“AVENGERS! Assemble…”

Nebula Prime tries desperately to warn…

“Yeah, we’re just diving in, keep up!”

Nebula Prime tries desperately to warn Clint and Natasha but Thanos’ ship appears overhead and just scoops her up.

On Earth 2012, Scott is freaking out because they’ve lost the Tesseract and only have enough Pym particles for one more journey each. But Steve and Tony remember that Camp Lehigh (where Cap spent many an idyllic summer day knocking down flagpoles and throwing himself on grenades) held both the Tesseract and all the Pym particles they can eat. They send Scott back home with the sceptre and Steve and Tony head to their most dangerous and terrifying destination yet.

Hyuck hyuck hyuck.

While Steve goes looking to score some Pym Particle (also known by its street names: P-Dust, Shrink-a-Dink, Tom Cruise…) Tony goes looking for the Tesseract. Fortunately, the seventies were a simpler, more trusting time where people left their doors unlocked and their children near BBC presenters and the Tesseract is just stashed in a big iron box without even an alarm or anything. I’ve known packed lunches with better security. Tony runs into his father Howard and the two men talk about parenthood.

Meanwhile, Steve distracts a young Hank Pym who the movie helpfully shows was already awful in the seventies. Steve grabs a couple of test tubes of quality Smoll (as it’s sometimes called on the mean streets of the quantum realm) but has to duck into another office to avoid base security. There, he sees Peggy Carter, the lady that he abandoned for a common iceberg, the cad.

So one of the things that really impressed me about this movie is that, while it definitely has spectacle to burn, it’s actually the quiet little scenes that I love the most.

The reveal that time and fatherhood has allowed Tony to see Howard in a new light and to finally make peace with him isn’t treated as this big, melodramatic climax. But it’s a really nicely played scene and I find it immensely satisfying and touching. And it feels real. It’s just one of those moments in a life when you realise that the pain has stopped and you’re okay now.

Tony gives Howard hug and he and Steve head back home, leaving an Earth 1970 that is pretty durn fucked. On the one hand, the theft of the Tesseract and the Pym particles might cause a security sweep of the base which might just result in SHIELD discovering the Nazi scientist in their basement building a computer version of himself out of eight track tapes. But none of that really matters because once Pym discovers the particles are missing he’s obviously going to assume that SHIELD stole it for some nefarious purpose (as if they would!) and leave the organisation, meaning he never meets Janet, meaning she never becomes the Wasp, meaning she never saves America from nuclear annihilation in the eighties.

Back in the 2014 universe, Nebula 2014 disguises herself as Nebula Prime and gives Thanos the Pym Particles her future self was carrying.

On Vormir 2014, Natasha and Clint meet the Red Skull and learn that the Soul Stone might as well be called The All is Lost Moment Stone. In order get the stone, one of them has to die, which leads to possibly the first fight scene in history where both participants are trying to die first.

I know the death of Natasha is a tad…controversial…but I gotta say I think it was the right choice. Natasha’s defining trait is that she is the good soldier, the one who always puts the mission first. Natasha’s the one who, more than any other Avenger, will do whatever it takes, whether that’s pushing her boyfriend into a bottomless pit, throwing herself into a bottomless pit or doing something that doesn’t involve bottomless pits. Whatever it takes. I like the symmetry of her saving Hawkeye when their friendship began with him saving her, and I don’t think the other option of Clint dying would work as well. Firstly, the ending with Morgan Stark at her Dad’s funeral is bad enough without the three Barton children also having to come back only to lear their Dad is dead. And secondly, that would mean having to believe that Natasha could lose a suicide-off to this putz:

Lastly. Guys, if you believe she’s really dead, I have a bridge to sell you.

Marvel's Black Widow gets five new promotional posters

HINT.

With all six stones assembled, the surviving Avengers return home leaving a surprisingly un-fucked Universe 2014. I mean, sure, in this timeline an unconscious Peter Quill was almost certainly killed or captured by Korath the Pursuer, meaning there’s no Guardians of the Galaxy to stop Ronan from destroying Xandar. But, now Ego won’t be able to complete his plan to…do the…thing with the flowers he was doing.  Plus, this universe won’t have to worry about Thanos or his entire army by the time this is over so all in all things are looking pretty sweet.

Back on Earth Prime, the Avengers build their own off-brand infinity gauntlet and then have to decide who’s going to use it. Hulk says that he should be the one to do the snap because the radiation from the stones is “mostly gamma” which means that every dude in this room is now sterile and is about to start sprouting some tumours.

Hulk puts the gauntlet on and does a reverse snap (or “pans” if you will) which cooks his arm like a green pig at a mediaeval banquet. While they treat Banner, Clint gets a phone call from his wife and our heroes realise that it actually worked and they’ve saved the day and everything’s going to be…

Aw crap…

Turns out that the Nebula that came back with War Machine was Nebula 2014 who left the door to the universe open for Thanos 2014 to just stroll through. Thanos’ ship bombards the Avengers compound from the air. Thanos 2014 (herafter just “Thanos”) beams down and tells Nebula 2014 to find the stones while he waits for the Avengers to put all their joints back in their sockets. Back on his ship, Gamora 2014 asks Nebula Prime about their future and Nebula tells her that after a few homocidal false starts they came to love each other as sisters. Gamora decides that enough is enough and springs Nebula Prime so they can stop Thanos together.

Back on the ground; Cap, Thor and Iron Man are the first to pull themselves out of the debris and find Thanos waiting for them.

Thor summons both Mjolnir and Stormbreaker and says “Let’s kill him properly this time” and Jesus dude, you cut his head off with an axe, what does “properly” look like?!

Thanos tells them his new plan, which is just to reboot the entire universe from scratch and they throw down. Meanwhile, Hawkeye has the infinity gauntlet and is being chased through the wreckage of the compound by Outriders. He gets jumped by Nebula 2014 who takes the gauntlet but is stopped by Gamora 2014 and Nebula Prime who try to convince her to betray Thanos. But Nebula 2014 tries to shoot Gamora and so Nebula Prime has to shoot her past self who was unable to break free of the control of her abusive step-father. And while that is tragic, it is also the kind of breakthrough that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars in therapy. Outside, Thor is almost killed by Thanos until he gets Mjolnir in the face and turns to see…

FUCK AND ALSO YES.

Yes, like a majestic elevator of legend, Cap is worthy.

But it’s all for nothing. Thanos beats Steve, breaks his shield and leaves him a broken, bleeding mess on the ground. Thanos tells him that he’s going to enjoy destroying Earth, and Steve watches as the entirety of Thanos’ army arrives.

And with all hope lost, hopelessly outnumbered, and Armageddon itself bearing down on him, Steve Rogers gets back up.

But suddenly, he hears a voice telling him to look to his left, and he turns to see a thousand golden portals opening in the sky and almost every hero in the MCU step through to come to his aid. The Falcon. Spider-Man. The Wasp. Black Panther. Okoye. Shuri. Winter Soldier. Groot. Mantis. Drax. Star Lord…

“Is that everyone?”

“What, you wanted more?”

“Well I don’t see the Defenders, Cloak and Dagger, the Inhumans, the Runaways, Agents of SHIELD, the Punisher or any of the major militaries of planet Earth…”

“Man, fuck you. I work hard.”

So what we got here is an all out, Playground rules superhero battle; the whole toybox, no backsies, and no infinite forcefield bullshit. And yeah, it is just a string of CGI augmented “fuck yeah!” moments strung together, building on climax after climax until your knees give out and what pray tell is wrong with that?

So many awesome moments here. Scott punching out a leviathan, Carol no-selling a headbutt from Thanos, Scarlet Witch just straight wrecking shit. But at the last moment, it looks like Thanos has finally wrestled the gauntlet off Tony. “I am inevitable” he sneers. He snaps his fingers. Nothing happens. He turns to see Tony Stark with all six infinity gems.

“And I…am Iron Man.”

I really enjoyed this movie when it first came out. But now I actually love it. I feel a deep connection to it, and I’m fully aware that that’s as much due to recent events as the fact that it is probably the best version of itself, about as good a version of this type of movie that it’s possible to to be. After Thanos and his army have been tossed on the ash heap of history (both figuratively and literally) we cut to Tony’s friends and family watching his last will and testament:

“I’m hoping if you play this back, it’s in celebration. I hope families are reunited, I hope we get it back and something like a normal version of the planet has been restored, if there ever was such a thing.”

My son is six months old and he hasn’t been held by his grandparents for around half his life. So yeah. This line gets me.

So after a funeral (that I think may break some kind of record for most Oscar winners/nominees in a single scene?) it’s time to wrap up, Thor leaves Valkyrie in charge as the new ruler of Asgard and joins the Guardians, who are going to look for Gamora 2014. Peter instantly gets really insecure because the other guardians are not so subtly hinting that Thor should murder him and become their new leader and who can blame them? Seriously. There is an entire dog pound’s worth of screwed pooch left in this man’s wake and putting him down is the most humane option.

One last bit of tidying up, Steve prepares to return all the infinity gems (plus Mjolnir) to their respective timelines meaning that the only thing messing up those alternate realities will be everything else he and his friends did while they were there. Bruce, Sam and Bucky wait for Steve to come back and he does. But it’s clear that he took the long way round.

Clint Eastwood’s in the MCU?!

Steve tells Sam that after he replaced the stones, he decided to finally take some Steve-time. He gives Sam the shield, passing on the legacy of Captain America. And, in flashback, we see where he went.

Peggy finally got her dance.

So Earth 1945 is completely unfucked. Call me a hopeless optimist but I’m just going to say that a world where Steve Rogers returns from the war knowing everything about McCarthyism, Civil Rights, the Kennedy Assasinations, HYDRA’s infiltration of SHIELD, the Cold War and 9/11 will have a far, far easier time of it. Which would be a good, happy note to end things on if it weren’t for the fact that Earth Prime is completely and utterly fucked.

Let’s recap. Earth Prime lost half of all human and animal life, the biggest catastrophe in human history by orders of magnitude. Governments have fallen, most of the world is in anarchy, there have mostly likely been nuclear meltdowns and religious wars and total economic collapse. The global food supply chain is most likely snapped and there are famines and food shortages everywhere. We hardly see anything of the world post-snap but rest assured it is an absolute shit-show. If global civilization even still exists it’s in its death throes. And it’s this world that suddenly has to feed and house an additional four billion people. Forget it. Show’s over. End of the world.

May Parker | Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki | Fandom

“Fundraisers!”

“A sticking plaster on a gaping chest wound, you can’t just…”

May Parker | Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki | Fandom

“Fundraisers!”

“That’s not even going to come close to solving…”

May Parker | Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki | Fandom

“FUNDRAISERS!”

“…”

May Parker | Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki | Fandom

“FUUUUUUUNNNNNNDRAAAAAAAAAISSSSSSSSSSERSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

***

 

Scoring

Adaptation: 24/25

Not really an adaptation of a specific story, more an adaptation of the whole concept of the massive superhero crossover, done about as good as it can be.

Our Heroic Heroes: 25/25

Steve finally gets his dance with Peggy. Nat saw the mission through to the end. Thor sets off to find his own path from out of his father’s shadow, Tony Stark completes his journey from selfish man-child to a loving father selfless enough to save the world. It’s a finale without a bum note.

Our Nefarious Villain: 22/25

By necessity, Thanos is less of a presence this time around. Brolin is still doing good work, and the script does a good job of showing just how dangerous Thanos is. Literally stepping into the same universe as him is risky.

Our Plucky Sidekicks: 24/25

Apart from this series’ continuing insistence to shit on Star Lord, all the supporting players get their moment to shine.

The Stinger

There is no stinger. It’s over. There is nothing left to sting.

And the audience went…

Top 30 Disappointed GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

Hey, was that Stan Lee?

That was Stan Lee, making his final appearance in the MCU, yelling at the US military to make love, not war, man. Oh, and for old time’s sake…

Hey, what’s Thanos doing?

Thanos Avengers GIF - Thanos Avengers Dust - Discover & Share GIFs

He’s slaughtering half the angels, now.

FINAL SCORE: 95%

NEXT UPDATE:  15 June 2020

NEXT TIME: Sigh. Faith and begob to be sure to be sure etc.

The Quiet Man (1952) - IMDb

 

25 comments

    1. Never mind the man they call Wayne, Maureen O’Hara herself herself is where it’s AT my dear aardvark! (-;

  1. While waiting to see your score for “Endgame”, I wondered if the rule about Loki automatically boosting “Our Plucky Sidekicks” would still apply, despite him essentially getting only two quick, silent cameos. I guess not.

    BTW, whenever I post my blog instead of my YouTube channel in “Website”, the comment never appears; anything we could do about that?

  2. Seeing this movie opening night with a crowd of fans may be my favorite theater moment ever. When the portals started opening up there were so many gasps that the walls buckled.

    I would love to see the world where Cap took his retirement. Hell, I’d probably move there. Maybe he became president.

  3. Thanks for the review! Although maybe I should start saying “thanks for the summary” since I have way more interest in reading your version of events than actually seeing films these days… 😉

  4. Ah “Endgame” the movie that took multiverse theory and the principles of causality, stuck ’em in a blender and pressed “Fuck it.”

    There’s certain things I’d like to discuss, one of which is Iron Man. I’m certainly glad that this character helped launch the most ambitious, cinematic project yet conceived and brought a standout performance by Robert Downey Jr. There’s still one issue, the decision to make him the center of this universe. Like I said, he helped launch it, and yet there often comes a time when a universe grows beyond that of a single character so having the importance of other characters be dependent on how much they interact with that one character can come off as shilling and can stifle how they and the story grows (this is something we’ll get into in Spider-Man: Far From Home).

    Then there’s the good Captain Rogers, the final part of his arc feels like an anticlimax throughout all the movies he’s been through. It’s Cap is saying, “I’ve been constantly told that I’m a man out of time, someone who’s stuck in the past who can never adjust to the modern era…And they’re right! So I’m going back to the 40’s where things make sense. You’re the captain now Falcon!”

    I just kind of wish that their stories ended in another kind of way; Tony Stark the futurist who looked for betterment of the world at the cost of his personal relationships and Steve Rogers the good man whose heart and mind were stuck in the past. Maybe the two of them could find some kind of equilibrium, even if it’s just for the end.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  5. I don’t mind that Natasha dies, I mind that her death is overshadowed by Tony’s. At the VERY LEAST they should have taken a page out of AoS playbook and given her a Spy’s goodbye instead of just standing awkwardly around the lake.

    Also, I HATE the notion that Steve goes back. I really hate it. I hate that Peggy is treated like some sort of trophy which is just waiting around for him (which we know she isn’t if we watched Agent Carter, but frankly, she had an happy fulfilled live without him, what RIGHT has Steve to just barge in and reroute it????), I hate that he leaves Bucky alone, I hate that if he takes the “long way”, him turning up on the bench makes zero sense, basically screwing over all the carefully crafted time travel explanations. I would have preferred it if he had vanished in time, and his fate has been left open. Which would have been kind of a downer ending, but then everyone could have imagined for themselves what happened to him.

    Anyway, before the Infinity War and Endgame were released, I was half-joking that I am kind of afraid of what would happen in them, because previous Russo movies have turned out to be kind of prophetic (The Winter Soldier in warning of surveillance around the same time the NSA affair did, Civil War exploring themes like fake news and emotional manipulation through well timed information before Cambridge Analytica became a thing). I take it back now. I would have preferred those movies to be less prophetic. I kind of feel like we are currently stuck in the end of Infinity War.

    1. They can show more morning for Nat in her movie or the post credit scene, there wasn’t room here. I don’t know in any case why Mouse doubts her being dead, why Scarlett Johansson would want to stick in MCU forever? She has been in the MCU since Iron Man 2 and now got her own starring role movie and I think she is happy with leaving like Downey and Evans. The actors have their own lives that will effect in writing of the series.

      Steve was said by the Russo’s to have used the Pym particicles to get to right timeline. The long way round just meant he didn’t come back right away but as an old man, now he really could not be convinced to get back in to Avengers again.
      Cap could have also gone to Peggy immediately after he was gone not to the 1970s timeline. So he would not have disturbed her life. Besides why could she not reject him if she didn’t care or why can’t they have fulfilling life together where she does what she did later? I don’t know why would that be an issue.

  6. Fun fact: In that final battle, HOWARD THE DUCK gets a brief cameo, holding a gun against Thanos’s army. EVERYONE showed up.

  7. Funnily enough, I just saw a wrestling match that had a barroom brawl during it and one of the commentators compared it to a scene from The Quiet Man!

  8. I really liked this film and enjoyed seeing an Age of the MCU getting the best possible send-off; the only problem is that they’re going to keep making MCU films after this and they’ll all feel so … after the fact?

    Honestly, Marvel Studios might benefit from loosening up the continuity & connectivity of future films to allow them a better chance to be their own thing and not just more of the same, with fewer of the most familiar faces.

    Unless, of course, they can start weaving the X-Men into the MCU, since the Mutant Phenomenon adds a new and intriguing wrinkle to the ongoing stories; how does the world cope with the idea that someday EVERYONE is going to be Superhuman … but you won’t be?

  9. Hey, look at that! It’s finally time for The Quiet Man. Feels like a lifetime ago I requested that one.

    Very interested in how one American’s love letter to Ireland holds up to scrutiny from a native so many decades later. I have nostalgia for it, but a fresh perspective is always good.

    1. I’ll be interested in seeing whether The Duke’s generally high entertainment factor and wealth of ham will balance out his being somewhat more reactionary than Genghis Khan, politically speaking: personally I prefer him to Clint Eastwood, but mostly on the strengths of his onscreen persona rather than out of admiration for his personal philosophy.

      Also, Ms. Maureen O’Hara herself herself was roughly 99.9% more likely to show up in a John Wayne movie, so there’s that.

      1. Courtesy of this line of thought the mental image of Reuben ‘Rooster’ Coburn popping up in a Spaghetti Western has just occurred to me – God Help Us, he might even be up there with Eli Wallach’s Tuco in terms of sheer scene stealing bombast!

        A secondary image of Clint Eastwood cropping up in a John Wayne movie as a notoriously enigmatic gunslinger approached by the Villain to act as Heavy of the Piece – only to pop up in The Duke’s ranch, pointing out that he offered the old man right of first refusal last time, proceeding to collect a fee from both parties then ride off into the sunset without firing a shot – also occurs to me.

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