Avengers Endgame


But of course, it must come to an end, and this isn’t a happy one. Tony Stark takes one last lunge at Thanos, realizing this is the only way he can fulfill Doctor Strange’s vision of a single victory out of over 14 million. Thanos punches Iron Man away and taunts his foes by reminding them, “I am inevitable.” But that’s not before Tony’s armor is able to pull the stones away from the Infinity Gauntlet onto his own hand, prompting Tony to breathlessly say, “And I…am…Iron Man,” before snapping his fingers, gradually turning all of Thanos’ army to dust.

And this is where we get the most emotionally harrowing moment of the film. Tony Stark is in shock. He can’t speak. Much like Thanos at the beginning of the movie, Stark’s right arm is severely burnt along with the right side of his face. His health is in critical condition. Rhodey is the first to arrive at his side, already aware that this will be the last time he sees his friend. Peter Parker comes in next, making tears start streaming down our face, just as they did when he blew away in Tony’s arms in Infinity War, giving his mentor a heartfelt goodbye. But it’s Pepper Potts who arrives last, and she gives Tony the farewell he needs to finally feel at peace. She says, “We’re gonna be all right. You can rest now.” And with that, the light fades from Tony’s arc reactor on his suit.

There hasn’t been a fictional character’s death who hit me as hard as Tony Stark’s. Sure, I shed some tears when Wolverine met his end in Logan. But following Tony Stark’s death, the tears just kept streaming for the next 10 minutes, spanning through the funeral scene where every single superhero from the MCU is dressed in appropriate black funeral garb, even the Guardians of the Galaxy. They all watch as Pepper Potts puts a bouquet in the water, topped by Tony Stark’s original arc reactor with the dedication that says “Proof that Tony Stark has a heart.” Ty Simpkins even returns for a somber cameo as the camera pans through all those who knew Tony Stark best.

We get one final farewell from Tony Stark in the form of a holographic message that he left for anyone who survived their time heist, just in case things went south. The last words we hear from Tony Stark are “I love you 3,000,” which he directs to his daughter Morgan, calling back to the same adorable sentiment she expressed to him before bedtime. The tears were on the verge of stopping before then, and then the flow was replenished by this beautiful little line.

Throughout this voiceover, we see shots of Clint Barton reuniting with his family on their farm, T’Challa hugging his mother and sister as they look over a celebration in Wakanda, Peter Parker returning to high school with his friends. And then we finally settle on Thor, contemplating his own future now that he’s feeling like himself for the first time in a long time. That’s why he’s decided to hand off the right to rule Asgard to none other than Valkyrie. He doesn’t hand over Mjolnir, which feels a little cheap, but it’s still a meaningful hand-off for the future of Asgard. Meanwhile, Thor is hitching a ride with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and he’s back to clashing with Star-Lord about who’s in control of the ship, giving us a taste of how amazing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 can be if Chris Hemsworth is brought in for the team’s next adventure.

But if the death of Tony Stark wasn’t enough of an emotional ending to Avengers: Endgame to satisfy your beating heart, the movie wasn’t over yet. In one final cornerstone scene, Captain America is sent back in time to return all of the Infinity Stones (and Mjolnir) to their proper point of extraction to avoid creating chaos across time. Hulk has crafted a makeshift quantum tunnel station nearby the Avengers facility rubble that is being cleaned up. However, just when he’s supposed to be brought back, there’s nothing. Cap doesn’t return. But suddenly Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes see someone sitting at a bench nearby. As they get closer, we see that it’s Steve Rogers as an old, old man. He has a warm smile and a calm demeanor, and this isn’t some mistake.

Rogers finally took the time to get some of that life that Tony was always telling him to get. He hands off Captain America’s shield to Sam Wilson in a defining moment for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as they pass the torch of Captain America to a character of color. It’s wholly earned, and it sets the stage for a promising future. But it’s the past where the most heartwarming piece of Avengers: Endgame comes to light. Old Steve Rogers is wearing a wedding ring, and while he’s not keen to discuss the details of his life that we realize he spent with Peggy Carter, we get to see them dancing inside their house in the 1940s and embracing in a tender kiss as the movie fades to black.

While there’s obviously spectacle by way of typical comic book action in this movie, what I love is that it’s all in service of something greater. That’s partially what Avengers: Infinity War was missing which made it feel only like half of a movie instead of a complete story. The epic fight scenes and the time travel heists are all just a means to an end to give our heroes closure in some form or another. It allows our characters to shine through as the heroes they were truly meant to be, but they had to experience catastrophic failure in order to get there.

Because of all this, not only is Avengers: Endgame a movie that puts a period at the end of a 22-film cinematic movement that helped change the face of film franchises forever, but it’s a genuine thrill ride that is full of adventure, excitement, humor, and heart. It’s a masterfully, meticulously and miraculously executed movie that will be the kind of cinematic event we talk about for decades.

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