It seems like almost half of the dialogue in Avengers: Endgame is a reference to something. Whether it’s a nod to a previous movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, brands of ice-cream, or older movies that have clearly had an influence on the franchise, Endgame is full of Easter-eggs to keep the exposition from ever getting boring.
On top of that, there are so many homages to other movies that might have flown over fans’ heads. Between Tony Stark hurling insults at his partners in the form of movie references, or other characters using time-travel movies as a point of reference to better understand the ‘Time Heist,’ there are secrets to uncover for days.
10 Stuart Little (1999)
Many of the references made not just in Endgame but in the entirety of the MCU are generally made by Tony Stark to casually insult his compadres. One of the many instances of this happening in the finale of the Infinity Saga is when Stark insults Scott Lang. Though Ant-Man would make a great video-game, he’s the butt of so many jokes. Not only does Tony call him Stuart Little, after the mouse of the same name, but later in the movie, he also refers to the movie Thumbelina too.
9 Spartacus (1960)
One of the hardest to watch scenes of the movie comes when Hawkeye and Black Widow fight other over who dies to earn the Soul Stone, as only one of them can survive in order for the stone to appear. They fight for minutes, constantly knocking each other over, and it ends with Black Widow falling from the edge of the cliff. This is a direct reference to Spartacus in which the titular character and Antoninus are fighting each other and trying to spare each other.
8 Ratchet & Clank (2016)
Ratchett & Clank might be most known for being a video game, with a new release in the series coming in 2021, but it was also a movie that was released in 2016. Either way, it was referenced in Endgame by – surprise, surprise – Tony Stark.
Again using his seemingly vast knowledge of pop-culture to knock down his pals a peg or two, Stark calls Rocket Ratchett, with the connection being that they’re both gun-toting animals that can talk. However, though Ratchet totally looks like a raccoon, the character is actually a hybrid of different animals, mostly a lion.
7 The Big Lebowski (1998)
Most of the Endgame audience caught the reference to The Big Lebowski before Tony even mentioned it, as the homage to the classic Coen brothers movie is so blindingly obvious. One of the funniest moments of the movie is when Thor gains so much weight that he looks like the Dude himself, with the shades, dressing gown, and long golden locks. The Big Lebowski would look a lot different if it was remade today, but Chris Hemsworth looked identical to Jeff Bridges in the movie, and of course, Stark was the first one to point it out.
6 Ghostbusters (1984)
After the gang has collected the tesseract when they travel back in time, the crew won’t let Hulk get in the elevator because of the weight limit. After throwing a few punches at the wall, he finally takes on the dozens of flights of stairs. Halfway down, Hulk looks at the spiral staircase and screams, “so many stairs!” This is a reference to when the Ghostbusters struggle with the staircase in the final act of the movie, the only difference is that Hulk is going down them while the Ghostbusters are scaling up them.
5 Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
One of the unlikeliest of matchups in Endgame was when Rhodes teamed up with Nebula to retrieve the Power Stone. Their personalities don’t match one iota, especially as Stark’s pop-culture referencing sense of humor has rubbed off on War Machine.
When they enter the aptly named Temple of the Power Stone, Rhodes says, “When you break into a place called ‘The Temple Of The Power Stone,’ there’s usually a bunch of booby traps,” which is a reference to Raiders and one of War Machine’s best quotes.
4 High Anxiety (1977)
High Anxiety might not be on every MCU fan’s radar, as it’s a 1970s Mel Brooks comedy, but given how the Russo brothers got their start in comedy, the reference to the classic is hardly surprising. In the final battle of Endgame when Spider-Man has his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet, Peter says, “I got it. I got it… I don’t got it,” which is also a recurring gag in High Anxiety when Mel Brooks’ driver tries lifting things into the trunk of the car.
3 Back To The Future (1985)
Back to the Future is one of the most rewatchable movies of the 1980s, and it’s obvious that Scott has watched it just as many times as the rest of us, as his grand ‘Time Heist’ plan seems to be completely based on his knowledge of this movie. And Tony asks him as much. When Scott pays Tony a visit to explain the plan, Tony looks at him in befuddlement, and after referencing the 80s movie, Iron Man has a get-off-my-lawn attitude, right before miraculously inventing time travel.
2 Back To The Future Part II (1989)
There are obviously a ton of references to time travel in the movie, including Back To The Future, but the reference to its sequel is a little more subtle. When the Avengers travel back in time to get back the tesseract from Hydra, the plan is completely ruined by Hulk when he smashes through a door and smacks Stark in the face. This is exactly what happens when Marty McFly tries to retrieve the sports almanac in Part II, only he’s hit by his younger self instead of a Hulk.
1 A Ton Of Other Time-Travel Movies
Time-travel is an insanely common plot in sci-fi movies, and depending on the movie, it makes varying degrees of sense. So when plotting the Time Heist, Back to the Future was far from the only time-travel movie that was mentioned. At one point, Scott and Rhodes literally list off a whole bunch of sci-fi movies that use time-travel, including Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Timecop, The Terminator, and even Hot Tub Time Machine.
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