It’s raining, it’s pouring; don’t let your kids stop playing.
Marvel Studios has always done a great job with their films. And, let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love the Avengers? Almost all our favourite Marvel superheroes and villains in one film? Who would say no to that?
The latest, and the last, in the Avengers film series, Avengers: Endgame only recently hit the big screens. It has broken practically every box office record! While it was visually spectacular and incredibly emotionally satisfying, a lot of people are pointing out that there are plenty of plot holes!
Warning: There are numerous spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below.
In Avengers: Endgame, our favourite superheroes basically used time travel to revisit key moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s history, and undo Thanos’ victory in Avengers: Infinity War. It featured every superhero ever seen in the MCU.
Below is a list of some of the more well-known ones and a few arguments on whether they are truly plot holes, or just things that are simply difficult to understand.
- Laura Barton’s phone
Let’s start with a minor and frankly rather amusing plot hole. After the Hulk used the Infinity Stones to revive those who perished due to Thanos’s finger snap, Hawkeye’s wife immediately calls him on his mobile phone. I have to admit that it’s a dramatic way to show that they succeeded in undoing the snap, but it leaves the film open to a lot of questions. Did Hawkeye continuously pay for Laura’s phone bills five years after her death? Did he make sure to keep the device charged all the time? That phone really shouldn’t have been working.
- Captain America’s shield
At the end of the film, the elderly Captain America passed on his shield to Falcon. It’s a touching and powerful moment, lifted straight from the comics, but it’s also problematic. His shield was shattered beyond any possible repair during the battle with Thanos. Where did he get this new one?
Considering that Vibranium is extremely rare, it would be difficult to create. But it is possible that the Wakandans made a replacement shield.
It’s also possible that this is a new shield, which was mentioned in Spider-Man: Homecoming. In one scene, Happy Hogan was putting together an inventory of items he was moving from Avengers Tower to the Avengers Compound. They included “Cap’s new shield.” This suggests that Tony was working on another shield before the events of Captain America: Civil War.
Finally, if Steve Rogers does indeed now live in a parallel timeline, then perhaps he’s taken the shield from that universe’s Captain America. This one is probably unlikely, since it would leave one Captain America shield-less.
It was made clear in Avengers: Infinity War that the Tesseract is essentially a container for the Space Stone. The Avengers probably had to break it in order to insert the Space Stone to their Infinity Gauntlet. That raises the curious question of just how Steve Rogers returned it at the end of the film. It’s possible that he simply dropped off the Space Stone instead, creating a new timeline where a bemused S.H.I.E.L.D. found the Tesseract mysteriously transformed into an Infinity Stone all the way back in 1970.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Stormbreaker was designed to be the ultimate weapon. It had the power to summon the Bifrost, which can potentially be used to tear entire worlds apart. It could even resist a concentrated energy blast from all six Infinity Stones. Then, in Avengers: Endgame, Thanos used his sword to hold it at bay with apparent ease. It seems that Stormbreaker is only as powerful as the plot requires it to be at any given moment.
In Thor: The Dark World, even the Asgardians didn’t know how to safely remove the Aether from Jane Foster. Somehow, though, in Avengers: Endgame, the heroes were able to put together a device to draw the Aether out of Jane. They managed to do so even having the Aether to experiment on.
- Time Travel
I personally think that this is just difficult to understand rather than a plot hole, but I do agree that the vast majority of time travel films make absolutely no sense. The Hulk opens with an explanation in which the past and the future form a sort of loop, meaning it’s impossible to rewrite history. If you travel back in time, then the future becomes your past, and therefore cannot be changed. But if the future becomes your past, then you can have a new future. Since Thanos destroyed the Infinity Stones in the main timeline, the Avengers eventually decided to use Infinity Stones from the past to undo the snap. The Ancient One warned them that removing an Infinity Stone from a particular timeline could have catastrophic consequences. In order to avoid the creation of another timeline, the Avengers needed to return the stones as soon as possible.
At the end of the film, Captain America travelled back to the past and lived out his life with Peggy Carter. Which begs the question, has he been living in the background of the MCU all this time? Or did his travelling back create another alternate reality?
Here’s a quote of Joe Russo attempting to explain all this during a Q&A.
“If you go back to the past, you simply create a new reality,” he explained. “The characters in this movie created new timelines when they went back to the past, but it had no effect to the prime universe. What happened in the past 22 movies was still canon.“
War Machine can interrupt the opening scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy by knocking out Star-Lord because his presence there has created a whole new timeline. It’s the Thanos from this new timeline who pursues the Avengers forward in time and is then killed. This explains why the prime timeline’s Thanos still happened. By the same logic, Steve Rogers created a new timeline by going back to be with Peggy Carter. At the end of Avengers: Endgame, he somehow makes the jump from this timeline back to the prime one in order to pass on the shield to Sam.
- Pym Particles
The Avengers had a limited amount of Pym Particles, meaning they could only make a limited number of trips to the past. After failing to acquire one of the stones, they travelled to the 1970s to acquire more of the particles. However, shouldn’t they have done this prior to any attempts to gain the infinity stones? Any person would want to have more ammo to shoot with just in case something goes wrong. People are arguing that they were just too focused on what they needed to do. So much so that they didn’t even bother to think of ways to improve their chances of success. However, they were ultimately able to improvise and everything worked out.
Ant-Man also relies on Pym Particles to change his size. Despite only having a limited supply, he seems to be able to shrink and grow at will throughout the movie. It would’ve been great if the Avengers at least discussed limiting the use of the Ant-Man suit considering the Pym Particle shortage.
- Doctor Strange’s plan
Let’s end with the biggest one.
In Avengers: Infinity War, everyone’s favourite former surgeon turned sorcerer used the Time Stone to explore 14,000,605 different possible outcomes in the battle against Thanos and identified only one in which they triumphed. He then chose to hand over the Time Stone to Thanos, insisting that there was no other way. Despite knowing what needed to happen, there were simply too many uncontrollable factors that would’ve affected the outcome.
The plan relied on Ant-Man being released from the Quantum Realm by a passing rodent and for Tony Stark to stay alive until the final battle. What if the rat never ran across the controls of the Quantum Tunnel? What if the Avengers never got the idea of using time travel? What if Iron Man got killed in some other way before the final battle?
There was simply no way to ensure that all would go according to plan, and a lot of things could’ve gone wrong. The only step Strange took towards ensuring victory was to convince Thanos to spare Tony Stark. In the end, he bet everything on an extremely small chance of winning. It was convenient that everything happened the way it was supposed to happen for them to win. It was simply a matter of dumb luck. It would’ve been great if it was revealed that Strange was more in control of the events and that he planned ahead to make sure everything will work out.