So, here we are. In the wake of the movie, it’s time for seemingly endless discussions over how Avengers: Endgame should or shouldn’t have played out. After watching the spectacle (all three hours of it), fans have differing ideas over how the story could’ve been better, or whether the plot we saw unfold was more fitting.
Iron Man’s death has been the biggest talking point so far, with discussions mainly circling around how the execution of the scene was carried out. The other prime candidate to sacrifice himself was Captain America; a lot of the fanbase is convinced he should’ve been the one to take the heroic death. Let's take a look at both sides of that debate.
10 Iron Man: It Brought An End To The Infinity Saga
Iron Man has been synonymous with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As we’ve only known the Infinity Saga so far in this series, this makes Iron Man the poster boy of the entire franchise. Taking him out permanently means the “Three Phases” really have come to an end.
Going forward, the absence of who is arguably the main character of the series means that the overarching story from 2008 to 2019 is well and truly done. Only Iron Man’s death could have driven home this point. Now that he’s gone, we can be certain the new films aren’t going to be about the Infinity Stones.
9 Captain America: It Would've Been The Perfect Send-Off
The funny thing is, fans have been half-expecting Captain America’s demise since Avengers: Age of Ultron. Whenever Marvel teased that the stakes were about to be high, everyone’s first guess for the person to bite the dust would be Captain America. Ironically, we learn that he lived a long, peaceful life with the woman he loved.
However, fan assumptions weren’t unfounded, as Captain America’s death really would’ve been more fitting. The fans wanted him to die, in a way, to be immortalized as a symbol of sacrifice. It would've been such a Captain America way to go.
8 Iron Man: It Carried The Heaviest Impact
Sure, Captain America might have had more people in #TeamCap when the Avengers were fractured in Captain America: Civil War, but there’s no doubt that in the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is Iron Man who far exceeds every other character in the fanbase.
In order for Marvel Studios to ensure that every eye in the cinema theater was leaking with tears, they knew they had to take out the biggest player on the board. Only Iron Man's demise would elicit that reaction. His death is the biggest one in any superhero film – you can forget about non-MCU films here.
7 Captain America: It Would Have Fit His Character
As mentioned before, Captain America was always seen as the symbol of everlasting good, and he didn’t need to be alive for people to remember him in this light. That’s why the final sacrifice that Iron Man made seemed to be more suited for Captain America.
It’s hard to believe he just stood around and saw someone else take the fall. Everyone knew (both in-universe and outside of it) that Captain America would rather lose his life on the battlefield than allow an ally to sacrifice themselves. Captain America’s character was such that he’d go out with a smile, safe in the knowledge that his sacrifice meant something.
6 Iron Man: It Was Alluded To In "The Avengers"
In hindsight, things always seemed to be leading towards Iron Man making the ultimate sacrifice. The hints were strewn all over the MCU. Right from the start, in Iron Man, you can see how ashamed he was to know that people around the world were dying every day as a result of his work.
The biggest moment that pointed toward Iron Man’s sacrifice, though, was during his argument with Captain America in The Avengers. It was here that Steve berated him for never taking the fall and letting someone else do it for him. While the end of that film made it seem that Iron Man was prepared to sacrifice himself, it was in Avengers: Endgame where he proved he was selfless.
5 Captain America: It Would've Been A Better Passing-Of-The-Torch Moment
The ending of Avengers: Endgame saw Captain America pass on his shield (and his title) to Falcon, recognizing that he would fit the role. It took some convincing to get Falcon on board with the idea, and the film then cut to Steve in an embrace with Peggy in the past.
Although this moment between them works somewhat, it would’ve been better had Captain America sacrificed himself during the battle with Thanos, then passed on the shield to Falcon. It would’ve made for a more emotionally-charged moment to see Falcon cradling Captain America just before his death, as Steve handed over the mantle during his final moments.
4 Iron Man: Peter Parker Is Now On His Own
Many of the people who watched Spider-Man: Homecoming did so because it had Iron Man in it. The promotional campaign for that movie heavily featured both Tony Stark and Iron Man, while the film itself saw Peter constantly trying to impress Tony.
With Tony’s death, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a much more intriguing prospect, since it now features Spider-Man all on his own. For the first time since he’s become a superhero, Peter Parker will need to rely on his own skills and learn what Tony meant when he said the suit doesn’t define him. This should make the latest Spider-Man film feel like a coming-of-age story.
3 Captain America: He Wouldn't Let The Winter Soldier Suffer
So, as it turns out, Captain America stayed in the past to be with Peggy Carter and completely retired from any action. This meant that he lived through all the events that happened in the MCU, which also means he was active in 1991 when the Winter Soldier killed Iron Man’s parents.
It just doesn’t seem right that Captain America would sit on the sidelines, dancing happily with his love interest, while his best friend was being brainwashed and used as an assassin to kill the parents of another close ally. The time travel in Avengers: Endgame messed with the timelines a little, but the Winter Soldier’s story remained the same. This is why Captain America's sacrifice, rather than survival, may have made more sense.
2 Iron Man: He Achieved His Mission
Ever since having the epiphany that he could do more good as a protector than a manufacturer of weaponry, Iron Man became determined to establish “a suit of armor around the world." He made this his life’s mission, holding true to the idea even though it took a horrible turn in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Iron Man again referred to the “suit of armor” mission at the beginning of Avengers: Endgame (during his argument with Captain America), which means everything he did during the Time Heist was to ensure his mission was realized. After he did protect the world, his mission was complete and it was fitting he’d die afterward.
1 Captain America: His Actual Ending Wasn't That Great
To be completely honest, part of our wanting Captain America to make the sacrifice comes down to the fact that his actual ending in Avengers: Endgame wasn’t all that good. We mentioned before that it was out of character for him to sit around knowing his friends were in pain, and this is further supported when you consider how much better it would’ve been had he sacrifice himself instead.
It didn’t even strictly need to be a sacrifice; any other kind of send-off for Captain America would’ve been better than the end he got. There’s also the fact that his living into old age and showing up at the end of the film (without time travel) opens up several plot holes and paradoxes, so a simple sacrifice as his ending sounds much better story-wise.