There are two kinds of people—the ones who see the words “three hour movie” and groan in dismay, and the ones who immediately begin limiting their liquid intake to make certain that bathroom breaks will not be necessary during their coveted showing.
We’re in the latter camp. It’s training time for Avengers: Endgame.
The major excitement around a three hour runtime seems like it should be obvious; there are so many things that Avengers: Endgame needs to address, and only one measly film left to do it in. So if it’s only going to be one movie, we better wring out that sponge for all its worth. Here’s what we’re hoping to see, now that we’ve got 180 minutes to burn through…
The Immediate Aftermath of the Snap
We’ve said before that Thanos’s Snap had much farther reaching consequences than anyone expected, and likely caused a much higher death toll than just half of the universe. Even if we only get a few moments, understanding the chaos that ensued feels vital to truly arriving in this universe post-Infinity War. We need to know how everyone regrouped, what they told one another, how the remaining Avengers made their way back to the compound in upstate New York, and what the next global steps were on Earth. If we don’t get some sense of how the world kept moving despite such mind-numbing tragedy, the stakes of the film aren’t going to work.
The Emotional Aftermath of the Snap
There are clues in the trailer that we’re going to see what’s it’s like to live on Earth in the year (years?) following. Support groups for the people left behind, wreckage everywhere, people trying to make sense of a completely new state of reality. We know the Endgame is probably going to show the Avengers fixing this mess—that’s what heroes do, right?—but we can’t launch right into the action without exploring what sort of emotional toll this has taken on some of our favorite characters. Survivor’s guilt is a real and serious form of trauma, and this version of it outstrips any that a human being (or a talking raccoon) has ever experienced. We need to sit with everyone’s emotions for a while. We need to see them mourn and connect with their pain, otherwise whatever miraculous feat the Avengers pull off will just seem like a handy parlor trick with nothing to back it up.
Revengers Reunion Tour!
The posters that Marvel released indicate that Valkyrie is alive (!!!) and we already know that Carol Danvers meets the whole crew at Avengers HQ early on BUT…there is a marked absence of Carol, Thor, Rocket, and Bruce/Hulk during the whole “white suit strut” sequence in the latest Endgame trailer. So where’d they go?
It could be that they were CGIed or cropped out of that sequence in the trailer. (Rocket shows up in the “strut” in an earlier trailer, while Tony and Nebula don’t.) But it’s equally likely that they’re off on a separate, space-related mission that requires the team’s heaviest hitters. And maybe that mission involves running into Valkyrie again. And if Valkyrie’s alive then maybe Korg and Miek also made it off the Asgardian ship and they’re all hanging out together being awesome and you see where this is going: Revengers Reunion! (Featuring Carol.)
Please Let Tony Stark and Steve Rogers Make Up/Make Out
It’s strange watching the MCU when you know that in the Avengers comics, Captain America and Iron Man are incredibly close friends (and incredibly close enemies) (and then incredibly close friends again). The movies never quite intertwined them in the same way until Captain America: Civil War, but now that they have, Endgame will mark the first time they’ve been in the same room since those events.
It would mean a lot, given everything that these two have been through, if they could end their time in these films as the team that fans know they can be. And yeah, that means it took the end of half of everything to get them there, but that makes the payoff that much sweeter. Show us what happens when Steve and Tony see eye to eye on something. Show them as friends on their final bow.
When the Snap is un-Snapped, everyone is going to come face to face with people they’ve lost. People they’ve been without for years. It’s a given that the movie will be full of action sequences, and hopefully those will be unique and fun and so on, but let’s be real: If we don’t get at least a half hour of Steve holding Bucky and Sam to his chest while he sobs gorgeously, this movie is NOT WORTH IT. If Tony Stark doesn’t cup Peter Parker’s Spider-baby face in his hands and declare him his son, this movie is NOT WORTH IT. If Nebula doesn’t sing drunkenly at karaoke and dedicate it “to my sister, come up here, Gamora, I loooove you” this movie is NOT WORTH IT. If Thor doesn’t chuck a boulder at Loki’s head just to make sure he’s there and then crush the life out of him to make up for the post-Ragnarok hug we never got to see; if Rocket doesn’t curl around Groot’s arm and refuse to ever let go of him again; if Okoye doesn’t try her hardest to keep it together before completely breaking down when she sees T’Challa and Shuri; if Natasha doesn’t give Wanda her blessing and tell her to get the hell out of here because she’s been through enough already, the movie is NOT WORTH IT.
This denouement better be worse than Return of the freaking King, y’all. Nothing but love for the last hour.
Okay But You Could… Not Kill Anyone?
We’re all prepared for the likelihood that some of the early crew is probably going to die in this film—particular worries are set aside for everyone whose contracts with Marvel Studios are up–and we understand why that’s important. As everyone says in the trailer, they’re prepared to do fix what Thanos has done… “whatever it takes.” Which means there will be a cost. Which means we’re going to have to say goodbye to someone.
But here’s the thing, could we just not? Could we come very close to that and then let everyone who has had a rough go of it just retire to a wilderness somewhere, contented? We know it’s a lot to ask. We’re just not prepared to have our hearts broken a second time, and permanently.
Then again, this is the world of comics—permanence is never quite an option.
Wolverine in the Post-Credits Scene
We know that whatever wackiness ensues in Endgame will probably also be used to incite the unified Marvel Cinematic Universe that is now possible via the Disney/Fox merger. So make it real, Disney. Give us Wolverine at the end. You don’t even have to show a face. The camera follows someone walking along the street. They come upon a robbery or an assault or something. The claws pop out. Cut to black and the audience wonders about how mutants got into the MCU for the next two or three years.