Avengers Endgame: 17 Plot Holes And Other Things That Don't Make Sense
Avengers: Endgame has been out for a few weeks, and apparently, according the directors, everyone can talk spoilers. Thanks? Regardless, this is a record-breaking movie that tugged at our emotional heartstrings in a way that no other movie has before. However, throughout the madness of Endgame, there were moments that either didn't make sense or were flatout plot holes.
Warning: If you haven't seen Endgame yet, you may want to avoid this until afterwards. In the meantime, check out our spoiler-free review and learn when the best times are to use the bathroom during the movie.
Endgame is a three-hour long film, and there is plenty to talk about. Because it's a movie with a giant ensemble cast, sometimes things are going to fall through the cracks. At times, you're going to get a few plot holes here and there. Additionally, the average movie goer may have some questions about the world and the characters contained within.
The fine folks at GameSpot combed through Endgame to point out some of the major oopsies and mistakes within the story and discuss them further. If you're looking for more Endgame content, check out news about the next Avengers villains, what the next Avengers team will look like, why Iron Man's story arc was perfect, and what Endgame means for the future of the MCU.
How did 2014 Thanos travel through the Quantum Tunnel without Pym Particles?
The entire second act of Endgame hinges on one very simple rule: in order to time travel through the Quantum Realm, you have to actually--you know--enter the Quantum Realm, and to enter the Quantum Realm, you have to become subatomic. Thus, the entire team needs Pym Particles to make the trip, and there is exactly enough to go around for one screw up by Scott, one test trip by Clint, and one round trip for every Avenger.
Tony and Steve go to the 1970s and get more--by our count Steve takes four vials, but who knows how many trips that actually amounts too--and brings them back to the present, so in theory, they'll be able to make all sorts of fun trips around time now.
However, Nebula from 2014 takes out Present Day Nebula and uses her return trip--her one return trip--to come back to the current day and dupe all the Avengers into trusting her. She then, apparently, opens the Quantum Tunnel like it's just a portal from 2014 which allows Thanos' entire ship to come through without Pym Particles.
How were Thanos and his army able to go subatomic? Nebula couldn't have left particles for them behind or she wouldn't have been able to get back--and the fact that they were a limited resource drove the entire second act of the movie.
What was the plan during the final fight?
During the climactic final battle between time traveling Thanos and the entire Avengers lineup, we get an actually pretty fun sequence of different heroes playing keep away with the Infinity Gauntlet, trying to keep it out of the hands of the baddies. It's obvious why they don't want Thanos to get his hands on it again--we've been living with the consequences of what he can do with it for the past year in real time. But at one point, the game of Hot Potato suddenly becomes about getting the Gauntlet into the team's back up Quantum Tunnel--the one in the back of Scott's ugly van.
What, exactly, was the plan here, aside from throwing the Gauntlet through the tunnel and hoping for the best? The Ancient One was incredibly specific about the need for the stones to be placed back exactly where they came from or risk the complete destruction of the flow of time--and the creation of various doomed splinter universes. On top of that, we spent the first and second act learning just how dangerous and unpredictable Quantum Realm time travel is--why was it suddenly okay to just throw something in and hope for the best?
Or was Carol planning on taking it through herself? How would she know where to go and when would she have time to get the Pym Particles she needed? Captain Marvel may be extremely powerful, but as far as we know, she can't go subatomic at will.
How did Carol find the Benatar?
Carol comes to the rescue for Tony and Nebula in the (very literal) 11th hour while they're stranded in space in the Benatar about to run out of oxygen, but it's never explained--or even alluded to--how she was able to find them. In her own words, she's "covering a lot of ground" and is working with multiple planets in the galaxy that don't have their own superheroes, yet she just happened to be in the neighborhood to find a tiny space craft that is "miles away from the nearest 7/11."
She--and by extension Tony and Nebula--just got lucky, apparently. But it sure would have been nice to see exactly what prompted her to find them--and how she managed to get a broken down spaceship without oxygen back to Earth in time for either of its occupants to survive the trip.
Did they actually need the Quantum Tunnel to time travel or did Tony's bracelets do the work for them?
Look, time travel is weird and complicated and confusing--but something about the way the whole thing shakes out in this movie specifically just doesn't add up. The team had to build a giant Quantum Tunnel device to send everyone back to their respective heist spots, which should have been safe because they had the help of Tony's time GPS bracelets to prevent them from having "time pushed through them" like Scott did during his first tests with Bruce.
However, when Tony and Steve are back in 2011, they are able to use the time GPS bracelets to travel back to the 1970s without the help of any Quantum Tunnel device or machine.
So, what, exactly, is the time machine here? Does the Quantum Tunnel just look cool and keep everyone's watches synched up? Are the bracelets just incredibly powerful time machines on their own? If that's the case, why couldn't they just use them in the first place? Why use the tunnel at all?
What actually happened when people came back from being dusted?
We know from Peter Parker's excited rambling that everyone who came back from being turned to dust in Infinity War experienced the whole event in the blink of an eye--for them, no time passed at all, and when they came back, they were dropped right back exactly where they were left.
This means, in theory, that people who were in say, helicopters (remember that chopper that careened into a building after the snap during the Infinity War post credits scene?) would be, where exactly, when the snap was undone? Would they pop back into existence in mid air only to fall to their deaths? Would people on boats be dropped into the ocean to drown? What would people who were in the middle of surgery? People who were on airplanes? In cars? Were people coming back trapped in walls after a building was built over where they vanished in the last five years?
We don't actually get to see anyone come back, so we don't even know what the process looked like or what the world plans to do now that it's population has suddenly doubled in a split second. It didn't do so great at adjusting to the opposite happening, after all.
What does the Soul Stone actually do?
There was some speculation back during the post-Infinity War period that we'd seen the Soul World--the pocket dimension within the Soul Stone where it keeps all the delicious souls it Pac Man's up--when Thanos was briefly transported to a strange orange dreamscape where he sees Baby Gamora who asks him what his snap costs.
That actually may have been the case--but two more people snap their fingers in Endgame and are decidedly not treated to visions of people in the Soul World to visit Natasha who, by the Baby Gamora logic, ought to be in the Soul World now.
This is strange, not only because it means that Thanos' snap was apparently, arbitrarily, the Most Special snap, but it also means that the Soul Stone is the only one of the six that has no identifiable or discernable powers or abilities. What does the Soul Stone do? Apparently, it's greatest skill is being the Orange One.
How does Captain America return the stones?
There's a lot that happens off screen in Endgame and one of the moments that, strangely, felt like it should be the most critical--Steve returning back in time to place the Infinity Stones back where they came from--is no exception. The entire moment is eschewed for a five minute pause-for-effect and then an epilogue for Steve.
Completely ignoring the time travel logistics here, we're left wondering--how, exactly, did Steve put the stones back where they came from? Some of them are easy--the tesseract, the staff, the Power Stone on Morag, sure--but others, not so much. Did he travel to Asgard to inject the liquid Aether back into Jane? How did he give the Soul Stone--a stone that very, very specifically got a conversation dedicated to how the price one paid for it could never be undone (sorry, Natasha)--back to his old nemesis Red Skull?
The Ancient One talks about how the stones create what we experience as the flow of time and reality, and that removing them from where they need to be creates "doomed timelines" that are disastrous for everyone involved, so we have to assume that Steve's mission had some seriously high stakes. Why didn't we get to see them? How did it work?
What actually happens if the stones are destroyed?
Speaking of the Ancient One's warning about doomed timelines and the stones guiding the flow of existence--what, exactly, happened to the flow of existence after Thanos destroyed the stones? There's no shortage of time-y wime-y compilation to look at here and any number of possibilities, but does this mean that everything after Thanos' execution and the five-year time skip was a doomed timeline? And if that's the case, did bringing everyone back to that exact moment actually repair the timeline at all?
Did all of Peter's classmates get dusted or held back?
There are a lot of world building complications involved in the Avengers just bringing everyone who was snapped back five years later, while absolutely no time has passed at all for them and the rest of the world has, effectively moved on. Sure, they may have moved on very, very poorly (except for Tony who "got lucky") but the remaining population of the Earth didn't sit around and do nothing for five whole years.
Which begs the question--did Peter Parker's entire high school class get snapped away? And if they didn't, are we going to see that some of them are just five years older than Peter now? We get a brief shot of he and Ned having a tearful reunion and, while there's no audible dialogue on the scene, it certainly feels like an "oh my god, you're back" level reunion. Is Ned just an adult man in high school now or what?
What about the rest of the world's dusted population?
In terms of people coming back, abruptly realizing you missed your chance to graduate with your friends is a pretty tame compared to what a lot of people probably faced. We saw in the post credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War that helicopters and cars were spiraling into fiery wrecks when their occupants were snapped away--how, exactly, are those people coming back?
The choppers and airplanes that went down are obviously no longer there, so did they just re-materialize mid air? What about people who were snapped away during surgical procedures? On boats? People who were skydiving or on roller coasters, even.
Where did Valkyrie's Pegasus come from?
Look, far be it from me to complain about an Asgardian badass swooping into battle on a flying horse, but, really, where did the Pegasus come from? Has New Asgard secretly been breading winged horses for the last five years? Is that the secret of the post-snap economy? One can only hope.
Where did Asgard get an army, and who brought the Ravagers?
The final battle against Thanos sees the Mad Titan field his entire army, including the multi-limbed Outriders (or Space Dogs, as Rocket called them in Infinity War) and the Chitauri from the Battle of New York. To match Thanos's troops, Doctor Strange's team of sorcerers warp in forces from Wakanda, as well as Asgardians from New Asgard, and, apparently, space people. Wakanda we can follow the logic on--T'Challa just got unsnapped, after all, along with a bunch of his troops, so it makes sense to bring them all to the final battle. But where did Asgard get an army from? First, Hela wiped out a huge number of troops in Thor: Ragnarok, and the survivors were civilians hiding out from her wrath. Second, Thanos killed half the Asgardian refugees he found on the ship when he got the Tesseract from Loki in Avengers: Infinity War, and he did it by hand, not with the Infinity Gauntlet. So how did Asgard manage field an army?
Piggybacking from there: Who are those people portaling in from what appears to be another planet? One assumes they're the Ravagers, the intergalactic fraternity of criminals with hearts of gold to which Yondu and Star-Lord once belonged. Who called those folks up, how did they get here, why are they participating in this fight, and how come they've never even been mentioned up to now?
Why is Thanos with four Infinity Stones (Infinity War) less powerful than Thanos with zero Infinity Stones (Endgame)?
In Avengers: Infinity War, the combined efforts of Iron Man, Peter Quill, Spider-Man, Drax, Mantis, and Dr. Strange nearly defeat Thanos by wresting the Infinity Gauntlet from his arm. This version of Thanos has four Infinity Stones: the Power Stone, the Space Stone, the Reality Stone, and the Soul Stone. That six superheroes were nearly able to take him down is an impressive feat; just two stones made Thanos the most powerful being in the universe, let alone four.
But at the conclusion of Endgame, at the beginning of the final battle, Thanos has no Stones and no Gauntlet. All he has is a massive blade that's bigger than him. And armed with only that, he manages to fend off Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor.
One rationalization making the rounds is that Thanos was more emotionally invested and angry the second time around, and thus, he fought harder. That seems like a stretch; the more plausible interpretation is that at all times, Thanos is as powerful as the plot demands.
How did Laura Barton still have cell phone service five years later?
The moment Hulk snaps his fingers, bringing back everyone Thanos dusted, Clint's cell phone starts to ring. First and foremost, his cell phone's silence mode vibrates louder than practically anything else on the planet. On the other end of the phone, though, is his wife Laura. It seems, somehow, that not only did Clint keep paying her cell bill the five years she was gone, he also kept her phone plugged in so it would have a full charge when she miraculously returned.
Of course, the problem with that is that Clint's been on a worldwide murder tour, cutting down bad guys with a sword and no soul to speak of. So in this instance, he must have also been paying the electricity bill for the house he's no longer living in. How does Clint pay for his electric bill, his wife's cell phone, his own cell phone, and his travels around the world--not to mention a new custom murder costume and some very nice swords? We will definitely never find out. That is, unless her phone was also snapped away, in which case she still shouldn't have cell service. Unless she and Clint shared a family plan. But then how did Clint pay for it? Is he still on the Avengers payroll? If so, who is bankrolling the Avengers? Clearly, Laura Barton's cell phone is the key to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, Clint is a serial killer now.
How did Steve wind up in the same present if he changed the past?
Very early on, the rules for time travel were set up. The Avengers can't go back and just kill baby Thanos because it creates a splintered timeline, which will not affect the world they live in. If you kill poor, helpless, beautiful baby Thanos, it won't matter. The Snap already happened in the current timeline. Very quickly, this sets up the "Time Heist" plot where the Avengers have to go back to collect the soul stones before they were destroyed in order to unsnap the snap. So why can Steve Rogers go back in time, live to be an old man, and show up in present day like a dude about to feed the ducks?
Considering Endgame spent a bit of time really drilling down the rules for time travel, how does this all work? Captain America can go back in time all he wants, but he shouldn't be able to show up in the main timeline's present day. Because in that timeline, Peggy Carter got married to a man Cap saved in WWII, and they had kids together. Peggy did not marry Rogers and did not have children with him. You should not exist in this timeline anymore, Cap. You're breaking the movie's time travel rules.
The Avengers just have a time machine now I guess?
This is going to create some messy future storylines. The Quantum Realm machine can be used to travel through time, but is this something that the Avengers are going to go back to in future movies? If there is a new big baddie threatening the Earth, will the Avengers just grab those Infinity Stones again to snap the villain out of existence? The movie has created a weapon that is just way too powerful to be in anyone's hands. And it's a piece of technology that will undoubtedly be recreated by others in the future. Are people from the future going to come back to stop the Avengers from using the time machine now, and how soon will it be before we see the time traveling villain Kang show up?
Will Avengers 5 just be the Avengers fighting themselves from the future, who are now drunk on abusing the ability to time travel? Actually, that doesn't sound like a bad movie: Civil War 2.
What's up with Red Skull?
Red Skull spent his days on Vormir, waiting for someone to come and collect the Soul Stone, which sounds like an inescapable personal hell one should never wish on someone else. According to the official The Avengers Twitter account, once the Soul Stone has been claimed, the Red Skull is free to "pursue his desire for an Infinity Stone," whatever that means. Can he just leave Vormir, if that were a possibility, seeing as he doesn't have a ship?
This is where it gets confusing as Captain America was going to return the Soul Stone to Vormir at the end of Endgame, but if old redface was free to go, why would he want to accept the stone and go back to watching over it like a space Gollum? More importantly, does that mean Gamora is alive?
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