Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now, and we have some questions. Some of them are admittedly silly and easily enough chalked up to a “meh” and a shoulder shrug, but most of them are weightier and worthy of asking. Well, worth asking for us anyway. And look, I get it. The answers to every single question below can probably be summed up with one or both of the following: “It’s a comic book movie, Hunter!” or “Shut your pie-hole, Hunter!”
But putting that unnecessarily mean reply aside for the moment, we demand answers! Of course, this all comes with a spoiler warning…
Where does Loki go with the Tesseract?
One of Endgame‘s highlights is the series of time heists they perpetrate to acquire the Infinity stones, but their attempt to steal the Tesseract as it and Loki are being escorted away by S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of the battle of New York erupts in shenanigans. Seeing the opportunity, Loki grabs the Tesseract and disappears — so where does he go? As it turns out, he went to Disney+ for a new series set to debut on the streaming service in the near future. That’s the legit answer, but it doesn’t explain where he went in the world of the movies. After being captured in The Avengers (2011) his next appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in Thor: The Dark World (2013) where he was made to answer in Asgard for his crimes on Earth. That still happens thanks to Endgame‘s trouble-free take on time travel — changing the past doesn’t affect the present!? — but Loki’s the kind of trickster who might just show up in Asgard to rescue himself and steal the Tesseract (in that timeline) before it’s given to The Collector. Meaning yes, he could have two Tesseracts, which is more power than someone like him should ever have. (This, in turn, sets up the worry that someone could time travel and collect dozens of *each* Infinity Stone… imagine a glove with 72 Stones!)
How flexible is that Soul Stone rule?
Per the Keeper of the Soul Stone, it can only be obtained by someone who sacrifices someone they love. In Infinity War that meant Thanos could toss Gamora to her death and be rewarded, but in Endgame the rules seem to change. Sure Hawkeye likes Black Widow — all the heroes like Black Widow, apparently — and sure she likes him back, but love? At best they feel the platonic love of friendship for each other as otherwise the reunion with Hawkeye’s family is severely undercut emotionally. But fine, let’s say friendship is enough. We’re still stuck on the rule stating that someone has to sacrifice someone else. These two friends fight for the right to sacrifice themselves and against each other doing the same. Hawkeye doesn’t sacrifice Black Widow… he fails to stop her from sacrificing herself.
Did Steve Rogers spend 60 years in hiding and/or pretending he isn’t Captain America?
Captain America goes back in time to return the various Infinity Stones — a sequence we don’t see but one I have to imagine would have been 10 times harder to do than the thefts were — and instead of returning to the present he stays in the 1940s. (That’s another question. None of the stones were in the ’40s so how did he get back there? Granted, I’m basing that on the scene of he and Peggy Carter dancing to ’40s music while dressed in ’40s clothes, which I guess could have been a flashback to a themed dance party, but still…) That means he was around for the decades leading up to his discovery by S.H.I.E.L.D. and there through the past decade of adventures. Did he spend any of that time doing heroic deeds? He would have to, right, as he’s not one to hide while people are suffering? If so, won’t Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. be aware of him sooner? I know Chris Evans is done with the character, but maybe he can be tempted back for some one-off period adventures fighting baddies in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. (The 1990s already have a Captain America.)
Doesn’t Steve Rogers’ presence as an old man suggest that time travel into the past *can* affect the present?
Endgame makes a point of belittling and besmirching fine examples of time travel cinema like Back to the Future (1985) and Timecop (1994) by saying changes to the past can’t affect the present. But the appearance of old man Steve Rogers on that bench suggests otherwise. Instead of traveling back via the machine, he stayed in the ’40s and lived out his life, meaning Peggy Carter’s life was changed and there’s a very good chance they even had kids. (A super-powered daughter who takes up the mantle of Captain America when she turns 21? Hmm? Kevin Feige, give me a call…) This also means that Peggy’s grand-niece Sharon would have grown up knowing who he is and calling him Uncle Steve (which in turn means she probably wouldn’t have made out with him either). The point being, the present would be changed.
Why does Thanos seem even stronger without the Infinity Stones than he did with them?
Towards the end of Infinity War, a handful of Avengers are able to nearly de-glove and defeat Thanos even while he wields the Infinity Stones. They fail, obviously, because of that dipshit Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, but they come close. So why is it that they can’t even scratch Thanos in Endgame when he has none of the Stones to empower him? Captain America, Thor, and Captain Marvel — these are incredibly strong, near god-like beings, but they all get knocked on their ass by Thanos who’s using little more than his fists. It’s nonsense. It’s also probably my own pet peeve with these movies, but the fluctuation in powers is just ridiculous and frequently lazy as characters are only as strong or as weak as they need to be depending on the scene. For example, seeing Captain America lift Thor’s hammer is great — he’s worthy! — but he also knows how to shoot lightning with it?!