This is another post in my “first impressions” series of posts, which focus on current films that I have watched in theaters that include reel librarians and/or library or archives scenes. The resulting “first impressions” posts are necessarily less detailed, as I don’t have the luxury of rewatching scenes and taking notes in the movie theater. I do, however, take notes as soon as I can after watching the film.
This also marks the fourth (!) time I’ve analyzed a reel librarian or library scene in Marvel’s Avengers movie series. Past posts include: First impressions: ‘Captain Marvel’ and its archives scene ; First impressions: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ ; and Sorcerer librarians of ‘Doctor Strange’.
First things first:
Here’s a trailer to get you pumped for watching (or more likely, rewatching) Avengers: Endgame.
My overall impression of the movie? LOVED IT. Except for one nagging question — which I will get into soon — I really can’t imagine how this film could have been done better or done more justice to the myriad characters and storylines. Masterful plotting, pacing, acting, and directing by all involved. I knew it was going to be 3 hours sitting in a movie theater seat, but the time went by quickly for me. Really, really well done.
But of course, I’m realllllly here to talk about Wong (Benedict Wong), the sorcerer librarian character we first got to know and love in 2016’s Doctor Strange. And I cannot talk about Wong’s role in Avengers: Endgame without spoiling the finale.
So y’all know the drill…
We good? Good.
Why didn’t they ask Wong?!
I knew Wong was going to be in Avengers: Endgame. There were several clues, including:
- Benedict Wong’s name getting added to the cast list on IMDb.com.
- Benedict Wong’s name included in the credits in the official movie poster reveal.
- Wong getting his own poster in the movie character poster series — in color! (Characters who survived got full-color posters, while characters that didn’t survive got black-and-white posters.)
- Benedict Wong sharing a photo of himself on the Endgame set last September.
There was some hype and anticipation about the importance of Wong’s character to the Endgame finale:
As the surviving heroes are sure to attempt to use the Infinity Stones to undo the effects of the Mad Titan’s snap, they will need to someone to teach them about each of the Stones, and Wong is the leading candidate. More than a bookworm, Wong has also proven himself a formidable warrior in his own right, helping Iron Man and Spider-Man subdue Cull Obsidian during their initial fight in New York City. With Doctor Strange perhaps putting up the strongest fight against Thanos with his extensive magical knowledge on Titan, Wong will need to step up to take his place.Sam Stone, CBR.com
However, Wong’s encyclopedic knowledge of the Stones — which was highlighted in Avengers: Infinity War — was not utilized AT ALL in this film. SIGH.
About a third of the way through the film, the remaining members of the Avengers & co. (Black Widow, Captain America, Bruce Banner/Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Rocket, War Machine, and Nebula) are trying to piece together their memories of when they came into contact with the stones. They’ve figured out time travel, so now they need to figure when and where they need to travel back to, in order to steal the stones back in time. There is then a montage of them talking together and identifying dates, locations, and stones from their collective memories. (Minor rant alert: During these scenes, Natasha/Black Widow seems to be the ONLY ONE TAKING NOTES WHAT IS UP WITH THAT DUDES HELP THE TEAM OUT AND PICK UP A PENCIL OH MY GOD SIGH.)
And now for a MAJOR rant alert:
As this montage of scenes started playing, I literally said out loud in the movie theater:
“Why didn’t they ask Wong?!”
It SERIOUSLY bugged me that NO ONE thought to call Wong and ask if he could help them piece together the history of the Stones. And there is no good reason for this oversight, because Wong had explained the history of the Infinity Stones to Tony Stark AND Bruce Banner in Avengers: Infinity War. And as BOTH Stark and Banner survived and were in the room helping to assemble memories, then one or both of them should have remembered that Wong could be helpful in this instance, especially after Natasha figured out that New York was key. After all, the last time Stark and Banner saw Wong was in New York, and he left them to guard the New York sanctum.
And sure, Wong was probably busy — after all, he was one of the only remaining sorcerers left, if not THE remaining sorcerer, after the Vanishing — but they still could have called! That’s what librarians are here for, to help with research and answering questions! And it could have been a small thing, like, “Hey, let’s call Wong. He’ll know.” “Oh, he’s not available?” “Okay, gang, let’s try and figure this out ourselves.” IT’S NOT THAT HARD.
A major oversight and the only major flaw in the movie, in my opinion.
No, I’m not letting this go.
To Wong, thanks for everything:
But not all is lost. Wong still proves crucial to the final battle and, you know, saving humanity.
Right as Thanos and his army prepare to wipe out humanity, Doctor Strange and Wong show up via a portal. Across the sky, dozens of portals appear, each revealing more beloved Avengers and their allies, brought back to life by the Hulk’s recent turn in the Infinity Gauntlet. Then there is this pivotal exchange:
Strange: “Is that everyone?”
Wong: “What, you wanted more?”
This exchange demonstrates the camaraderie between the duo, as Wong looks humorously exasperated at Strange’s question. (And Wong is still visually on Strange’s right side — from the perspective of the audience — keeping up his role as Strange’s right-hand man. I first pointed out this visual trend in my Doctor Strange analysis post.)
But why is this two-line exchange of dialogue vital to the movie? Because it reveals that Wong is the one who actually assembled the Avengers! (Even though Captain America got to say that iconic line, it was Wong who did the ACTUAL WORK. Just sayin’.)
“While Doctor Strange was coming back from Titan, Wong took it upon himself to unite the world’s heroes and bring them to the Avengers HQ for the final battle against Thanos.”Mansoor Mithaiwala, Screenrant.com
Strange had to have brought the Avengers who were with him on Titan to the final battle, but it’s clear that Wong brought everyone else.
We then see Wong fight in battle and conjure a protective shield, larger than the ones seen in the screenshot above, when Thanos’s ship fires down on the battlefield. Wong remains center screen during this quick clip in the battle, visually positing Wong as a leader of his force. Other protective shields pop up across the battlefield, indicating multiple trained sorcerers. And that got me thinking that Wong probably has been spending a major part of the past 5 years training more sorcerers.
Yep, you can depend on librarians to get. Shit. DONE.
We next see Wong at Tony Stark’s funeral (sob!), standing beside Doctor Strange (again, from the audience’s perspective, on his right side).
And then that got me thinking about Stark’s last words to Wong in Avengers: Infinity War: “Wong, you’re invited to the wedding!” Did Iron Man ever actually get married to Pepper? If so, did he invite Wong?!
Alas, these will remain unanswered questions… 😉
Continuing the conversation:
Do you have any unanswered questions about Avengers: Endgame? Have you seen the film? Did you enjoy it? Are there more Avengers movies I need to revisit for this blog? Please leave a comment and share!
- Acuna, Kirsten. “The New ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Poster Reveals a Surprise Character We Weren’t Sure Would be in the Movie.” Insider, 14 March 2019.
- Breznican, Anthony. “Valkyrie Returns! Wong Lives! Shuri… Doesn’t — What We Learned from the Avengers: Endgame Posters.” Entertainment Weekly, 26 March 2019.
- Dominguez, Noah. “Avengers 4: Benedict Wong Shares Bizarre Photo From the Set.” CBR.com, 22 Sept. 2018.
- Mithaiwala, Mansoor. “Avengers: Endgame – Every Character In [SPOILER].” Screenrant.com, 26 April 2019.
- Snoek-Brown, Jennifer. “First Impressions: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.” Reel Librarians, 2 May 2018.
- Snoek-Brown, Jennifer. “Sorcerer Librarians of ‘Doctor Strange’.” Reel Librarians, 25 April 2018.
- Stone, Sam. “After Ghosting Everyone in Infinity War, Wong Could Be Crucial to Endgame.” CBR.com, 28 Jan. 2019.