But, here’s the thing:
This is why action movies suddenly stop in the 3rd act so the protagonist can call his girlfriend/wife/significant other and express his feelings as he’s about to plunge into the last leg of his hero’s journey. Fortunately, modern technology has made it easier for the hero to make this happen; a cell phone call, or a high-tech robotic communications array or an earpiece used during a gun fight or chase scene (formerly, they were handled as flashbacks). However, sometimes to hit these now-necessary cinematic chords, the plot and logic of the story are getting shoved aside.
For example, the biggest plot hole in “Endgame” is Peter Parker’s return. He got “vanished” by Thanos in “Infinity Wars.” “Endgame” picks up shortly after that event. Then, it leaps forward five years, where everyone is dealing with the aftermath of Thanos’ deed. The remaining Avengers save the day, and return all the missing people (yay!) and ends with the various characters returning to their lives. Now, it’s not really a spoiler that Spider-man returns, because the trailer for the new Spider-man movie has been out for a couple of weeks now. But, here’s the deal: Parker is shown returning to his high school and his high school buddy is there, all happy. It’s FIVE YEARS LATER and his high school gang is still in high school???
Look, they created an emotional bond between Tony Stark and Parker that was going to be needed to nudge Stark to work on the Big Plan, because in the five years, Stark got married and had a kid. Did they need to sit on things for five years to raise “emotional stakes” yet again for Ironman? At the same time, it’s absolutely essential to maintain the Spider-man franchise, now that’s it’s clicking again and part of the new Marvel movie universe. They worked toward that emotional moment despite the logic.
Oh, and the scene where Capt. Marvel gets the stones and has to zip across the battlefield and suddenly all the women superheroes show up to help, striking a movie-poster-poses? A thrilling moment but didn’t we just watch Marvel blast through an alien spaceship and blow it up by herself? She can’t make it from point A to point B all of a sudden? She needs the help of a couple of people with spears?
What about Capt. America suddenly welding Thor’s hammer (which Thor stole from the past)? Again, a crowd pleasing moment but how did Cap figure it out in the heat of battle? Did the hammer just suddenly present itself like the Sword of Gryffindor? Did Cap reach for his shield and the hammer showed up instead? Did Cap just hold out his hand and figure “What the heck, let's just see what shows up?” In the writers’ room, there must have been some back and forth over setting it up or going for the surprise (I mean, they planted a seed back in “Ultron” but how many movies ago was that?)
To back up a bit, what is the power level of these various people? In “Avengers” we see Hulk punch down one of those flying caterpillar monsters with one punch. But Thanos can beat up the Hulk? Does anyone think Thanos can punch out a caterpillar monster? But we needed that “Hulk defeated” moment for the emotional narrative template of “Infinity Wars”…so we could quickly drop it in “Endgame.”
And don’t get me started on the whole “Who-gets-to-sacrifice-themselves” moment with Hawkeye and Black Widow over the soul stone. We knew it was coming because we got to see it before so we could understand Thanos’ pain and emotional anguish over killing his daughter so he could destroy half the universe (a weird twist on the emotional arc template). Also, a way to prevent a Black Widow stand-alone movie.
Since each movie had to up the stakes, from destroying New York City, to destroying half the universe to destroying the whole universe, somehow the Thanos of 2014 had to understand the mistake of Thanos 2016: Eliminating only half the populace doesn’t really work; too much grief. So Thanos 2014 ups the ante to destroying and remaking the whole universe, because the template demands it.
And while we're at it, the script had to toss out every cinematic law of time travel for this movie because they knew that they were going to be making character choices that were going to violate all of them; characters killing their younger selves, stealing objects from the past, bringing dead folks back from the past, going back and STAYING THERE. No time for butterfly effects here, baby! They certainly hung enough lanterns on this time travel decision (in very funny ways) but they had to build a different world to get to where they wanted to go. For the feels.
The process of creation is always changing. The Business of Hollywood is always changing. And Avengers had more moving parts than any Hollywood movie would normally have to handle. Yet those parts all had to serve the arc of the moment, often at the risk to continuity or plot logic. This is how screenplays are created now and how their stories are laid out. Right now this is where we are, huge stakes, big emotions and repeatability: somehow trying to make the old new again. But the irony is, in this quest of character and theme, they have to twist plot to make it fit when we’re told that you shouldn’t twist your character to fit the plot.
I believe it’s somewhere in the middle. You have a story to tell. You have to create characters that can tell that story, characters that can live in that plot. Characters without plot are pointless. Plots without characters are impossible. And not every character can exist in any plot, that’s why sequels can be difficult. I do admit, though, that a great cinematic moment can trump a well-thought out plot device. But there has to be balance.
Maybe we need to vanish half of Hollywood script gurus…