Over the last couple of years, there’s been a bit of a fan divide on which is a better MCU film: Avengers: Infinity War or Avengers: Endgame. Since they’re kind of connected, one might say they’re one giant film that couldn’t be done all at once without being six hours.
As two separate movies released a year apart, though, they do have different trajectories. Since Infinity War set up the events of Endgame, some fans might have forgotten the details of the former by the time the latter arrived. One reason is there was Ant Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel placed as buffers in-between during 2018-19.
Is it really true Endgame is superior just because it was a grand finale? The real truth lies in a couple of key plot devices.
Fans can explain why ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was a better movie
From the outset, it just makes sense Endgame would be a better movie based on it being a finale and having a far more complex plot. Then again, it could have easily been a disaster without some serious thought put in by the writing team: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
Working closely with the Russo Brothers, they constructed one of the most mind-bending time-travel plots ever attempted, other than the Back to the Future trilogy. Markus and McFeely did this without few to any plot holes either, which is a major accomplishment on its own.
Fans, though, note the distinct difference between Endgame and Infinity War. On Reddit, especially, it’s easy to find numerous threads either trying to place Infinity War on a pedestal or rebutting that Endgame was exponentially better.
Yes, it might sound like the nerdiest debate of all time, yet it’s also an interesting examination of what’s most important to MCU fans in what they want to see in future movies.
Is character development more important than action for MCU fans?
Most who stand up for Endgame say its character development is what makes it rise to the top. It was a film that was also an endgame for the big pivotal characters Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.). Their outcomes alone gave their characters one of the most satisfying arcs in the history of superhero films.
Any thought of trying to continue their story after those endings would almost seem anticlimactic, even though Downey, Jr. will be doing a little of this with upcoming past-tense cameos.
With character development being one of the most essential fundamentals to what makes a good fictional movie, what does it say about the fans who think it’s what made Endgame great? In Infinity War, the focus was more on intense action scenes, something everyone expects in a Marvel movie. Endgame turned the action down a few notches to focus more on emotion, an undervalued element.
Placing nostalgia in a film franchise is one of the most critical elements to making it work for its intended audience. In the Star Wars franchise, it’s worked the same way in the new trilogy, something they may continue to do by realizing a good chunk of fans grew up with the original films.
Will character development take precedence in MCU’s future?
Setting such a high bar for developing characters in Endgame will hopefully persuade the creatives at Marvel to keep this going, something maybe hinted over when Black Widow arrives in May. Character development in that will be essential if they want to continue Natasha Romanoff into more films.
Not that it’s impossible to combine continually heightened action scenes with developing a character. The Spider-Man franchise has done this with a stunning balance.
However, the emotional aspect will become a critical element after 12 years of growing up with these versions of the Avengers. All the Disney+ shows will be able to tap into this emotion since they’ll be including elements of time-travel or illusions of the past. Emotion and nostalgia will likely be the secret ingredients for a while until it becomes necessary to introduce new characters…maybe using the same things.