Endgame is the biggest movie in the world, universe, and any dimension both real and unseen. It’s the ultimate superhero movie, concluding a decades long saga and coming full circle in the Marvel universe. But there are Avengers Endgame lessons and themes that touch on things no Marvel movie has before. As well as deeper meanings to extract beyond just a typical superhero saga. Those themes have created a lot of divisiveness among film goers including those cynical towards the film’s cinematic achievements. However, some of the Avengers Endgame lessons are undeniably significant.
This is not to say the film is parallel to a motivational speech. Or as inspiring as a Rocky, Shawshank Redemption, or Forrest Gump type flick. But there is plenty of depth to explore in the three hour long movie that can’t be denied and it’s the first of its kind with this much emotion. Many of the Avengers Endgame lessons aren’t just relatable but can teach and inspire us in our real lives too.
Some of the Avengers Endgame Lessons that can teach and inspire us:
Our self purpose can change. Deciding who you are truly meant to be is a vital aspect of the movie. Some superheroes have a well known origin but others, like Natasha, still remain mysterious. At one point Thor reunites with his mother who tells him,
“Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be…A measure of a person, of a hero is how well they succeed at being who they are…Now go and be the man you’re meant to be.”
This meeting plays an important role in Thor’s healing, but it’s also a metaphor for real life and who we strive to be versus accepting who we truly are.
Grieving is a part of life we all face. It’s an important emotion in the human psyche but one we still don’t talk about enough. If any Endgame lessons are relatable it’s that even Avengers can suffer loss and grieve in a real, raw way. Thor’s arc in Endgame is one of the most emotional to examine. It’s been dissected, with some saying it’s deeply moving, and others focusing on finding problematic issues with a connected running gag. But no matter how you feel about it, it’s a topic that brings introspection.
The film illustrates grief and how each person has handled it over the five years since ‘the snap’. Natasha and Steve seem to be the ones holding on the most as he tells her, “I keep telling everybody that they should move on, grow…but not us.” But while they seem stuck in the past, Thor has taken things the hardest. He’s grappling with the notion he didn’t save the world and turned to food and alcohol to cope.
It’s a quick character study, (with so many main characters and a three hour running time no one avenger can have too much focus) that speaks not only to Thor as a human, but how we perceive grief. And the gender roles we typically associate with them. Women share feelings, and men suppress them. But here we see, not just any man, but the epitome of masculinity expressing real sadness and emotion. After Thor: Ragnarok, he went from being completely off my radar to being my favorite Avenger. If you feel the same, Endgame only solidifies this.
It’s never too late to make a change. Endgame is essentially based on the thought that it’s never too late to change. In this case, the outcome of Thanos snapping his giant blinged out fingers and wiping out half Earth’s population. But there’s more to uncover here and its a common thread throughout each Avenger’s existence. Natasha feels incomplete, never fully able to move on from something traumatic though we don’t know what that is. Tony, having always thrived on snarky, arrogant charm secretly yearns to be a better man. Steve Rogers, though having fully accepted his Captain America fate never got to live a real life. By the end, each one has fulfilled their destiny in some way. Though some endings are tougher to swallow than others.
Family (in some way) shapes our outcome. Whitney Houston told us the children are our future, and Endgame agrees. Family is an important motif in the film. from those who raised us, to who we raise. Tony now has a young daughter that he values more than anything. Hawkeye and Antman long for their daughters as well (who both exude similar heroic qualities of their dads) perhaps implying that they will eventually take over the reigns.
Tony and Steve time travel back to the 70’s in one pivotal scene. There, they inadvertently run into their pasts. Steve spots Peggy (stirring up something dormant inside him) and Tony connects with his dad, getting both closure and insight from him. These emotional encounters (as well as Thor’s with his mother) foreshadow their destines. Obviously we can’t go back in time to receive pearls of wisdom from a parent.
But who wouldn’t go back to see someone one last time if given the chance?
It’s something everyone can empathize with and though we can’t (and shouldn’t) live in the past, we can visit it to reshape and build our future.
Always embrace who you truly are. Superhero history has mostly relied on hidden identities but in the Marvel universe, heroes don’t hide as much as accentuate their super human traits. This harkens back to the original Ironman movie. During a press conference, Tony tells the world his true identity, exclaiming ‘ I am Ironman’. A declaration that will come full circle. But each Avenger seems to hide within their armor a deeply embedded crack that can’t fully allow them to be at peace.
By 2023, Bruce, once tortured by his green alter ego has learned (the best out of everyone) how to embrace his other side. Others (like Steve, Natasha, and Thor) remain tortured in their own ways. Endgame teaches that tapping into your inner soul, whether through sacrifice, change of job, or fulfilling some life long dream holds the key to finding out who we truly are.
Failures are as much a part of life as successes. We know superheroes for their power, resilience and strength. And for positivity in the wake of adversity, (except for maybe Henry Cavill’s Superman, a seemingly perpetual grump). They overcome the bad guy and set things right.
But one of the most real of the Avengers Endgame lessons is the harsh reality that all of us, including heroes, make mistakes and even fail.
Natasha alludes to this at one point, telling Hawkeye she doesn’t judge people in their worst mistakes. The grieving Thor is despondent over his own perceived mistake, (that he didn’t kill Thanos when he had the chance).
Rather than an idealistic universe where everything works out and good triumphs over bad Endgame is more about accepting mistakes. Acknowledging things don’t always work out, and how we choose to face the world when that happens. Essentially, pretty much the same way we do in real life. As Steve explains in his support group, with
“..Brave little baby steps, to try and become whole again, and to find purpose.”
At heart this is a film about a few simple things we can all relate to and understand. Friendship, heartbreak, loss, sacrifice and ultimately, redemption. It’s the “fight of their lives”, Steve tells them in preparation for battle. And what’s more relatable than fighting for what you want.