Please be advised. The following is a SPOILER-FILLED discussion of the film. Please don’t read any further until you’ve seen
Who the Avengers Are Now
Since the first press screening let out on Tuesday morning, we in the Nerdist office have been arguing and debating the mechanics of the time travel used in
Early on in the movie, the remaining Avengers want to get their revenge on Thanos. They’re prepared for a fight just as big, possibly just as devastating as the first. But it’s not. He’s a broken man, living alone on a lush planet. He already destroyed the Infinity Stones, as he says, to stop temptation. This is no longer the Mad Titan. Still, he’s won. When Thor cuts his head off, aggrieved at his own failure, nothing changes. Five years go by and the Avengers have to move on.
While the rest of
Banner, always at odds with the Hulk side of himself, has found a way to meld the two. He’s the best parts of both of his personalities and he seems genuinely happy and adjusted—as much as one can be after such a tragedy. In
Thor’s problem has always been struggling with his own self-worth. He’s the god of thunder and yet swings between supreme arrogance and self-doubt. After his perceived failure with Thanos, he secludes himself in Norway, content to play video games and drink himself into oblivion. He needs to speak to his mother back on Asgard in order to understand that he isn’t a failure. He did his best and he’s still worthy of Mjolnir. The joy on Thor’s face when the hammer flies into his hands is genuine and palpable. He can move on to new galaxies confidently.
Nebula ended up as one of the film’s strongest characters. She’s come such a long way from fanatical devotee to Thanos—her obsession born of a lifetime of mental, emotional, and physical abuse—to someone who cares about others and sees Thanos for what he really is. It’s a staggering juxtaposition, both versions of Nebula together. We see how much she lost because of her father, and how much she gained after reconciling with Gamora. When she rejoins the un-snapped Guardians at the end of the movie, it’s a confirmation that the team means more to her than anything else, and she’ll have to teach her memory-free sister the same thing.
Natasha’s was the death nobody saw coming. She seems the most visibly affected by the aftermath of the snap. She lets her hair grow out without re-dyeing, for one thing. Once a cold, solo assassin, Black Widow found her family first in S.H.I.E.L.D. and then in the Avengers. She tries to keep the team together as much as possible, and it’s through the grief of her ostensible best friend, Clint Barton, that she realizes what she has to do. Sending two people who love each other to Vormir is cruel, and Nat ultimately saved Clint the same way he saved her.
Cap got the last line in
Steve goes toe-to-toe with Thanos when both Tony and Thor have gotten walloped. He has little hope of victory and that is why he’s able to finally wield Mjolnir in perhaps the film’s most air-punching moment. Steve Rogers reconciles with Tony Stark, and once Tony dies, he learns that there’s more to life than endless fighting. His admission that he has should live his life leads to the realization that a life with Peggy Carter is worth more than the life of a perpetual soldier.
If Steve finally learns to be a little more selfish, Tony Stark does the complete opposite. The first
But it’s in the past that Tony gets to know what fatherhood really means. Tony is able to speak to his own father, with whom he has always had a fractious relationship, in 1970 and see where that workaholic genius was coming from. It’s one of
There’s a reason we care about these people. We’ve spent, some of us, a significant portion of our lives with them, watching their ups and downs, their successes and defeats. If