The “Endgame” has arrived bringing with it a record-breaking opening weekend and a slew of destined-to-be-iconic moments that have left fans breathless, exhilarated and even emotionally exhausted. It’s the kind of result you would hope a three-hour feature would produce, especially one meant to wrap up a 22-film story arc. Over the years the MCU as a whole has provided some amazing, memorable and fun moments, so many in fact that I made an entire list of them last week that you can view here. However, when it comes to the franchises magnum opus, the film meant to bring it all together, the Russo Brothers and everyone involved threw everything at the wall to give fans a delightful, engaging and memorable experience to hold on to. They did such a good job that “Endgame” itself has more than its fair share of moments worth remembering. So today I’m going to be looking at the moments that made “Avengers: Endgame” in my opinion the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. It goes without saying this list will have MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS so if you haven’t seen the movie yet you may not want to scroll down. You have been warned. Here are my picks for the Top 10 Memorable Moments in “Avengers: Endgame”.
For this list I looked at what I thought were the most memorable singular moments in “Avengers: Endgame”, simple as that. However, I have decided to exclude extended, multi-layered battle scenes like the epic final confrontation which in itself would be the most amazing part of the movie as a whole. I decided instead to consider smaller confrontations or moments within these fights among other memorable scenes in the film. These moments, whether dramatic, sad, fun or epic, helped make “Endgame” one of the most awesome viewing experiences I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying.
So, I want to know from you. What was your favorite moment in “Avengers: Endgame”? Let me know in the comments below and if you haven’t yet be sure to check out my review of the film here.
10. Nebula Kills Herself
One of the most unexpectedly satisfying story arcs in “Endgame” is Nebula’s. The villain turned Guardian of the Galaxy and adoptive daughter of Thanos ends up becoming quite an important part of the film serving as an ally to the Avengers in their attempt to steal the Infinity Stones from the past. Is while on this mission that she becomes an even bigger part of the plot when her artificial recording system links up with that of her 2014 self, revealing to the past Thanos that not only did he succeed, but that the Avengers were trying to undo his success. This leads Thanos to kidnap the present-day Nebula and switch her with the 2014 version who is still loyal to the Titan and helps Thanos enter the present day. Eventually Nebula comes face to face with her devious past self in the final conflict and chooses to shoot her 2014 doppelganger to rescue Hawkeye. Because this is a Nebula from a different timeline the present day hero we all know survives but earns closure and redemption by destroying a version of herself she is ashamed of, a version that helped make everything that transpired in “Infinity War” a reality.
9. Hail Hydra
Captain America has always been a symbol of everything that makes this country great and he has long served as the perfect antithesis to Hydra, a group bent on relinquishing the world of free will. So it was a rather strange moment when we heard Cap say those infamous words, “Hail Hydra”, on screen even if it was part of a ruse. The moment takes place as Cap tries to obtain Loki’s scepter during the time heist as the scepter contains the Mind Stone. It’s a neat series of events that reveals how Hydra came to possess the scepter as shown at the end of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” as we now know the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents charged with guarding it, Brock Rumlow and Jasper Sitwell, were working for Hydra. Cap knows this too and follows the group into an elevator. The scene seems to be preparing for a callback to the elevator fight in “The Winter Soldier” but instead Cap thinks fast and asks for the scepter whispering “Hail Hydra” in Sitwell’s ear to gain his trust. The plan succeeds as Cap is allowed to walk away without further confrontation. This moment is also cool because it references a very recent comic book storyline from Marvel where Cap is working for Hydra. In fact, the photo above show the exact moment being referenced in the film which created viral fan backlash when it was first published.
8. Cap Versus Cap
Picking up not long after the “Hail Hydra” scene, Steve Rogers attempts to make his way to Tony Stark and Scott Lang who were attempting to retrieve the Tesseract during the time heist but failed. On his way though Captain America finds himself confronted by his 2012 self, an occurrence that would normally lead to paradox. But “Endgame” finds a neat away around this common time travel trope by making 2012 Cap think the present day Cap is Loki in disguise. Earlier when Tony Stark was viewing the aftermath of the first “Avengers” film play out Loki is shown transforming into Cap to mock the star-spangled hero giving the 2012 Cap knowledge of his shape-shifting ability. Since the present day Cap is holding Loki’s scepter it’s only natural he thinks it’s Loki trying to sneak out in disguise. This results in two Captain Americas fighting it out in a quick but fun exchange that also allows Cap to make light of himself when the version of him from 2012 says “I can do this all day” leading the present day Cap to simply say “I know” with annoyance at his own cliched catchphrase. In the end experience wins out as present day Cap wins and then calls back to an earlier comment from Ant-Man about his own ass…America’s ass mind you!
7. Thor’s Closure
While I wasn’t too impressed with how Thor was handled in “Endgame” I did appreciate how his story arc came to a close thanks to the time travel concept in the second act. In the first act, after the five-year time jump, we see that Thor’s guilt over failing to stop Thanos has led him to become an out-of-shape drunk. Eventually Thor gets to find some peace in his failure when he joins Rocket on a mission to Asgard of the past during the events of “Thor: The Dark World” as part of the time heist. While Rocket seeks Jane Foster to steal the Aether Thor is distracted by the presence of his mother Frigga who had yet to die at the hands of Malekith. Thor never got to say goodbye to his mother and failed to save her as well. Eventually Frigga approaches Thor herself revealing, thanks to her experience with magic and witchcraft, that she is aware he is a version of her son from the future. She consoles him as he finally breaks down over not only losing her but also losing to Thanos. She admits he is a failure, but also tells him that this does not make him a bad or person without the hope for redemption. This pep talk finally snaps Thor out of his funk and inspires him to call Mjolnir, which had yet to be broken by Hela at that time, reuniting him with his weapon proving to himself that he is still worthy. Seeing Thor find closure with his mother is a great moment for his story but seeing him reunite with Mjolnir is a great moment of fan service as well.
6. Caps Happy Ending
Not every exiting Avenger had a happy ending, but Steve Rogers got one of the more touching send offs as old man Cap made his cinematic debut. In the closing moments of “Endgame” Rogers goes back in time with the six Infinity Stones and Mjolnir to return the stones and weapon back to their places in the timeline. However, he doesn’t return after the five second count from Bruce Banner. Instead Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson notice an old man suddenly appear on a bench nearby. They approach and it’s revealed to be an elder Steve Rogers who explains that he returned the stones and the hammer then went farther back in time to enjoy his life. He returned to the 1940s and reunited with Peggy Carter, living out his life with the woman of his dream in secret while he watched everything unfold over the course of the MCU without interfering. Cap gives Sam Wilson his iconic shield, passing the torch to Wilson to be the next Captain America which is in line with the comics. “Endgame” ends on a touching note as the final shots of the movie are of Steve Rogers happily dancing with Agent Carter, a dance he promised her so long ago. After all he has been through and all the loss he experienced along the way it felt like a satisfying end to see the First Avenger, the leader of the group, finally find his peace and happiness in the arms of his true love, timeline paradox’s be damned. Many thought Cap wouldn’t survive “Endgame”, and he nearly didn’t, but seeing him happy and watching him pass on his shield to a new hero proved to be a memorable end to his time in the spotlight.
5. Marvel Women Unite
We all know Captain Marvel is the most powerful female hero in the MCU, and possibly the most powerful hero period, and her getting a solo film in March was a big step forward for Marvel which has always struggled a bit with gender diversity in its main cast. However, the Russo Brothers made sure to remind fans that while the MCU has only one female-led film they have a long history of female empowerment in their hero lineup. In one of the coolest moments of the final battle against 2014 Thanos Captain Marvel arrives on the scene and takes the Stark Gauntlet from Peter Parker saying she would guard it from there. When Pete asks her how she plans to get through the oncoming hoard of baddies she gets a little help as every remaining female hero in the MCU, Scarlet Witch, Valkyrie, Wasp, the 2014 Gamora, Nebula, Mantis, Okyoe, Shuri, and Rescue (aka Pepper Potts) all line up to assist Danvers. They all get a chance to shine as they cut through Thanos’ forces and lead the way for Captain Marvel. It’s a bittersweet tribute of sorts because Black Widow, the original female Avenger, is not present having sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone earlier in the film but regardless it’s an epic moment that allows the female heroes to have their time to shine and hints at the comic book team A-Force, a crew of Marvel heroines of which Gamora was a member and Valkyrie actress Tessa Thompson has said she would love to help bring to the big screen.
4. Black Widow’s Death
While it’s not a surprise in hindsight, I didn’t really go into “Endgame” expecting someone like Black Widow to die. It should have been obvious from the start though considering someone had to be sacrificed in order to obtain the Soul Stone during the time heist and, of course, it had to be perennial partners Black Widow and Hawkeye who were sent on that mission. The Avengers weren’t aware that Thanos had to sacrifice Gamora to obtain the stone. As far as they knew he simply killed her because he’s evil. So, when Black Widow and Hawkeye arrive they are surprised to learn one of them will truly have to do “whatever it takes” to help the others win. For the third time in the MCU we see these two friends fight each other, this time to determine who will die as they both want to make the noble sacrifice to spare the other. Hawkeye feels he deserves it because of his ruthless vigilante ways after losing his family to the snap, however Black Widow wins the fight and sacrifices herself thanking Hawkeye for helping her find redemption in her own life. It’s a hero’s sacrifice from a woman who never really asked to be a hero. She simply adopted the lifestyle because of who she was associated with, the Avengers crew. Considering some have already begun debating whether or not her sacrifice was truly an emotional loss, there’s no denying this has already become one of the most talked about moments from “Endgame”.
3. Captain America Wields Mjolnir
This moment BLEW MY MIND in the theater. Cap’s ability to handle Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, which can only be wielded by those deemed “worthy”, was hinted at years ago when the hammer slightly budged during a lifting contest in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”. Either Cap decided not to lift the hammer to avoid hurting Thor’s ego, or he has proven himself worthy since and can now lift the hammer no problem. During the initial phase of the final battle with the 2014 Thanos Iron Man, Cap and Thor get their butts kicked and Thor is nearly killed as Thanos threatens to drive Stormbreaker into his chest similar to what Thor did to the future Thanos at the end of “Infinity War”. Thanos is stopped however by Mjolnir but we’re not shown who threw the hammer until it slingshots back into Cap’s hands leading Thor to shout “I knew it” and giving the Avengers a slight edge. This was an epic moment right out of the comics as Cap proved himself worthy in the pages of the books too. It’s also one of many moments on this list that felt saved for the finale simply to throw everything they could into the final battle. As a fan of Captain America I can say I’m VERY glad this moment was, in fact, saved for possibly the most epic superhero confrontation in movie history.
2. Avengers Assemble
We FINALLY got to here these immortal words in “Endgame”. For years the famous battle cry “Avengers Assemble” had been teased but we never got to hear it said on screen. Cap almost said it at the end of “Age of Ultron” but was cut off just before the words came out. “Endgame” was the last chance for Cap to say the iconic phrase and when he did we finally understood why it took so long. After getting pummeled and nearly killed by Thanos, even having his shield broken in half, Cap looked ready to take a final stand against Thanos and his army all alone. Suddenly Sam Wilson chimes in on Caps earpiece and tells him to look to his left where a portal from Dr. Strange has allowed Black Panther to enter the fight. One by one heroes arrive after being revived by Hulk’s snap and the ultimate fan service is presented as all the remaining heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came together for the final war against the Mad Titan. After everyone gets their moment to shine Cap finally shouts the famous phrase assembling all of the heroes of the world together and charging into the battle of their lives. This is a moment we waited years and years to see and we were often disappointed when we didn’t get it, but now we see why it took so long. Marvel saved it for the most appropriate moment in the entire series.
1. Tony Stark’s Snap and Death
We all knew not everyone would make it out of “Endgame”. Many thought it would be Captain America who died seeing how Chris Evans made such a big deal of his retirement from the role. However, it was the first hero introduced in the MCU, Tony Stark, who really bit the dust. Stark had a tough go of it throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His demons and regrets have followed him since day one and for so long he had worked to try and create a way to protect the world. Despite his best efforts he couldn’t stop Thanos, his weapon, Ultron, created bigger problems, his suit became a weapon for the enemy three times, and he wasn’t able to protect Peter Parker. But in the end Stark gets his chance to finally save everyone and everything in the final battle. When all seems lost to Thanos again, Stark realizes, with help from Dr. Strange, the only way to win is for him to sacrifice himself by stealing the Infinity Stones and fusing them to his nanotech suit. Tony succeeds and snaps his fingers, turning Thanos and his army to dust with his final words being “I am Iron Man”. The effects of using the stones are too great and Tony loses his life, remaining silent as those close to him say goodbye and Pepper emotionally gives him permission to finally rest. It’s the most tear-jerking moment in the film and one that brings Tony’s journey to a fitting close. He can finally rest in peace knowing he did what he set out to do, he saved everyone and insured their future by making a sacrifice many thought him too selfish to make. It’s a sad goodbye, but one that felt satisfying, justified, and a depressing but appropriate final moment for his story arc.