Avengers: Endgame Falls Short With Captain America’s Ending

This post will contain spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2019)

Avengers: Endgame has been called a worthy conclusion to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ten-year saga. The film is a critical and financial success, but it has its issues. One of which is the ultimate fate of Captain America.

After the film’s main conflict is over, Captain America is given the task of delivering the  Infinity Stones back to their original timelines to set things right. He stands on the time machine. The Hulk says he’ll bring back Captain America in five seconds. It does not happen. Instead Bucky looks at a bench in front of them. There’s an elderly Captain America sitting on it. It turns out he stayed in the past and lived out his life with Peggy. He give his shield to Sam to pass on his legacy to his sidekick.

The scene worked on one level. Captain America tragically missed out on the love of his life by being a hero. He gets what he always wanted in this ending. It’s emotionally satisfying to see him dance with Peggy and hand off his legacy to someone else.

Yet he had started a relationship with Sharon Carter in Captain America: Civil War. He had made friends in the present. His best pal, Bucky, had finally come back after he lost him again. Why was he going back to the past to retire with Peggy? It’s as if his character  lost any development he’d gained since coming out of the ice.

To add on to that, Falcon is his own man.  He was Captain America in the comics, but the MCU doesn’t have to follow that example. He should build a legacy of his own.

When I first watched the scene, I wondered why Cap didn’t stop the atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries. I didn’t understand how time worked in the MCU. I thought Captain America had always traveled back to the past to live with Peggy. He was stuck in a time-loop. Now I have come to understand that the MCU operates on a multiverse theory. This means that there are no time loops. The past can’t be changed so Cap can’t stop those atrocities. Every time a character travel back in time, it creates a new timeline.  The Russo brothers confirmed this in an interview.

Even taking into account this clarification on time travel, this ending for Captain America still has three major problems.

Problem #1: The Cap in the Ice

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The Russo Brothers confirmed that Captain America travels to another timeline to live with Peggy. The problem with this is there is already a Captain America in that timeline. He’s trapped in the ice. The MCU Captain America would have a moral obligation to save this other Captain. (Our Captain America will be referred to as MCU Cap and the other Captain America shall be refer from here on out) He understands the pain of not getting to be with Peggy. Why would he allow his past self to go through that pain when he’s unfrozen in seventy years? He couldn’t unless he was a jerk.

How would MCU Cap explain himself to Peggy? We’re not told if he tells her the truth about who he is. If he does, how can she be okay with him leaving his timeline to chase her? Wouldn’t she want him to go back to his friends and family in the future?  Wouldn’t she want her real Steve and not the MCU Cap who is essentially a doppelganger? If MCU Cap lies to Peggy and pretends to be her Steve, that is highly immoral.

Problem #2:  Unhealthy Escapism

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My favorite episode of Batman the Animated Series is Perchance to Dream. In the episode, Bruce Wayne ends up in another reality where his parents are alive and he’s engaged to Selina Kyle. He’s not Batman. It’s a dream come true. Eventually, Bruce figures out that it’s just a dream and he’s living a life of delusion. He refuses the world of dreams, because no matter how attractive it is, it’s not reality.

In this ending, Captain America chooses to live in a dream world. The Peggy that MCU Cap knows and loves is long dead. In the year 2023 (which Endgame takes place in), she’s been dead for almost ten years. Rather than move past her death and create a new relationship with Sharon, he’s heading to another reality where things are more comfortable for him. He’d rather live in the past than continue on in the future. The messages that this scene is sending are dangerous. Don’t move on, linger on the past forever. Don’t embrace reality, be delusional.

Problem #3: Not the Time for Retirement

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After Endgame, the world is in chaos. 3.5 billion people have reappeared after five years. This could create many problems for the world. Iron Man and Black Widow are dead. During this time of chaos, Captain America who is in the prime of his life, decides it’s time to retire to the past. Why now? The world still needs him. Why would Captain America even want to retire? He’s the man who says he could do this all day. There comes a time to rest but Cap is still able bodied. He was willing to stand against Thanos’s army by himself in Endgame. How is he a man who is ready for retirement? It doesn’t fit his character.

Final Thoughts

This ending sought to wrap up Captain America’s arc with a heart-warming callback to the origins of the character. In doing so, they undid everything that Captain America has learned during his journey through the MCU and turned him into a man who can’t let go of the past. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely referred to the conclusion of his arc as him moving toward “enlightened self-interest”. That’s a very sophisticated way of saying he becomes a selfish asshole. This is not the ending that such a great character deserves.

 

Age of the Superhero.

Spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Avengers was a great spectacle. It wasn’t the best shot movie or the most well-acted. It was a great time in the cinema. A nicely-executed pay off to Marvel’s patience with their franchises. Also a great big pay off to Disney. So what comes next?

Avengers: Age of Ultron is what they came up with. Thanos was teased at the end of the first Avengers, but he needed more time in the kitchen. A hell of a lot more time since he’ll be in two more movies. So they microwaved up some Ultron for us. They left him in a bit too long. He’s not bad. Just a little soggy.

The Good
-The Party
Everything about the party scene. From Thor’s reaction. We’re able to stay with the characters. The cameos are cute and don’t overstay their welcome. And this was back when the Cap language joke was really funny. The hammer scene was on point. And then Ultron makes his horror movie entrance. This is the best stuff in the movie.

-The Vision
The character was introduced late, but I liked what I saw of him. There was potential constrained by the faults of the movie. But this is about what’s positive. I want to see him explored deeper. It’ll have to be done in future films. I don’t know where Marvel will fit it in. Better not be in Captain America 3. I don’t want it boggled down by that.

The Bad

-TOO MANY CHARACTERS!!!
The biggest flaw in Age of Ultron is the amount of central characters in its cast. The Avengers had less and Hawkeye got shafted. So the answer to that was to add three new good guys and a villain. Along with makin

I have no idea what the hell Thor was doing in this movie or why he was even there. He wanted Loki’s staff and then went into a lake. And came back to make Vision because he had a vision. It was weird. I felt like I missed a scene.

I believe this movie needed to make a choice between the twins or Vision. Having both only reduces what can be done with character development for the entire cast I’d lean toward cutting the twins. Vision is a great parallel to the human-hating Ultron. More cameos should have been cut back on too. I love War Machine but he shouldn’t have returned after the party scene.

With more story space for the characters, this film could become a worthy successor to the Avengers. Now it only will be at the box office for Disney.

-Lack of gravitas
This is the biggest threat the Avengers have faced thus far. Ultron wants to make mankind extinct by dropping a meteor on the planet. But you could not tell for a second that anyone was worried by the way they were talking. A one-liner here. A one-liner there. Lightening up scenes to relieve tension is good writing. But this went over-the-top. Ultron was far funnier than I expected him to turn out.

I thought he was going to be a cold calculating robot. One that would relentless in his mission to the point of exhausting the Avengers. Attacking their personal and physical flaws all while building his final solution for mankind. My own fault for expecting that. The first trailer didn’t have Ultron as a funny guy.

There were Ultron bots that never seemed to be a threat to anyone. They were there to be smashed. I can’t recall a single Avengers struggling against them. The only person who dies is the guy with 15 minutes of screen-time. The characters need to take the situations a bit more seriously.

-Looking Ahead Too Much
They built for Black Panther, Infinity War, Thor 3, and Captain America 3 in this movie. It bottle-necked the film to have to include all these scenes. I don’t know whether to blame Joss Whedon or big wigs for this, but I want it to stop. Please.

That’s it for my thoughts on A2: Ultron Day. This was in the middle tier of Marvel films. If you don’t like superhero films, don’t bother. And if you do, then you’re going to see it anyway.

So writing this was completely pointless.

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Will the Cinematic Superhero Bubble Burst?

To be short, No.

I hear grumblings that audiences will reject the parade of masks and spandex. It hasn’t happened yet. We haven’t reached the peak of this superhero movie boom.

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Mainstream audiences are in love with superheroes more than ever. We’re all still on that honey moon.

Avengers: Age of Ultron first trailer release broke viewer records. Each of Marvel’s Phase Two films out-grossed their predecessor by a sizable mount. Guardians of the Galaxy was supposed to be a flop but instead soared to the top of the box office. Right now Marvel is untouchable. They can make any movie now. Once Rocket Raccoon can be turned into money, any one can. The train will keep moving.

Warner Bros wants some of that shared universe multifranchise cash too. And audiences want them to conted Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice should do very well at the box office regardless of the movie’s quality. It’s Batman. People love Batman and they’ll love to watch him kick Superman’s. Suicide Squad has the star power to also perform well. So DC will

For the other companies, the future isn’t as bright.

I could foresee Fox’s Fantastic Four faltering at the box office. They’ve been very secretive about that film. No trailers, not even a movie logo. There’s bad rumors circulating around it. And everyone knows by now they’re only making it to keep the film rights so they don’t revert back to Marvel. Fantastic Four isn’t as strong a brand as X-men either. Isn’t anyone aching for a new movie with a Dr. Doom who blogs? I could see it under performing or forgotten in the shadows of DC/Marvel.

X-Men will stay strong but it’s time for a new Wolverine. I want to see how Deadpool does. The only way that character works is in an R-rated action comedy. Anything less and it’s like why bother? I’m a huge fan of the character. I’ve read the leaked script. I hope they cook something else up. It was not bad, but also not great. And Deadpool deserves a great script that pulls from the Joe Kelly era.

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Sony is in rough shape after the hacking. They want to make a Spider-man shared universe and I’d rather they didn’t. They’ve hurt poor Peter enough. The boy needs to go to the mouse.

If anything, superhero movies will end being the only movies in theaters in the coming years.

Achieving the Impossible

Marvel has done the impossible. 2008 was the beginning. Iron Man managed to capture the spirit of the character and be a pretty good movie. Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark and gave a great performance. Marvel surprised me with the movie and then the after-credits scene.

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury showed up after the credits. I got giddy seeing the Ultimate Version of Nick Fury come to life. I’ve dabbled in comic books here and there so I recognized what they were trying to do. I could tell that this could be the start of something incredible if it ended up right. This was a real ambitious project. Never before were comic book characters weaved together into one movie, one coherent continuity. For years whenever someone would bring up the idea in a discussion forum, they were laughed at or told that it could never happen.

The Avengers was seemingly impossible project. Marvel needed all their movies to be successful financially. None of them could bomb critically either. One failure could ruin everything.

With each movie, I feared that they would screw up and then the project would end up dead in the water. The Incredible Hulk came out later in 2008. It wasn’t the best film, but it wasn’t awful. The after credits scene with Tony Stark kept the dream alive. Marvel proved that they could make two movies that weren’t horrible about two of their properties. I kept up hope. I wanted to see them succeed.

Then Iron Man 2 came and it was pretty bad. I feel asleep while watching it in the theater. It felt jumbled and tried to do too many things at once. It was an Iron Man sequel and an Avengers prequel. The villain was also lame. It was making money so it seemed that the Avengers would happen, but I worried about the quality now. If they couldn’t handle just Iron Man, how could they handle Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and others?

The impossible mission stayed impossible. I couldn’t see how they could make both a good movie and a critical success. Hollywood is known for ruining projects. Many good scripts are ruined by the time they make it to the screen. After Iron Man 2, I thought it was over.

Thor brought me back.Tom Hiddleston was amazing as Loki. The film was better than Iron Man 2. I came out of theater interested in both a Thor sequel and the Avengers. Captain America’s quality was also above average. Now everything was in place. They had the money. They brought back nearly all the actors. But could they do it?

 

 

 

 

OH HELL YEAH!!! THEY DID IT! THE AVENGERS KICKED ASS! WHEN HULK AND THOR WERE GOING AT IT, I LOST MY MIND! I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THAT ON THE BIG SCREEN! LOKI TAKING ON CAP! LOKI MANIPULATING! HOLY SHIT! IT WAS AMAZING!  AND THEN WHEN CAPTAIN AMERICA JUMPED IN AND COMMANDED! HAWKYE SHOOTING THOSE ARROWS! IRON MAN VS. THOR!!!

BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER! GOOD LUCK THE DARK KNIGHT RISES! THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED! I’m so glad that during my lifetime Marvel achieved the impossible.

Thank you Marvel. I haven’t had that much fun at the movies in a while.