It’s unsurprising that MCU fans immediately drew comparisons between Avengers: Endgame and its predecessor Infinity War. As soon as Infinity War hit theaters and all the MCU characters were brought together on-screen at last to finally face Thanos, Marvel fans thought it was the pinnacle of the franchise.
Except it ended with a crazy cliffhanger, so the story wasn’t over just yet. One year later, Endgame came along to pay off Infinity War and wrap up the so-called Infinity Saga. But which is the better movie? Both, in many ways. So, here are 5 Ways Avengers: Endgame Is Better Than Infinity War (And 5 Ways It’s Worse).
10 Endgame did better: Character arcs
In Infinity War, there wasn’t much time for the characters to personally grow, because the movie pretty much took place over the course of a single day. Thor gets a new weapon, Star-Lord loses Gamora, we see that Cap has been on missions with the Secret Avengers – a lot happens to the characters, but there’s no time to really deal with these emotions. However, with a five-year time jump, Endgame had more room for character arcs.
Thor falls into a deep depression marked by alcoholism and weight gain and he has to get his groove back. Tony Stark has retired to a cabin in the woods to start a family. They both get poignant final moments with their deceased parents, thanks to time travel. And those are just two examples.
9 Infinity War did better: More focused plot
Considering how many characters’ storylines had to converge at the same time, Avengers: Infinity War is a remarkably focused film. We see the culmination of Tony Stark’s fears of a threat too great for him to handle, Thor finally fighting back after losing everything dear to him, and Captain America’s refusal to “trade lives,” and it’s all told through the lens of Thanos’ quest to collect the Infinity Stones.
Gamora’s relationship with both Nebula and Thanos is also explored through plot. With Thanos’ early death, a meandering time jump, and the haphazard “Time Heist” that drags out the second act, Endgame is far less focused and sharp than its predecessor.
8 Endgame did better: Fan service
There’s plenty of fan service in Avengers: Infinity War, like Tony Stark and Doctor Strange trade insults or Thor hanging out with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but it’s nothing compared to the fan service in Avengers: Endgame. It was full of callbacks and references to previous MCU films.
Some critics have seen this as a negative point, but what’s so wrong about giving the audience what they want to see? From repeated lines (“On your left,” “I am Iron Man,” etc.) to Easter eggs (“Hail Hydra,” Cap wielding Mjolnir etc.), Endgame was basically three hours of Marvel fan service – and it was glorious.
7 Infinity War did better: Pacing
Right off the bat, with Thor and the surviving Asgardians being ambushed by Thanos and the Black Order, Infinity War established an action-heavy plot with a breakneck pace – and then it maintained that pace for the rest of the movie. Endgame had a totally different pace every few minutes.
First, it dived right in by decapitating Thanos within 20 minutes. Then, it slowed down to catch up with everyone’s retired lives after five miserable years. Then, the planning and execution of the “Time Heist” dragged out the second act. Then, bringing the “dusted” characters back, getting attacked by 2014 Thanos, and charged into the final battle at a quick pace. The pacing was all over the show.
6 Endgame did better: Humor
There were some great moments of humor in Infinity War, including Tony Stark’s banter with Peter Quill and Drax thinking he was imperceptible to the human eye despite eating a bag of chips, but Endgame has it beat on the comedy front.
From War Machine mocking Thor’s weight gain (and the reveal of the weight gain itself) to Rocket mocking Ant-Man’s cluelessness about space travel to Nebula and Iron Man playing a game of paper football on the Benatar, the comic interplay between Earth’s mightiest heroes in Endgame yielded much more laughs from the audience than that of Infinity War.
5 Infinity War did better: Humanizing Thanos
Thanos was surprisingly relatable in Infinity War. He was basically the lead character of the film, as we followed the Mad Titan on his journey and only ever saw the heroes if they fit into that journey. The film also humanized him. He was reluctant to sacrifice Gamora for the Soul Stone and was emotionally affected by having to do it.
He never went back on his word and he respected people with honor, like Steve Rogers or Peter Quill, and killed anyone without it, like the Collector. In Endgame, Thanos didn’t stand for honor or the good of the world (as he saw it) – he was just an evil guy who wanted to wipe out everybody and destroy the Avengers. There’s nothing human about that.
4 Endgame did better: Balancing the ensemble
Infinity War balanced its ensemble by splitting them up into three different groups. However, Iron Man and the rest of the heroes on Titan ended up taking center stage more often than Captain America and everyone in Wakanda.
Fans complained about how few scenes featured Black Panther (Marvel likely underestimated how quickly audiences would fall in love with the character), while a lot more focus went on Tony Stark’s character arc than Steve Rogers’. Endgame, on the other hand, did a fine job of handling the ensemble – especially the six O.G. Avengers – with everyone getting their fair share of moments in the spotlight.
3 Infinity War did better: Consistent storytelling
The main problem with using time travel as a story device is that it immediately creates dozens of plot holes and leaves the audience scratching their heads as to what the rules are. In Endgame, this was even more confusing than usual, because thanks to Marvel’s reshoots, there are two sets of time travel rules established in the film.
Infinity War, on the other hand, has a far less muddled plot. It sees the Avengers split into three distinct groups across the cosmos, with their scenes structured around Thanos’ quest to collect the Infinity Stones. The geography and timeline all make perfect sense, which is astounding for an epic of this scale.
2 Endgame did better: Dramatic moments
There were some serious dramatic moments in Infinity War, like Thanos sacrificing Gamora for the Soul Stone and Spider-Man’s elongated “dusting,” but Endgame has a lot more of them – being character-driven where Infinity War was more action-driven – and they’re even more affecting, too.
From Tony’s confrontation with his dad to Thor’s conversation with his dead mother on the day she died to Scott Lang discovering his daughter had aged five years while he was in the Quantum Realm to Tony’s unspoken final moments with his loved ones as he slipped into the light, Endgame made audiences cry a heck of a lot more times than Infinity War.
1 Infinity War did better: Ending
The ending of Avengers: Endgame has proven to be controversial among some fan circles, both because the appearance of an elderly time-traveling Steve Rogers in the main MCU timelines doesn’t adhere to the movie’s established rules and because the end of Cap’s character arc felt a little rushed.
Tony Stark’s death and the subsequent funeral scene were emotionally affecting, but they weren’t as much of a gut punch as the closing moments of Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos’ insane, half-baked plan actually worked, half of all life turned to dust, and the Avengers had lost to the villain for the first time ever.