On April 26, 2019, Marvel Studios came to theaters worldwide with arguably the most massive film in cinematic history: Avengers: Endgame. Unofficially closing out the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Saga, the fourth Avengers film quickly became a pop culture phenomenon. The film event of the year shattered box office records almost daily, joining Avengers: Infinity War as the MCU’s second movie to hit $2 billion at the box office. When all was said and done, it became the highest-grossing movie of all time with nearly $2.8 billion in revenue.
Avengers: Endgame is the longest movie of the MCU by a wide margin at three hours and two minutes, which means there are more than a fair share of unforgettable moments. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo clearly put in their work studying the history of the franchise, paying off previous huge storylines and complementing Avengers: Infinity War with a perfectly monumental sequel. Without further ado, to commemorate the 1-year anniversary of the film’s release, here are The Direct’s Top Ten Most Memorable Moments from Avengers: Endgame.
Captain Marvel saves Tony and Nebula - After the first trailer showed the two surviving Avengers from the Titan battle stuck in space, questions came for months about who was going to save them. Carol Danvers appearing in the stars to bring the Milano back to Earth with Tony Stark and Nebula was one of the first big moments of hope the movie had to offer.
Scott Lang turns into a baby - One of the funnier moments from early in the film includes the Avengers’ first time travel tests, which ends up turning Scott Lang into a baby. After seeing him as a young boy and a very old man as well, it was baby Paul Rudd in the time travel suit that sent the audience into hysterics.
Cassie Lang meets her father again - After Scott finally returns from the Quantum Realm with no idea how much time has passed, his first embrace with his now teenaged daughter Cassie ranks as one of the most emotional moments of the film. Audiences simply cried their eyes out as the pair embraced for the first time in five years, Cassie suddenly coming to grips with her father seemingly back from the dead.
Tony and Morgan Stark’s “Shit!” - After Tony breaks through and creates the possibility of time travel, he can’t hold back the adult language. Hearing his 4-year-old daughter repeat that adult language was an absolutely adorable moment, and it shows just how impressionable Tony was as a father to young Morgan.
“I Love You 3000” - This phrase became the sounding call for movie fans worldwide after Morgan Stark sweetly bids her dad goodnight. And don’t fret, this phrase will make a comeback later on in this countdown!
Thor is still worthy - Just before traveling back to 2023, Thor is able to call his trusty hammer Mjolnir back to him. After the heartfelt conversation with his mother helped boost his confidence, his revelation that he was still worthy to wield the hammer even through his difficult times was exactly the boost of confidence he needed to figuratively get back on his feet.
Tony reunites with Peter - Just after the final battle begins, Tony Stark is saved by Peter Parker before they embrace in a tight hug. Tony’s realization that Peter survived, along with Peter realizing how much Tony truly cared about him, was an incredibly touching moment even amongst the chaos of the film's ultimate battle.
Steve passes the torch (shield) – Steve Rogers comes back to present day as an elderly man after returning the Infinity Stones, and he passes on the Captain America title and shield to Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson. The pride and honor emanating from the Falcon was such a purely joyous moment, and along with leading into Sam's new Disney+ series, it was the perfect send-off for Chris Evans. (The send-off will be explored later in the list as well!)
10.) Captain America’s Patriotic Posterior
The Avengers’ Time Heist to retrieve the six Infinity Stones served as an incredible retrospective look into the MCU's history. While most of the crew steered clear of their previous renderings, part of the New York team was thrown right into action with their past selves. In particular, Steve Rogers was faced with the unenviable task of fighting himself from 2012 to keep control of Loki’s scepter. After the great callbacks of “I can do this all day” and 2023 Steve using his own Bucky knowledge against his opponent, the best part of the fight was saved for the end, leading to this list’s first entry
Right when Tony Stark, Scott Lang, and Steve got to Avengers Tower, Tony commented on the look of Cap’s rear end in his old costume, leading Scott to positively boost Steve up with “As far as I’m concerned, that’s America’s ass.” After Steve won the battle with his past self, he gets a nice long look at dat booty and couldn’t help but agree with his tiny teammate by exclaiming “That IS America’s ass.” The crowd erupted in laughter as Steve’s character evolution is highlighted, showing that even the most down-to-business hero in the franchise knows how to crack a good joke given the opportunity.
9.) Tony’s Funeral / “I Love You 3000”
Avengers: Endgame was the ending for multiple characters’ stories, but none of these endings were bigger than the death of Tony Stark. His sacrifice will be explored in more detail later on, but the tribute to the MCU’s first hero was astonishing. Not only did Tony give his closest friends and family one last message via hologram, including an incredibly heartfelt “I love you 3000” for his young daughter Morgan, the turnout for his funeral was one of the most impressive gatherings in movie history.
After Pepper sends Tony’s original arc reactor into the water, the shot pans out to nearly every living hero from the Infinity Saga gathered in front of the Stark cabin. Tony’s impact on the world influenced the galaxy’s greatest scientists, sorcerers, warriors, and more to pay their respects to the fallen Avenger. On top of how purely mind-boggling the scene was, the fact that every single actor in the shot was on location and in person for this scene is simply astounding. It is without a doubt one of the most star-studded single shots in the history of movies.
Tony’s funeral was exactly the show of respect and gratitude he deserved, and even after a moment as devastating as his death, that one-minute-45-second shot was served as the ray of hope needed to close the movie beautifully. It will undoubtedly be a long time before Marvel Studios has a movie moment like this again.
8.) Thor Goes For The Head
Avengers: Infinity War took a nearly unprecedented risk by ending the movie with a victory for the villain. The epic Marvel blockbuster concluded by showing the Mad Titan Thanos snapping his fingers with all six Infinity Stones to wipe out half of all life in the universe. The last thing he said to Thor between being stabbed and snapping was “You should’ve gone for the head,” cruelly letting the God of Thunder know that he had failed and leading to the list’s next huge moment.
Less than 20 minutes into the film, the Avengers finally track down Thanos after three weeks of hunting and fly into space to confront him. Upon realizing the Mad Titan had destroyed the Infinity Stones along with any hope of bringing half the universe back to life, the God of Thunder finally breaks. With one swing of Stormbreaker, Thor takes Thanos’ own suggestion and chops his head right off of his shoulders. This moment simply reinforced the gut feeling of loss from the end of Avengers: Infinity War, and along the sequel going straight from Thanos' death to five years into the future, it set that gut-wrenching feeling into stone early in the first act.
7.) Closure Moments for the Avengers’ Big Three
Just as Tony’s funeral helped close his story in Avengers: Endgame, there were similar chapter-closings throughout the film’s three-hour runtime. While dozens of newer characters took part in only their first or second huge team-up movie, the film was largely centered around the original team that fans have known and loved for years. Very fittingly, three of the most important characters from the original team all had important moments of closure which get their due shine in this entry.
Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor have been centerpieces of the MCU since its inception, and each of them have their own special moment of closure with somebody important during the Time Heist. During Thor and Rocket’s quest for the Reality Stone on Asgard, Thor gets to talk to his mother Frigga, who reassures him that he’s still a good man even through his failures. She imparts her wisdom on him so beautifully, reassuring her son that he simply has to be himself and not the man everybody wants him to be. This last chat between the Asgardian queen and new king helps him come to terms with her death after a decade of pain.
Tony and Steve both get their moments when they travel back to 1970 in search of the Tesseract. Tony runs into his father Howard after he obtains the Space Stone, leading to an incredibly moving chat about fatherhood. In the end, Tony gets the chance to finally hug his own dad and thank him for doing everything he could for his son.
During all this, Steve gets a short glimpse at the love of his life, Peggy Carter, while obtaining the Pym Particles. He realizes once again just how important she is to him, and it ultimately leads to him choosing to stay in the past after he returns the Infinity Stones. The film ultimately ends by letting Steve have the slow dance with Peggy that they had discussed ever since their first appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger, giving the couple the happy ending they so richly earned.
The actors behind the Avengers’ Big Three all put so much time and energy into the franchise, combining for nearly 30 MCU appearances. While Chris Hemsworth is still a definitive part of the franchise’s future, both Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans received the powerful endings to their characters’ stories that they deserved.
6.) The Death of Black Widow
While the Soul Stone never got the shine it deserved compared to its five other Infinity Stone co-stars, the scenes in which it was featured during Phase 3 were some of the most impactful of the series. Avengers: Infinity War had Thanos throwing his own daughter, Gamora, off of the cliff on Vormir to obtain the orange gem, which led to so many questions about what the Avengers would have to do to get it during the sequel. Sadly, those questions were answered in a big way during Avengers: Endgame.
When Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff were tasked to Vormir to obtain the Soul Stone, it was only a matter of time before tears were shed over one of them dying. The scene was done so perfectly, showing how badly both of them wanted to save the other before Natasha ended up sacrificing herself and falling to her death. It shocked theaters across the globe, especially considering she had her own solo movie finally on the way, and the way her teammates mourned her loss was beyond heartbreaking.
Nat’s death was a turning point of the entire film as the team obtained the last Infinity Stone, and fans are still talking to this day about how devastating her loss was even with her own solo film scheduled to release in 2020. After being a staple of the MCU for nearly a decade, her death is clearly one of the most devastating losses in the franchise’s long history. Thankfully, Natasha did not die in vain, as she gave her super-powered family a fighting chance to have the next moment in the list.
5.) The Hulk’s Infinity Gauntlet Snap
After grieving the loss of Black Widow, the team still had another huge job to perform in order to complete their mission: bring half the universe back to life. Once Tony made a new Stark-tech gauntlet for the six Infinity Stones, it was clear that the decision for who would "snap their frickin' fingers" would be incredibly difficult. Once that decision was reached, it marked the beginning of a monumental end to Avengers: Endgame.
Bruce Banner decided he should be the one to do the deed, not only due to his massive size, but also the fact that the radiation coming from the Stones was mostly gamma. Since Thanos nearly killed himself twice with the Gauntlet, the team was obviously nervous, but they made the best choice they could as Bruce succeeded in bringing everybody back. Even though Bruce’s arm seems to be permanently damaged from the cosmic energy, he showed true heroism knowing the dangers of what lied ahead of him and ended up as one of the universe’s ultimate saviors.
4.) The A-Force Tease
The final battle of Avengers: Endgame was one of the most intense and massive final battles in the history of film, and it’s only fitting that the top four moments of this list all come from the nearly half-hour long smackdown. As Thanos and his army fought the Avengers for possession of the Infinity Gauntlet, it seemed as though he had the upper hand when his army fired at the entire battlefield with no discretion. When Captain Marvel flies in to destroy his command ship, it leads to one of the most inspiring and rewatchable moments of the movie.
Carol flies down to Spider-Man, who reluctantly gives her the Infinity Gauntlet so she can get it to the Quantum van. When he expresses his worry for her safety, the best and baddest female heroes of the MCU suddenly fall in alongside Captain Marvel to give her back-up. Scarlet Witch flies in, Okoye reassures Spidey saying “She’s got help,” and the cheers erupt as the ranks are filled by Valkyrie, Pepper Potts (as Rescue), Mantis, Shuri, Wasp, Gamora, and Nebula. The all-female hero team-up teased Marvel’s A-Force from the comics, and it was a short but amazing moment seeing them fight off hundreds of aliens in their path to accomplish their mission.
The ensuing fight was absolutely insane, even with its short amount of screen time. Gamora using her swords in a lethal fashion, Okoye stabbing Corvus Glaive in the heart, Scarlet Witch and Valkyrie taking down two Chitauri worm ships, all of it showed just how powerful the women in the MCU have been. Let’s just hope this is a sign of more battles like this in the future!
3.) “I am Iron Man.”
A list of memorable moments from this film would feel incomplete without the movie’s emotional peak. Thanos already had one failed attempt at shredding the universe to nothing, and with the fate of the universe up for grabs, it seemed to be only destiny seeing what came next.
As Thanos tries to snap his fingers again while saying “I am inevitable”, calling back to the film’s first act, he realizes the Infinity Stones have been ripped from his grasp by none other than Tony Stark. When Tony finally defeats Thanos and his army, he gives the absolute best quote possible with the snap of his Infinity Stone-endowed fingers: “I am Iron Man.”
Not only was this a perfect callback to the ending of the original Iron Man, it showed how both Robert Downey, Jr. and his character had come full circle in the MCU. Tony Stark evolved so beautifully over his 11-year run from being a self-centered businessman/playboy to a loving father who was willing to give his life so billions of others could live on. Robert Downey, Jr. started the MCU with such a bang the first time he revealed his character’s superhero status, and coming back to that moment right before his death was as poetic of an ending as any hero could possibly have.
2.) Captain America Proves His Worthiness
The final battle of this film alone nearly has its own set of moments worthy of a Top 10 list. Finally seeing the Mad Titan Thanos taking on the full force of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes helped bring the perfect culmination to the MCU as the Avengers took on the biggest and most threatening villain they had ever seen. One of the best parts of this battle was how often previous movies were acknowledged, and this next moment is arguably the biggest example of an old tease coming to fruition.
Iron Man and Captain America were already down for the count, and Thor was about to be in the same boat as Thanos pushed Stormbreaker toward his chest. Suddenly, the all-powerful Mjolnir lifted from the ground and knocked Thanos off his balance. As Thor looks on, it flies back into the hand of the man that fans had wanted to see it in for years: Captain Freaking America!
Steve Rogers’ worthiness had been teased ever since he made the mighty hammer budge during the Avengers Tower party in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. Seeing him wield it with such ease and give Thanos the business, especially with Thor himself cheering him on, was as close to a standing ovation moment as any film could have. Avengers: Endgame giving Steve his chance to put the hammer down was exactly the moment that he and the fans deserved, and even with over half an hour of runtime remaining, it took the film to new levels of awesome.
Even in a movie with no shortage of memorable moments, the top choice is almost no debate at all. With the first moment of real impending doom facing the Avengers after Thanos fairly easily gave the original Big Three a beatdown, it looked like the beginning of the end for the team of heroes. As Captain America stands alone bravely with only half of his shield in front of thousands of ruthless aliens, he hears the all too familiar “On your left.”
Suddenly, mystical portals begin opening around the beaten and bruised leader. It starts off with Black Panther and only gets more epic at every turn. Falcon flies in to the rescue before another portal with Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy opens. The portal flood gates are then opened as nearly every single hero in the MCU steps up behind the main cast of the film, all before Captain America finally delivers the catchphrase that has eluded the franchise for years: “Avengers...Assemble!”
The final battle truly gets underway with this scene, which is executed to perfection. Dozens of heroes from the Infinity Saga fall into formation, with the “Portals” musical masterpiece by composer Alan Silvestri swelling behind them, all leading to the defining moment of not only Avengers: Endgame, but the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. Everything the filmmakers and their fans had dreamed of for 11 years came together in one perfect moment, which turned out to be the ultimate highlight of the MCU's ultimate movie of Avengers: Endgame.