I saw Endgame a few weeks ago when it came out, and that night I wrote this post congratulating Marvel for their amazing accomplishment that is the MCU. What they did is fantastic, but that doesn’t mean it was flawless. After discussing the movie with friends and thinking it over from a less emotional standpoint, I think I’m able to explain why I personally liked the movie but did not love it. It’s still a great movie and I still love Marvel, but for a movie that’s closing out a 22 movie saga, it perhaps could have been less polarizing and more complete. (And yeah, there are spoilers here).
At first I thought my dislike was based around Tony’s death. He was the one character I desperately wanted to live, but I do understand that his death was full circle and he did get his years of happiness and he was the only one to be able to do what he did. It also wasn’t a death that the movie or Marvel took lightly, so I know they didn’t do it just for the surprise factor. But I am a little miffed that Tony died while Steve went on to live his ideal life.
And that bothered me not because I don’t want Steve to be happy, but because the time travel aspect of it felt incomplete. This movie did not do time travel well, and it has left me and many others a little confused, which I think is a very incorrect feeling to have when we’re talking about a movie that was supposed to close the door of a 10 year cinematic phenomena.
Marvel has touched on time travel before a bit (AoS, Dr. Strange), but this was bigger. Time travel is an incredibly difficult concept to use because it is so far removed from our reality. The limits of our imagination are mostly based off of movies or shows we’ve seen, and the rules and logic of it are subjective to the content. Endgame chose to have it so going to the past makes that your future (or something) which makes sense in the basic way the Ancient One explained: take a stone but return it and all will be fine. Only that didn’t happen. Through a series of events, the timeline of the MCU that we came to know over the years was changed…or something? Loki disappearing with the Tesseract, old Nebula being shot, 2014 Thanos getting dusted in 2023, Steve going back in time to be with Peggy…these all have large ripple effects on the MCU, and it hurts my head to think about what it means.
Only I don’t know if it means anything. I genuinely think Marvel doesn’t have huge plans to explain that. And why should they, when Endgame was the closing to this saga? The Loki TV show, GOTG3, and even Far From Home may touch on it to some extent, but I don’t know if we’ll all ever completely understand the timeline. And that’s because the directors and writers also don’t really understand. When they’re all doing contradicting interviews and saying things like ‘we think there may be two Steves now’ it leads me to believe there isn’t an answer, and for a movie that had so many fun loops and closed so many great arcs, this aspect stands out to me as unfinished and rude. We spent so much time invested in the series, and then they go mess it up in the end? Based on the Far From Home trailer and articles I’ve read, now Marvel is going the multiverse route where Loki taking the Tesseract, for example, created a branch of another timeline. But it still feels like a BS way to end Endgame. (Not to mention that they never explained if the 2014 Thanos that died in 2023 was from the Prime Timeline or a new branch or what). What was the point of the MCU and its interwovenness that we all were in awe of if it’s all just going to go to hell in the last movie? I am upset.
Tying into the failed time travel concept was the five year jump. That was also not well done. Through Steve and Scott, we got glimpses of what a post-snap world looked like, but I think we needed a lot more. The snap wiped 50% of all living creatures, and we mostly just saw what it meant for our small team of Avengers, which wasn’t much. Clint went crazy, Thor got depressed, Nat took over the Avengers, and Tony made the most of his luck. But what about the rest of the world? Everything would be changed. Food production would stop. Medical care would stop. Political systems would crumble. And these aren’t things that I think would work itself out in five measly years, and I wish we got to see more of just how ruthless Thanos’ action was to everyone. But by doing that time jump and having the dusted return to 2023, it cements the action. This is real, and any future MCU content should deal with it. Far From Home will, so I hear, but will Runaways? Or the Disney + shows? Or Agents Of SHIELD? Probably not, or they’ll mention it lightly but not show any huge consequences, which I think is dumb. Most likely they’ll take the easy route and say “Oh, no, there are no consequences because this show is an alternate branch/universe!” And listen, I loved Morgan and I’m so glad Tony got her and she has a future, but she alone was the only reason why the Avengers didn’t use their snap to just go back in time and deal with things in 2018, saving us all from time travel headaches and greater MCU repercussions.
All in all, I can deal with everything else in the movie—the jokes that went on a bit too long, the fact that we never got a chance to mourn Nat, Clint’s dumb haircut—but the fact that this movie basically ruined itself for no reason is just not sitting well with me. We didn’t get full closure and we also didn’t get logical hints at what’s to come, and I am shocked and offended that Marvel okayed that. I feel like they dropped the ball at the worst time.
The TL;DR of this is that I didn’t like how Endgame used time travel in this movie and screwed up the single straight timeline we all understood.
Other than that, I really liked the movie. I liked how we got to see the OG Avengers do their thing, I liked they there were a bunch of easter eggs, and I liked that it included all the heroes the way it did. But I just can’t overlook that feeling of confusion and slight disappointment that I and so many others are unfortunately experiencing after this final movie.
Do you agree? Or did you have other large qualms with Endgame? I’d love to discuss, so leave a comment!