'Avengers: Endgame': I've Still Got Some Questions That Need Answering

SPOILERS, obviously.

Avengers: Endgame has been out a few days and judging by the $1.2B opening weekend (!!!) you've probably already seen it. Maybe even a couple of times like I have. After 10 years and 22 movies Marvel had a lot of ground to cover and that they were able to do so while giving so many characters their moment to shine says a lot for the planning that went into this one. Not only does it work as a purely enjoyable piece of blockbuster entertainment, but as a giant "thank you" to fans who have stuck around since the beginning.

That said...I got some questions, yo. The wonky mechanics of the plot and sheer number of characters (I think Whiplash and the Mandarin are the only characters not to return? Give or take a Dr. Selvig or two.) guaranteed there would be some things left resolved, and here are few left burning in my mind after a second viewing.

1. What's up with Loki?

That sneaky trickster may be so dead the Soul Gem couldn't bring him back, but somehow the god of mischief always manages to find a way. When the Avengers traveled back to 2012 following the battle of New York, Iron Man's slip-up (read: getting smashed by an angry Hulk) allowed Loki to get his hands on the year's version of the Tesseract, which he used to vanish from the scene. So what does this mean? Well, we know Tom Hiddleston will return as Loki for a Disney+ series and that may be about all of the damage he's doing across the timestream. I've maintained it'll be an introduction to Kid Loki as a bridge to a Young Avengers series, and the Tesseract could help facilitate that, too. Suffice it to say, if there's even a ghost of a chance Loki made it out alive then he definitely did.

2. What was that clanging sound during the end credits?

This one isn't really unanswered, I have a pretty good idea what it is. It's just not spelled out explicitly.  Endgame is the first Marvel film not to feature any end credits scene because...well, why would it? This is the end of the story. But over the credits you can hear what sounds like clanging, which some have speculated is the sound of Harley Keener (the Iron Man 3 kid, who returned for the funeral) building a new Iron Man armor. I mean...yeah, that's POSSIBLE in the same way it's possible it was Bucky using his metal arm to vent frustration at not being named Captain America. No, it's just a callback to when Tony Stark hammered out his first Iron Man suit in Afghanistan, the moment that gave birth to the MCU as we know it. A fitting tribute as the MCU as we know it comes to an end.

3. What's up with the new and improved Gamora? Is she still around?

All of the time travel hijinks allowed for a 2014 version of Gamora to be brought into the present, where she happens to be dead like a Black Widow on an alien planet. When Tony Stark snapped his fingers to obliterate Thanos and his forces, noticeably absent from being turned to dust was Gamora, who had changed her allegiances by then and joined her sister Nebula in fighting their mad father. So she was probably exempt from Stark's final wish to destroy Thanos and his army. In a closing scene we see Peter Quill scanning for Gamora's presence but the results coming back inconclusive, suggesting the third Guardians Asgardians of the Galaxy movie will be about a search for her. Clearly she's out there somewhere.

4. Why is Captain America better with Mjolnir than Thor?

We've kinda known ever since that awesome party scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron that Captain America was worthy of wielding Thor's mystical hammer, Mjolnir. In what I think will be THE moment of the entire year, we finally get to see Cap do it and hot damn does he kick all sorts of ass with it. Not only does he wallop Thanos with an uppercut to make Mike Tyson jealous but he even calls down thunder and lightning in ways Thor has never done. The way he uses Mjolnir in conjunction with his shield is fucking masterful. Thor had two god damn mystical weapons (including Stormbreaker!!!) and still managed to get beat up by Thanos. Give Cap those weapons! So why is Cap better than Thor? I guess we can chalk this up to simple combat training. Cap is a different kind of fighter, one who relies on speed and agility where as Thor is about brute strength. Or it could just be the Russos' experience in directing Cap's fight scenes as they've been doing it since The Winter Soldier. They have a better handle on his action than any other directors.

5. Did Captain America muck up the timeline by staying in the past?

Um, probably, yeah. Endgame spends a great deal of time dropping its trousers on time travel movies and their core idea that events changed in the past always affect the future. The film then sends Cap back in time to return Mjolnir and all of the Infinity Stones to exactly the moment when they were taken, in order to maintain those timelines. Rather than return home, Cap stays in the 1940s so he can finally have that dance with Peggy Carter and live a life of domestic bliss. The movie strongly suggests he stayed with Peggy for most of his life, although I have to say it doesn't make that point concrete by any means. I believe it was in The Winter Soldier that Peggy mentions Captain America saving her and her future husband, so if he stayed behind with her that would change. They would probably have kids, possibly with Super Soldier serum coursing through their veins. Peggy may not have been as instrumental to SHIELD's formation, too. And don't even get me started what the implications would be for Peggy's niece, Sharon aka Agent 13 (played by Emily vanCamp, remember her??), but it would make sucking face with Cap even creepier.  Also, the very fact that a Geritol-aged Steve Rogers shows up On Golden Pond confirms that changing the past does indeed affect the present.

6. Where does the Hulk go from here?

Endgame introduces a new wrinkle in the odd couple relationship between Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Rather than fighting one another, they are now joined in harmony as the selfie-taking, taco-dispensing Professor Hulk. In one of my favorite moments of the film, Hulk realizes he's the only one physically strong enough to wield the Infinity Gauntlet, although doing so to snap everyone back into existence nearly kills him. When last we see him he's badly injured but alive, which is more than we can say for some of the other original Avengers. It's unclear what's next for him, but I think we can safely assume there will no solo Hulk film until they introduce someone like Amadeus Cho.

7. So how are they bringing Vision back?

The android Vision was nowhere to be found in Endgame, a disappointment to those hoping he could have been brought back by the Infinity Stones or by the other time travel mumbo-jumbo. He remains dead following his earlier sacrifice, and we have to assume his body is out there gathering dust in a storage bin somewhere, just waiting for a rat to crawl over the right buttons to accidentally reactivate him. Okay, maybe not quite like that but with the WandaVision series coming to Disney+ we have every reason to believe Vision will return, and soon. I wouldn't be surprised to see him awaken in Wakanda, with Shuri having copied all of his internal wiring in Endgame. He wouldn't be the same as he was before, but anyone who has followed Vision in the comics knows he undergoes nearly as many changes as the Hulk.

8. Does Marvel deserve credit for introducing their first openly gay character?

Short answer: nope.  In an early scene, co-director Joe Russo plays a man attending Captain America's self-help group for people who survived Thanos' genocide. The man mentions going out on a date and casually mentions that it was with another man. Marvel and the Russos have been out there really trumpeting this moment and I think it's a bunch of bullshit. So it's a half shuffle step forward to LGBTQ representation but unless this guy turns green, gets bit by a radioactive spider, or discovers he's a long-lost Asgardian we will never see him again and thus his inclusion means nothing. You know what would have been a real power move?  Have Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), who it's been suggested is bisexual, hanging out with her female lover in New Asgard. Have Thor ask her what she intends to do as the new ruler, and then have her reply "Maybe take myself a queen."   Boom. Done. And people will give a shit.

9. Are we getting an all-female Avengers movie?

In the final battle against Thanos there is this one fist-pumping moment of ultimate pandering, when all of the MCU's strongest female heroes gather together for one gigantic assault to cover Captain Marvel. Not that she needed it. She just barrelled through because...well, she's Captain Marvel. She doesn't need help.  I know what Marvel was going for there, but it didn't feel organic by any means and was sorta cringe-worthy. However, it did look an awful lot like a tease for a possible female Avengers movie, possibly based on the A-Force comic Marvel used to publish. There have already been rumors to that effect, and maybe this was Marvel's acknowledgment of those. I just hope they handle it better than this.

10. So wait...when does Spider-Man: Far From Home take place?

Okay, I'm still very confused by this. When Hulk's finger-snap brings back everyone who died, but five years later into the present, it causes all kinds of wonky problems.  Everyone they know is now five years older while they are still the same age. This gets weirder when we see Peter Parker return to high school, only to be greeted by his pal Ned who appears to be the same age as he was before. It's completely possible Ned was dusted, too, but does that go for everyone in Parker's life? That would be one Hell of a coincidence. Where does this leave Spider-Man: Far From Home, which comes out in July? Marvel has described it as an "epilogue" and still a part of Phase 3, but is it possible it actually takes place pre-Infinity War, maybe with an end credits scene set post-Endgame? It's the only way any of this stuff would make sense unless they are going to age out certain characters who would probably be in college by now. If Far from Home ends with Parker on a bus, his Spider-Sense tingles, he sees Thanos' warship hovering over New York, and he tells Ned to distract everyone so he can swing into action, that would tie a nice bow on this whole thing.