Marvel’s Disney+ Shows Made Endgame’s Writing Even Wilder
The culmination of 22 movies of storytelling was also a teaser for like 10 projects, and we barely noticed.
When Avengers: Age of Ultron came out, one (of many) major criticisms of the movie was that it was so clearly trying to tease future Marvel movies. Depending on how charitable you were to this concept, some referred to this as “setting up” the next entries in the series, while others called these scenes “ads.”
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the latter characterization. It’s a bit like saying the fifth episode of a TV show is an “advertisement” for the season finale. On the other hand, when Thor takes his shirt off and hops into an inexplicable pool to get brief flashes of a YouTube video explaining what the Infinity Stones are, I kinda see their point.
Which is what makes Avengers: Endgame so absolutely wild. Because it’s loaded with the narrative equivalent of ten half-naked Thors in exposition pools. And we barely even noticed.
Okay, so we noticed some of them. The moment when the 2012 version of Loki picks up a tesseract and voips away? That was. Uh. Weird. And it never comes up again in the movie, so it must mean he’s gonna come back later. And there’s the obvious bit at the end when Thor makes Valkyrie ruler of Asgard, then hops on Quill’s ship and calls the team he’s just joined “the Asgardians of the Galaxy.” Sure sounds like a setup for a movie that got even more delayed than the rest of the Marvel movies after that whole James Gunn kerfuffle.
While the Loki moment was jarring and would be a flaw in any other movie–seriously, it just never comes up again in the whole movie!–the Thor moment is fairly natural. It’s not a sudden interjection of a tease for a sequel, so much as it’s just the next event in that character’s life.
And that’s the technique Marvel used to hide several other setups for future properties:
WandaVision: Wanda gets barely any screen time in Endgame, but the two brief moments where she has meaningful dialogue both pinpoint exactly where she’s at. To Thanos, she says “You took everything from me!” and later at the funeral for Stark, when Hawkeye says he wishes they could tell Nat that they won, Wanda replies “She knows…they both do.”