Avengers: Endgame Discussion Thread (Here Be Spoilers)

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Avengers: Endgame Discussion Thread (Here Be Spoilers)

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  • #88157
    Josiah DeGraaf
    @josiah

    Given the cultural weight of this film (and given my own status as a Marvel fan ;P), I thought a discussion thread about the film might be appropriate! (And as the topic title suggests, I won’t be avoiding spoilers at all, so here’s your last warning. See the film first before jumping in!)

    Two questions to kick off this discussion:

    • What did you think about the film?
    • What can we learn as writers from the film?

    I’ll post my initial thoughts in the first comment. 🙂

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    #88158
    Josiah DeGraaf
    @josiah

    Thoughts on the Film:

    Overall, I really liked it. It’s probably not in my top trio of Marvel films (Winter Soldier, GOTG 2, and Infinity War), but it’s solidly right below them as I thought they had a pretty masterful ending that tied a lot of required ends together in a fitting, appropriate, and epic ways. I teared up not once, not twice, but three times during that film as well, and I honestly can’t tell you the last film I did that in. Also, I’ve been waiting for Cap to wield Moljnir since 2015, and that moment was 100% worth it. So… all-in-all, really impressive stuff.

    Thematically, I saw three different threads going on: the importance of family, the challenge of recovering post-failure, and the value of self-sacrifice. The second arguably was developed the most as you got a lot of different Experiments in Living going on the beginning of the film from the original six (CA trying to move on, BW trying to keep going, Hawkeye pursuing a path of vengeance, Hulk using it to find inner piece, IM using it as reason to finally build a family, and Thor deciding to give up in the face of failure). This theme felt kind-of lost, though, after the first hour and I didn’t see much of a return to it personally, which I had kind of hoped to get (unless I missed something? Thoughts?).

    The last theme I mentioned, though, was the one that intrigued me the most given its connections to IW. The central thematic question of IW seemed to be: “When is it appropriate to sacrifice someone else’s life for the common good?” as just about everyone was presented with that decision at some point or another during the film. I was really interested to see after that film how that theme might be continued in Endgame. And while it may seem obvious/cliched in retrospect, I found Endgame’s counter-suggestion that we ought to sacrifice our own lives instead for the common good to be pretty moving. This was particularly the case with Natalie’s death (I teared up), which mirrored and countered Thanos’ sacrifice of Gamora there in pretty potent ways. But the whole Avengers’ mantra of “Whatever It Takes” along with Iron Man’s sacrifice also really sold this point home and, despite how common this theme is in popular media, I did find its take to be rather moving after Infinity War’s look at a similar subject.

    If I were to make one complaint, I wasn’t a huge fan of the way they went about the Captain America sendoff. While I really like the idea of finally giving him a quiet family life, I didn’t think it was in his character to sneak off like that, the emotional thrust seemed split between his departure and his return as old-Cap, and it created a plot hole with time travel since that would be an alternate timeline, not the current one according to the time travel rules of this universe. And I think there would have been an easy way to fix all three issues: have the rest of the team encourage him to do this and make the last scene with him the scene where he’s departing. Maybe there’s some time travel limit (or particle limit) that prevents the person who returns the stones from being able to return; maybe the rest of the team encourages him to retire–something that forces him toward the “less selfless” choice would help, and if the final scene is his departure (and then the scene with him & Peggy dancing), I personally felt like that would have made for a more powerful moment and a more fitting ending than him returning old.

    (I also wasn’t a huge fan of what they did with Thor’s arc at the end of the story, but my complaint more has to do with a lack of vision for Thor’s overarching arc throughout the films than something particular to Endgame, so I’ll hold back on that.)

    All-in-all, though, while I would have preferred a different type of send-off for Cap, the rest of the film was pretty darn perfect.

    In terms of what we can learn as writers from the film, a couple things that stood out for me:

    • Don’t be afraid of permanently changing the status quo. While a lot of Marvel films have seemed to have this fear, the parts in this film where they did change that status quo (Tony’s marriage, Thor’s deterioration, and the fact that now half the population will have been gone for 5 years and need reintegration into a permanently-changed society) all created some of the most interesting parts of the film and created a lot of interesting story potential.
    • Restraint creates masterful moments. I was sort-of expecting Cap to wield Moljnir in Age of Ultron, but holding back on that move until this film made the moment that much more satisfying. Whether it’s restraint on that move, restraint on the “Avengers Assemble” line until now, or restraint on when they finally allowed Cap & Tony to reunite, refraining from immediate satisfaction for delayed achievements made for a more satisfying pay-off.
    • Pair characters intentionally. The sub-teams in the middle part of the film were pretty perfect IMO. Thor & Rocket were one of the best pairings in IW, Cap & Tony still needed to make up after CW, Nebula & War Machine made for a great unexpected pair, and Hawkeye & Natasha made for, well, a pretty powerful dynamic given their previous histories with each other. The filmmakers seemed to pretty intentionally make pairings that created the most storytelling potential and I really appreciated that.

    That’s what I’ve got off of the top of my head. I’d love to hear what the rest of you think!

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    #88170
    I, David
    @i-david

    Ooo, I’m going to have to find time to get in on this. Endgame topped Infinity War as my favorite Marvel movie ever, and made it into my Top 5 favorite films of all time. So much to love.

    Four
    INFP
    songwriter

    #88191
    Princess Foo
    @princess-foo

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH it was amazing!

    I really loved the movie. Better than Infinity War, I think, mostly because there were less characters to follow and also references to other movies and also CAPTAIN AMERICA WIELDING THOR’S HAMMER AHHHHHH! I did not know how much I wanted to see that until I did. I agree with everything you said @josiah

    My favorite part were the parallels to other Marvel movies. Captain America stepping into the elevator surrounded by Hydra agents. (Also that Hail Hydra! I thought that was a good nod to the controversial comic.) Iron Man falling from Stark Tower and the suit catches him before he reaches the ground. The Snap, and everyone turning to dust, just like in IW! It really was a bunch of fan service, but I am a fan so I love it.

    It makes about as much sense as a time travel movie could. Despite saying the past couldn’t be changed, they totally changed the past. How does Winter Solider play out now that Hydra thinks that Cap is Hydra? How did the Second Snap happen when it killed Thanos, making him unable to do the First Snap, making the entire movie meaningless? How do the rest of the Thor movies happen when Loki escaped? It’s time travel. It doesn’t make sense. But time travel never does, so I am willing to ignore that in favor of internally screaming how much I loved it.

    As for what I could learn as a writer… it would be to have patience. I actually just wrote a blog post about this yesterday, although it isn’t about Endgame. Josiah, you touched on this a little bit too. Giving the audience emotional pay-off too soon can actually be disappointing. The resolution is all the more satisfying because of what it took to get here. You can’t have sweeping emotional moments with nothing behind them. I guess what I am trying to say is that Endgame didn’t just stand on it’s own. It stood with the strength and character of all the other movies holding it up, and it takes patience to build that.

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    #88211
    Josiah DeGraaf
    @josiah

    @princess-foo Oooh–I’d never realized that Iron Man fall parallel before. That’s really neat!

    My take on what the film was implying was that time travel didn’t change the past–it just created alternate timelines (hence, the Ancient One’s speech). That’s why they couldn’t just kill Baby Thanos or anything–the shenanigans they caused with Loki, Thanos’ removal from the timeline, and the SHIELD agents just create separate realities, not a changed past. Course then they threw the old-Cap thing in there and that kind of messes it up. :/

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    #88217
    Princess Foo
    @princess-foo

    @josiah Oh yeah… Maybe he just came back to let everyone know what happened to him.

    It’s been a couple of more hours and I have thought some more.

    • I had thought more people were going to die. Going in, I would’ve been surprised if a one or two of the minor avengers lived, and I thought all of the big three would die. (Though I was hoping Thor wouldn’t… until I saw him in the movie. I know what they were going for with him, but it wasn’t funny. It was mostly gross and sad.)
    • The moment where Cap stands against Thanos and his army right before Dr. Strange shows up was beautiful. The light was on his side, the music was swelling, and it felt very, very symbolic. I just don’t know what it was suppose to symbolize. He was standing alone… but he wasn’t alone. And didn’t feel alone. And Cap standing alone wasn’t really a theme. It seemed like Tony, who made a point about feeling alone at the beginning of the movie, would be better. It’s Tony against the world again… but not because friendship!
    • I really like this Youtuber named Nando v Movies. He made a video about Nebula trying to bring the gauntlet instead of Captain Marvel, which I agree would make that scene a lot better, even if that is a minor thing. Watching his videos always makes me think, “That makes so much sense! Why didn’t I think of that?”
    • He also made a video about Infinity War I think is worth watching. Basically he says that Thanos should have a line saying that the current wielders had a chance to help people with the Stones, and chose not to. They could help people, but choose not to out of fear of what could go wrong, and now it’s Thanos’s turn. I think that addresses a larger theme within the MCU—how can you wield power responsibly? It’s a theme of the Iron Man movie (in terms of riches and smarts), Captain American movies (in terms of the role of governments and how much power they should have), the Thor movies (in terms of duty), the Spiderman movie, the Black Panther movie, and even touched on in the Dr. Strange movie (the bill will come to pay…). I think it’s basically the theme for Marvel overall, and it would have been nice to see it addressed in Endgame.

    AND AHH CAP USED THE HAMMER AHHH!!!! That’s still amazing to me. I want to rewatch the movie just for that moment.

     

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    #88254
    Coggleton
    @coggleton

    Here’s my thoughts:

    • It really felt like Iron Man was the perfect character to use the gauntlet at the end given how he, the egocentric one that wants to play things safe, was perfectly willing to sacrifice himself.
    • Can we talk about how Captain America had to see the Red Skull again? If there was ever a post credits scene, that would be it.
    • It feels like Endgame Thanos (the one that used time travel to move to the future) wasn’t as interesting as Infinity War Thanos. Though that may be because IW Thanos actually went through character development, whereas this one just uses time travel to cheat. Which wasn’t really what I was expecting to learn from this movie, now that I think about it.
    • Captain Marvel kinda felt like a Deus Ex Machina given how little she did; anyone else feeling that?
    • The pacing felt remarkably on point for a 3 hour movie.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by Coggleton.
    #88259
    I, David
    @i-david

    @coggleton To just touch quickly on one point: They refrained from abusing Captain Marvel because she was a Deus Ex Machina. She blew up Thanos’s ship like it was cardboard–and that immense power is in character for her. Even her fighting Thanos was a fluke because he got a lucky hit–though that happened a lot. Let’s just say every character that fought Thanos was always nerfed during that fight, because he wouldn’t have been able to hold his own against that many ultra-powerful people without any infinity stones. Iron Man did better against him in IW when he had 4! So keeping Captain Marvel in particular off-scene for so long was a necessary choice.

     

    I would like to point out that outside of Tony dusting him, Scarlet “Blind” Witch did do the best against Thanos in Endgame. He only stopped her from killing him by throwing hundreds of explosive missiles at her, which just kept her occupied.

     

     

    On a tangent, the parallel’s between where and how Thanos sits down at the end of IW and then Endgame are incredibly striking.

    Four
    INFP
    songwriter

    #88280
    Knowledgeful Butterfly
    @e_elaine_soup5

    *hopps in *

    *screams*

    This was literally the best movie I have ever seen! 11/10 suggested 🙂

    okay, enough gushing

     

    Right, the AU this whole thing would create is making my mind hiss. So, if 2014 Thanos was killed, then there couldn’t be 2018 Thanos and none of Infinity wars should have happened. Nebula would be different (aka, dead since she killed her old self), Gamora would be different–Heck! the guardians of the Galaxy would be different, since that weirdo they battled in the first Guardians of the Galaxy wouldn’t’ve had help from Thanos.

    Not to mention that LOKI WOULD BE STILL ALIVE, which we kinda know is true since, well, its Loki and he got the tesseract. And, going down that rabbit hole, the Thor movies would be different, too. Ragnarok might not had even happened

    and that paradox created by Tony with his dad! He said it to his father, who would say it to him, who would say it to his father and over and over again.

    And Cap being worthy. Saw it coming, but that was a good addition and that he kept Mjolnir when he went back to Peggy (also saw it coming–I ship them so hard) made me happy, like maybe he kept it circling for others to still be worthy.

    Also, did Thor have his hammer in the dark world? Because Endgame Thor just plucked it out of the air, not even caring that it would affect history in the series of events.

    Ugh. Time.

    i could've gone outside to take a walk, but i know that i wouldn't've come back

    #88287
    Princess Foo
    @princess-foo

    @e_elaine_soup5 So, this is my understanding of the time travel stuff. Ever time a change is made in the past, it becomes an alternate timeline. This timeline is now an alternate universe, and does not affect the original timeline. Cap being affiliated with Hydra, Thanos dying ten years early, and Loki escaping are all in a separate universe. The Nebula of the other universe is dead, but the one from this universe is not connected to her and so can stay alive. (This also makes the alive Gamora not OUR Gamora.) The Avengers left a mess behind in the other timelines, but it is not their mess anymore. It is everyone who is left in that univere’s mess. Cap coming back does kind of mess with this theory, but I am thinking he used the time travel to get back to the original timeline to let the others know what happened.

    Also, I think Cap returned Thor’s hammer (HE CAN WIELD THE HAMMER!!!!!), because he left with it, and I don’t think it was with him when he gave Falcon the shield.

    I should let you know that my family disagrees with me. My brother thinks that when Tony Snapped, he did, in Brother’s words, “a soft reset” of the universe and erased all the changes while still keeping the Stones. This doesn’t make sense to me, because Nebula should have died when she killed her past self anyways, but we have agreed to disagree.

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    #88288
    Knowledgeful Butterfly
    @e_elaine_soup5

    but the soft reset would solve nebula too, since Tony knew her from their long time in space. One has to have some residual gratitude for her since she gave Tony most of the food and dealt with his inferior knowledge of spaceships. Remember, anyone can do anything with the stones.

    i could've gone outside to take a walk, but i know that i wouldn't've come back

    #88289
    Princess Foo
    @princess-foo

    @e_elaine_soup5 Yeah, but in between killing Nebula and the Snap, she should be dead. She doesn’t disappear after killing her past self, from what I remember.

    The cake is a lie. acaylor.com

    #88290
    Knowledgeful Butterfly
    @e_elaine_soup5

    we didnt see her fade at all during the infinity battle, did we?

    nope, she was talking cognitively with Gamora (“Him?” “It was either him or a tree”)

    (I <i>love </i>Karen Gillan)

    i could've gone outside to take a walk, but i know that i wouldn't've come back

    #88320
    Josiah DeGraaf
    @josiah

    @princess-foo I’m a huge fan of Nando v Movies as well–most all of his videos suggest some really solid revisions, and I was very much on board for his suggestions for revising Endgame.


    @coggleton
    You know, I came out with the same thoughts regarding Thanos–he didn’t seem quite as interesting. I’m not sure how much that had to do with it being a previous version of him versus how much it had to do with the fact that he didn’t get all the screentime and focus he did in Infinity War. I didn’t necessarily mind the lack of focus since the story seemed appropriately focused on the heroes? But he didn’t steal the show at all like he did in IW.

    I also am not a huge fan of how overpowered Captain Marvel is, but that’s another discussion for another day. 😛

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    #88330
    Coggleton
    @coggleton

    Wait, did Captain America keep Mjolnir? I thought he went to go return Mjolnir to The Dark World Thor.

    The solution to the Captain Marvel problem might be to give her a Lex Luthor to fight; someone she can’t just blast, or if she does it’ll backfire for her/her friends.

    I also wish the good guys actually used the stones outside of the snap; not a lot, or things would be too easy, but it would be nice to see more stuff like when futureCap used the Mind Stone to KO pastCap.

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