A few days ago blurry cellphone footage of an early Avengers: Endgame screening leaked onto sites like Reddit and Twitter. Disney was quick to issue takedowns, but if you were fast or crafty enough, you could find it and watch it. My venue for watching it no longer has the video, but if you are patient, you likely can find the leak somewhere. I decided to write a post about what was in the footage, and my thoughts about what this means will happen in the movie.
We currently live in the most spoiler purist time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less interested in avoiding spoilers because they concern only one element of a movie, the plot events. A good film should be more than a plot machine; it should be some form of art that contains performances and themes and a whole host of aspects that can’t be “spoiled.” These are the things I walk away remembering from a movie, not just plot point A to plot point B.
There was a study done by the University of California about media enjoyment and spoilers. They concluded that consumers of media (in this instance short stories) showed more significant appreciation of their entertainment and delved deeper with the text knowing what the conclusion would be. In my viewing of films, I have found that when it comes to popular mass media spoilers often make me enjoy it more. For instance, I had little interest in watching The Last Jedi when it was released in 2017. The day it came out I actively sought spoilers so that I could know the basic plot and these spoilers made me want to view the movie even more than I did before. Spoilers often don’t provide context just a plot beat (i.e., Yoda shows up). This was enough of a hook for me want to view the material to learn the meaning of how this event comes to pass. That said, here is what I saw in the leaked Avengers: Endgame footage.
The thing that made me happiest was the incorporation of Banner/Hulk. In Incredible Hulk #377, writer Peter David gave us a new interpretation of the character, combining all version of Hulk and Banner into one ideal version. This Hulk has all the scientific intelligence and cognition of Bruce Banner with the physical power of Hulk. Additionally, Hulk’s personality was influenced by the “gray Hulk” a short-lived variation known for being cranky and sullen. Most audiences, through the Hulk television show and cartoons, only know the character as “Hulk Smash!” so I am happy people will get to see this fun reimagining which I hope is the permanent form. I find the mindless Hulk to be one of the least interesting Marvel characters because there is so little you can do with him storywise. A hybrid Hulk opens a lot more possibilities for story exploration.
Thor shows up not looking like what we’ve seen in the trailers at all. I was reminded of the Infinity War trailer where we see Hulk in the crowd shot only to find in the actual film that it’s Banner in the Hulkbuster armor and CG is used to fake out the trailer audience. It appears that Thor has let himself grow, becoming disheveled and drunken, hanging out with Miek and Korg from Ragnarok. Throughout the footage, it doesn’t look like we get a different take on Thor leading me to believe some of the trailer content might be a fake out?
Time travel is going to be a part of Endgame as many fans have predicted. Hulk comments on Ant-Man being lost in the 1950s. Later, we see the contemporary Avengers back in the 2012 Battle of New York watching their past selves. Cap directs the team to go after Infinity Stones present in the city at the moment, referring to three of them. I know Loki has the Soul Stone in his scepter? However, I am drawing a blank on the presence of the other two that would have been around at that time.
Additionally, we see Captain America fighting his past self on a catwalk, which reminded me of the final battle in Winter Soldier. Could the Avengers be visiting crucial moments from their pasts? What ramifications could that have on the timestream? Will they change things drastically?
Hulk dons a gauntlet in the design of the Iron Man armor, and it has a partial set of stones in it as soon as it puts it on some energy surges out and crawls up his arm. Hulk is obviously in pain and doesn’t seem to be able to handle the power. I guess that Thanos had to undergo some condition to manage the power of the stones or its something like Thor’s hammer where only someone of a certain fortitude can wield it.
Captain America is using Mjolnir, Thor’s original hammer while simultaneously wielding his shield. This has happened in the comics, back in Thor #390 in the 1990s and a surprising number of heroes and villains have used the powerful weapon. Eric Masterson (a temporary Thor), the alien Beta Ray Bill, a man turned into a frog (aka Frog Thor), Red Hulk, Wonder Woman (in the 90s mini DC vs Marvel), Superman (in the JLA/Avengers mini), Magneto, and Jane Foster (during her tenure as Thor). During the Secret Wars event of 2015, Dr. Doom reshaped reality and had a police force made of Thors so at this point pretty much every character has had a chance in some way to wield Mjolnir despite the film telling you it is a rare event.
We get the money shot of Cap receiving a message over the coms from Falcon and a portal of light appearing behind him. Black Panther, Shuri, and Oyoke emerge followed by Falcon soaring out. I’m pretty sure Oyoke survived at the end of Infinity War, so this left me with some questions. This final battle appears to be taking place in Valhalla or some Asgardian afterlife. We see the Valkyries, and I know Tessa Thompson’s character from Ragnarok will show up in Endgame as a significant character. It would make sense that the Hall of Heroes would be the realm where the lost would be resurrected. We get the build-up paid off with every single hero who passed in Infinity War (including Gamora) lined up behind Cap, and he shouts the iconic “Avengers Assemble!” It should be noted that Thanos’ Black Order, all of whom died in Infinity War, are now back among the living as well.
We see Tony Stark, and Peter Parker reunited, Tony giving Peter a huge bear hug. I assume this is a call back to Homecoming where Peter mistakes a car door opening for a hug which Tony rebuffs. We see Captain Marvel glowing and destroying the Kree/Thanos flagship. The last moment has Peter handing the Iron Man gauntlet to Captain Marvel.
I suspect Valhalla will be a fitting place to end the movie because Captain America is going to die. He dies in battle with Thanos, maybe by wielding the gauntlet to repair all that damage that has been done. So he goes out the ultimate hero yet could still be used because he exists in the afterlife. I feel very strongly that Tony Stark will retire from being Iron Man and get his happy ending with Pepper Potts. He’ll become the old guard, supporting the new generation of heroes. Overall, seeing this leak made me more excited to see Endgame when my enthusiasm level had been in the single digits. Knowing some of the plot beats (like the time travel element) has me more interested in discovering the context and seeing this particular take on the trope. Time travel is a dangerously tricky plot device and if done wrong can sap the fun out of movie or story. I won’t be clamoring to see this on opening weekend, but maybe when summer break starts, I’ll find my way to the multiplex.