Most people going into Avengers: Endgame assumed that either or both of Tony Stark/Iron Man and Steve Rogers/Captain America wouldn’t be around to see the credits roll. Throughout most of the movie, I had Cap pegged as the one to fall in battle. During that climactic and world-shaking fight against Thanos, there were a number of moments where I thought his goose was well and truly cooked. Perhaps the tensest scene came when the Mad Titan was bearing down on Cap with all his ferocity, his sword slicing through that iconic indestructible shield as if it was warm butter.
But, as we all know, his moment of lonely desperation soon turned to triumph as all our favorite heroes returned to life, the battle concluding with Tony Stark choosing to make the ultimate sacrifice and finally rid us of Thanos once and for all. This left Cap with a touching and happy ending, being allowed to grow old alongside Peggy Carter, the love of his life. But why did it go down this way and how did directors Joe and Anthony Russo arrive at this decision?
Joe was recently asked this very question in an interview with Empire Magazine and said:
“Once you kill a beloved character like [Tony], you’ve got to have hope at the end of the movie in some regard, and the only person to give you that hope is the other co-lead. Had we killed both the leads, I feel like people would have been walking out into traffic after the film. The intention is not to destroy people, it’s to hopefully tell a complex and dimensionalised story in a way, that makes them feel a varied range of emotion.”
I think that’s sound enough reasoning. After the enormous downer ending of Infinity War we needed to see some light at the end of the tunnel. And, with major characters having fallen defending Earth, it’s not as though we didn’t feel the weight of what these heroes went through in the fight to stop Thanos.
Seeing Steve finally get his dream come true was the perfect ‘cap’ to all that. And honestly, I don’t think they could have concluded Avengers: Endgame any better way.