Avengers: Endgame needed less than three weeks in theaters to make $2.5 billion in ticket sales, and with each day that goes by, Marvel’s newest movie is getting closer and closer to overtaking Avatar as the highest-grossing film in box office history. At three hours long, there’s so much happening in Endgame that you’ll have a hard time noticing all the tiny details and the clever Easter eggs — like Howard the Duck coming to Earth to fight Thanos. But the more you watch it, the more you notice a few particular plot choices that somewhat ruin the magic. Yes, Avengers 4 is the best Marvel movie ever made, but it’s not perfect.
It’s not that we have plot holes in the film, as everything can be explained — like the fact that Hulk lies to The Ancient One when he tells her that they plan to bring the Infinity Stones back to the timelines where they belong.
But the more I watch it, the clearer the inconsistencies are. And before you ask, it has nothing to do with any of the heartbreaking deaths in the film, Captain America’s retirement, or Thor’s melted-ice-cream-like body — I’ve already explained why all those arcs make perfect sense.
The Russo brothers’ Avengers movies are different from Joss Whedon’s in one major way. They fail to focus on the regular humans, the ones who actually have to deal with all the bad things that happen around the Avengers. Endgame does little to show us what the snaps mean for regular people of Earth and other planets, especially Hulk’s snap that brings everyone back five years later.
As great as it may be having everyone return after they vanished without any explanation five years ago, this is far from a happy ending. Even Tony Stark’s posthumous speech acknowledges that the world has been forever changed by these events. Yet the directors only show us what the aftermath of it all means for our heroes, not the regular people who have to deal with everything and are powerless to do anything about it.
Take Joe Russo’s cameo character, who happens to be Marvel’s first acknowledgment of LGBTQ characters. After five years, he’s still crying before dessert, and that’s understandable. But he’s moving on. What happened to him when his loved ones are snapped back into existence?
The personal ramifications of the vanished people returning to life are so massive that the movie couldn’t possibly deal with them all. But rather than focusing so much on our heroes after the fight, I would have liked to see more of what it all means for regular people. Showing a glimpse of Wakanda at the end doesn’t really count. After all, that’s Earth most developed nation and the most prepared to handle whatever comes their way. Hopefully Spider-Man: Far From Home will be able to deal with some of that fallout.
On the same note, how is it that the battle at the end didn’t feature any sort of intervention from whatever US military forces might be defending Earth? It’s probably safe to say that five years after Thanos, everyone on Earth would want to improve defenses against similar threats, just like SHIELD did in The Winter Soldier. If the Wakandan army had time to assemble before coming through those portals, then we could at least have also had fighter jets joining the battle on behalf of regular humans. You know, show that the world is now behind the Avengers, ready to support them as they deal with Evil. Even Howard the Duck came through!
The stupid part of the plan
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it now: the Avengers’ heist plan has a huge flaw. They’re willing to steal the Infinity Stones from various corners of the universe, yet they do not spend any time trying to solve their biggest problem. Each of the heroes has enough Pym particles for a single round trip — how convenient! — and they have a few to spare for test runs. We have several brilliant minds among them who could have developed their own Pym particles — the list includes Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Nebula, and Rocket. Combine their knowledge of science and you might end up making more Pym vials.
They had all the time in the world to do it, too. There was no urgency in this Hail Mary time heist plan. If Pym created these back in the 1970s, then Stark’s 2023 tech could surely replicate it.
If that fails, then their first mission should have been going to a time when Hank Pym was alive and either stealing the vials, which they ended up doing anyway, or convincing Pym to make more. They’ve already proven they’ll do whatever it takes, even if that means dealing with whatever consequences may arise in other timelines. So why not alter one more timeline by revealing to Pym that time travel is going to be possible in the future?
Again, Tony is one of the brilliant minds behind the Avengers and he could have easily created a plan where they’d get enough Pym particles to get the time heist done properly. By the way, Hank Pym was alive back in 2012 during the Battle of New York so they could have easily taken the scenic route to 1970 to try to get more particles from Pym on the way. Remember, they can spend any amount of time in the past and still return just seconds after their departure in the present.
Of course, Marvel did it all this way to keep us on the edge of our seat. What happens now that Loki ran away with the Tesseract? It’s also a great trick to send Tony back to 1970 where he’s able to get the closure he needed when it comes to his complicated relationship with his father. Not having enough time travel fuel also creates a sense of urgency for the movie. They only have one shot at pulling everything off. I agree that in order to sustain the great tempo of the film you need some sort of stressful element, but the Pym particles shouldn’t have been it.
Action on Vormir
So let me get this straight, you send two humans who have never really been in space to Vormir, one of the universe’s darkest, most dangerous places? Yes, Natasha went after Thanos in the first act, so she has some experience. And who knows what else happened in those five years. But Clint has never been off the planet before.
No matter how amazing these two are when it comes to combat and spy stuff, you probably don’t want to have them tackle Vormir of all places. It’s incredibly silly not to have someone on the team with some sort of scientific background in case things go wrong with the ship, or at least someone who’s been to other planets before.
Of course, Marvel needed this duo to go after the Soul Stone because we needed a heartbreaking sacrifice. And they nailed that one. Having Clint and Nat fight each other as they both want to sacrifice themselves for the Soul Stone is amazing and very emotional. It’s easily one of the highlights of the film. And it’s probably why you might not even wonder why these two were sent to Vormir of all places when you first watch the movie. You don’t have any time for that. The moment you see them on the Benatar flying to Vormir you know one of them isn’t coming back, and that consumes you.
Watch the film a second and a third time, and you’ll see that they never explain how they created the teams. Maybe there’s a perfectly valid explanation for why characters like Hulk, Rocket, and Nebula didn’t go to Vormir.
Again, the scarcity of Pym particles comes into play when setting up these teams and plan of action.
The only way
Endgame is just too well done to notice these things immediately. And once you do, you’ll forgive Marvel right away because Endgame delivers on so many levels.
More importantly, the other day I told you that Doctor Strange’s revelation that they only had a chance of winning against Thanos is also a huge trump card for Marvel. Everything that happens in this movie has to take place in this particular way, or else they won’t win.
It’s not only that Tony had to sacrifice himself to beat Thanos. But that rat had to save Ant-Man. They had to lose Natasha in exchange for the Soul Stone. They had to create alternate timelines when altering the past and risk the demise of those alternate realities. They had to revive everyone five years after their disappearance, no matter how problematic that might be once all these lost creatures return to their ecosystems.
Any different course of events and Thanos wins again. Other choices the characters may have made, like manufacturing a boatload of Pym particles before traveling back in time or sending a different team to Vormir, would have resulted in a catastrophic loss against Thanos, as we know thanks to Strange’s revelation.