It has been a hell of a year in cinema, but when it comes to the best moments of the year nothing will ever touch Marvel and that live-action splash page that unfolded in Avengers: Endgame. You all know the scene by now: Thanos stands on the verge of victory, having decimated the likes of Thor and Iron Man while his army prepares to level the planet. Only Captain America still stands, weary and wounded yet still ready to fight back against even an omnicide-obsessed bully if he has to.
All hope seems lost, the audience is expecting Captain America to be transformed into a Jackson Pollock mural by the time Thanos is done and then…three words change everything. “On your left” crackles through Cap’s invisible communication device, as portals open and heroes arrive. The battlefield evens out with the entire armies of Wakanda, Asgard, the sorcerers supreme and the Ravagers joining the fight as Cap rallies the troops with a simple battle-cry.
Now visually, that’s a hell of a scene. It’s one that would simply not have worked were it not for the audio department though, specifically composer Alan Silvestri’s rousing Avengers theme that had been retuned into the track known as Portals:
That’s a great fusion there of hope and heroism, one that almost had a drastically different sound during the planning for Endgame’s big moneyshot that would have lent towards something more akin to WWE wrestlers making an entrance onto the battlefield. “We tried a number of things. I think the “Portals” event was clearly this challenge to Joe and Anthony about this, ‘We’ve got to really get this right.’ And the material that we ultimately used for that was new material in Endgame,” Silvestri said to Collider.
There are all these events going on. There’s Cap, then the Wakandans come in, then Dr. Strange appears…there was a temptation, and we actually explored it, to be making moves [with the music]. With, ‘And here! And here!’
It’s not even so much as separate themes as just marking these entrances. They’re so big, but they never stop. I mean, they go, go, go. And so, where we wound up with was an approach that really, I think the sensibility was that it was anthemic. Cap, of course, was down and out, he was done for. So, that theme somehow had to be almost celebratory in a certain way.
It’s like, ‘Oh my God, everyone is coming.’ It’s like the joke, ‘Is this everyone?’…It’s like, ‘You want more?’ There are no more, basically. That was the approach we wound up with. And then, of course, the way they constructed it was just so great for music, because it’s building, it’s building. Then, of course, Cap’s line when he says, ‘Assemble,’ the music is out, and then we come back in with our Avengers theme.
And it’s interesting because it’s a very kinetic moment. I mean, everyone’s running, right? And it’s now it’s just this big theme playing. We catch up to all of that action musically a little later. But for this point, we’re just saying pure Avengers. ‘We’re back, we’re all here. You’re in a lot of trouble now, pal.’
The rest, is cinematic history. There’ll likely never be a moment that ever equals this once in a lifetime gathering of heroes, an event that took more than a decade to be realised and paid off with a finale that created a nerdgasm which could be seen from space.
Last Updated: November 12, 2019