‘Avengers: Endgame’: Does This Unrealistic Moment Make the Movie Better or Worse?

Fans will believe that a man can fly. They’ll believe that a man can climb walls after being bitten by a radioactive spider. They’ll believe that if you go back into the past, you can change the future. They’ll believe that if you turn into dust, you’ll come back five years later raring to go. But if a bunch of superheroes survive an attack that decimates a building — well, that’s just going too far. 

As much as people loved Avengers: Endgame, they sure love to try to poke holes in it. One of those holes involves the moment when past Thanos comes back to the present day and flattens the Avengers’ headquarters. They argue that some heroes should not have survived. 

Should Thanos’ attack have crushed the Avengers?

Thanos fights Captain America
Thanos fights Captain America. | Marvel Studios

A Screen Rant article suggests that at least some of the Avengers should have died when Thanos turned their HQ into rubble. And it does make sense that some of the heroes survived.

Ant-Man can avoid most any physical attack by shrinking. The Hulk is bulky and strong enough that he can take a building falling on him. Captain America is stronger than the average Joe because of his super serum, and Thor is a god. 

The article notes that Iron Man was wearing his suit, but we’ve seen before that his suit would break down and he could sustain injuries. Perhaps the least believable survival is Hawkeye because he doesn’t have any powers or super equipment other than a few arrow gadgets. Yet he seemed to emerge from the wreckage without so much as a broken bone. 

Of course, the reason they survived is simple: This group had to be alive for the final fight, and for the future TV shows and movies. Tony Stark, in particular, couldn’t die at this point, because that wouldn’t make dramatic sense. He had to survive so he could make the ultimate sacrifice by being the one to deal the death blow to Thanos.

And in real life, sometimes normal people survive car crashes, plane crashes, fires, earthquakes and other horrific events.  Is it so unbelievable that a bunch of superheroes can survive a building falling down on them?

Sci-fi fantasy movies must suspend disbelief

Sci-fi-fantasy movies get caught in this trap all the time, so Marvel is hardly alone. Their Disney-owned brethren Star Wars gets taken to task as well for not being “realistic” despite being fantastical by definition. 

One prime example of this is the Holdo maneuver in The Last Jedi when Laura Dern’s character jumps through hyperspace to destroy the First Order’s ship and let the Resistance live another day. That moment in particular has been decried as being unbelievable.

However, critic Matt Zoller Seitz attacked the attackers, tweeting: “Of all the dumb arguments against The Last Jedi, the dumbest is the idea that the Holdo maneuver doesn’t make tactical sense because if it did, all eight films would be filled with people constantly committing suicide in large vehicles. What Reddit hellhole did this originate in? Some of the ships in those movies are so gigantic that if they existed in our world they would cost 100 times more than an aircraft carrier, and people are actually on here asking why characters aren’t constantly flying them into other ships.”

There is a literary principle called “suspension of disbelief” that according to Oxford dictionaries  means “willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe something surreal; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment” Superhero and other sci-fi movies rely on this constantly. Sometimes explanations fly and sometimes they don’t. People’s mileage will vary. 

Sometimes complaints can be credible

Sometimes the smaller and less serious a plot hole or lapse in logic is, the more fun it is. For instance, at least one person pointed out that there’s no way that a down on his luck ex-con like Scott Lang/Ant-Man could afford to live in a house in San Francisco where the rent or mortgage is astronomical.  

Along the same lines, is it really believable that Lois Lane could live in a spacious Manhattan penthouse apartment like she does in the 1978 Superman movie? Maybe not, but it sure makes a nifty platform for Superman to take off from and land on. 

In the end, how much you can suspend disbelief often depends on how much you like the movie. If you don’t like the movie, you’ll point out the leaps if you logic. If you love the movie, you’ll forgive the leaps of logic. In the case of Avengers: Endgame, people will love the movie – and point out the leaps in logic anyway.