**SPOILER ALERT** Why We Needed to See All That Social Justice Warrior Stuff in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and Why it's Important for Marvel's Next Phase

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

Avengers: Endgame marks the epic finale to 11 years and 22 films worth of storytelling. And with it, we witnessed a lot of things change. The story jumped 5 years into the future, although the characters who returned after The Snap didn’t age a day. Steve Rogers finally got around to having a life by venturing to the past and having that dance (plus an entire marriage) with Peggy. And perhaps most devastatingly, we saw Tony Stark sacrifice his life with a Snap of his own that neutralized Thanos and his entire army. But we also got to see some torches get passed in ways that set Marvel up for a much more inclusive future.

Let’s just get right to it and talk about that all female team-up scene. There are some sound arguments being made that it harkens back to an old problem the MCU seemed to have with their female characters. Black Widow did find her characterization defined by her baby making parts in Avengers: Age of Ultron and she did just sorta die in Endgame because she didn’t have a family like Hawkeye, so it’s a fair point. But if we’re talking about looking forward, the scene goes a long way in putting female leadership at the forefront. And I’d argue that’s it not just a fleeting bit of virtue signaling either.

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The film also sees Thor hand the keys to New Asgard over to Valkyrie. It’s a great scene because Thor acknowledges that she’s always been the leader of their new home. For a lot of young boys and girls, their entry point into any Asgardian adventures will likely involve a woman of color at the helm. This new status quo for the world of Thor could work well as a companion piece to Black Panther, which pushed black excellency into the mainstream consciousness.

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And to…ahem…cap off what at that point felt like Marvel apologizing for over two hours of white people fixing the universe, we finally met our new Captain America. In an emotional scene with questionable logic, Steve Rogers handed off his signature shield to Sam Wilson. It was an unexpected turn, as a lot of the foreshadowing seemed to point to Bucky as the new Cap. While there’s a basis for it in the comics, the same goes for our boy Sam. And not that it’s Bucky’s fault, but Sam’s always been there fighting side by side with Steve. He’d earned his stripes, so that pay off was perhaps the most satisfying.

In the end, we can only speculate what the future holds for the MCU. But something tells me it’s going to be even more colorful.

You can see Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame in theaters now.