Hello friends! As you’re well aware by now, Avengers: Endgame opens in theaters this weekend, finally bringing to a—uh, well, not a close or a conclusion, but uh like some kind of large-scale branding transition for Disney and its Marvel Studios subsidiary, where they will arbitrarily plant a flag and say that a certain phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ended and the next one is beginning, but in all other respects will continue cranking out broadly samey superhero movies for as long as the public continues dumping billions of dollars onto them. Anyway I’m fuckin’ pumped.
It’s been about a year since Avengers: Infinity War, the last big entry in this very long series of movies that began with 2008's Iron Man. For those who are not hardcore Marvel fans, let’s catch up on where all of our favorite 9,717 Marvel Cinematic Universe characters are as of the ending of that movie, so that everybody will be ready to make sense of however the heck Endgame starts. (This will necessitate lots and lots of spoilers for that movie that came out a year ago.) Ready? Let’s do it!
Iron Man is not dead. He got all fucked up in his battle with Thanos and at one point Thanos skewered him through the guts, but then Iron Man sprayed some nanites on it, which as we all know is the cure for being impaled. I’m sure his organs are just fine in there and he does not need any antibiotics at all. He survived the Snap and appeared to be marooned on the planet Titan at the end of Infinity War.
Captain America also is not dead. Thanos whomped him pretty good in the final fight of Infinity War, in the woods of Wakanda, but he survived the Snap. Also, he had a beard! And shaggy hair! And instead of his iconic shield and goofy but charming classic red-and-blue outfit, he had a pair of these dumb gauntlet things and was wearing a grim-’n’-gritty black outfit. At the end of the movie he said, “Oh God.”
Also alive, also in Wakanda. Took surprisingly little damage in a long battle against the evil tall alien lady who worked for Thanos, before Scarlet Witch came along and chucked the alien lady into the whirring blades of a giant lawnmower. Infinity War didn’t seem to have any real idea what to do with Black Widow, which frankly kind of makes sense, because the bad guys at this point are so preposterously hyper-powered that it seems kind of ludicrous for someone whose superheroic ability is “good at martial arts” to be playing any kind of crucial role in defeating them.
Thor nearly stole the show in Infinity War: His arrival in Wakanda with his cool new space-ax was the high point of the movie, and he nearly won the fight when he bashed that sucker right into the middle of Thanos’s chest and then pushed it even deeper in there. I don’t know anything about giant purple alien anatomy, but it makes sense to think that, for a creature shaped and proportioned like a (very very large) human, the torso is the best place to store most of the vital organs. In which case, having a giant space-ax bashed a foot into the center of one’s chest seems like it should be a fatal wound, to me? Like if you bash a proportionally similar ax into the middle of my chest, I’m definitely gonna drop extremely dead instantaneously.
Anyway it didn’t kill Thanos. He snapped his fingers and wiped out a theoretically randomly distributed half of all the life in the universe (while somehow sparing all of the Avengers from the first Avengers movie, including Thor, who is my personal pick to be the guy who lops Thanos’s head off in Endgame). Then he used the fucked-up remains of the Infinity Gauntlet to zap himself off to a vacation retreat.
As of the end of Infinity War, Thor was in Wakanda with his space-ax. I think it’s pretty much beyond dispute at this point that Thor is the coolest Avenger.
Also alive. He wasn’t in Infinity War, unless he was in one of the 56 extra scenes Marvel habitually staples into the end credits of their movies to punish people who ever want to go home from the theater. I would just like to say here that, similar to Black Widow’s case, “very good at archery” is sort of a weird superpower in the context of a world with all the other Avengers and Thanos and such in it. There’s also no reason to think Captain America wouldn’t be able to do archery just as well as Hawkeye, and no particular reason to think the Avengers would need an archer on staff.
I don’t know where Hawkeye is as of the end of Infinity War. His farmhouse? Maybe. Apparently he was on vacation or something while earth was being invaded by genocidal aliens. Like he just saw on TV that earth was being invaded by aliens in giant circle-ships and they were smashing up New York City in a fight with some of his best friends and he was just like “That’s cool, I’ll sit this one out.”
And honestly, that’s reasonable! He wasn’t gonna swing the fight with his archery skills.
Not dead. Thanos kicked Hulk’s butt in the beginning of the movie, and then he spent the rest of the movie cowering inside Bruce Banner. It’s been a rough two-movie stretch for ol’ Hulk! First he got whomped by Thor in the arena in Ragnarok, and then Thanos just straight up beat the damn shit out of him!
Anyway, in Infinity War Bruce Banner had to sorta jerry-rig Hulklike smashing powers by wearing a huge Iron Man suit to the battle in Wakanda. His most memorable moment was when Thor showed up and Bruce told the aliens they were screwed.
Scarlet Witch got Snapped in Wakanda and is dead. Honestly the events of Infinity War went uniquely bad for the Witch. First, Thanos’s cabinet secretaries interrupted her and Vision’s romantic getaway by, uh, skewering Vision through the chest. Then, when they were all in Wakanda fighting the aliens, she got baited into leaving Vision’s side, which allowed Scary Hood Guy to thwart the work of safely removing the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead, which meant the only way to destroy the Mind Stone was to also destroy Vision. Which of course only Scarlet Witch’s magic is powerful enough to do.
She had to explode her own boyfriend’s brain to save the day! That scene was awful. And then, when she’d finally murked the love of her dang life, Thanos just used the frickin’ Time Stone to run it back 45 seconds, bring Vision back to life, and re-kill him by yanking the stone out of his face. Then Thanos snapped his fingers and turned Scarlet Witch to dust. All in all not a super great day for your pal Scarlet Witch.
But an even worse day for Vision! He’s dead as shit, man. He died twice in the span of like one minute. He’s dead.
(On the other hand, unlike many others he was not turned to dust. I suppose in theory if the Avengers get the Mind Stone back from Thanos they could plug it back into Vision’s brain and reboot him. He’s just a computer, after all. I reboot my computer like once every six months, and it’s fine.)
I haven’t seen that movie yet. Apparently it was good! Anyway Captain Marvel wasn’t in Infinity War and I don’t think she is dead. Is she higher in the Avengers chain of command than Captain America or what. Maybe she can be promoted to Major Marvel.
Dead... for now. Black Panther’s dusting at the hands of Thanos was the exact moment everybody knew for an absolute fact that the sequel to Infinity War would definitively undo the entire climax of Infinity War—which drained that climax of basically all its emotional power and made the decision to end a day-glo comic book movie with the genocide of half of humanity seem even more ghoulish and misbegotten. Black Panther made like eleventy bazillion dollars at the box office and is by far the most acclaimed and celebrated entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the people in charge of making these movies would sooner depict Captain America napalming a doggy daycare than wipe out T’Challa before they’ve made at least two more Black Panther movies.
Anyway, T’Challa led the good guys in the fight in Wakanda but got Snapped at the end.
Spider-Man, like Black Panther, is temporarily dead. He was on Titan with Iron Man and Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy when the Snap happened, and he turned to dust, while begging for his life. It was upsetting. I looked over at my young kid when it was happening and I could see him struggling to keep it together. He was upset about it for the whole rest of the day and had trouble sleeping that night because he kept thinking about how scared Peter Parker was when he died. It’s stupid that these are the kinds of comic-book superhero movies American culture makes.
Anyway, there are already teasers for the sequel to 2017's very charming Spider-Man: Homecoming, so I think it’s safe to guess that Spidey will return.
I finally watched Ant-Man and the Wasp this past weekend. It’s charming! The best MCU movies are the ones that put their monstrous budgets and infinite cultural capital toward creating something fun and silly—something liberated rather than weighed down by its origin in comic books. Give me a thousand ramshackle, goofy, Looney Tunes-y capers like this one before another grim, gray-and-navy bore about Captain America Taking Duty Very Seriously.
Anyway Ant-Man was not in Infinity War but definitely will be in Endgame. I gather that the events of Infinity War left him trapped in the Quantum Realm because all of the people who were standing by to zap him back out of it got Snapped. That’s a tough break! Other other hand, Michelle Pfeiffer hung out in there for like 30 years with no food or water and she turned out okay, so I’m sure Ant-Man can handle it. Just gotta tighten the old belt and make the best of your time in the Quantum Realm, as I have always said.
Doctor Strange was at the big battle against Thanos on Titan, gave Thanos the Time Stone, and got Snapped, and is “dead.”
The big important clue-type shit going into Endgame involves Strange: Early in Infinity War, Strange made tediously clear that his absolute highest priority was keeping the Time Stone out of Thanos’s hands, even explicitly telling Iron Man that he’d let him or Spider-Man or anybody else die without hesitation if it allowed him to keep the Time Stone safe. Then there was a scene where he used the Time Stone to view like 14 million possible alternate futures, and in only one of them were the good guys able to win. Then, after that, contrary to what he’d said earlier in the movie, he handed the Time Stone over to Thanos to save Iron Man’s life, and explained it to Iron Man by saying that “we’re in the endgame now” and “there was no other way.”
This seems to indicate that, in that one possible future out of 14 million in which the good guys win, Thanos gets the Time Stone and Iron Man doesn’t die on Titan, and Doctor Strange knows that, and that’s why he made the deal he did. You’d think he might have made more of an effort to explain that during the long minutes he and Iron Man and Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy were just hanging out on Titan after Thanos left, but, uhhhh........ maybe in all the possible futures where he explained it to them, that somehow caused Thanos to win? I don’t know, man, I have a headache.
Let’s pause here for a second for a note on Titan.
A Note On Titan
It does not speak very well of either the biodiversity of the planet Titan or of the taxonomical rigor of its inhabitants that the term for what Thanos is, like species-wise, is “Titan.” He’s a Titan from Titan. This is like if Earth were named “Human”—Hello, I’m from planet Human—or if people were called “Earths.” (This is Tony Stark, the Mad Earth.) No wonder that place went to shit! The big purple assholes at the top of the food chain thought themselves synonymous with the planet itself! In my opinion this disqualifies Thanos from making life-and-death decisions for the whole rest of the frickin’ universe.
Loki is dead as hell. Thanos choked him out and then—if the grody sound effect is to be believed—broke his neck, after taking the Tesseract (which was the Space Stone with a box around it) from him. Then Thanos blew up the space ship with Loki’s dead-ass body inside it. It’s hard to imagine even an elite-level trickster like Loki wriggling his way out of that jam.
He has a cool song out!
I have been listening to this song on repeat for like a month. Also Thanos skewered him through the chest with, like, a pike or something. He’s extremely dead.
Eddie is the worst of the MCU characters by a thousand miles. His superpowers are that he lost his arm a long time ago and got the leftover super juice that made Captain America special jacked into his bloodstream by weirdo Nazi scientists. That’s it. Evidently the Avengers are so hard up for rotation depth that they keep a spot open on the bench for a guy who has exactly one-fourth as many overpowered robot limbs as an empty Iron Man suit running on autopilot.
This grim-faced emo doofus was the MacGuffin of Captain America: Civil War, which was the silliest and most embarrassing part of that dull and excruciatingly over-serious movie that critics nonetheless loved for reasons surpassing all comprehension. In turn, the absolute lowest and most insulting point in Infinity War was when T’Challa—the Black Panther, the frickin’ King of Wakanda—personally marched down to Eddie’s frickin’ Hagrid Hut on the edge of Wakanda to present him with a new robot prosthesis, as though the fate of the world hinged on ensuring this gloomy sad-sack Budget Cap had exactly one (1) above-average limb to bring to the ensuing fight for the preservation of the human race. Get the fuck out of my face, Eddie!
Anyway this piece of shit was the first person Thanos turned to dust at the end of Infinity War. Serves him right.
I don’t give a damn about Wings Man! What even is his deal? Get this goober the hell out of here.
Wings Man turned to dust at the end of Infinity War.
My kids are big fans of the Lego Marvel Superheroes video game series. Largely this is because of the truly astounding number of playable Marvel characters you can unlock and use. There are hundreds of them! Sometimes it seems as though every wacky costumed character Marvel ever crammed into a comic book made his or her way into these video games. Captain Britain and Moon Knight and Union Jack and Super Skrull and on and on and on.
It strikes me as less than ideal that out of all these wild and wacky characters, this insanely lengthy movie series has held open a crucial lineup spot for a guy whose deal is basically “An Iron Man suit, but with a different guy in it.” Don Cheadle could have played Silver Surfer! That would have ruled. Instead he is That Guy Who Borrows An Iron Man Suit. That doesn’t rule at all.
Anyway he’s not dead. He survived the battle of Wakanda and the Snap and was standing there in his goofy primer-gray Iron Man suit at the end of the movie.
Snapped. Star-Lord was the secondary villain of Infinity War. He took too long to make good on his promise to kill Gamora when the time came; he refused to take seriously the need for a plan to deal with Thanos on Titan; and he decided he absolutely had to shit-talk Thanos and punch his face before they got the stupid Infinity Gauntlet off, which screwed everything up and led directly to Thanos getting the Time Stone, which led directly to Thanos being able to get the Mind Stone, which led directly to the Snap. It seems only fitting that he got dusted!
When they undo the Snap, they should make this asshole clean up all the wreckage. He should also have to dig Vision’s grave!
Dead. Thanos chucked her off a cliff on the pretty sunset planet so that he could get the Soul Stone. Lots of characters will be brought back from the dead in Endgame, but it seems like Gamora’s death has to be one of the permanent ones.
Rocket is not dead. He survived the battle of Wakanda and the Snap.
Groot got Snapped in Wakanda. This wasn’t as emotionally devastating as I might have expected—it almost certainly didn’t wreck anybody’s shit the way “We are Groot” did—mostly because cranky teen Groot just isn’t nearly as lovable as either baby Groot or original recipe Groot. Alas, that is what it means to be a teen: That if you get magically disintegrated by an intergalactic supervillain, people will say “Honestly, that could have been sadder.” But also, by the time Groot got Snapped, I’d already realized I was watching something incredibly cynical and cheap that existed solely for the purpose of its own undoing in the sequel.
Bug Lady Whomst Make Bad Guys Go To Sleep
Alive. Thanos’s angriest daughter survived the big battle on Titan and lived through the Snap. She and Rocket are the only Guardians left. Buddy road-trip comedy time! (Sike, all the rest of them are coming back in Endgame except maybe Gamora.)
I think Snapped? I think he got Snapped in one of the mid-credits scenes in Infinity War. I will leap into a volcano before I will confirm this.
The Serious Woman Who Is Always Hanging Out With Nick Fury
Probably also Snapped. There are too many people in this movie series.
Did Shuri get Snapped? I honestly have no idea. She was in Wakanda trying to take the Mind Stone out of Vision’s forehead without killing him, then Hood Guy snuck in and attacked and Vision tackled him out of the window and that was the last I saw of Shuri.
Ideally I would have to hope that she didn’t get Snapped—ideally the matter of whether one of the MCU’s very most enjoyable characters died or not would have some weight—but it doesn’t matter, because all of that shit’s gonna just get undone later this week.
Not dead. She survived the battle of Wakanda and was looking Black Panther dead in the face when he turned to dust. That’ll put a dent in your day, buddy.
Not dead. M’Baku fought in the battle of Wakanda and was kicking mega-ass and doing the insanely cool battle chant thing when Thanos did the Snap, and then had to stand there like a real fuckin’ schmuck while half of all his countrymen turned to dust around him.
Lupita Nyong’o never appeared in Infinity War! That seems dumb to me. Maybe her Black Panther character, Nakia, was on vacation at Hawkeye’s house while aliens were attacking the nation she defends with her life. Lupita Nyong’o is not dead; as for Nakia, who knows?
Valkyrie wasn’t in Infinity War. I guess that means she died when Thanos attacked the big ship with all the Asgardians on it in between the end of Ragnarok and the beginning of Infinity War. The alternative possibility is that she survived that attack and Thor just left her floating in outer space when he joined up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Not cool, Thor.
The news has been pretty rough for Gwyneth Paltrow lately. Iron Man is marooned on Titan, Goop had to pay a bunch of money to customers who bought its bullshit about vagina eggs, and then she sued for crashing into somebody while skiing and then just skiing away like a real asshole.
I don’t recall seeing Bilbo in Infinity War. Maybe he was using the ring to be invisible. I do not know whether the power of the One Ring would protect him from the Snap. Frankly the lore is very unclear on this subject.
Tony Stark’s Uptight Limo Driver
This blog is over.