the dramatic effect. His greasy long hair and beard also don't help matters, especially as, while the beard is tidied up slightly for the fight, his hair remains visibly greasy and the way the beard is tidied just makes him look even more like a fat hippie. The fact he's still sporting the "drunk hobo" look at the end when it's no longer fitting for his character, distracts from his last scenes and just makes Thor look silly. Like he couldn't be bothered to get a trim for Tony's funeral, which makes it come off as disrespectful.
Jeremy Renner's delivery of his three lines of Japanese when he murders a Yakuza Boss and his entire gang are read flatly and emotionlessly with a terrible accent. Almost comedically, Hawkeyes final reply to said boss he murders suddenly jumps to English; perhaps to better allow Renner to convey the genuine anger needed for his line.
Although the scene where all the heroes band together to face against Thanos's army at the climax is nothing short of awesome, it's slightly undercut by the fact that the flying superheroes seem to be charging incredibly slowly through the air in contrast to those on foot.
Black Widow's death is made rather harder to take seriously as not only is the exact same music cue as Gamora's death in the same way used, but she even seems to land in the same position.
In what seems like a nod to his Orcus on His Throne demeanor from previously in the franchise, Thanos fully expects Nebula to go find the Infinity Stones amidst the rubble of Avengers HQ while he literally sits down somewhere and plays with rocks. It isnt until Steve, Tony and Thor show up that he bothers to do anything (but not before giving a Hannibal Lecture).
Tony telling his father that "no money bought a minute of time" becomes this when you remember that he's saying that to his father in the past, whom he's only seeing because Tony built a working time machine with his fortune.
A good chunk of the movie follows a grieving space-raccoon and a blue bald cyborg woman mourning the death of said raccoon's tree-son and said blue cyborg's green sister, as well as their other companions. And every dramatic scene with them still works.
The scene where Nat and Clint both try to sacrifice themselves to get the Soul Stone, while preventing the other to do so. The setup is downright comical, with both acting in the most melodramatic way possible and what essentially amounts to two adults racing to the edge of a cliff while attacking each other in increasingly improbable and over-the-top ways. But damn if this doesn't establish the difference between the scene in which Thanos was faced with the same situation and shows how selfless each hero is by leaving no doubt in how desperate they both are to stop their friends from dying. The fact that neither hesitates in offering themselves just goes forward in making it one of the most heroic scenes in the whole movie. Thanos was willing to sacrifice Gamora, but Clint and Natasha were both unwilling to sacrifice each other, preferring to sacrifice themselves.
Cap's initial leaping strike against Thanos with Mjölnir looks more than a little like something out of Super Mario Bros. but the rest of the sequence is so exciting, one is inclined to excuse it.
Pepper Potts shows up for the final battle in the Rescue suit with no explanation for how she managed to master the suit so effectively but her Battle Couple moment with Tony is so epic and her reaction when Tony makes a Heroic Sacrifice is so moving that no one in the audience really cares.
Morgan asking for a cheeseburger and Happy's comment on her father loving cheeseburgers may seem a bit silly at first but given that it is a callback to Iron Man and it happened right after Tony's funeral, it makes the scene very touching that they can recall fond moments of him. Happy being played by the man who started the whole franchise by directing the first film also adds a good deal of subtext.
The Eye Lights Out in Tony's death scene. While there could be some fail-safe in place to make it plausible, there is no reason given why his life signs would affect the reactor. While for many it adds to the effectiveness of the scene, it can seem weird. One possible explanation is that the energy surge from Tony's snap burned out his reactor, among other deleterious effects.
The Producer Thinks of Everything: Even though Tony, Bruce, Rocket and (due to his knowledge of Pym Particles and the Quantum Realm) Scott are intelligent enough to figure out a way to time travel using the Quantum Realm, it was mostly trial and error to start with and even then, the Ancient One from 2012 still had to clue in Bruce to what damage they could have done. Had Shuri (shown to be possibly smarter than the smartest people in the MCU up until that point) or Erik Selvig (the Theoretical Astrophysicist who has shown previous knowledge of quantum physics including the Schrödinger's Cat experiment as well as encountering the Infinity Stones in past films) been there to assist, the process would have gone a lot smoother. Cut to the list of missing Avengers and allies at the beginning of the movie where both Shuri (whose last scene in Avengers: Infinity War was being knocked unconscious by Corvus Glave) and Selvig (who last appeared in the MCU in Avengers: Age of Ultron) are listed, implying that they too were victims of the snap.
Retroactive Recognition: Jackson A. Dunn, the star of Brightburn, plays the child Scott after his first attempt at time travel. One imagines producer James Gunn suggested his next film's star could work pretty well in the cameo.
Ships That Pass in the Night: Captain Marvel and Peter Parker share about ten seconds of screen time and she says exactly seven words to him. Naturally, the fans pounced on this one reaction and immediately started shipping the two together, sometimes ignoring the age difference, sometimes not. It helps that they actually did date at one point in the comics, though at that time, they were both the same age.
The scene where retired Thanos gets mauled by the Avengers looking for vengeance.
Likewise, Steve Rogers saying "Hail Hydra!" to the HYDRA crew from Winter Soldier and walking away with the Scepter with the biggest "suckers" grin on his face.
And then immediately afterwards, fighting himself from 2012.
The lead-up to the final battle with Thor Dual Wielding Stormbreaker and Mjölnir, Captain America finally wielding Mjölnir and holding it next to his shield, Thanos smashing away Cap's Vibranium shield with his double-edged sword, and then the return of the dusted, complete with Steve saying "Avengers Assemble".
Thanos getting the second Infinity Gauntlet and attempting another Snap, only for the Stones to have been stolen by Iron Man.
And, of course, Tony Stark's death and funeral.
Slow-Paced Beginning: One critique of the film is that immediately after the Time Skip, the pace slows a bit to establish the state of the world and the cast; while there's a few lighthearted moments, there's not much action and the atmosphere is very dour and somber. Once Scott Lang explains his idea for the "time heist" and the heroes regroup to plan it, the pace starts to pick up considerably.
Spiritual Licensee: If you want to get a better idea of what the world is like post-snap, separate from the protagonists, watch The Leftovers. This was not lost on critics.
Star-Lord's Butt-Monkey status (his past self getting mocked by Nebula and War Machine before being knocked out to get the Power Stone, his present self being kneed three times in the groin by Past Gamora, still afraid of being overshadowed by Thor who has now joined the Guardians) is very satisfying for everyone who hadn't forgiven him for screwing up the plan in Avengers: Infinity War and letting Thanos succeed.
Cap pretending to be HYDRA to get away from the agents stealing the Tesseract is an obvious jab at the much-hated Secret Empire storyline which actually did try to convince us he'd been an undercover HYDRA agent for his entire history. Chris Evans himself famously had some harsh words for the story, and the smirk afterwards is clearly very much his own amusement at getting to use it this way.
Okoye has shockingly very little to do in the movie despite being one of the few heroes left behind after Thanos's snap. Her reaction to Black Panther and Shuri's death as well as what happens in Wakanda during the 5 years Time Skip is never explored.
You would also think Lady Sif would be part of the "Girl Power" group toward the end, since she was confirmed by the Russos to have also been a victim of the snap and was most likely brought back to life. Sadly, Sif is nowhere to be seen during the battle. It's unknown if Jaimie Alexander once again had scheduling issues due to Blindspot (which is why Sif was excluded from Thor: Ragnarok), or if she was never intended to appear period.
After all the hype for her character, Captain Marvel does shockingly little in the movie. Her interaction with the rest of the cast isn't explored in depth and she's not a major player for much of the film's plot (with the Avengers opting to recruit a potentially-insane Barton and washed-up Thor instead). Her personal stake of losing Fury is mostly glossed over as she's relegated to providing aid for planets that are struggling following the Snap. She and Fury don't even interact after he comes back, despite him standing five feet behind her at one point. However, one could justify her absence on the grounds that Carol is Story-Breaker Power levels of strong that had she been allowed to be more involved, the battle might have been over in five minutes. It took a direct hit from Thanos with the full might of the Power Stone to take her down; it's made pretty clear that without the Stones Carol might have beaten him, so Carol's involvement needed to be kept minimal to allow everyone else time to shine in the finale. Even then, it's still a waste that she doesn't participate in the Time Heist considering that's where her Story-Breaker Power would be considerably less useful.
Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and by extension the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. did not play any part in the final battle at all despite pretty much every surviving hero comes Back for the Finale and only show up at the very end during Tony Stark's funeral. It's a little jarring that the person who's responsible for spearheading the "Avengers Initiative" does not return to see its ultimate conclusion, and it feels like a wasted opportunity that we did not get to see the Hellicarrier in action again after all this time. Fury is nothing more than a cameo; even in the extended finale he doesn't even get a line.
For the past few movies, Hulk's arc has been played up to lead to something big. Fans were excited when it was revealed to lead to a Professor Hulk. Many fans were a bit disappointed, however. Banner's transformation happened off-screen, the Hulk persona is nowhere to be seen, and he does very little in the story outside of the second snap. There was ample opportunity to at least allow Hulk to get a little payback against Thanos in the final battle as nearly every character got to take at least one swing at the guy, but he doesn't really take part in the final battle all that much.
The post-snap World is described mostly by conversations between characters, about how they are sorry and how they can't move on. There was never really a chance to see what exact kind of damage erasing half of the living things would have on the world.
For They wasted a perfectly good joke, a lot of fans were hoping for a moment where Steve and Carol both reply to someone addressing Captain.
Too Cool to Live: Iron Man and Black Widow, two of the most culturally influential and guile heroes in the ever-spanning MCU, both make Heroic Sacrifices and aren't coming back. Also, Heimdall, Loki and Vision, who died in the preceding film, are amongst those not revived and stay dead. Finally, there is Thanos.
The return of Harley Keener, the Tagalong Kid from Iron Man 3, was a surprise to most people. Even many fans who'd seen the film didn't recognize him during the funeral sequence since his actor was now a tall, lanky youth in his late teens.
Few were expecting Cassie Lang to appear in the movie, or moreover, an older version of her in line with her comic counterpart.
While Clint returning in this movie was expected, what wasn't expected was him donning the mantle of Ronin rather than Hawkeye. It was the identity he had in the comics after coming back to life when Civil War was over and his original identity was taken by Kate Bishop. Here, it's to show that he's become a violent vigilante and Death Seeker during the Time Skip after he lost his family in the Downer Beginning.
It's safe to say that nobody was expecting Crossbones to return like Frank Grillo revealed. He appears in the past alongside Jasper Sitwell, who is equally unexpected, to retrieve the Chitauri Scepter during the aftermath of the Battle of New York.
Given that her role in Doctor Strange's solo movie was relatively self-contained and was killed off midway through, very few people expected The Ancient One to make a reappearance in this film, especially during the events of 2012's Battle of New York.
Jane Foster's return took a number of people by surprise, especially since her actress, Natalie Portman, had reportedly been on bad terms with Marvel over disagreements about Thor: The Dark World, which is why the character was previously MIA during Thor: Ragnarok.
The Russo Brothers confirmed they used unused footage from The Dark World. However they did have Portman record new dialogue to be heard off-screen. She also attended the movie's premiere and has stated that she is now open to returning in future Marvel projects.note In fact, the original script had her take the role of giving Thor a pep talk that lets him complete the mission, before they decided Frigga would work better. Marvel allowing more creative freedom for directors and actors in Phase 3 probably has a lot to do with this.
Similarly, many people were surprised that Rene Russo not only returned as Frigga, but shared a very important and plot-significant scene with Thor instead of a brief cameo like Jane Foster.
James D'Arcy reprises his role as Edwin Jarvis from the Agent Carter series, marking the first time ever that a character from an MCU TV series appears in an MCU film.
Robert Redford's return as Alexander Pierce was completely unexpected given his retirement from acting (the reason why he's in the movie is because the scene was filmed before said retirement).
The most surprising participant in the Battle of Earth: Howard the Duck, who has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo with the Ravagers.
While Thanos appearing in the movie was of course a given, few could have expected that the main antagonist would end up being a younger, alternate timeline Thanos who takes the place of the version seen in the previous movies.
A portion of the online community (including magazines and news sites such as Vanity Fair) have called out Endgame for its portrayal of Thor's obesity as fat-shaming cheap humor. To the credit of the screenwriters and the Russo brothers, however, the film does acknowledge that Thor's humiliating transformation comes from a place of depression, guilt and deep inconsolable grief, and does portray him as still a capable fighter.
Black Widow's death was met with criticism that came with massive baggage based on Natasha's forced sterilization and Hawkeye being a devoted family man. Additionally, her death made the big "girl power" moment feel cheap for a lot of people. The writers actually felt the need to address this controversy, explaining that it was meant to be interpreted as Natasha finally "wiping the red from her ledger".
While Thanos' presence is as impressive as it was in the previous film, Hulk in this film is also a grand case of motion capture. Hulk and Banner have fused into the same person now, and even though the audience is watching their favorite green bruiser, Mark Ruffalo's likeness comes through amazingly well.
The already impressive effects to create pre-serum Steve are brought back even better for the malnourished, emaciated Tony after getting back to Earth.
Somebody should have realized that sending Nebula to a past where a version of herself loyal to Thanos exists couldve resulted in a kill and replace, and she could use her future selfs wristband to return at the same time as everyone else with no one none the wiser.
Nebula herself should have realized, when she found out Thanos knew about her being in the past, that he didn't know about Vormir and quickly return to the present. Visibly panicking and feeling the need to alert Romanoff and Barton, it took at least half a minute for the pod to be beamed up, which she could have used to jump back then yet doesn't, making her directly responsible for 2014 Thanos and his army coming to the future. Given how utterly terrified and traumatized she is from Thanos' treatment, it's easy to assume she panicked.
Captain Marvel, who almost certainly can use the Infinity Gauntlet and live, doesn't bother to do so to finish the fight after taking it from Spider-Man and instead tries to put it in the van's quantum tunnel, giving Thanos a chance to knock it out of her hands and forcing Iron Man to sacrifice his life. One could excuse it given that she is acting on instinct and that it's the heat of the moment clouding her better judgement, especially considering she is probably used to just powering through her obstacles, but in retrospect it really affects how one can interpret Tony's death scene, bordering on Senseless Sacrifice.
Clint was really put through the wringer in this movie. It starts off with him losing his family out of the blue, not realising what had happened to them until it was too late. He then becomes a murderous vigilante to vent his grief and anger, and he's clearly horrified of what he had become to the point that he's more than willing to sacrifice his own life for the Soul Stone. To twist the knife even further, his best friend chooses to sacrifice herself in his stead, with no way of bringing her back.
Thor continues to be one from the last movie. Out of guilt, sadness and anger for his failure to stop Thanos, he becomes an alcoholic, obese, shut-in who's a broken shell of his former self. While he tries to put on a jolly facade throughout the movie, meeting his dead mother in the past causes him to break down out of shame and out of guilt for not being able to save her.
Even though a lot of his misfortune throughout the movie is Played for Laughs and Laser-Guided Karma for his screw-up in Infinity War, you can't help but feel bad for Star-Lord for all the crap he had to deal with in the film's finale. He's kicked in the groin three times by 2014 Gamora who had yet to meet him, while the Gamora he knew is still dead and lost forever. And he's still treated with no respect by the rest of the Guardians once Thor joins the team.
Scott Lang. After everything he's been through, he finally gets to mend his relationship with Hope, spend quality time with his daughter and be part of a successful business venture with the wombats. And then he gets stuck in the Quantum Realm after the Pyms are dusted off. Although he only was stuck in there for 5 hours, 5 years have actually passed. While thankfully, his daughter Cassie has survived, but now she is a teenager, while Scott has essentially become a Disappeared Dad. And while he does come up with a plan to undo the damage Thanos has done, he still gets almost No Respect from the other Avengers and ends up being a bigger Butt-Monkey than Star-Lord by virtue of being a main character this time. Thankfully, unlike Star-Lord, his Love Interest does come back to life and in the end he is seen spending time with Hope and a grown-up Cassie again.
A lot of people are ridiculing the fauxhawk that Clint is donning in the film.
Some people think that the red-and-white quantum tunnel suits look stupid or even downright ugly. The suits shapeshift into time-appropriate outfits for the mission, so it's not that big of a deal, but it still sticks out since each Avenger gets their own slightly different suit. They're also not on screen long, since they just have them on when they're time-traveling, then they change them into other outfits or suits when they get to their destinations, making it even less of a big deal. Even more the merchandise clothing line has the suits design, making them for fans the official fashion of the movie.
Post-timeskip Thor is very obviously just Chris Hemsworth in a fat suit, which only contributes to the above-described Narm factor in Thor's fall from grace.