Avengers: Endgame poignantly concluded the first 11 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but it also specifically improved Avengers: Age of Ultron. Joe and Anthony Russo's $2-billion blockbuster (and counting) specifically included a time travel adventure to The Avengers, when three Infinity Stones were simultaneously in New York City, but several moments in Endgame also highlighted - and enhanced - Joss Whedon's 2015 sequel.
Avengers: Age of Ultron usually ranks low among many fans' favorite Avengers films, but it has been a very important building block for MCU Phase 3. Whedon's sequel introduced Vision, Wakanda and Vibranium into the MCU, the Hulk's participation in Thor: Ragnarok was a result of his decision to ghost Natasha Romanoff at the end of Age of Ultron, and the final battle in Sokovia helped set the stage for the drafting of the Sokovia Accords, which broke the Avengers apart in Captain America: Civil War. The Avengers also abandoned Stark Tower in NYC and set up shop in their sprawling upstate New York Avengers Compound, which Thanos destroyed in Avengers: Endgame.
Major ideas introduced in Age of Ultron were paid off in Avengers: Endgame - in fact, the very title of Avengers 4 was uttered by Tony Stark in Age of Ultron when he said, "We're the Avengers. We can bust arms dealers all the livelong day but that up there... that's the endgame". Looking at the scope of the four Avengers films now, it's easy to see how much credence Avengers: Endgame gives Age of Ultron. Thanks to all of this new context, Avengers: Endgame makes Age of Ultron even more vital to the grand design of the MCU.
All Of Age Of Ultron's Visions Explained
Scarlet Witch and her late brother Quicksilver were originally villains granted their superpowers by Hydra thanks to the Mind Stone in Loki's scepter. Though they joined the Avengers in the Battle of Sokovia, Wanda Maximoff used her powers to probe the heroes' minds in the film. Tony Stark was the most affected by the vision he received in the long term, but Avengers: Endgame contained resolutions to the dreams in Age of Ultron Wanda inflicted upon Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow.
For Steve Rogers, the vision he received of arriving at a World War II victory party and being asked to dance by Peggy Carter was paid off by his decision to remain in the past and live the life with Peggy he was robbed of when he was frozen in ice for 70 years. In Avengers: Endgame, Steve's heart's desire was fulfilled; he got that dance he promised Peggy and much more before he returned as an old man to 2023 and passed his shield to Sam Wilson, making him the new Captain America.
Thor's vision of Asgard in Age of Ultron was disturbing and apocalyptic, with Heimdall accusing the Odinson of being "a destroyer who will lead us to Hel!" Ultimately, the grand beats of this vision came true and Thor ended up losing everything, including his parents, his brother Loki, Heimdall, his eye, his hammer Mjolnir, Asgard itself, and most of the Asgardians. However, it also provided a clue to redemption in Avengers: Endgame. Thor was emotionally coping with his epic failures, but when traveling back to Asgard - complete with the same statue as in the vision - he got to see his mother Frigga again and realized he's still worthy, releasing his years of suffering and setting up a brighter future with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Black Widow's vision took her back to her days in 1990s Russia training to be an assassin in the Red Room. While the anticipated Black Widow film is expected to be a prequel exploring this era, Avengers: Endgame touched upon what was seen in Natasha's vision: she asked "What if I fail?" and was told, "You never fail." In Avengers: Endgame, Natasha spent five years trying to come to terms with the Avengers' failure against Thanos and she was the driving force backing Ant-Man's plan to time heist the Infinity Stones. Later, on Vormir, Natasha learned her father's name was Ivan - something she never knew before (or lost the memory of) - and her decision to sacrifice her life for the Soul Stone can be tracked back her lifelong arc of transforming herself from a killer to someone who saw the Avengers as her family and was willing to die to save half of the universe.
Though fans never saw it, Scarlet Witch also hit Bruce Banner with a vision, which caused him to rampage as the Hulk and nearly destroy an African city until Iron Man stopped him with the Hulkbuster armor (which Banner himself would wear in Avengers: Infinity War). Banner's fear of Hulk as a savage monster (and the world seeing him as nothing else) contributed to his decision not to return to the Avengers at the end of Age of Ultron, and was eventually resolved by Bruce becoming Professor Hulk in Avengers: Endgame.
Tony Stark Overcame His Fear Of The Endgame
The vision Scarlet Witch gave Tony Stark of the dead Avengers fueled Iron Man's paranoia coming off the moment in The Avengers when he witnessed the Chitauri fleet in space after he saved New York from a nuclear missile. Everything Stark did to create Ultron, intending it to be "a suit of armor around the world", was driven by that vision, which came true when the Avengers lost against Thanos and billions died in Infinity War - just as Stark feared. Still seething with resentment from the Civil War, Tony lashed out at Steve Rogers in Avengers: Endgame, reminding him of their Age of Ultron exchange when Stark predicted the Avengers would lose and Captain America promised: "then we'll do that together too".
Ultimately, Tony overcame his fear of the endgame and he risked his happy life with his wife Pepper and daughter Morgan when he solved how to time travel safely through the Quantum Realm. At the crucial moment of the climactic battle, Iron Man outsmarted Thanos and saved the world with a snap of the Infinity Gauntlet, finally killing the Mad Titan. Avengers: Endgame even called back to Captain America's broken shield in Tony's vision, which also came true when Thanos smashed it during their fight.
Captain America Is Worthy To Wield Thor's Hammer
Avengers: Endgame definitively proved Steve Rogers is worthy to wield Thor's enchanted hammer Mjolnir. In fact, when the hammer flew into Captain America's hand, the Star-Spangled Avenger was able to do everything Thor could do with it, including summoning magic lightning to strike Thanos. This paid off the amusing party scene in Age of Ultron when the Avengers took turns and failed to lift Thor's hammer. Only Rogers was able to budge it a tiny fraction, which visibly perturbed Thor at the time. Years later, in Avengers: Endgame, the God of Thunder was overjoyed to see Cap judged worthy by the hammer, and he even yelled, "I knew it!"
Speaking of knowing all along, according to the Russo Brothers, Steve Rogers always knew he could lift the hammer, but he didn't in Age of Ultron to spare Thor's ego. Avengers: Endgame nicely settled the issue introduced in Age of Ultron.
Hawkeye's Family Becomes More Important
Joss Whedon revealed the MCU's Hawkeye was actually a family man when Clint Barton brought the Avengers to his farmhouse to meet his wife Laura, his daughter Lila, and his son Cooper (baby Nathaniel would be born afterward). Laura and Clint's conversation where she called the Avengers "a mess" and he responded "they're my mess" set the stage for Clint returning to the team and volunteering for the first Quantum Realm time travel test, which brought him back to his farmhouse in the past.
The Barton family became even more important in Avengers: Endgame. In the very opening scene, Clint was training Lila in archery before she, her mother, and brothers turned to dust thanks to Thanos' Decimation. In his grief, Clint traveled the world for five years as Ronin, taking bloody vengeance on international criminals before Natasha brought him back to the Avengers. What's more, it was Hawkeye's pep talk that gave Wanda Maximoff the courage to become an Avenger in Age of Ultron, and that was paid off in Captain America: Civil War and at Tony Stark's funeral when Clint and Wanda consoled each other over the deaths of Natasha and Vision.
Avengers: Endgame Cleared Up The Loki's Scepter Plot Hole
It wasn't just thematic or character ideas from Age of Ultron that Avengers: Endgame helped deepen, it also addressed some plot holes. The question of how Loki's scepter came to be in Hydra's possession at the beginning of Age of Ultron has been lingering for a long time, but was finally answered by Endgame's time travel. Once Loki was taken into custody after the Battle of New York, the Avengers turned over the scepter - and the Mind Stone it contained - to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s S.T.R.I.K.E. team, really a Hydra cell.
This was never a glaring issue, but it was irritating, and the elaboration attests to the care to Marvel continuity that's present throughout Avengers: Endgame.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019