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Avengers go through many trials and tribulations before disintegrating Thanos

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Avengers Endgame “We Love You 3,000” Fan Event At Best Buy In Miami With Victoria Alonso Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios

*In attempt to keep things a bit light during the pandemic pause, SB Nation is having theme weeks. This week’s theme is the Marvel Universe. MrSwift13 and I thought it would be fun to exercise our recap muscles by recapping Avengers movies. So, we picked Inifinity War and Endgame. You can read the Infinity War recap here.

If you haven’t seen either movie, STOP READING. There are an abundance of spoilers below. To watch any of these films, sign up for the Disney+/Hulu/ESPN+ bundle here. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.

After failing miserably in Infinity War, the Avengers struggled to make sense of things while they tried to bring back the vanished and defeat Thanos. Before they could reach the one timeline we call the “End Game”, the Avengers had to go through many trials and tribulations.

Nebula and Tony Stark vs Space, Time, and Lack of Oxygen

The first of many battles kicks off with Nebula and Tony “Iron Man” Stark stuck on their ship awaiting a return to earth. Nebula, or as Iron Man calls her “Blue Meanie”, begins to soften allowing the two to create a friendship. Together, they race to fix the ship as oxygen runs out.

In typical Iron Man fashion, he leaves a message for Pepper Potts basically saying that he’s sorry for doing something she specifically told him not to do. As he begins to fade away, Nebula faces Stark towards the stars and walks away in reverence. Her new friend would perish soon.


A light as bright as the sun begins to shine in Stark’s eyes forcing him awake. As he struggles to open his eyes, Captain Marvel comes into focus signifying a tiny victory for the Avengers as she brings the ship back to earth.

Now, the hunt for Thanos begins with the few Avengers who are assembled together.

The Hunt for Thanos

While everyone is arguing about how they can find Thanos, Nebula comes in hot with the assist telling the Avengers about “The Garden”.

Before they head into space to find Thanons, we hear something none of us thought we might hear. A swear word escapes from the lips of Captain America. This is how you know Captain America is over Thanos’ shenanigans.

The Avengers reach the Garden only to find out Thanos is living alone without any protection. Captain Marvel flies through the roof of Thanos’ hut catching him off guard long enough for the other members of the team to descend upon him. Thor immediately chops his hand off. The refs should have called 5 minute major for slashing. However, the refs let the penalty go and allowed play to continue. Which wasn’t such a good idea as Thor then proceeded to chop off Thanos’ head after learning the Infinity Stones were destroyed. In case you were wondering, no, the refs did not boot him from the game for killing someone. I don’t normally speak out against the refs but this was bad. I mean, HE KILLED SOMEONE AND YOU’RE GOING TO LET HIM STAY IIN THE GAME?!

The Avengers head home and we don’t hear from them for another five years.

Five Years Later

Captain America attends a meeting for those dealing with their post snap lives. After hearing about a date a meeting attendee went on Cap offers some uplifting words to those at the meeting. “You did the hardest part. You took the jump. You didn’t know where you were gonna come down. And that’s it. That’s those little brave baby steps we have to take to try and become whole again, try and find purpose.” said Captain America.


Scott “Ant-Man” Lang flies out of his van not knowing what has happened to the world he left behind five years ago. As he travels towards home, Lang stumbles upon the monument of “The Vanished”. Upon seeing his name and not his daughter’s, Ant-Man runs to his house and slams on the door. Tears begin to fall as Cassie is reunited with her father.

Ant-man finds the Avengers lair and begins the daunting task of trying to explain quantum physics to Captain America and Black Widow. Once they understand the idea of time travel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Ant-Man realize it’s time to get the gang back together.

Getting the Gang Back Together

The first stop on the “get the gang back together” tour is Iron Man’s house on the lake. Iron Man, the naysayer, believes there is no way the guys will be able to go back in time and safely return. Then proceeds to mock Ant-Man by asking “are your trying to tell me your plan to save the universe is based on Back to the Future?”. After much back and forth, Iron Man brings up that he is unwilling to risk his second chance (his daughter) for everyone else’s second chance.

Little did they know it was going to be someone much smaller who would help sway Iron Man’s mind; a picture of Peter “Spiderman” Parker. After stumbling upon a photo of his little buddy, Iron Man began to look into how time travel could work. It didn’t take him long to crack the time traveling code by creating time traveling gps watches. Stark headed to the Avengers campus to share the good news with the rest of the team.

Now that time travel was a real thing that could happen without killing everyone, it was time to round up the rest of the squad. Without much coaxing, Nebula and War Machine were the first to arrive. Hulk and Rocket were sent to retrieve Thor from New Asgard only to discover he was now fat and was the master of video games.

Rocket came in clutch to get Thor on board with five simple words “There’s beer on the ship”.

Black Widow goes to retrieve her best friend Clint “Hawkeye” Barton from Tokyo where he has left a trail of bodies in his wake. It doesn’t take her long to convince her best friend to stop killing people and join the rest of the Avengers in their quest to bring back the vanished.

After a few test runs in the portal, it was time to retrieve the stones from the past.

Space Stone (Tesseract), Mind Stone, and Time Stone

Captain America, The Hulk, Ant-Man, and Iron Man travel to New York City in May of 2012 to collect the Space Stone (Tesseract), Mind Stone, and Time Stone.

Hulk heads to Dr. Strange’s residence where the Time Stone is located. Upon arrival, he is greeted by The Ancient One who refuses to give up the stone. The Ancient One then proceeds to knocks Bruce Banner’s soul out of Hulk’s body so she can explain the flow of reality. Banner explains they can return the stones to prevent the shake up of reality but The Ancient One still refuses to cough up the Time Stone. When Banner explains Dr Strange gave away the Time Stone in the future, she reunites his soul with his body and gives him the stone stating there must have been a reason why Strange gave the stone to Thanos since Strange is “meant to be the best of us.”

Captain American, Ant-Man, and Iron Man head off to find the Mind Stone and the Space Stone (Tesseract). Once they reach the destination of both stones Captain America splits from Iron Man and Ant-Man.

Here we see Captain America enter the elevator with Hydra and then exit the elevator with the Mind Stone. As luck would have it, Captain America runs into 2012 Captain America in the hallway. Captain America (2012) automatically assumes present day Captain America is Loki and begins to battle him for the Mind Stone. After a few minutes of tussling, present day Captain America whispered “Bucky is Alive” in 2012 Captain America’s ear. This caugh him off guard allowing present day Captain America to essentially stun gun him to sleep. Again, no penalty was called. The refs are really going to let people die today, aren’t they?

While the Captain Americas are fighting, Ant-Man converts into a tiny man before entering 2012 Iron Man to short circuit his life support. Thus creating a diversion which allows present day Iron man to make a break for the alley. Just as he was about to score, 2012 Hulk storms through the door knocking the Space Stone the ground. Loki sees the unattended stone, scoops it up, and disappears.

After a few minutes of brainstorming in the alley, Captain America and Iron Man realize to get the Space Stone they must travel back to 1970 and head to New Jersey where they will enter a military base housing the stone and Pym Particles which would allow them to time travel more. It’s not just any military base. It’s the base Iron Man’s father and the love of Captain America’s life, Peggy Carter, are stationed.

So, of course, while trying to save the world they both run into the two ghosts which haunt their pasts. Luckily, this doesn’t throw them off their game and they were able to stick to the game plan.

Reality Stone

Rocket and Fat Thor head to Asgard in 2013. During their quest to find the stone, Thor spots his mom and gets extremely sentimental. We later learn they traveled to the day Thor’s mother died. Yet again, Rocket offers up the biggest assist by giving him a pep talk.... but then Thor bails.

While trying to escape, Fat Thor runs into his mother. She quickly realizes Fat Thor is her boy from the future. They have a lovely talk about all the horrible things which happened since the day of her death. All the while, Rocket continues on his course to find the Reality Stone by sneaking into Jane’s bedroom. Once he retrieves the stone, he outruns the guards and catches up with Thor and his mother. Before they go back with the stone, Thor summons Mjolnir (his hammer). In this moment, we get a glimpse of the old, powerful Thor.

Power Stone

Nebula and War Machine head to Morag in 2014 to find the Power Stone.

Little did present Nebula know, 2014 Nebula would be able to see everything they were doing. Ebony Maw hooks Nebula up to his machine to see the timestamp on her memories only to reveal the memory they showed earlier was from 9 years in the future.

Enter 2014 Peter Quill dancing around like a dancing fool full of life.

War Machine and Nebula knock Quill on the ground while he’s jamming out and steal his special tool so they can grab the stone. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?


Present day Nebula is rendered useless and unable to return as they hack into her memories. War machine was able to return the stone but unbeknownst to him present day Nebula did not make the return. 2014 Nebula disguises herself as present day Nebula and travels back to the future to foil the Avengers attempt at restoring order.

Soul Stone

Hawkeye and Black Widow head to Vormir on the hunt for the Soul Stone. They meet Red Skull who reveals they must sacrifice what they “must lose that which you love. An everlasting exchange. A soul for a soul.”

Hawkeye and Black Widow argue a bit about who will sacrifice themselves for the cause. After a heated debate, Black Widow tazes Hawkeye before making a break for the edge of the cliff. Before Black Widow can jump, Hawkeye fires off an arrow that explodes preventing her from jumping. Hawkeye quickly leapt off the cliff only to be wrapped up in a rope by Black Widow. He is then forced between bringing back the rest of the world or saving his best friend. So, Hawkeye let’s her go allowing him to take home the Soul Stone.

Once all the stones have been retrieved, Hulk convinces everyone he should be the one to put on the Infinity Gauntlet since his body was made to take a blow such as this. He snaps his fingers bringing everyone back. Birds are flying around, phones are ringing, people are happy. It is a most joyous event.

But all good things must come to an end

The Final Battle

Unbeknownst to the Avengers, Nebula (2014) was able to open the portal in time to bring Thanos to the present. Mass chaos ensues as Thanos rains laser beams upon the Avengers’ complex. From the depths of the rubble, Hawkeye grabbed the Gauntlet and took off before Thanos’ dogs could destroy him. Unfortunately, Nebula (2014) takes the Gauntlet from Hawkeye. Just when she thinks she’ll get away with it, Gamora (2014) and Nebula (Present Day) enter to save the day. In the end, Nebula (Present Day) shoots Nebula (2014) in the chest.

Duringn all of this, Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor descend upon Thanos in what they hope to be life ending battle. Just when Thanos is about to shove an axe in Thor’s chest the hammer of justice is summoned by none other than Captain America. (insert massive jaw drop here).

Just when all hope seemed lost, Captain America heard a familiar voice over his intercom. A voice of a friend he thought he’d lost forever, Sam. All around him portals began to open. Those who had vanished appeared and were ready for battle. With two simple words from Captain America, “Avengers Assemble”, the benches cleared and a massive brawl ensued on the playing field.

Everyone came to the realization that since Nebula (2014) destroyed the portal they would be unable to go back in time and put the Infinity Stones back where they belonged. Ant-Man being the true hero he is informed the Avengers of the fact his van is actually a portal. Then, Wasp and Antman quickly head towards the van.

It’s now Scarlett Witch’s turn to fight Thanos. As she starts to win, he rains lasers down on the battlefield. Portals open across the field in an attempt to divert the lasers elsewhere. CHAOS RAINS DOWN EVERYWHERE. The lasers hit a wall around the lake forcing water to start rushing into the battlefield. Dr Strange quickly uses his magic to keep the water at bay. At the same time, Spiderman is desperately trying to get through the field with the Infinity Gauntlet. The Black Order quickly descended upon him. Luckily, Captain America throws the hammer towards him dragging him through the air. As Spiderman nears his destination, the lasers cut his spidey webs forcing him to fall to the ground. Have no fear! THE WOMEN ARE HERE TO SAVE YOU. Pepper Potts comes in hot scooping Spiderman up and tossing him off to Valkyrie and her Pegasus. He ends up falling to the ground. All hope seems to be fading fast now.


Thanks to Captain Marvel, Thanos’ ship is destroyed. Upon Captain America’s request, she comes in with the assist to grab the Infinity Gauntlet from Spiderman. The Black Order begins to charge Spiderman leaving him wondering how Captain Marvel will get through the army headed their way.

Have no fear. The bad ass women of the Marvel Universe are here to kick the Black Order’s booty.

With the help of the bad ass woman squad, Captain Marvel was able to get in close proximity of the van before Thanos foiled their plan. The Infinity Gauntlet fell feet away from Iron Man who quickly made a move for it. Thanos swiftly knocked Iron Man out of play. However, Thor and Captain America used their hammers of justice to keep Thanos away from the Infinity Gauntlet but were unsuccessful. After throwing the worthy twins away from the playing field, Captain Marvel battled It out with Thanos but she too was no match for the aggressive purple man.

Iron Man met the gaze of Dr. Strange who slowly put up his index finger to signify this was the one timeline where they saved the day.

The End Game

Just as Thanos is about to snap his finger, Iron Man leaps on him and struggles to remove the gauntlet. Iron man was thrown to the ground. Yet again, all hope seemed to be lost. Thanos laughed and snapped his fingers. Nothing happened. Confused, he looked at the back of the gauntlet to see that all of the stones were missing. In shock, Thanos turns just in time to see Iron Man wearing a gauntlet of his own with all of the Infinity Stones intact. “and I am Iron Man,” he says before snapping away Thanos and the Black Order.

The Avengers had won, order would be restored, and life would go back to normal for almost everyone involved. Unfortunately, this win had an ultimate loss at the end. Iron Man’s body couldn’t handle the energy which came from snapping the gauntlet. “We’re gonna be ok. You can rest now,” Pepper Potts said before the love of her life slipped away forever.

Post-End Game

Despite having just won the war of all wars, there was still work that needed to be done. All of the Infinity Stones had to be returned to their timeline. Captain America took it upon himself to return the stones to their rightful place. However, instead of coming back immediately, Captain America decided to stay in the past with the love of his life and was now passing his role onto Sam.


Avengers Lost: 3 (2 died, 1 retired)

Stones Retrieved: 6

Times Thanos Died: 2

Number of people who were snapped back: Millions? Billions? Trust me. It’s a lot.

Times I Cried: I don’t cry. Why would I cry? That’s a weird stat to track. *whispers* I pretty much cried the entire movie. Also, I now get teary eyed when I see the number 3,000