Saturday, April 27, 2019

Four Much Easier Ways The Avengers: Endgame Could Have Reversed the Snapture

****Spoiler Alerts****

If you've just seen Endgame you know that the Avengers left hanging around after the Big Snap by Thanos are trying to figure out a way to

a) reverse the disappearance of 50% of living things but
b) not change what's transpired over the intervening five years while also
c) not having the Infinity Stones around to make all this "a snap" anymore

Naturally, the only solution is to introduce that old device, time travel. This is one of the reasons that in the previous Avengers movie, Infinity War, Dr. Strange realizes that Tony needs to survive if the Universe is to win.

That's because Tony finds a way to use Ant Man's Pym particles to travel the quantum universe into the past. Using this they devise a super complicated way to travel back to three different time periods on a limited number of particles in order to raise the stakes, reprise old MCU memories, and accomplish other sundry ways to end the series. But the scheme they come up with is unnecessarily elaborate and reckless.

There are at least four easier, simpler ways they could have used their time-traveling techniques to gather the stones and Snap the world back into existence. Here they are in order from most complicated to least:

1. First go back to Pym's laboratory in 2017 - stock up on a bunch more Pym particles. No need to worry about running out and not getting do-overs.

2. Go back to New York when Thanos is just arriving and convince Dr. Strange to give you the Time Stone (he can use the Time Stone to peer into the future to see what's about to happen). This will send that timeline into a different stream but one person can still go back just after Thanos collects each of the other stones, reverse time, grab the stone, then disappear back to 2024. (For reasons the movie explains, you can't simply use the time stone to reverse the Snapture, as that will also reverse all the good things that have happened in the intervening five years.) Perhaps this option was avoided because they wanted to avoid meeting Thanos at all.

 3. A better time to chose to go back to is 2015. In this time, the Tesseract or Space Stone is on Asgard and easy for Thor to retrieve. Using the Space Stone, travel to Tony's lab to retrieve the Mind Stone (before the creation of Vision), Knowhere to retrieve the Reality Stone (using the Mind Stone to convince the Collector to sell it), Xandar to retrieve the power stone (the Reality or Mind stones would come in handy here in getting past Xandarian guards), Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone (again, someone would have to die), and then back to New York, where you just have to hang out in Greenwich Village for a year and wait for Dr. Strange to show up with the Time Stone. Thus, only one time trip is required - two if you're too impatient to wait for Strange. (One assumes that none of the living Avengers knows where the Ancient One's temple is in Tibet.)

4. Travel back to when all six stones are in one place: on Thanos's glove as he arrives in Wakanda, or even after he does the big snap. Or on his garden planet any time before he destroys the stones. This time, take him by surprise and "go for the head" as Thor should have done in the first place.

Number four was the obvious expected route and the movie seems to set this up, but then choose something else entirely. Clearly the something else is meant to exploit old MCU footage and give us a kind of series finale nostalgia. Some of that worked for me - but the elaborateness of the time heist needed to set it up was purely unnecessary.

Needless to say, the last two of these have the added advantage of not tipping Thanos off to what they are up to. But hey - we would have lost the big battle at the end, and who would want that?