The year's 2008, and a new superhero movie of a B-level Marvel character is about to hit theatres. Who is Robert Downey Jr. (RDJ)? Wait, Marvel Studios? Aren't all their main characters with Sony and Fox? A decade later as millions cheer, hoot and clap for every callback, every comic book moment realized on-screen and every 'in-joke' they recognize in Avengers: Endgame – we know we have reached peak Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Of course, Avengers: Endgame is by no means 'perfect', but it's as perfect as a cinematic event can, or should be. So, here's a spoiler-filled Top 5 moments from Avengers: Endgame.
Tony Stark has always been at the core of the MCU – the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega. We have seen his character evolve from the cocky playboy, to the reckless saviour, to the unsure father-figure in Spiderman: Homecoming. We also felt his devastation at losing Parker in Infinity War.
That's what makes the bedtime scene with his daughter Morgan so important, not just in Endgame; but in the MCU as a whole. When she says "I love you 3000", Tony Stark finally knows what he loves most in the world. And as he threatens to "sell her toys" if she doesn't sleep, we also know that Tony is exactly the 'Dad' we thought he would be.
Tony Stark, is finally more than the sum of his 'genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist' parts – and that's what his character arc had been working towards. To help the Avengers undo 'The Snap' would mean that he may have to risk all of it – and #loveyou3000 establishes the stakes.
Of course, Morgan is adorable, so, that definitely helps.
This sequence is hilarious, is catches you by surprise, and more than anything it definitely hammers in the 'What if God was one of us' concept – making Thor's character finally, and absolutely relatable.
Through the decade, we've been shown the near God-like physique of Chris Hemsworth as Thor – chiseled to perfection for the cameras. But, a big fat depressed Thor? With a belly and hobo beard? A Thor that drinks beer all day, plays online video games and threatens minors with lightning strikes – just to escape his depression? That's Thor at peak 'relatability'.
When Rocket and Hulk come to bring back Thor to help, the God of Thunder is but a former shadow of himself – lost, broken and hurt. And, like most of us, he hides his pain in shallow smiles, alcohol and online distractions. The 'Noobmaster69' sequence is funny, it's sad and it's relatable – all at once. It epitomizes the MCU we have all come to love – minus the epic battles, of course.
For two of MCU's trinity Thor and Iron Man – the common thread has always been about their parents and acceptance thereof. Stark's storyline has repeatedly delved into issues with his distant father Howard Stark, and Thor's has dealt with the seemingly overbearing Odin.
When the 'time-heist' occurs – amidst the all the call-backs, epic fights and the funny moments; we get two incredible, emotional scenes that wrap up those themes neatly. Tony's bumps into, and has a fumbling conversation with his father in the 1970s timeline. Howard is excited at the prospect of having Tony, and terrified, like every other father would be. Tony realizes that Howard was only trying to be the best father he could be. In that scene, as Tony gets to say his final goodbye, he also realizes that there was nothing to forgive, and perhaps nothing to resent. He is also finally free from his father's shadow.
In Asgard, in the Thor: The Dark World timeline, a broken, bumbling and probably unrecognizable Thor is caught hiding by his mother; who knows who he is in an instant, as mothers usually do. In that short but high on emotions sequence, Rene Russo (Frigga) does what only mothers at best at doing, restores Thor's notion of self-worth, tells him to be who he needs to be and not who he is supposed to be; and of course chides him, asking him to "eat a salad".
The segment wraps up the character arcs not just neatly, but strongly. The two former 'Man-Childs' are now free from their emotional encumbrances and ready to face what's coming.
It's a decade of character development, resolved.
A small shake of the base, a look of bewilderment and then a smile of relief – that sums up Cap's attempt to lift the Mjolnir in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cap's attempt was awkward, but it was almost as if he knew he could lift it, but didn't deem himself worthy of doing so. However, both Thor and Cap have been through a lot since Civil War, Ragnarok and Infinity War – and grown in measure.
So, when in the climactic battle the Mjolnir shakes and then rises, it's the 'Hail Mary' moment we've waited ten years for. Steve Rodgers has no secrets and no grudges. All he has is conviction and hope. He is worthy of the mighty Mjolnir! The hammer flies, the crowd erupts and Hammer and Shield have finally come together – and the Avengers will ASSEMBLE.
I'm not squealing, you are squealing!
If Tony Stark's Iron Man is the heart of the MCU, then Captain America has always been the soul. His unshakeable old world conviction and moral compass have both been assets and occasional liabilities, depending on whether you were #TeamCap or #TeamStark. Chris Evan's standout portrayal of Captain America apart as the 'man out of time' has been one of the cornerstones of the MCU.
In Endgame, Iron Man and Thor get their goodbyes. But as we near the end credits, there is seemingly no resolution for Captain America. Cap is tasked with delivering the Infinity stones and the Mjolnir back to their original timelines. As Professor Hulk and Falcon prepare to bring him back in 5 seconds; Bucky, his life-long friend, says his final goodbyes. For Bucky knows, Steve Rodgers, the 'Man out of Time', isn't coming back.
In Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter asks Steve, who is about to sacrifice himself to save the world, to not be late for their date. It's only fitting then, that eight decades later, he isn't.
It's the best of goodbyes. Cue "It's Been a Long, Long Time."
Ok that's our list and yes, there are many other epic moments which should be in the list – from 'Avengers Assemble', to Cap vs. Cap; from Thanos vs. Captain Marvel, to 'Hail Hydra' in the elevator. So, go watch it again, come back and tell us what your list would look like!