Warning: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE! You’ve been warned. We have a completely spoiler free review right here.
Any Marvel fan with a soul then you probably sobbed their way through Tony Stark’s death and funeral, a well-attended affair on a dock (because all Avengers memorials are on docks now, right Black Widow?) As the man who started it all, it’s only right that so many characters from Tony’s past came to pay their respects, making Iron Man’s funeral a visual reminder of just how large his family has grown in a decade and 22 movies, and how much his character his changed.
Even the setting of the memorial is, in many ways, surprising. When we first met Tony, he was a guy with a nouveau-riche Malibu mansion that would be featured in a glossy magazine. As time wears on, he moves east to New York and makes a target of Stark Tower, yet another tricked out testament to opulence and ego. Instead, Avengers: Endgame sees Tony’s funeral where he spent the last and likely most meaningful years of his life, in a quiet lakeside cabin with Pepper and their daughter, Morgan. It’s the home and the life that he fought so hard to preserve, even as he did everything he could to bring back those they lost in the snap from the end of Avengers: Infinity War.
Pepper set the original ARC reactor that she had given back to Tony, with the words “proof that Tony Stark has a heart” on top of a flower arrangement and pushed it out onto the water and we all collapse into a puddle. She hugged their daughter Morgan, while behind her Happy and Rhodey, two of Tony’s closest confidantes, put their arms around one another. Morgan and Happy share a sweet scene later on that calls back to Tony’s desire for a cheeseburger in the first Iron Man movie and cements the role that Happy will forever play in Morgan’s life, as a surrogate father figure.
Cap is right behind Happy and Rhodes, and behind him on the dock, Peter Parker mourns his mentor while Aunt May comforts him. Peter got to say his goodbye on the battlefield, almost immediately after his reunion with Tony. The mourners are largely in order of how long they knew Tony, with Peter being a clear exception, and some less-famous folks who got stuck at the back.
Next are Thor (who got his act together and thankfully does not appear to be intoxicated or in a bathrobe) and the Hulk, who has his arm still in a sling, a result of using the Infinity Gauntlet that killed Tony. Even with all his power and ability to take on gamma radiation, the Hulk is still dealing with an injury for perhaps the first time in the MCU, so it’s frankly amazing that Tony lasted long enough to even snap his fingers to bring Avengers: Endgame to a conclusion.
Next are Doctor Strange and Wong, and then the Ant-Man-Wasp family, with Scott Lang, Hope Van Dyne, Dr. Hank Pym, and Janet Van Dyne.
Off to the right on the grass, the Guardians of the Galaxy stand in a loose cluster in their most somber leather attire. At this point, The Guardians group includes Rocket, Groot, Peter Quill, Drax, Mantis, and Nebula, but neither deceased Gamora nor 2014 Gamora.
The Black Panther delegation from Wakanda stands together just up the slope a bit – T’Challa, Okoye, and Shuri. T’Challa’s attire is unusually understated, a simple black suit, but Shuri and Okoye have a bit more of their typical style. Shuri’s understated bangles are reminiscent of her famous hand cannons, which of course she also invented. It’s unclear where Nakia was.
Behind them to the left is Hawkeye, finally reunited with his family, thanks to the sacrifice of his best friend Natasha. Later, we see the bond between Clint and Wanda reinforced (don’t forget, Clint named his son after Wanda’s twin brother, Pietro) as the two share a moment of reflection about their own fallen loved ones.
A ways behind them is a strange little group of the odd ones out: Bucky Barnes, Scarlet Witch, and Sam Wilson. These folks don’t seem to have anything in common, other than having no one else to stand with, although at least Bucky and Sam both love Captain America. Have Bucky and Wanda even met before now? Wouldn’t it make more sense for “the White Wolf” to stand with Shuri?
A bit apart is the one who you were probably scratching your head about, a teenage boy with dark hair. It’s Harley Keener who, as a boy in Iron Man 3, found Tony with a busted suit in his garage. We haven’t seen the character, played by Ty Simpkins, since he was a little kid, but might his return at this pivotal moment speak to a future role in the MCU?
Behind this crowd of randos are a few more: William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross, and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, each standing alone.
Captain Marvel stands on the steps, resplendent in black high waisted pants and jacket (and her new short haircut), apart from the mourners who knew Tony more personally. While it’s possible they spent time together in the five years we skipped, and she went off-world to get medicine to help him, it seems more likely that they didn’t know each other very well. It’s a real shame, since in the comics they’re quite similar in terms of both bravado and demons, and have a close relationship based on years of working together and even turning against one another, similar to Tony’s relationship with Steve Rogers. But alas, it seems we won’t see it in the MCU.
At the very back, surveying it all from the porch, is Nick Fury, the man who put it all in motion. It’s too bad that we don’t get to see him interact with any of these characters, especially Captain Marvel. What does it mean to have sent these people into battle, to have them save you, and for their leader to have died doing it? What does it mean to go to a service meant for releasing emotions and connecting with one another, and remain aloof and alone, above it all? Would Carol Danvers even recognize her friend who sang and laughed while he did dishes in the man who stands at the back of Tony Stark’s funeral? We shall see.
Also unfortunate? Agent Phil Coulson from Agents of SHIELD was never able to make another appearance on the big screen. Did the Avengers ever find out he was brought back from the dead? Do they know he’s re-dead now, potentially for good? Wouldn’t they have wanted to go to his funeral? Alas, we may never know.
The movie then pays one final tribute to Tony Stark. While there is no post credits scene in Avengers: Endgame, if you listen very closely as the music fades out at the end of the credits, you can hear a faint sound. We wrote more about what that means right here.