There’s a moment early on in Avengers: Endgame when all hope seems lost – truly lost, even after the calamitous events of Infinity War.
Riddled with guilt and an all-consuming rage, Thor Odinson decapitates Thanos soon after the Mad Titan confesses to having used the stones to destroy the stones. Translation? Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are shit out of luck, and the sliver of hope that had previously galvanized the Avengers fizzles into nothing. Their fate, it seems, has been decided.
It’s undoubtedly a bold opening from Joe and Anthony Russo – not to mention writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely – but as Endgame‘s creative team revealed on the recently-released commentary track, they were surprised when Thanos’ decapitation initially drew laughter from the audience. At least, until viewers begin to see Thor’s moment for what it really is: a hollow victory.
Stephen McFeely: “I was just saying…it is…it…it gets a laugh every time I’m in the theater. Or like a nervous shock, right?”
Anthony Russo: “People laugh at that and I was always shocked by that.”
McFeely “But I think the Silvestri score and the long slow walk here make you go, ‘Oh, crap. Yeah, this is… We’ve got nothing now’.”
The fact that Thanos willingly accepts his death makes this scene all the more unsettling. Here is a villain who has achieved everything he set out to do. Hell, he even watched the sun rise on a ‘grateful’ universe, but it’s interesting to note how the Russo Brothers and McFeely were initially taken aback by the audience’s belly laughs.
Avengers: Endgame is now available on Digital HD and will make its way onto Blu-ray and DVD in two weeks’ time. And yes, after much palaver, it officially dethroned James Cameron’s Avatar to become the highest-grossing movie in Hollywood history. $2.792 billion is a mighty feat, one that likely won’t be matched – let alone beaten – for a very, very long time.