Holding Down Thanos
When the Avengers track down Thanos on his retirement world, the wounded Mad Titan is held down by several heroes at once. This moment replicates a similar scene in Infinity War, as Iron Man and his allies try to wrangle the Infinity Gauntlet off of Thanos’ arm.
Going for the Head
When a grief-stricken Thor chops off Thanos’ head, he echoes the advice Thanos gave at the end of Infinity War – “You should have gone for the head.”
A Stark Family Gift
Tony Stark makes a subtle, heartfelt reference to his late father when he returns to the New Avengers compound and gives Cap back his shield, calling back to a scene in Captain America: The First Avenger.
The Hulk Gets Inception’d
Hulk may be the strongest hero there is, but the Ancient One has little to fear. She forces Bruce Banner into an out-of-body experience exactly like the one Stephen Strange experienced when he first encountered the Sorcerer Supreme.
Kicking Space Rats
Clint and Natasha are none too impressed by the planet Morag. Nat even kicks a squawking alien rat, just like Star-Lord did when he first landed in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Endgame continues the trend where Clint and Natasha reminisce about their disastrous mission in Budapest. We still don’t know what exactly transpired on that mission, though maybe the upcoming Black Widow movie will finally have the answers.
Loki Mimics Cap
Endgame calls back to one of the funniest scenes in Thor: The Dark World, as Loki once again impersonates Steve Rogers and his uptight Boy Scout persona.
The Elevator “Fight”
Endgame almost recreates the iconic elevator fight from Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Cap enters an elevator full of deep-cover Hydra agents. But instead of duking it out with Brock Rumlow and his men, Cap defuses the tension with a simple “Hail Hydra.”
Cap’s Most Famous Line
Each of the three Captain America movies features a moment where a battered Steve Rogers stands up to an enemy and says, “I can do this all day.” Endgame subverts that trope by having a circa-2012 Cap say it to his older self. Apparently, Cap isn’t fond of having his catchphrase thrown back at him.
Apparently Thor isn’t the only Asgardian who has no idea what a raccoon is. After Rocket is discovered by a group of Asgardian guards in 2013, he flees while one of them shouts “Get the rabbit!”
Where’s Arnim Zola?
When we first see John Slatterly’s Howard Stark in the Camp Lehigh sequence, he’s wandering the lab calling out for “Arnim.” This is a subtle reminder that Arnim Zola worked for SHIELD after WWII, setting the stage for one of the key scenes in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
When Tony relays some of his father’s helpful advice to his father (yay, time travel!), Howard inadvertently calls himself “a smart guy.” Tony responds with “He did his best,” which calls back to an early scene in Captain America: Civil War. Tony’s BARF system shows a younger, digitized version of himself telling Howard, “I know you did your best.”
A Hero’s Fall
When Natasha sacrifices herself on Vormir and jumps from the cliff, her body lands in a position very similar to that of Gamora in Infinity War.
Cap Lifts Mjolnir
No single moment in Endgame is more fan service-y than the moment where Captain America picks up Mjolnir and goes to town on Thanos. Thor’s proud exclamation “I knew it!” calls back to the party scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron where Cap almost succeeded in lifting the hammer. Back then, Thor was worried, but by now he’s grown enough as a person to feel nothing but pride in his comrade’s worthiness.
“On Your Left”
We all love the scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier where a jogging Cap keeps lapping Sam Wilson and saying “On your left.” Sam gets some much-deserved payback in Endgame by flying to Cap’s rescue and repeating the line.
The Armored Avengers
Iron Man and Rescue take center stage in a shot where the two characters stand back to back and unload a huge arsenal against Thanos’ forces. This is similar to a scene in Iron Man 2 where Iron Man and War Machine make their final stand against Whiplash’s drones.
Tony Hugs Peter
Spider-Man: Homecoming features a hilariously awkward scene where Peter attempts to hug Tony, only to find his boss was simply opening the car door for him. But Peter finally gets that hug in Endgame, as an emotionally overwhelmed Tony greets his surrogate son.
Star-Lord’s happy reunion with Gamora is cut short when Gamora viciously knees him in the groin, making it clear she’s not the same woman he fell in love with. This moment also calls back to the first time Peter and Gamora got intimate in Guardians of the Galaxy, which ended with similarly painful results.
Queens and Brooklyn Reunite
Cap refers to Spider-Man as “Queens” during the race to retrieve the Nano Gauntlet, calling back to their playful banter from Captain America: Civil War.
Thanos vs. Stormbreaker
Thor nearly kills Thanos with the business end of Stormbreaker in Infinity War, impaling the Mad Titan. He nearly repeats that feat in the climax of Endgame, but this time Thanos proves too strong for the weapon to hit home.
“I Am Iron Man”
With four simple words, Tony Stark revealed his secret to the world and gave 2008’s Iron Man the perfect ending line. It’s only fitting that he repeats the line in his final and greatest act as a superhero.
The final time we seen Thanos in Endgame, he gazes upon everything he’s lost and wearily sits before fading into dust. That scene echoes a similar scene in Infinity War, as a triumphant Thanos sits to nurse his wounds and greet the coming sunrise.
Tony Stark’s Heart
Endgame features another callback to the first Iron Man movie when Tony’s original arc reactor unit is set afloat, still in its memorial “Proof that Tony Stark has a heart” container.
When Clint and Wanda reconnect after Tony’s funeral, Clint laments the fact that Natasha may never know her sacrifice helped the Avengers win. Wanda reassures him by saying “She does. They both do.” This is a silent acknowledgment of Vision, who sacrificed his life in Infinity War.
Starks Love Cheeseburgers
One of the very first things Tony did after making it back from the desert in the first Iron Man movie was stop by Burger King. That love of cheeseburgers has clearly passed on to his daughter Morgan, as she asks Happy for cheeseburgers after her father’s funeral.
Thor vs. Star-Lord
The very first time Thor and Star-Lord meet in Infinity War, the two are butting heads in a show of alpha male dominance. The ending to Endgame makes it clear that rivalry hasn’t cooled one bit in the five years since. They’ll probably still be going at it a few years from now when Guardians of the Galaxy 3 hits.
Steve and Peggy’s Dance
One of the saddest MCU moments ever finally gets a happy ending thanks to Endgame. Steve Rogers was forever denied his dance with Peggy Carter at the end of Captain America; The First Avenger. But thanks to the magic of time travel, Steve finally got his happy ending, retiring to a quiet life and a good dance with his best girl. Is there any other way Endgame could have wrapped?
For more on Avengers: Endgame, learn about a continuity-breaking Doctor Strange error, see how Robert Downey, Jr. feels about his MCU retirement, read Hayley Atwell’s thoughts on Peggy Carter’s “fitting end” and see who has the most to lose with the Disney/Sony split.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.