Warning: Based on the box office, the entire world saw Avengers: Endgame this weekend, but if you somehow didn’t, click on one of our other fine stories because the spoileriest of SPOILERS are contained within!
In pop culture’s most emotionally exhausting weekend ever, Avengers: Endgame delivered all the emotional wallop that we’ve been predicting and expecting for years. Avengers: Endgame was billed as a culmination; a definitive ending to The Infinity Saga story that we have been following since 2008. That finality meant that no one, at least none of the original six Avengers, was safe, and being that we’ve invested so much time with these characters, the potential for tears was high.
Avengers: Endgame did not disappoint on this front and the only gauntlet more powerful than the infinity, is the emotional one this movie puts you through. With that in mind, here are the 25 of the most emotional moments in Avengers: Endgame.
Hawkeye Losing His Family
We saw a lot of people die at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, but there was one set of deaths saved for the very beginning of Avengers: Endgame. This climactic film barely gave you time to get adjusted in your seat before it hit you with the emotional gut punch of Hawkeye losing his family (as I predicted, by the way). While on house arrest, Clint Barton was enjoying time with his family, teaching his daughter archery, unaware of the war raging in Wakanda. Then, suddenly his wife and kids were all gone and his whole world with them.
Message For Pepper
This moment was partially shown in the first trailer for Avengers: Endgame, but that didn’t take away from its emotional impact in the film. Tony Stark, far from home, with no hope of rescue and a clock rapidly ticking down to his death, uses some of his remaining time to send a message to his one true love, Pepper Potts. Their relationship is the longest in the MCU and Pepper was the one person who could turn Tony Stark from playboy to husband. His sweet and loving message in this moment is testament to that.
Rocket And Nebula Holding Hands
The Decimation was particularly devastating for the Guardians, who had already lost Gamora and were whittled down to only Rocket Raccoon and Nebula. Rocket was left on Earth alone, surrounded by strangers, with no way to know if his adoptive family was simply missing or gone with half of the rest of the universe. And it was particularly sad for Nebula, who has yearned for love and acceptance for so long to lose her sister and her friends. So when Captain Marvel returns Nebula to Earth, the reunion between her and Rocket where they hold hands was beautiful and touching.
We heard that Captain America: Civil War should be part of any MCU re-watch prep before Endgame, and this moment makes it clear why. The rift formed in that film was deep and long-lasting. When Tony is rescued from space and returns to Avengers HQ, he has a breakdown and basically blames Cap for not being there when he needed him. Tony Stark is in pain, unable to process his grief and lashing out to try and assign blame for what happened. It’s tough to watch, but it rings true for these characters after the events of Civil War.
The Stones Are Gone
When going to get Thanos on his garden retirement planet, Cap says that he doesn’t know what he’s going to do if it doesn’t work. Then it doesn’t. The Avengers easily subdue Thanos, but he reveals that he reduced the Infinity Stones to atoms to prevent temptation for them to be used again. Thor finally goes for the head, but it doesn’t matter. Thanos still won. This moment is, for the time being, the complete loss of hope, with the faintest glimmer snuffed out due to Thanos and his inevitability and it leaves the heroes reeling for five years.
The Support Group
In HBO’s The Leftovers, the characters are struggling to move on, to find hope in their grief at the loss of 2% of the world’s population. In Endgame, 50% of all life has been extinguished and we see how emotionally wrecked the survivors are. Here, co-director Joe Russo cameos as a man who lost his partner to the snap. He talks about how difficult it is to begin living again and to open himself up to love after having it ripped away from him. It is sad, but also hopeful as he says he’s going on another date.
Black Widow Tearfully Carrying On
I think it’s safe to say that the original six Avengers saved the best for last when it comes to many of their performances, and that rings especially true for Scarlett Johansson. After the time jump, Black Widow is still carrying on, trying to keep the world safe because that is all she knows how to do and it seems like she thinks she owes it to everyone. It’s a lonely position and we see that weariness on her face. And when Rhodey tells her about what Clint has been doing, you can see and feel her grief and heartbreak.
"I Love You 3000"
As audiences began seeing Avengers: Endgame and expressing their gratitude to Marvel Studios, the Russo Brothers and the Avengers themselves, one of the common refrains was “I love you 3000.” These are the words Tony Stark’s daughter Morgan says to him in the film. In a sweet moment in Morgan’s bedroom, we see that Tony Stark, once the last person in the world who should be a father, has become a great one. It’s love we all hope to have in our lives, and this love drives Tony’s desire to maintain the present in the rest of the film.
Scott Finds Cassie Alive
When Scott Lang emerges from the Quantum Realm and enters a world that is unlike the one he left, he sees monuments to all the people who died in the snap. It’s a moment of sheer terror and dread as he looks, hoping not to see his daughter Cassie’s name. It’s like when you hear a friend or family member got in an accident and are fearful of the worst. So when he knocks on the door and finds Cassie alive and much older than when he left her, a wave of relief washes over him and us.
"Don’t Give Me Hope"
After a really cool sequence of Ronin killing a bunch of people, Natasha finally finds him. She sees what the loss of his family has done to him and he tells her she shouldn’t be there, almost embarrassed and not wanting her to see him like this. When she tells him there’s a chance to undo it, he responds with the devastating “Don’t give me hope.” It’s heartbreaking to see how he has lost so much that he doesn’t even want to think about getting it back because the pain will be far too great if it doesn’t work.
Tony And Cap Reconciling
It sucks to have to choose sides and to see two people whom you both care about fighting. So when Tony races up to Avengers HQ to offer his services, the wounds of the past begin to heal. Tony mentions not wanting to have resentment and he returns Steve Rogers’ shield to him. They reconcile, finally ending their civil war and moving forward as friends and teammates as they were always meant to be. It’s incredibly heartwarming to see these two pillars of the MCU finally together again, not only fighting the same enemies, but being on the same team.
Rocket Talking About His Family
Rocket Raccoon is quietly one of the most tragic characters in the MCU, and we see that again in Avengers: Endgame. When on the mission to Asgard to get the Reality Stone, Rocket has to snap Thor out of his malaise, and to do that, the sweet rabbit shrugs off his hardened exterior to talk about his family, the Guardians, how they’re gone and how much it means to him to get them back. The family you choose is just as important to the family you’re born into, and hearing how much the Guardians mean to Rocket is quite moving.
Thor And Frigga
Leave it to Avengers: Endgame to somehow make Thor: The Dark World, considered by many to be the MCU’s worst movie, so much more meaningful to the character in hindsight. At this point, Thor has lost Loki, Odin, Frigga and half his people, arguably more than any other Avenger. So for him to get to see his mother Frigga again, and to finally get some sort of goodbye is extremely moving. Her motherly wisdom helps him to find a path forward, to become who he is and who he is meant to be, not who inheritance and title dictate.
Tony Talking To His Father
All the best superheroes have daddy issues, and that adage holds true for Tony Stark. The genius’ relationship with his father has always been complicated and it is only after Howard is gone that Tony is able to understand him, appreciate what he gave and forgive him his mistakes. When Tony and Steve go back to the '70s and Tony sees his father again, he is able to have the kind of conversation with his father he never could before. Tony ends up imparting some wisdom to Howard and basically tells his dad thanks and that he loves him.
Steve Looking At Peggy Carter
Duty has always had to come before love and personal happiness for Steve Rogers. That’s just who he is, but sometimes it is harder than others. That’s what happens when Steve is in the past in Peggy Carter's office. She is right there, the love of his life is just feet away, and all that separates them is glass. And yet he cannot go to her and his longing is palpable. It is incredibly sad because it seems to him, and us in that moment, that that’s as close as they’ll ever come again.
Black Widow’s Death
Before Endgame,the smart money was on Tony or Cap dying, and with her own solo film on the way, Black Widow was not an obvious candidate. But the Soul Stone exacts the ultimate price, and that lead to one of the film’s most emotional moments. Natasha, the torchbearer for the Avengers, willing to do whatever it takes, and Clint, the broken man, wanting his death to mean something, battled each other for the right to die. We didn’t want either to win, and when Black Widow kicks off the cliff and Hawkeye screams in agony, we feel his pain.
Nebula And Rhodey
This was a great movie for Karen Gillan’s Nebula as we got to see even more of how tragic she is as a character. In a surprising and emotional moment with Rhodey, she tells him that she wasn’t always like this, lamenting the artificial enhancements forced upon her when she wasn’t good enough. Rhodey, who now requires mechanical assistance due to his injuries, empathizes and tells her that they work with what they got. It was a beautiful kindness that showed that it’s not flesh and blood and bone that makes someone human (or Luphomoid), but actions and choices.
Call From Laura Barton
After losing Black Widow, the Avengers needed the plan to work so that her sacrifice would mean something. After they craft a gauntlet, Bruce snaps his fingers and there is a moment of uncertainty. Then, we hear Clint Barton’s phone and see that it is his wife Laura calling. As he’s picking it up, you can see that he allows hope to creep back in, but it is paired with trepidation, fearful of the possibility that that hope could yet be dashed. The relief on Hawkeye’s face as he picks it up and hears his wife’s voice is super moving.
Cap Is Worthy
Not all of the emotional moments in this film are sad; some fill your heart with happiness and make you pump your fist in excitement. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we got the first inkling that Steve Rogers was worthy to wield Mjolnir, and in one of Avengers: Endgame’s most crowd-pleasing moments, we find out for sure. Thor’s “I knew it” is a great callback drowned out by theater cheers and then we see Cap, taking on Thanos with his shield and Mjolnir in a moment that elicits one pure emotion: glee.
The first 11 years of the MCU have built to this film and the entire history of comic book movies feels like it built to this moment. After Cap stands alone against Thanos and his horde, the cavalry comes in. All the snapped characters have returned to the fight, and this emotional moment sends serious chills down your spine. And when we finally, after nearly two dozen movies, get to hear “Avengers Assemble!” as Cap stands with all the heroes of the MCU in an image out of a comic, the only tears shed are ones of joy.
Tony Hugging Peter
Tony Stark has always been one to opt for jokes and snark over sincere affection, and that was the case with his protege Peter Parker. But when Peter Parker fell to Thanos, it wrecked Iron Man in a way no one’s death save Pepper’s could. Peter was perhaps the person that made Tony want kids and the person that made him join the Time Heist. So when Peter is brought back and Tony gives him a genuine hug in the middle of battle, showing his love for him, it is one of the film’s most heartwarming moments.
Star-Lord Seeing Gamora Again
We all assumed that somehow, the victims of the snap in Avengers: Infinity War would be returned to life in Endgame. But things were less certain for Gamora, who was killed prior to the snap. And ultimately, the Gamora we knew is still dead. But for Peter Quill, just seeing her again, even if she didn’t know him or the history and love they shared, gave him hope that neither time nor space nor death could keep them apart. He got an unfortunate knee for his trouble, but now he gets to fall in love with her all over again.
Tony Stark’s Death And Funeral
Tony Stark started the MCU and he’s the character that we’ve spent the most time with, so his death and funeral elicited quite a few sniffles in the theater. From Peter Parker telling him he would be okay to Pepper letting him know that her and Morgan would be all right, it was tough to hold back the tears. Then the film delivered a scene out of a comic, as all the characters of the MCU attended the funeral for Earth’s greatest protector, who sacrificed himself to ensure victory. It was hauntingly beautiful and a sorrowful ending to the battle.
Cap Passing His Shield To Sam
We’ve long wondered what would happen once Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers hung up the shield and if he would pass it off to either Sam or Bucky as he has done in the comics. The Winter Soldier deferred to Sam and an old Cap passed his shield on to Falcon, in whom Cap saw the heart required to wield it. It was an incredible show of trust and belief, and although Falcon was grateful, there was also a bit of sadness, because wielding the shield meant that Steve no longer would, making the whole thing bittersweet.
Steve And Peggy Get Their Dance
While there is some grumbling about the can of worms this ending opens, it cannot be denied that it is perfect on a thematic and emotional level. Cap has always been a man out of time. He's able to find purpose, but not true happiness; not a real life in modern times. So it is a beautiful and emotional ending for him to find peace by returning to the past to live the life he missed out on and finally collect on that rain check for a dance with Peggy Carter.
As long as this list is, it is still not all encompassing, Let us know the Avengers: Endgame moment that tugged at your heartstrings the most in the comments below and check out our 2019 release schedule for all the movies headed your way this summer.
Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.
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