When I marvel at the jaw-dropping accomplishments of Joe and Anthony Russo’s Avengers: Endgame (and I do it often, because I still can’t really believe that this movie exists), I tend to point to one specific scene that melts my brain at the sheer number of things that occur in it. It happens when Captain America (Chris Evans) throws Mjolnir through the air so that Spider-Man (Tom Holland), while holding onto the Infinity Gauntlet, can soar long enough for Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) to catch him on her flying horse and whisk him to safety. How does that exist on screen?!
As you can see, when Spider-Man lands on Valkyrie’s flying horse, his left hand appears to hover over her shoulder without actually touching it. You’d assume, this means, that Spidey would fly right off the second Valkyrie begins her nose dive. And he does scream at an unusually high pitch… but he holds on, without ever really holding on.
How does this happen? Well, let’s get into the reality of big-budget, special-effects-driven blockbusters like the Avengers sequels. These characters aren’t really in the same scene together. In fact, in a scene like this, there’s a good chance the actors aren’t involved, at all. Animators, visual effects wizards and graphic designers often build these scenes from scratch in a computer. They may model the actors in CGI suits to somewhat capture their body language. But for the most part, it’s computer-generated imagery.
And whoever was supposed to line up the CGI Iron Spider on the back of Valkyrie’s horse didn’t look at it long enough to realize that they missed the proper alignment. It happens.
The third act of a massive blockbuster like Avengers: Endgame can be a constantly changing and fluid construction, as well. Yes, co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo might know well in advance that they want to create a scene where Spider-Man rides through the air thanks to Mjolnir, but the choreography of the sequence could go through multiple iterations before it’s finalized. This also explains why Giant Man can be seen fighting in the background of the Attack on Avengers Campus scene, even though it had been established that Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and The Wasp (Evangeline Lillie) were in Scott’s van, trying to fix the Quantum portal.
And this is what happens when a movie hits 4K Blu-ray, and fans are able to watch, rewatch, and analyze every frame of a massive Marvel blockbuster like Avengers: Endgame, catching visual wrinkles that are entertaining, and prove that the MCU is fallible. Doesn’t matter to me. I still love Avengers: Endgame more than almost every other movie. Make Mine Marvel.
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