Avengers: Endgame wasn’t the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it was an end. The epic marked the culmination of the 21 films across three phases that had come before it, wrapping up a truly impressive amount of individual storylines. It was a supremely satisfying payoff well worth waiting for - or, to be more accurate, a series of supremely satisfying payoffs.
The folks at Marvel Studios left no stone unturned when it came to selecting story beats from their own past to reference, revisit, or riff on for Avengers: Endgame. Like a good conclusion should, Endgame didn’t just pay homage to the past of the MCU; it retroactively enhanced it. Now, it’s impossible to watch the rest of the franchise and not be hit just a little bit harder by those moments and memories that would come to play an integral role in the grand finale - even if audiences didn’t quite know it at the time.