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Iron Man AI plot hole in Avengers: Endgame is heartbreaking, but it’s not really a plot hole

Published Jul 4th, 2024 8:23PM EDT
Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame final battle
Image: Marvel Studios

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We’re halfway through 2024, and the only Marvel movie coming out this year is Deadpool & Wolverine, which is about three weeks away. There haven’t been any new MCU TV shows to watch on Disney Plus either, so it’s no wonder you might want to revisit some of the best Marvel adventures of the past while you wait for Deadpool 3 to hit theaters.

Nobody would fault you for rewatching Avengers: Endgame, the movie that ended the Infinity Saga, setting the MCU on the current Multiverse Saga course. One Marvel fan did exactly that recently, sharing on social media a potentially big and heartbreaking AI plot hole concerning Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

It’s a detail that most people might have missed, and I have to admit I’m also in that category. However, I also happen to have answers that can explain why this isn’t really a plot hole for Endgame. Since the movie premiered five years ago, there’s no reason to warn you about any spoilers following below. However, if you haven’t seen Endgame, you might want to avoid what follows and enjoy the movie.

Avengers: Endgame’s AI plot hole

A Redditor posted the following theory noting potential issues with Jarvis (Paul Bettany) in Endgame:

In Endgame, Tony went back to the Avenger tower. Now, I remember in the previous films that Jarvis was installed in the tower. That not only means Jarvis could identify Tony from the future, but that also means Jarvis realized he’s no longer the AI used by Tony (he probably could identify Friday in Tony’s Nano Suit). Still, he kept silent.

It is actually kind of sad to think about this

Redditor HarrisonDou is right. This is a heartbreaking detail, one I never stopped to consider. Of course Jarvis would detect this reality has another Tony Stark in it. Well, Jarvis wouldn’t know the multiverse is real, but he would definitely have the ability to figure out someone is masquerading as Iron Man outside the Avengers tower.

Jarvis might even realize there’s a different, better AI powering the Iron Man suit—that the suit is actually much different from what his Tony is using.

Screenshot from Avengers: Endgame showing the Avengers team planning the daring mission to retrieve the Infinity Stones from the past.
Screenshot from Avengers: Endgame showing the Avengers team planning the daring mission to retrieve the Infinity Stones from the past. Image source: Marvel Studios

Maybe Jarvis could also detect Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) as a tiny Ant-Man.

Also, any security that Jarvis would manage during the Battle of New York and its aftermath would likely pick up the two Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) fighting each other.

If any of that happened, Jarvis would immediately contact the main Tony Stark and warn him there was another threat afoot. As far as Jarvis knows, these Avengers-like characters might be part of the alien invasion.

There wouldn’t be real heartbreak either, as Jarvis is an AI that hardly manifests it. It’s painful for the audience to make these connections. But the audience often forgets the main thing about Endgame. The movie has incredibly thick plot armor that prevents any plot holes.

The explanation

As Infinity War ends with all those deaths, we learn from Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) that the Avengers win only in one scenario. There is only one way for them to beat Thanos (Josh Brolin), and things must happen in a certain order.

After Loki, we now know that He Who Remains had orchestrated this particular outcome for the Avengers. Thanos was never going to win. But they had to lose to beat him.

Therefore, Endgame has no plot holes. Everything that you might deem an issue for the story is supposed to happen that way for the Avengers to win.

Doctor Strange in Avengers: Endgame final battle
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Avengers: Endgame final battle. Image source: Marvel Studios

Let’s say the theory is correct, and Jarvis detected the second Iron Man in Endgame. Whether he contacted Stark or not, it doesn’t matter. The future Avengers present in New York that day would have always gotten the job done. They’d have stolen the Infinity Stones without planning to return them.

Remember that the Avengers had no idea what their Time Heist would do to these realities until Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) met the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). It’s only then they realized they’d have to bring the Infinity Stones back once they won.

However, the simpler explanation for Jarvis detecting multiple Iron Man variants is something other Redditors have pointed out. This is Tony Stark we’re talking about. He is coming home. That’s a home he designed, complete with security measures, including Jarvis.

The planning phase for the Time Heist likely covered this aspect. Tony Stark would have ensured that Jarvis of the past would not detect the Iron Man of the future. That’s the kind of issue that could significantly impact what should be a covert operation. Therefore, it’s very likely that Tony would have deployed measures to hide their presence from Jarvis of the past.

It’s something the audience can’t and shouldn’t be bothered with, however. Again, Endgame has thick plot armor, something we knew when we went to see the movie. There’s one chance to fix things, and it’s going to work because events have to happen in a particular order.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in episode 1 of Loki on Disney Plus, just after he escaped the Avengers tower. Image source: Marvel Studios

Finally, remember that something did go wrong in this reality. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) escaped, something that Jarvis could have also detected. But the TVA then pruned this entire reality when they hunted Loki down. It’s even sadder to realize that the Avengers of Earth-616 actually killed this reality despite their best efforts to save it.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.