Out With The Old, In With the New: A Review of the Movie ‘Avengers: Endgame’

Endgame as a Transition to a Whole New Era of Marvel Cinematic Universe


Marina Mengual

“All in all, Endgame was a great movie, but did not reach my expectations,” said Denise Rances ’20. If so much time, effort, and money is going into producing a three-hour movie, they should ensure that the audience is entranced and at the edge of their seats throughout the whole thing.”

If you haven’t watched it by this point, I doubt you’re a big enough fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to care about spoilers. Nevertheless— SPOILER ALERT! We will be discussing the highly-anticipated end to an era that was the movie Endgame, and all its ins and outs (literally, what we saw going into the movie, and coming out of it.) But most of all, we will discuss whether the movie gave fans the closure that they’ve all been waiting for.

“Part of the journey is the end,” says Tony Stark in one of Endgame’s earlier scenes, where he records a message for Pepper Potts while drifting through deep space. This line can be seen as a nod to the crowd, confirming that they are indeed watching the end-game that they’ve all been waiting for, but is resonant mostly due to the eventual fate of Tony Stark that people come to know by the end of the movie. After using the Infinity Stones to wipe out Thanos and his army, Iron Man succumbs to the side effects of using his makeshift gauntlet and dies out on the battlefield, both Peter Parker and Pepper Potts at his side. At this point, of course, you’re sniffling all over your popcorn (if not, you’re heartless) and may or may not have paid much attention to Iron Man’s momentous last line before his snap, “I am Iron Man.” This harkens back to the 2008 movie Iron Man, which concluded with Iron Man saying that same line. “[The line] was an Easter egg, courtesy of the Russo Brothers,” said Howard Wang ’20. “In an interview they explained how this was a last minute addition, and the original script called for him to snap without saying anything. But it was only right to end with the line that started it all.” The line was also undoubtedly a fan-favorite. “It was my favorite part,” said Abir Hossain ’21. “Robert Downey Jr. was absolutely amazing.”

Considering that Iron Man was the first installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, things really did come full-circle, in a way. It can even be seen that Iron Man’s death symbolizes the end of an era that began with the “birth” of Iron Man. (“I still cried,” said Ellen Ren ’19.) But let’s not forget the amazing substitute we got for an end credit scene— the clanging sounds of Tony Stark making his first suit. If that isn’t a throw-back, I don’t know what is.  

But that Iron Man line wasn’t the only Easter egg hidden in the three-hour piece. In fact, the movie is chock-full of them. “The whole thing with Loki and the power stone goes back to the first [Avengers] movie,” said Ellen Ren (The Avengers, 2012.) She also describes some others. “On your left,” which is said by Falcon to Cap via earpiece right before Black Panther’s dramatic portal entrance, is the first thing Steve ever said to Sam in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014.) “You’re taking all the stupid with you” is another Winter Soldier reference (originally, Steve said it to Bucky, but in Endgame it’s vice versa.) There are also references to the original comic books, such as the shot of Thanos’ armor being used as a scarecrow. And many of those familiar with the comics were able to predict some of the major plot events, such as Black Widow’s death, Iron Man’s death, the Cap versus Cap fight scene, and the Cap wielding Mjolnir.

Aside from Easter eggs referencing past MCU movies and comics, there are also a handful of them possibly foreshadowing future developments, such as Natasha’s ballet shoes (which may make another appearance in the upcoming Black Widow movie) and X-Men references like the name “Roberto da Costa” showing up on the Vanished Memorial in Scott Lang’s scene (which hints at a possible converging of the two universes.)

This wealth of “references” (especially the comic book ones) may reinforce the feeling that Endgame was very much a movie for Marvel Universe fans, or at least, people who are familiar with the Marvel Universe.  “It felt like a movie for diehard fans,” said Lily Kuang ’19. “The plot in itself wasn’t anything spectacular.” Along the lines of ‘effect over artistry,’ Howard Wang commented on the role of time travel in the movie. “The Russo brothers tried to avoid clichés, but it ended up with a Back to the Future vibe,” said Wang. “Time travel wasn’t the best plot choice, but it did get the job done.”

No surprise there. Endgame, above all else, was meant to be long-awaited closure for the fans. But did it do justice? Besides the barrage of Easter eggs and throwbacks, was there any real closure?

“I thought Endgame was an amazing movie,” said Abir Hossain ’21. “The directors did a very good job of not only providing the fans a satisfying ending but also connecting to all the movies that came before it. It truly made me feel like a younger kid again, seeing everything from the last 11 years culminate into such a big movie.” Ellen Ren also mentioned how Captain America got his closure, with his becoming “old Cap” and all. And as aforementioned, Iron Man definitely got his closure (sorry not sorry.)

Yet there are still parts that, fans argue, could have been better wrapped-up. “I feel the movie focused too much on Iron Man than the other original Avengers members,” said Denise Rances ’20. “Like, why was there a funeral for Iron Man but not Black Widow? I definitely wanted deeper closure for the other members.” Ellen Ren could not help but agree on this. “The same few Avengers that got the most screen-time were already very much developed. I wish they would’ve given other characters a chance to develop as well.”

“One question I had throughout the movie was, ‘Where is Captain Marvel?’ I get that she’s out there saving other planets, but if Infinity War ended with Fury’s pager calling Captain Marvel, then there should have been a stronger emphasis on her role in the movie,” said Howard Wang ’20.

There were also mixed reviews coming from fans with regard to the movie as a movie. “The movie was lacking in humor and action,” said Rances. “While Infinity War balanced humor and seriousness very well, Endgame was overly solemn. Also, the first half of the movie felt stalled and I think the part that served as a catalyst for the big moment that everyone was expecting to see, came a little too late.” On the other hand, Shahel Jawad ’20 recalls many funny scenes. “The humor wasn’t forced, and was really good. Fat Thor was funny.”

A big point of complaint among fans was the lack of a role Captain Marvel seemed to play. “One question I had throughout the movie was, ‘Where is Captain Marvel?’ I get that she’s out there saving other planets, but if Infinity War ended with Fury’s pager calling Captain Marvel, then there should have been a stronger emphasis on her role in the movie,” said Wang. Another consensus, it seems, is that Doctor Strange’s character could’ve been emphasized. “What’s Doctor Strange’s role in the big fight? Damage control? He should’ve been given a more prominent role but he was stuck keeping some water at bay,” said Wang. “Doctor Strange is one of the more underrated characters in the entire MCU,” added Hossain.Up next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Far From Home, the last installation in Phase 3, to be released July 2nd. For Phase 4, fans can expect the Black Widow movie, Black Panther 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. “They’re not going to be as huge as Endgame, but reflecting its effects,” said Wang. “Seeing Gamora replaced by Thor will certainly be amusing. And we finally get to see Natasha’s history.”

Hossain expressed particular excitement for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Doctor Strange 2. “I feel that the snap will lead to mutations in people and eventually allow for the introduction of the Inhumans,” he speculated. “Also, I can’t wait to see how they tie in the multiverse in all of this!”

“We’re definitely seeing Loki and his shenanigans again,” said Shahel Jawad. “And Spiderman, continuing Iron Man’s legacy.”