#DisneyWeek: Avengers: Endgame and the "Whatever it Takes" Philosophy; Rewriting the History of the MCU

Warning! There are spoilers ahead!

When I walked into Endgame, I was so excited for what Marvel had in store for us. I love the MCU. I was so ready to enjoy this film. But unfortunately, that isn’t what happened. I came out of the movie disappointed, dissatisfied, angry and in disbelief.

Did I hate this movie? The jury is still out on that. There are parts I really loved and enjoyed. But the parts I loved did not outweigh the parts I hated. I have issues with the Russo brothers - the directors of the movie - and their "whatever it takes" philosophy on creating their MCU movies. 

 

Positives

  • Thor screaming “I knew it!” as Captain America holds up Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, showing that he was always worthy to wield the hammer. It was amazing!
  • Watching Thor and Cap fight Thanos while switching back and forth between Mjolnir and Thor’s new axe, Stormbreaker.
  • Cap getting to hold the hammer as he finally got to say the phrase “Avengers assemble” gave me chills. The image of Cap holding the hammer in one hand and his shield in the other seemed ripped straight out of the comics. It was a great moment in the movie.
  • Pepper Potts debuting as Rescue in the final fight to be a part of the female hero group shot. This was a great moment that fans have been waiting to see. 
  • There is nothing better than Scott Lang being obsessed with "America's Ass". The payoff with Cap acknowledging that his butt is in fact "America's Ass" after seeing his past self was hilarious.
  • Thor's talk with his mother was heartbreaking, as well as beautiful. It was one of the only scenes in the movie that helped Thor's character instead of harm it. Seeing Frigga again is always welcome in my book.

 

Negatives

  • For starters, the arcs in the movie completely disrespected the original six Avengers. For example, the film depicts Thor as a Viking stereotype with a beer belly, raggedy beard and only caring about where he will find his next drink. He was a broken shell of a man that did not care about anything anymore. This was upsetting for many reasons, but the main one being that it took away all of his character development. Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi gave him a fantastic arc of growth and finally showed off the real power Thor could wield. Having Thor be reverted to a stereotype and downplaying his power once again was infuriating and disappointing.
  • Professor Hulk's story was rushed, unexplained and off-screen, while Clint’s switch from Hawkeye to Ronin was as well.
  • I could write a whole article about the disrespect of both Tony Stark and Captain America in this movie, but I will keep it short. The film was abuse erasure. Tony going back in time and meeting and talking to a younger version of his father, Howard Stark, about the abusive man that raised him in a good light is ridiculous. The movie has Tony say he only remembers the good parts of his father when he has time and time again talked about how terrible his father was to him in many past movies. Howard unknowingly telling Tony that he is afraid he will be a bad father does not change the fact that he was, in fact, a terrible, abusive father. The movie letting this happen is infuriating and just downright laughable.
  • In no world would Steve Rogers go back in time to live a life with Peggy, while knowing that he could save his best friend Bucky from decades of torture. Cap fought to help Bucky and to have his best friend back again. Not having at least a real goodbye scene between the two felt like a terrible oversight. 
  • There is no way Cap should have been in charge of taking the Infinity Stones back. It would have been almost impossible for him to give the stones back, knowing what he could prevent: Sokovia being destroyed, the Battle of New York, the estimated 80,000 Nova Corp pilots that die to try to protect the power stone and many other terrible things that happened throughout history thanks to the Infinity Stones. Cap has always been a man who would not be able to rest when he could help people. He would not let innocent people die, nor let his best friend suffer for decades.

 

Representation of women

The movie used every woman in the film as an object, a chess piece or a plot device. A group shot of all of our bada$$ female heroes cannot erase what was done throughout the rest of the movie. Don’t get me wrong; it was a fantastic part of the film. Seeing all of the women lined up in battle and being bada$$es was incredible.

  • Let’s start with Nat, the only woman in the original six Avengers. They killed her off without a funeral or even a mention for the rest of the movie. A small nod from Clint and Wanda at the end about what they lost is not a sendoff for a woman who has been here since the beginning. She sacrificed herself for Clint - she died for the cause - but it is barely acknowledged in the end. Clint should have been the one to die on that planet. I love Clint, but he would not be able to just go home and be with his family, knowing what he had done. He was slaughtering people for the five years after they were turned to dust. He can't just forget that. Clint dying would have been poetic, a way to make things right. It would have been sad to see him go, but it would have made more sense. Killing off Nat without a second thought was unforgivable. Why was she not shown in the soul stone talking to Bruce or Tony after they snapped? Why was she forgotten? She was the only original woman that we have had since the beginning. Killing her off like this is disrespectful.
  • Nat was not the only woman disrespected in this movie; Captain Marvel was as well. She was used as a McGuffin or an object that was brought into the story just to push the plot forward or fix problems almost magically. Carol was only brought in at random times throughout the movie for her firepower and then discarded just as quickly. They made Captain Marvel such a huge deal at the end of Infinity War for her to only be used as a small plot device and a shiny object to throw around.

 

Time Travel

Now for the disaster of time travel in this film. Time travel is a tough thing to do right - I acknowledge that. But the number of plot holes, paradoxes and downright craziness that was done through time travel in this movie all need to be acknowledged. This movie looked like the person who made it had never researched time travel before. It was just a mess. As a person who loves media like Doctor Who, Bill and Ted and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, I have definitely seen time travel dealt with differently and less problematically. 

  • The movie did not acknowledge the paradoxes or the risks of time travel. The only part of the film that even acknowledges this remotely well is the scene with Banner and the Ancient One.
  • Also, the “solution” of returning the stones is tricky because most of the other Infinity Stones were changed from how they were taken. The Mind Stone was in the wand, the Space Stone was in the Tesseract and the Power Stone was in the Orb. But when the stones were taken back to their original time in history, they were just the naked stones without their covering. 
  • There were so many questions and aspects of time travel that were not explained or left a mess that makes me worried for the future of the MCU. What year is it? How will the world pick back up with half of the population five years behind? Is this that easy of a fix? Nothing is ever that simple.

 

The Russo brothers have made a mess. Other than Captain America: Winter Soldier, the Russo’s have hurt more than they have helped the MCU. They create some amazing visuals that are taken straight out of the comics, but at what cost? The whole “I am Iron Man” philosophy is that the MCU is a new interpretation of the comics, not a frame-by-frame adaptation. In 2008’s Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr.'s changing of the script to reveal that Tony Stark was Iron Man was something that had never been done in the comics before. This mentality led Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel team to strive to honor and be inspired by the comics, NOT painstakingly recreate them frame-by-frame. The Russo brothers have done a disservice by bending the universe to their will to make these comic book things happen, even though they shouldn’t happen in this universe. Did I love those parts? Yes. Was I okay with these small pieces of comic book bliss damaging the whole MCU? No. The fact that they made Tony say “I am Iron Man” as he snapped his fingers to bring that comic book image to life is an insult to the “I am Iron Man” philosophy and an insult to RDJ’s legacy.

For a movie that was all about celebrating the MCU up to this point, all it really did was dishonor it.