Thanos demands our silence, but the Avengers 4 film has started to open across the world. UK audiences are catching up today with the lucky cinemagoers in Australia, Singapore, France, Germany and China. Only the US is left until Friday to wait and find out what happens. And speaking of our friends across the Pond, it’s time to talk about Captain America. That his Endgame journey is hugely emotional is no surprise. That its tear-jerking ending is one giant plot hole is a major problem.
MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE:
Endgame does a magnificent job revisiting the greatest hits from the MCU history and giving fans so much of what they wanted to see. Unfortunately, the wish-fulfilment in bringing home the entire saga’s greatest love story creates huge problems.
Everyone secretly hoped Steve would find a way to return to that dancefloor with Peggy. The film ends on the beautiful revelation that he uses his last time jump to go back and live a long and full married life with her.
It is the ending he always deserved, but, much as we hate to say this, is it the right ending? Even worse, does it make sense? It creates enormous problems for the Marvel Cinematic nd Television Universes.
The movie owns the problems with time travel paradoxes and freely references the issues with similar situations in Back To The Future. The Ancient One also explains that going back in time can’t change the past since what happens is still some form of your present and future. It simply becomes an alternate timeline.
PROBLEM 1: If that is true, how does Steve still end up at the end as an old man chatting to Bucky and Sam Wilson?
Therefore he stayed in the same timeline rather than create a new one since they all clearly know everything that has been happening. So the Ancient One is wrong?
PROBLEM 2: Does this mean there were two Steve Rogers?
The film already showed Steve meeting himself in the recent past and Nebula killing one of her selves. Does the Endgame ending mean from the 1940s there was always a Captain America still there living a new life? If so, how did nobody know about him? The opens up a whole can of worms.
Did he go incognito, with only Peggy knowing who he was? This might be possible if she didn’t spend her whole life working for the organisation that was utterly entwined with war secrets and ultimately the Avengers.
How did she explain her new husband who looked remarkably like the missing Steve Rogers whose face was plastered over every single piece of wartime propaganda?
Does Steve’s appearance completely retcon everything that happened in the Peggy Carter TV show (including her romances)?
PROBLEM 3: If Steve goes back he knows that SHIELD is riddled with Hydra agents.
Does he maintain the timeline by affecting nothing? This means he has to stand silently by as countless lives are lost and evil atrocities are committed. He might be willing to sacrifice much for love, but surely the most honourable man in the MCU would not allow this to happen?
PROBLEM 4: What about Bucky?
Steve now knows his best friend endures decades on unimaginable pain and torture. Could he just leave Bucky to that, in order to protect a (dubious) timeline? Again, even if he could, it does not sit well with fans of Steve or Bucky.
CONCLUSION: This Endgame plotline is undeniably moving and heartwarming but it makes no sense and undermines so many other storylines we are totally invested in. Yes, everyone wants Steve and Peggy reunited on that dancefloor, but perhaps it could have been in some tear-jerking form of the afterlife instead?