11 moments in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ that attacked us personally
WARNING: The following post contains very major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame is packed to the gills with jaw-dropping moments that will have any Marvel fan clapping, whooping, weeping, or waving your scarf around in the air before you remember that you’re in a crowded theater full of people (sorry about that, guys).
Picking our favorite moments was as hard as picking our favorite MCU movies (I don’t care for Iron Man 2), but we landed on 11 moments that had us losing it in the theater.
Thor going for the head
We can’t be alone in the collective gasp that rippled through the theater when Thor sliced Thanos’ head cleanly off a mere 15 minutes into the movie. More than anything, it speaks to what Thor has been through, losing his mother, father, brother, best friend, an entire civilization in such quick succession (when Endgame starts, the events of Ragnarok were still barely a month ago).
Thor can’t bear any more suffering, let alone to hear its perpetrator pontificate in what looks like Shrek’s hut. It’s a shocking twist that immediately throws everything we expected from this movie out the window.
Tony Stark as a dad
We had our proof that Tony Stark has a heart many years ago, but seeing him start fresh with Pepper and lil bb Morgan in the future was exceptionally poignant. Ever selfish (even with Pepper), Tony has, for the first time, something he puts far and above his self-interest.
The entire trip back to the Battle of New York was god-sent fan service for Captain America diehards, and we drank it in like water bc we’re thirsty as hell.
First, Cap got in the elevator with his old Hydra enemies, poised with tension to recreate the iconic Winter Soldier fight scene. Instead, Endgame subverts this superbly, adding a cheeky reference to Cap’s before a Cap-on-Cap Capfight complete with The First Avenger‘s “I could do this all day,” references to Peggy and Bucky, and Cap admiring his own perfect posterior.
Cap and Peggy in 1970
For all its sci-fi action, Endgame also does an excellent job of hefty emotional scenes with just one or two people. The most potent of those scenes don’t even need dialogue.
Cap sneaks through an unlocked door while hiding from suspicious S.H.I.E.L.D. members and finds a photo of his own skinny self looking up at him from the desk. Realization dawns (for him and for us), and as it does he looks up to see Peggy through the glass.
The rules of time travel don’t forbid him from approaching her, but he’s smack in the middle of a time heist and allegedly dead, so any contact is out of the question. So he stands there, unbearably close to the love of his life – close enough to reach out or call to her, to walk through and embrace her, but he can’t.
Thor talking to his mom
It’s easy to write off Thor: The Dark World as one of Marvel’s more forgettable sequels, but the death of Thor’s mother Freya at the hands of the Dark Elves was the first major familial death he experienced as a character. Endgame brought Thor’s grief over losing his family full circle by giving the post-Infinity War Thor — depressed, alcoholic, and cowardly — a chance to say hello and goodbye to the mommy he loved so much.
Between her excellent counsel and her magic mom hugs, Freya did what moms do best and set her son back on the path to heroism. And set me, personally on the path to weeping openly in the theater. I just love my mom a lot, OK?
Cap is worthy
Leave it to Endgame to turn a fun joke from Age of Ultron into one of the MCU’s biggest “oh shit” moments ever.
Thor dual-wielding Mjolnir and Stormbreaker was awesome by itself, but to have Captain America come in clutch and save Thor’s life by throwing an abandoned Mjolnir at this head… phew. No longer is Steve Rogers the good guy who could just barely budge Thor’s hammer at Avengers tower; he is now capital-w-Worthy.
This moment got even better when Thor realized Steve had passed Mjolnir’s test; the look on his face was pure joy, pride, and admiration. “That’s my friend Steve,” Thor must have thought, “isn’t he the best?”
Passing the gauntlet
In a sequence reminiscent of the Battle of New York’s seminal single take, the new Infinity Gauntlet gets passed from Hawkeye to Black Panther, to Spider-Man, to Captain Marvel. The original Avengers literally passed the gauntlet to the new ones, ensuring the MCU’s future — and then sent it back to Iron Man so he could bid this era goodbye.
“On your left”
I have a tremendous fondness for Sam Wilson. When The Winter Soldier opened with Sam running alongside the Potomac, his sense of humor and genuine friendliness shone through in Anthony Mackie’s performance. Cap’s frequent warning in that opening scene — “on your left!” — led to the characters becoming BFFs and partners.
So to hear Sam finally get to lap Steve for once before flying heroically through a portal to fight the Battle of Upstate was a lovely callback to their first meeting. This was also the moment Cap realized that Hulk’s snap actually worked, and the joy he feels in seeing Sam again is one of Endgame’s more powerful moments. Stack this on top of Cap’s decision to pass the shield on to Sam and you’ve got a lot of people (mostly me) crying about the power of friendship.
Lady Avengers assemble
We freaked out for most of this battle, from the heart-stopping “Avengers assemble” and through other moments on this list, but a rousing cheer greeted the sight of every fighting female in the MCU banding together to help Captain Marvel get the gauntlet to safety. It’s bittersweet to not have Black Widow there, but we know she couldn’t be prouder.
Thor crowning Valkyrie
Thor really went through some stuff in his time as the Prince and later King of Asgard. He lost his family, lost his planet, lost friends, lost purpose… and somewhere along the way, he lost himself.
Giving up his throne at the end of Endgame was certainly the right thing to do for him, but handing it over to Valkyrie, who experienced a similar arc of loss and redemption, was a poignant decision that spoke to the idea that leadership belongs to those who earn it. Asgard now looks to Valkyrie, the black Asgardian hero who came back to save her people when it mattered most. Long live the Queen!
Happy and Morgan
Just when Iron Man’s sacrifice couldn’t get any sadder, Endgame threw in a scene between Happy Hogan and Morgan Stark to further do harm to my feelings. Jon Favreau’s direction was a huge part of Iron Man’s success and his dual role as Happy has been one of the MCU’s more meta in-jokes, so seeing Favreau comfort Iron Man’s daughter in Tony’s absence played like the MCU giving him his flowers for being the director who started this whole dang thing. Favreau took care of Tony. It’s Happy’s turn to look after Morgan.
Avengers: Endgame is now in theaters.