The time travel virtually occupies the entire second act of ‘Avengers: Endgame’, and as can be expected since this is a commercial superhero film and not a very sound sci-fi film, the time travel in the film is rather complicated and often messy and complacent in the creation of a number of plot holes and inconsistencies. While contemplating the plausibility of it all, the team states a number of classics in the genre also stating their rather obvious consequences, and it would seem like ‘Endgame’ draws from all of them simultaneously. The thing in the end that matters is it’s all darn entertaining and includes more than a few call-backs to previous marvel films, as if there were any less reasons for fans to scream during ‘Endgame’.
A notable thing about the write-up to follow will be that if I were to nitpick, I could virtually lift off the entire time travel arc from the film, and by pointing to every potential loophole, defeat the purpose of it. This is not something that I intend to do, since I already know, as do you, that it is in fact very, very messy and leaves viewers with absolutely no answers as to the possibilities of it all, that is, if you were paying attention to it apart from the spectacle. Onwards to the theory of it all now.
Mind, Space, Time
Tony, Cap, Scott and Hulk land up in New York during Loki’s invasion with the Chitauri, and the Avengers resolve that their idea is not to hamper or transform major happenings. In 2012, while Hulk goes to the NY sanctum to retrieve the time stone where he encounters the ancient one, interesting facts about the infinity stones and the very passage of time in the universe are revealed. The ancient one instructs an astral Bruce about the stones constituting the very flow of time in their reality. If any one of them were to be removed or deviated from a set path, it would cause the flow of time to split, essentially meaning that an entire parallel reality would be created, Bruce’s counter argument to which is that the same could be avoided if one were to place the infinity stones back right where they were, just in time.
Another notable thing to discuss would be the intended outcome: the Avengers are travelling back in time not to alter their current timeline by creating a kind of butterfly effect in the past, altering the entire sequence of events, which is where the killing baby Thanos (or the killing baby Hitler theory comes into play). Their mission is to extract a relic that would allow them to reverse the effects of a present phenomenon, and to return the relic back in time to its respective place without altering any of perceived history. This would mean that the events of ‘Infinity War’ including the snappening still take place; but as opposed to stop that from happening in the first place, they attempt to reverse its effects in the present. Little did they know that they’d have to face Thanos again, with the titan dead in the current timeline. Now, back to 2012, convinced by Dr. Strange having given up the stone in the future being for a reason, the ancient one hands the time stone to Professor Hulk. One down, five to go.