BY RICHARD SUPLEE GEEK SPACE CORRESPONDENT No one was shocked when Avengers: Endgame crushed the box office opening weekend. Both nerds and normies alike — legions of them — waited for this film since last year’s bummer-ific Avengers: Infinity War. Hell, this film has been hyped for years. The entire Marvel Cinematic Universe built to this moment. And the film lived up to that hype–I cheered, laughed, cried, and said “Holy fuck!” to myself at least 20 times while watching it. WARNING: The preceding is the end of the spoiler-free segment of this article. If you have not yet seen the film, turn away now or forever hold your peace. It is impossible for me to talk about Endgame without going into spoiler-ific details. To avoid writing a million word rant, here is a list of my Top 5 favorite moments.
1. The First Fight Against Thanos
The movie begins right after Infinity War ends. Half of all life in the universe has been snuffed out. Tony Stark is stuck in space with Nebula, meanwhile the rest of the Avengers are on Earth. Captain Marvel rescues Tony and brings him back to Earth. And while Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are reeling from their defeat they pull themselves together to destroy Thanos. And they do. We see an epic smack down of Thor, Captain Marvel, Iron Man, War Machine, Rocket Raccoon, and even Thanos’s daughter Nebula ambush the Mad Titan. It is a cathartic moment after seeing the entire Avengers roster get their ass handed to them in the last film. Thor even chops off Thanos’s head! But ultimately this scene doesn’t matter. It is a hollow victory. Thanos already destroyed the Infinity Stones. Without them, the people who died in Infinity War will remain gone. This moment also sets up the five-year time jump, where we learn how each of the Avenger’s are coping with their loss. Thor has become a fat drunk, the Asgardian Lebowski, Tony Stark is now husband to Pepper Potts and a doting, snark-free father, Bruce Banner has morphed into Professor Hulk (a Hulk with the mind of Bruce Banner instead of the angry tantrum-throwing terror Banner feared), and the light has gone out of Black Widow’s eyes.
2. Captain America Wielding Thor’s Hammer Like A God
I’ve wanted this since the first time Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth shared a screen together. And it was beautiful. Mjölnir can only be wielded by a worthy hero. And it turns out good old Captain America is worthy. This is one scene that is better in the film than in the comics. As much as I love comics, the action scenes are left up to the imagination. Paper and ink do not move. But on the big screen we got to see Cap swing that hammer around. And he owned it. He moved through the final battle like a medieval knight with a shield in one hand, the hammer in the other.
3. The Time Traveling To Previous Avenger Films
Endgame is very much a love letter to Marvel fans. And nothing makes that more obvious than literally revisiting the previous films. The Avengers discover time travel (thanks to Pym Particles and pseudo science delivered by Ant-Man) and go on a new mission for the Infinity Stones. The heroes journey to times where they previously encountered the stones (The Avengers (2012), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Thor: A Dark World (2013)). Fans get to see a Greatest Hits reel of their favorite moments from the Infinity Saga once again on the big screen. My favorite was fat Thor reuniting with his dead mother. It’s easy to make the entire audience cheer when The Avengers are fighting Loki in the middle of New York City or when Peter Quill is dancing in his debut film. But Thor is a disgraced warrior who views himself as a failure. And he needs his mother’s advice and wisdom to get his Thor mojo back.
4. Morgan Stark
This character’s existence makes the entire movie matter. She is Tony and Pepper’s daughter. Without Morgan Stark it will be easy for the characters to go back in time and stop Thanos from wiping out half the population. But Tony can’t do that. He won’t. Because he is now a dad, and no matter how selfish it is he won’t give that up. And we got to see the selfish bastard, the alcoholic womanizer from Iron Man (2008) grow into a family man. Seeing her at the end of the film at her father’s funeral is what made me finally cry. Without Morgan Stark the so-called “time heist” would not matter at all. It will be easy for the fans to ignore that time jump and pretend no time has passed. That the entire universe was held in some type of stasis just waiting for half the people to return. But we got to see that at least some people got on with their lives in the interim.
5. Spider-Man Playing ‘Keep Away’ With The Infinity Gauntlet
I could probably write a Top 20 Favorite Moments list just about the final battle where we see approximately two zillion super heroes show up to fight Thanos to the death, and this time the good guys win. We saw badass moments for each character as I struggled to remember who was who. But ultimately audiences are able to focus on the Infinity Gauntlet. This MacGuffin has the power to wipe out the entire universe or create new ones. It is really the only thing that matters in the battle. The majority of the 21 previous films prove just how powerful this artifact is. And teenager Peter Parker just picks it up and plays the most important game of Keep Away ever. This created a battle unlike the previous Marvel films. Instead of the camera jumping around the battlefield to show off each character just aimlessly smashing the bad guys there was a purpose. There was a goal. And everyone chipped in. Captain America helped out the kid from Queens. Valkyrie’s caught him and gave him a ride on her pegasus. And Spidey stood in awe alongside the entire audience as Captain Marvel, Pepper Potts, Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Shuri, Okoye, Valkyrie, and every other female hero in the MCU fuck Thanos’s shit up. And ultimately this was the perfect way to pass the torch onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new flagship superhero, Spider-Man.