Major spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame and everything that came before it. You've been warned.
Confession: I like Infinity War more than Avengers: Endgame. Don't get me wrong, the big battle in Endgame had so many scenes that I've waited my whole comic-book loving life to see that I geeked out like a kid at his first convention anyway. But, all things considered, as jam-packed as it was, Endgame still gave me enough time to sit and think about the things I was still missing.
These are those.
After being pivotal in both Age of Ultron and Infinity War, Vision was barely even brought up in Endgame. We don't see him at the Avengers facility. We don't see Tony working on trying to fix him in his garage. We don't see Bruce with him hooked up in a lab somewhere. We don't see him being rebuilt in Wakanda or in Korea. Not even as a non-existent post-credit scene.
We don't hear Captain America or Black Widow even suggest they try to figure out some way to bring Vision back either. Until the Scarlet Witch shows up at the very end to exact some revenge, we get no indication anyone even remembers him at all. This, the entity that was so important everyone sacrificed almost everything for at the end of Infinity War.
The unfortunately named WandaVision mini-series is coming to Disney+, but Endgame did nothing to help get us there.
2. Iron Widow and Hawkeye
One of the biggest illusion shattering problems with superhero teams is the power disparity between the members. Watching Superman and the Batman fight the same supervillain is just always implausible. Any villain who wouldn't get squashed by Superman in one punch should squash Batman immediately. Same with the Avengers. Letting Black Widow and Hawkeye melee it up with Iron Man and Thor just never makes any sense.
One potential solution would have been to make them botched attempts at recreating the super soldier serum, Widow by the former Soviet Union, Hawkeye by Shield. That way, even if they only have partial Captain America attributes, it becomes an easy excuse for them being able to hang against Chitauri, Ultron drones, or Thanos' army.
Or, Tony Stark or T'Challa could have made them better suits. Black Panther, who has Captain America level superpowers, has a vibranium suit. Spider-Man, in the MCU, who has considerably more power, is given a Tony Stark suit almost right out the gate, and a full-on Iron Spider suit at the beginning of Infinity War. Even Pepper got her Rescue armor just in time for the big battle.
Natasha and Clint, the most vulnerable of the bunch? Feh. No suits for either.
3. Revenge of the Hulk
Infinity War started with Thanos utterly smashing the Hulk. Even though the directors said Hulk's subsequent refusal to come out for the rest of the movie wasn't a fear response to being beaten but rather a response to Banner only letting him out to smash, none of it ended up paying off. In Endgame, we already meet a fully integrated, actualized Hulk. We don't even get the Homer Simpson moment when Homer and his brain recognize they're enemies but also recognize their mutual need to work together.
Endgame needed to show, not simply tell, us about that moment for Hulk and Banner. By the end of Infinity War both had been beaten by Thanos. Banner telling Hulk the next time neither would have to face him or anyone alone would have been that perfect show. Then, to really prove it, the newly integrated Hulk could have gone a few rounds with Thanos — and more than held his own — at the end of Endgame.
There are any number of ways to get the Hulk off Thanos at the end, if you don't want Hulk to actually finish him, but by not even giving Hulk that moment, his circle remains incomplete and his arc stunted.
4. Thanos Truly Beaten
Ultimately, Thanos failed but he was never beaten. The mad Titan who failed to save his own planet and so was determined to "save' the universe by culling it of half of all life learned only that maybe he should have culled all of it and then just recreated a little.
We learn early on that he almost killed himself destroying the Infinity Stones, to remove the temptation of using them again. We don't learn what that temptation was. He's a true believer who should only be beaten by having the core of those beliefs waver, even if only for a few critical moments. Like Vader sacrificing everything to save Luke.
While Thanos' love for Gamora was crucial to Infinity War, it was nowhere to be found in Endgame. Not in even a failed attempt to bring her back, leading to his decision to destroy the stones and remove the temptation. And not in the end, through any means, to show him wavering in the least, when he learns what winning will cost him personally.
Including and especially his daughter.
If you decide to wait until the end of Endgame in hopes of getting a glimpse at the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you're out of luck. All you get is a few sound effects from the very distant past.
There's no Spider-Man: Far From Home teaser. There's no setup for possible future Avengers villains. For example, no Kang the Conquerer noticing the changes to the timeline and looking back through time at the ones responsible. Also, no Avengers-era Loki popping out of the Tesseract gate in New Asgard, taking female form, and disappearing into the city.
And there was nothing to tease that, given Thanos' actions, the Eternals were beginning to move.
What was missing for you?
Drax's humor? Tony Stark and Stephen Strange's bickering? Were you hoping to see Sylvester Stallone's Starhawk and team fly into battle? Xandar's Dey come help out the aholes? The team actually call Captain Marvel for help, and Captain Marvel actually be given a lot more to hit given the power levels she brought to the table? A nod to the West Coast Avengers? A moment with Tony and Bucky before the end? The Hulk actually smash something, anything?
If you felt like Avengers Endgame, chocked full as it was, still missed out on a plot point or even a moment you wanted to see, let me know in the comments!
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