This article contains heavy spoilers from Avengers: Endgame.
Avengers: Endgame is a great movie filled with fantastic character writing, emotional weight, callbacks to previous movies and a final battle of epic proportions. The film really does wonderfully pay off more than a decade’s worth of storytelling and by the end of it, I was emotionally exhausted. However, there’s also no denying that when you sit down and dissect the film, you’ll realise that there are plenty of logical lapses and unanswered questions, as you’d come to expect from fantasy films that explore time travel.
In a recent Endgame phone interview with a Chinese press Ent.qq, Joe Russo answered a lot of the major plot holes constantly brought up by the film’s biggest critics. Note that the following quotes are translated from Chinese (via Reddit).
Is the plot of Endgame a parallel universe or a closed time loop?
“It’s not a time loop. Both Ancient One and Hulk were right. You can’t change the future by simply going back to the past. But it’s possible to create a different alternate future. It’s not a butterfly effect. Every decision you made in the past could potentially create a new timeline. For example, the old Cap at the end movie, he lived his married life in a different universe from the main one. He had to make another jump back to the main universe at the end to give the shield to Sam.”
Why did Iron Man have to be the one to do the final snap, as opposed to people like Thor, Captain Marvel or Star-Lord, who have all previously handled the power of the Infinity Stones?
“Thor in this movie couldn’t do it, only Hulk was strong enough to do the snap without dying. We are still not sure whether Captain Marvel can also withstand all the power of Infinity Stones at once. The reason we choose to let Iron Man do it in the end was because he was the closest one to Thanos at the time. In all the futures Doctor Strange foresee, Iron Man was the only one who could get close to Thanos and do the snap.
People usually think the death of a hero is a horrible tragedy. But we think this is different. When his death was able to bring back hope, to save half of the universe, then his death was powerful and meaningful. We shouldn’t feel too sad or angry about it.”
When Captain America went back in (alternate) time, were there two Caps in the same universe?
“Captain America chose to go back to the past and lived with the one he loved for the rest of his life. The time travel in this movie created an alternate reality. He lived a completely different life in that world. We don’t know how exactly his life turned out, but I’d like to believe he still helped many others when they were needed in that world. Yes, there were two Captain Americas in that reality, it’s just like what Hulk said, what happened in the past has already happened. If you go back to the past, you simply created a new reality.”
Why didn’t Doctor Strange just cut off Thanos’ hand with his portal abilities, as he’s done to other characters?
“Thanos’ skin is almost impenetrable, we don’t know whether Doctor Strange had the capability to do it. If he failed to cut it on time, Thanos would still able to do the snap. Doctor Strange realized this issue during his millions of test runs.”
Can you get the soul you sacrificed for the Soul Stone back when you return it? (i.e. return the stone and bring back Black Widow.)
“No, the process is irreversible. Even if you have returned it to its original location, you wouldn’t be able to get the person back. In fact, it’s not really returning the stone, more like putting it back properly. The tribute soul for the Soul Stone will forever be sealed in that place, therefore Black Widow is gone forever.”
Why didn’t anyone use the Time Stone to save Iron Man, just like how Thanos used the Time Stone to bring back Vision to life before killing him again in Infinity War?
“It’s because even if you save Iron Man, it will still not change the fact that Thanos will eventually win the war. Among the 14 million possibilities that Doctor Strange has seen, Iron Man’s sacrifice is a must for that one win scenario.”
How did Thanos bring his army to the ‘main timeline’ when there weren’t enough Pym particles?
“There is a guy called Maw in his army, he was a great wizard. Thanos himself was a brilliant genius as well. Those two easily reverse engineered and mass-produced Pym Particles.”
What do the five years leap mean to the people who got dusted?
“Yes, those people who were lucky to survive the snap are 5 years older than the people who just got back. The reason Spider-Man saw his friend again in high school at the end was simply that his friends were unfortunately also dusted like Spider-Man was. Of course, there are people in his grade who didn’t die and they are probably already in college by now. To those dusted people, they had no consciousness in these past 5 years.
They didn’t know what happened. It’s as if they had just woke up from a long sleep. The only one who was aware of how many years has passed was Doctor Strange because he has already seen that when he was time-meditating on Titan. Parker’s reunion with Ned was a touching moment. There are also people who indeed moved on but suddenly was reunited with their lost ones. Yeah, it’s kinda complicated world now.”
What happened if the mouse didn’t press the button on the quantum machine?
“Yes, the MOUSE SAVED THE UNIVERSE. Among the many realities in those 14millions, possible futures Doctor Strange foresee, the mouse failed to press a button and thus the heroes failed in those futures.
Avengers: Endgame is currently screening in Malaysian cinemas.