Earning more than $1.2 billion in its first weekend, Avengers: Endgame brought the first 22 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a fittingly epic conclusion. Practically every character in the MCU made an appearance in either the climactic final battle or the Avengers' travels through time, rewarding fans with plenty of Endgame Easter eggs and scenes with unexpected figures like Thor's mother Frigga or the original Jarvis.
Now that the dust has settled and the world has seen the Endgame, we can decide who was the most valuable player on screen. With so many heroes crosing paths, some inevitably stood out. Heroes like Iron Man and Captain Marvel played essential roles in the fight against Thanos, while others like Thor and Ant-Man gave the movie a necesary shot of humor to keep audiences entertained for three hours.
Iron Man literally gives his all to make sure Thanos is defeated. Not only does he figure out the science behind time travel, but he also sacrifices himself to Snap Thanos and his forces out of existence with the Infinity Stones.
After being sidelined in Infinity War, Captain America plays a significant role in Endgame. He fights himself to get the Mind Stone, proves his worthiness by wielding Mjolnir, and returns all six Infinity Stones plus Thor's hammer to their rightful places in the past to keep the timeline intact.
Black Widow finally gets the red out of her ledger in Endgame by coordinating the Avengers' efforts protecting Earth for five years and sacrificing herself to acquire the Soul Stone. She gives the Avengers a second chance, but more importantly, she gives one of her closest friends, Hawkeye, a chance to reunite with his family.
The Avengers probably would have just kept on living with the post-Snap status quo if a rat had never released Ant-Man from the Quantum Realm (that rat is definitely the MVR of Endgame). Ant-Man gives the rest of the heroes the idea to go back in time, and he saves Hulk, War Machine, and Rocket Raccoon from drowning beneath the rubble after Avengers HQ is shelled.
He spends most of Endgame on the bench thanks to the Snap, but Doctor Strange plays an essential role in how things pan out for the Avengers. His choice to hand over the Time Stone is what ultimately convinces Ancient One to give up the Stone in 2012, and his loaded advice to Iron Man basically confirms what needs to be done to beat Thanos. On top of all that, he basically stops the entire battlefield from flooding single-handedly.
Thor spends a lot of Endgame in his feelings after blaming himself for letting Thanos win in Infinity War. He almost tanks his part of the time heist, but he's able to get himself back together for the final fight alongside Cap and Iron Man. He's more of an MVP for the movie itself because the fat, Lebowski-esque version of Thor is Endgame's most reliable source of comic relief.
It may be overshadowed by the chaos of Thanos's ultimate attack, but it's the Hulk who successfully undoes the Snap to bring back half of all life across the universe. Hulk puts the new Infinity Gauntlet on and almost destroys his right arm wielding the power of the Stones. Then he takes part in the final fight one-handed.
He may just be a guy with arrows, but Hawkeye still plays an essential role in keeping the Infinity Stones away from Thanos. After the Avengers headquarters is bombarded, Hawkeye keeps the new gauntlet from the outriders chasing him through the facility's tunnels.
Rocket represents the Guardians of the Galaxy and is an all-around player in Endgame. He helps Iron Man construct the quantum platform the Avengers use to go back in time, and he basically steals the Aether on his own after Thor freaks out during their portion of the time heist.
Nebula plays an unexpectedly pivotal role in Endgame. She is captured by Thanos and her past self while in 2014, and she talks Gamora into following her gut and turning her back on Thanos during the final battle. She then throws paradox-related caution to the wind by shooting her past self to protect Gamora.
Spider-Man gets plenty to do in the final battle despite his lack of screentime in Endgame. He carries the new Infinity Gauntlet for a fun stretch of the "keepaway from Thanos" sequence where he gets rides from both Valkyrie and a flying Mjolnir. He also brings the emotional waterworks during his brief moment with Iron Man after all of the Snapped heroes join the fight.
Captain Marvel is sidelined policing the rest of the universe during the big time heist that makes up the second act of Endgame, but she makes her presence felt when she joins the fight at the end. She starts by saving the good guys from Thanos's command to "Rain fire" by devastating the warship Sanctuary II. Then she almost rips the new Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos's hand when she faces him one-on-one.
Ancient One makes a welcome return to the MCU for an essential conversation with Bruce Banner. Ancient One literally illustrates the MCU's rules about time travel by explaining how removing the Time Stone creates a diverging timeline. Ancient One helps the audience understand what's going on and ultimately helps save the future by handing over the Time Stone.
Even if he loses in the end, you can't argue with how valuable Thanos is to his side of the Endgame conflict. Thanos fends off Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor all at once and nearly ends all of existence on his own, while the rest of his forces are thoroughly worked over by the Avengers.
Black Panther has one of the most inspiring entrances during the big battle at the ruins of the Avengers HQ, and he gets a sweet hero moment as the first person to take the new Infinity Gauntlet from Hawkeye.
Frigga is the only character able to shake Thor loose from the downward spiral he's stuck in for most of Endgame. Her pep talk in the past helps Thor stop wallowing in his perceived failures and move forward.
War Machine stays true to his reputation as a reliable soldier in the five years after the Snap. He's one of Black Widow's main officers in the field keeping tabs on international turmoil, and he completes his portion of the time heist without any drama.
Valkyrie plays an essential role in the Asgardians' journey in Endgame. She holds her own in the final battle, but Thor highlights her biggest impact at the end of the movie by naming her Queen of New Asgard. She earns that title for the work she did while Thor was a drunk mess.
Pepper finally gets her own Iron Man suit. And based on how much fight she brings to Thanos's forces in the final battle, she's been practicing.
The Gamora from the Prime MCU timeline is still gone, but the 2014 version of Gamora still shows that she's a hero through and- hrough. She trusts the future version of Nebula and joins the fight against Thanos at the end of Endgame.
Korg cemented his place as one of the MCU's comedic all-stars in Thor: Ragnarok, and he brings some much-needed comedy to Endgame.
The first 22 films of the MCU chart Tony Stark's journey from self-entitled playboy to selfless father, and Tony's relationship with his own father is essential to that evolution. Tony said in Captain America: Civil War that one of his greatest regrets was not getting to tell his father how he really felt, so the brief time he gets to share with Howard Stak in 1970 is esential to giving him (and fans) closure.
Okoye doesn't appear onscreen much in Endgame, but her task is massive when you think about it. It appears that she took over Wakanda or at least the Wakandan defense apparatus after both Black Panther and Shuri disappeared in the Snap. Considering how fraught the transition of power was in Black Panther, Okoye dealt with plenty in that five-year time jump.
Fans of Agent Carter know that Peggy can more than hold her own in a fight, but for Endgame, she is more of an emotional MVP. Her brief appearance in the 1970s hits Cap especially hard, and she comes back at the end of the film to give Captain America and fans the happy ending they've been waiting years for.
Miek is one of the most relatable characters in Endgame based on his desire to just chill and eat some pizza. When Hulk and Rocket recruit Thor in New Asgard, Miek eats an entire pizza in the background over the course of about three minutes.