Toy Story 4 and Endgame

Now that enough time has distanced us from the release of the theatrically historic Endgame, I feel like I have more liberty to discuss spoilers without offending the general public who would hate to not experience the movie as it stands, untainted or biased by reports.

Around the same time Endgame came out though, so did another grand finale of a franchise: Toy Story 4. My family saw both in close proximity and with the other on my mind, I could not help but draw parallel lines between the two.

This post is not a review of either, but merely a compiled list of the interesting parallels I found between them.

If you have not seen either, understand that there are huge spoilers ahead and I would strongly suggest you to not proceed. Even with caution.

Parallel #1. They Both Juggle a Huge Cast

Both films ending an ongoing storyline that spanned many movies of a major franchise, Toy Story 4 and Endgame. They rely on the fact that the audience is already invested in the characters. However they do it at different levels of intensity.

Endgame has a ton of characters and it tries to show how each and everyone is affected by the situation they find themselves in. To appreciate the places the characters are found, viewers must already be familiar with how they got there in order to compare the contrast of emotions and struggles.

They have to be familiar with the significance of the relationship between Black Widow and Hawk Eye to feel the power of Black Widow’s sacrifice. They have to understand Tony Stark’s life with Pepper before he had a child, to understand what he is giving up to fight against the past. They have to understand the decade long clash of standards and philosophies between Cap and Iron Man to realize the significance of the two coming finally together and try to work it through. They have to have gone through the story arch of Gamora and Starlord to see how much was lost in how that arc turned out.

Or what about the story line for all the infinity stones throughout the entire franchise?

Or the moment Captain America picks up Thor’s hammer in the fight?

My brother recently showed me a video recorded in theater opening night of Endgame. In the moment the audience watched Captain America pick up the hammer. Out burst screams and cheers, whoops, hollers, and the loud HAHAHA-I KNEW-IT

^^ summary of every person’s expression in that theater ^^

Every Marvel fan has experienced trying to communicate how much Marvel has been in their life, what it symbolizes for them, and why the release of Endgame was an almost a sacred moment.

The fact is, Endgame fully embraces the burden of a huge cast and does not even attempt to make the story work as a standalone film. Instead it is written to serve directly to a very specific audience. An audience that has grown on the franchise. One that has invested literal hours, waited years, and nursed it’s loyalty.

Toy Story 4 on the other hand, uses previous movies as a crutch to keep them from having to lay much foundation behind characters like Mr. Potato Head, Slinky, Bullseye, etc.

They end up getting pushed to the side to take up little screen time and each of their personal involvement, which doesn’t shift the balances of fate by a whole lot, is only appreciated and understood by those who have watched the previous ones. For others they are simply grouped together to serve the plot.

As one of my brothers summarized it: “Toy Story 4 is an actual sequel.”

Kuddos to him for concisely capturing the core of this comparison.

Parallel #2. They Both Link Heavily To The Past

Not only do both Toy Story 4 and Endgame lean upon previous movies to stimulate emotions and sale to an audience and because, let’s be honest, the Marvel Franchise is one overarching story, both movies end up awakening old story threads.

Toy Story 4 brings back the question of Bo Peep’s whereabouts that were brushed off as long gone and Endgame plays off of Redskull’s disappearance instead of death (yes brother you were right about him not dying and I was less right that night I watched it for the first time so long ago).

Not to mention the scenes of heavy nostalgia where the Avengers return to their past selves for a fight, or how Iron Man talks to his father, etc. All the past squabbles exemplified and all the past questions revisited which only brings up more questions thanks time-travelling.

Both movies play with history.

For Endgame literally as well as figuratively.

Parallel #3. For Both The Plot Is Not About What Was Expected

I went into Endgame expecting 1.) more who-is-bigger, who-can-punch-hardest, missing-the-mark-by-a-hair, slightest-accidents-throwing-the-chances-into-the-Avenger’s-lap sort of jazz and that 2.) there would be continued development of Thano’s character as was shown in Infinity War.

However everything changed ten minutes into the movie. There Thanos is killed and then the screen goes black.

This one of the beats of Endgame that I highly respect and applaud the writers for. It changes the story from being about who is the stronger super being (let’s be honest we’ve seen variations of that movie a thousand times mixed with each superhero’s personal themes*) it ends up being a question of what is worth fighting for, but also what is worth dying for. It gives way to explore the question of how each of the heroes deal with the aftermath, the real pain that lingers. It made the movie more realistic, because once you kill the big bad guy all the choas he originally caused doesn’t just evaporate. It grew into the plot being about overcoming such devastating circumstances and banding together one last time to try to overcome it.

It cleared way to focus on the importance of family (through Tony’s storyline), the challenge of recovering post-failure (through many of their storylines), and the value of self-sacrifice (again resurfacing in many of their storylines through the recurring question: “When is it appropriate to sacrifice someone else’s life for the common good?”)

Similarly, I went into Toy Story 4 thinking the story was about a suicidal spork who must be taught what Woody has always said about loyalty.

If you think about it, that’s the first twenty minutes. Let’s walk through it.

There’s the introduction of Forky, his obsession (and connection) to trash. Cue the montage of music as Woody fights against the spork for victory day and night while Randy Newman sings a gloriously fun song that is extremely fitting in it’s topic.

And then the utensil/toy finally gets away.

Woody jumps out after him, finds him, and in one (adorable) scene Woody and Forky walk along the road at night in hopes to catch up to the RV, and we (along with Forky) learn that toys make us happy because they are warm and comforting like trash. There that plot is cleared up. And next thing we see is Forky running after Bonnie yelling and screaming, worried for her.

Sure they still have to get physically to Bonnie but the emotional conflict warps and changes to become centered around the questions Bo-Peep throws at Woody when he stumbles across her in the park and gets a glimpse at her new life.

The plot sits not with Forky any more. It ends up being about the different things Woody, Bo-Peep want out of their life as a toy, which coincides with the story arcs of Buzz Lightyear, the antique doll, Gabby-Gabby, and even the Canada doll, Duke Caboom.

Which leads to the next point…

Parallel #4. In The Final Scene of Both Movies The Leading Moral Character Changes His Mind

Endgame dished out a lot of surprises. One after another. Shock after shock until a viewer is left in a state of stunned numbness. The last blow, and the one I have heard revisited most is Captain America’s decision not to return to present day after returning the last stones to their previous locations.

Which was (and still is) strange because with every moral issue brought to surface with the avengers Cap always seemed to be there to be the foil character, the character promoting the grand and noble ideas of responsibility, goodness, honor, patriotism.

Through so many of the movies and conflicts he always always promoted selflessness. Saving Bucky. Saving hostages. Standing up for team members. Bringing up the question “is the sacrifice of one worth the benefit of the common good?” “What would you give for the sake of freedom?”

And yet there he is at the end of Endgame, making the decision to for once make a decision with only himself in mind. And so he returns to Peggy and lives a long and quiet life. Once his friends realize this, they are sad, but in a sweet way happy for him, and they tell him they understand.

Similarly, look at Woody. Beyond a couple moments of desperation during low points, stands as the constant reminder to the other toys throughout thick and thin about the importance of loyalty. And when the other toys disregard the idea, he doesn’t let it stop him from pursuing it.

He’s always talking about how he’s Andy’s toy, and he only stops when he becomes Bonnie’s in that aching last moment of Toy Story 3 when Andy moves on. When he hands Andy over for the last time with the words, “He’ll be there for your no matter what.”*

So then in Toy Story 4, he teaches a spork what he had been telling the others for years. “You are Bonnie’s toy and Bonnie’s needs you.”

But his view on the world slowly changes and at the end he decides his calling has changed, just like Captain America sitting on that park bench at the final closing of Endgame, so he says goodbye to his friends of two decades and stays behind to see the world on a travelling

And when Buzz Lightyear and the other members of the ole gang realize this. They are sad, but, in a very sweet way, happy for him.

The argument, (which is supported mostly just by credits scenes in Toy Story 4 after the official film has ended), is that Woody is not acting selfishly, or compromising his loyalty to others for himself, but that he’s realized he has greater opportunities to help toys. Besides Bonnie doesn’t need him any more, she has Sporky. For Endgame I’ve heard people say that it was merely Captain America’s retirement, while others say he would have probably gone back if he had earlier been presented with the possibility.

Either way, both Captain America in Endgame and Woody in Toy Story 4 arrive at the end of the same type of story arc.

And finally

Parallel #5. They Both Stand as the End of an Era

Sure there are more Marvel movies coming out, but it will never be like “phase one” or “The Infinity Saga” (as they call them) in which superheroes were fresh and new. And then Toy Story? Well that is the original Pixar movie.

Ironman and Toy Story changed the film industry, and with Endgame and Toy Story 4*** ending of that era which lays out a timeline that many people in this generation grew up with.

And thus concludes my thoughts on Endgame and Toy Story 4 in relation to each other.****

I hope this was as interesting to you as it was to me to think about. I for one now feel like watching them both again to compare and see if I remembered all the points correctly and if I didn’t miss anything.

But, I’ll leave you at that.

Until next Friday!

*I’ve found that most superhero films follow a pattern (surprise!) in which the mc struggles with their emotional problem (e.g. not being about to fight in the war even though they want to serve their country honorably, feeling useless, struggling with growing up, filling the shoes of responsibility, realizing the power they have been rashly putting to use etc.) which a big strong bad guy exploits, and there is the who-is-stronger scene in which the bad guy wins, but then when they meet again our superhero has worked out their emotional problems which aids them to reach their full potential of power and thus in the end turn out to just barely be the bigger guy on the block and save the day.

**Side note: listening to melancholy music and talking about the moment Andy leaves Woody are enough to make you want to cry even not when watching the movie. Heed this warning with care. #thepowerofpixar

***Unless they make a Toy Story 5, oh please no.

****Let us forbid I try to summarize my actual thoughts on the movies as a whole haha

48 thoughts on “Toy Story 4 and Endgame”

  1. Fascinating parallels! 😀 Granted, I’ve only watched one of these movies (can you guess which one? 😛 ), but it was still interesting seeing their similarities when they appear to be so different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I thought so too. (hence the post haha) Hmm. Toy Story 4…? That was my first instinct and then I had a moment of second guessing and have flip flopped nervously back and forth since.
      But I’ll go with that. 😆

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, nope, it was Endgame. 😆 I actually hadn’t watched ANY of the Marvel movies until…like…last month, because of the extra time with the you-know-what, but I binge-watched them all in order and now I am completely up to date. I can’t believe it took me so long to watch them, because they were amazing. 😂 I watched the trailer for Toy Story 4, and for some reason, it didn’t seem to have that nice, classic vibe I got for the other ones. *shrug* Maybe because I’m older and lot more picky, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hahaha! I see. I’ve actually heard that from A LOT of people… that because of you-know-what they have been finally catching up on watching what apparently their friends had been plaguing them about for years. I almost feel sorry for all of them. You poor people. 😛 😆
          Aren’t they tho? Haha they’re all pretty great even with their flaws and failings. (well most of them 😉 ) I’m glad to welcome you into the fandom! *high-fives*
          Yep yep yep… that is not you growing old and picky. Toy Story 4 definitely lost the original vibe, and all the main characters are pushed to the side. (*sniffs*)
          But I kinda lowkey adored Forky. He’s the only reason to watch the movie in my opinion. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        2. YES my friend has been pestering me to watch the movies since the dawn of Creation. She’s so happy now. xD
          Thanks! *high-fives back*
          Aw, that’s too bad. I think 3 is like the maximum number of movies for these types of things…sort of like Shrek 4, which was shiver-inducing, in my opinion. Aw, Forky sounds like an interesting character. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes there’s something satisfying in a trilogy and the number “3.” in fact in fine art there’s a rule called the rule of three because humans find odd numbers illustrated more balanced and aesthetically pleasing haha.
        I wouldn’t know about Shrek 4. I think I’ve only seen the first one and only when I was super little. I have a vague memory of it not being great…? idk. 😆


  2. This is great! I love that you decided to point out the similarities between these two (seemingly) totally different types of movies. I find these kinds of parallels all the time and it’s cool to see that other people actually look at movies this way too. I hadn’t, however, thought to juxtapose these two films. I feel enlightened.
    The character arcs of both Woody and Captain America bother me. Woody’s more so. I left the theatre after watching Toy Story 4 feeling like Pixar had destroyed my childhood. I realize that’s a big dramatic, but it really kind of upset me. It felt like Woody betrayed the most core piece of who he was.
    I also didn’t like how most of the toys- Jessie, Slinky, the Potato Heads, Rex etc.- were pushed to the side and barely contributed to the story at all.
    Overall all, I just prefer to think of Toy Story 3 at the end (it was such a PERFECT END) and pretend that number 4 doesn’t exist.
    Endgame, on the other hand, didn’t traumatize me. I liked it pretty well, but Marvel hasn’t been as big a piece of my childhood as the Toy Story movies have. I thought it was a great finale and I appreciated a lot of the choices they made, like the fact that so much of it was more introspective and they spent a lot of time just talking and not as much time punching each other. That was cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you!
      Actually the leaning toward a more critical approach to watching movies has been creeping up on me and to be honest, most of the time I haven’t known what to do with it. 😆
      I am glad to have enlightened you though. *salutes*
      Yes yes yes! I completely agree. What happened to the Woody from all the other movies?? And while I sorta liked some of the new characters (and adored Forky) I would have loved to see the ole gang together and working through it. (Also as a side note… did you find Buzz’s developed character from the other movies patted down and turned to jello? He seemed more caricatured in this film then the others to me.)
      Agreed again. They made some good calls for Endgame and I really enjoyed it (which in comparison to you is probably because I was/am pretty invested in the first phase of Marvel.)
      Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YES. I was annoyed by what they did with Buzz’s character in Toy Story 4. They didn’t take him at al seriously. He is such an important character, and using him as primarily comic relief didn’t make much sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      Toy Story movies are some of the most classic Pixar movies and Pixar is amazing at telling stories that make you cry and laugh and adore characters. (If you have not watched UP I command you to go forth and watch it immediately. It is incredibly wholesome.)

      Spider Woman?
      Super Woman?
      I’m lost. 😆

      Oh GoT iT. (#totallydidn’tlookitup) Star Wars. Duh. Yes they could have used good organization and the maybe they wouldn’t have contradicted themselves every five minutes (you’d think they hadn’t even watched the previous movies by some of the stuff they did -_-). I wasn’t a huge fan of the most recent trilogy, but I really liked the ending of the last movie. (*coughs nervously*)

      But agreed. Endgame was epic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is Brave Pixar? I have a feeling it is. And I hated it. And so it ruined the world of Pixar for me. (I do like Cars, though.) I know, I need to watch UP. But, gah…. library ain’t open yet, ma’am.

        When I saw GoT I immediately thought of Game of Thrones. 😛 Never read it or watched it but heard enough about it to associate GoT with it. (And evidently GotG stands for the Marvel space group… so.)

        Rylo. All the way. Don’t care much for Rey, but Ben (and their relationship) makes the trilogy great.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Brave is not Pixar.
          (Okay I lied it technically is but other than the symbol at the beginning no one would know that! In fact I would easily think it was DreamWorks. 😝)

          Haha no!! That’s just me expressing my tone through the way I spell and punctuate and capitalize my sentences. 😂
          Not GoT 😳 Yikes I gotta be careful

          Hey same! I don’t really like Rey that much but I love her relationship with Ben and that’s basically the only thing I adore or even like about the latest trilogy. Beyond the cute robot in the final movie. That thing was adorable. 😆

          Liked by 1 person

        2. (I’m so on this soap box now. :D) And picture this: If anyone ever decides to release a Pixar or live action movie, of similar plotline and theme, except reverse the girl-focus to boy-power-focus. The mainstream culture will absolutely decry that filmmaker as misogynistic or Anti-women or something equivalent. So much for “equality” as defined by Hollywood…
          Honestly, it’s been quite a while since we’ve had a really decently-developed boy hero character… *sighs*


        3. To offer an alternative (because truly we should not criticize unless we have something better to offer): instead of flipping the cliche of Prince-save/marry-princess using Girl Power Is the Be All End All, we can have at least a good Father depicted in the family, and then a gentleman who may or may not need to save the heroine, but in some way help her, and show that not all guys are gutless, ignorant wretches of mankind. They don’t have to be married by the end of the story – there are such things as Philia and Agape.

          What do you think? Should we send those screenwriters a copy of The Four Loves? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. AHhh, I love this! I haven’t watched Toy Story 4, but I did watch Endgame the weekend it came out.
    While I was reading this, there were multiple times I was like, wait, that happened in Endgame?? And they were like very important things too. Like as in I don’t remember who Redskull is or Thanos being killed–actually I remember Thor doing something at Thanos but I can’t remember how Thanos got undead after.
    Your second point is so true. I actually watched Infinity War having only watched I think three Marvel movies, and I didn’t know who Loki was so I just did not realize when he died at the very beginning. (And if you’re like, why would you do that?? Let me explain. In 2018 I decided to watch all the Marvel moves, so when it came out in April(?), I decided to go for it and watch it in theaters.)
    UGH, when Captain American picks up the hammers. I feel like the directors must have been as excited to write that scene as everybody was in watching it. Literally people had been making memes about it since that tiny moment when he barely picks it up! Ahh, I’m smiling so goofily just rethinking about it.
    You talking about the cast of characters made me stop and actually think about it-that’s seriously crazy.
    After watching Endgame, I remember being my brain being stuck in the world for a good few days.

    Liked by 1 person

      For some reason while Endgame was so… epic. I’ve only seen it once and I had to keep fact checking myself that I got the movies straight (doesn’t help that Infinity War and Endgame both overlap and that Endgame rewrites some of Infinity War’s scenes 😆 )

      Well. I didn’t forget Thanos being killed or who Redskull was, but it did take me a while to remember how Thanos got back (he time travelled).

      Ahhh see that’s sad haha. Loki is the best and when he died first scene I cried so hard. On one hand I feel like everyone should be required to watch the movies in order, but on the other some of them aren’t great and only okay and also there are 20+ movies. It helps to have watched them when they came out haha. Have you watched them all now?

      I know. I am smiling goofily right now. And I can totally see the directors doing that too. Them evil manipulators. 😆 😉

      Isn’t it crazy?? I think Endgame/Infinity War made the right choice of just going with it and not trying to fit an entire character arc for every character in that movie. And yet because of the previous movies they somehow did manage to fit in an arc for almost every superhero. Sure in Endgame, they helpfully have only half the cast of superheroes, but still it’s insane.

      Same, Annie, same. They should put a warning label on that movie. “Warning you will forget everything in your life for a couple days and become a zombie”

      I’m glad the post was interesting to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. AHH I am glad I am not the only one who felt that one. A lot happened in that three hours.
        Did you fact-check yourself by going back and watching parts of the movies??
        I agree with epic. I’ve seen multiple people make jokes about how Marvel churns out movies that are all pretty similar, but if that’s true, their basic blockbusters really got me.
        Dang, the ability to pull so much emotional at the very beginning of a movie is powerful. I completely understand your requirement of having to watch it in order. Which movies do you think were just okay? Yes, I am now completely up to date!! In another conversation earlier today, I realized that this is probably the longest I’ve gone without watching a Marvel movie since I first started and it feels weird.
        Ahahah, I’ve never thought about how it made things easier for them to only half the superheroes!
        Should we start a petition? I think it’s a safety hazard.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah no kidding. A LOT happened in those three hours.

          Unfortunately I could not. So instead I talked to a bunch of people and ran my thoughts through for them and they gave feedback. I also looked up a couple things. I probably missed something though. I have watched Toy Story 4 again within the past couple months (my little sister got it for Christmas) but not Endgame. 😛

          Yeah, and it really set a tone for the rest of the movie.
          Haha that’s hilarious. How long did it take you to watch them all? Three months? Two? Less? More?

          I would sign that petition. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        2. It took me a year! I watched one movie a month except for during summer, November, and December (because I thought I could make it with Thanksgiving and Christmas break). But I think Black Widow is coming out soon?? At lesat I hope so.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh good you didn’t stuff it all down at once.
        And yesss. It is going to be so interesting since it’s set in Russia and all. But I’m partially scared that it will handle her previously-mysterious backstory clumsily.
        It was supposed to come out this summer, I believe? Or maybe it was always in November.
        Either way the current release date is November 6th.


  4. I haven’t seen any Marvel movies yet. (I know, I know. I just don’t watch movies very often)

    BUT TOY STORY 4. That was a great movie. And the fourth in a series?? I couldn’t believe they managed to make another Toy Story movie that was not annoying.

    Also, I weirdly bonded with Forky. XD

    I told my siblings that’s how I should start any conversations about Jesus.

    Hi! I’m trash! …But there’s this person who made me into something new. 🙂

    Also, what a great fun fact about yourself. In a class, you just stand up and go, “I’m trash!”

    I have no idea why this is so funny to me. lol I’ll stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha no worries. Even though I like Marvel movies (well most of them 😆 ) I am not one of those people that GASPS LOUDLY when I hear you haven’t watched them and then begins ranting about THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD ISN’T IT GREAT.

      Haha I was also surprised that they pulled off what they did. Though while I wasn’t annoyed, it did lose some of the original flavor of Toy Story and almost… lost it’s innocence in a way? The ending made me cry. As always. But because I was heartbroken and it hurt on a whole new level. 😛

      BUT YES. Forky is literally the best.

      hahahaha THAT IS GREAT. Brilliant Emma lol

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, Evelyn!
    I didn’t actually read the post because I haven’t watched Endgame or Toy Story 4 but I trust that it was a great post! 😂

    I’m ridiculously far behind in watching Marvel movies (I’ve seen like four???) and I hate watching things out of order so the chances of me ever getting around to watching Endgame are a bit slim. 😬 But I’m hoping to get around to Toy Story soon…because well…IT’S PIXAR. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha this is now my favorite comment. ever. 😆

      //”Great post, Evelyn! … I didn’t actually read it.”//
      GOOD FOR YOU. So proud. *clutches heart and wipes a happy tear away*

      This is proof though. You have too much trust in me.

      No worries Eden… Movies are to be chewed and swallowed sophisticatedly and thoughtfully so they may be enjoyed or at least ripped to shreds in the politest of ways. So take your time. 😉

      Thanks for making my day. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh, well, I’ve read enough of your writing to believe in it’s good quality. 😄 I haven’t read a post of yours I didn’t like, sooo…😊

        You’re absolutely welcome! ❤️

        (As I’m writing this, you have exactly 20 likes and 20 comments and that is making me extremely satisfied. I kinda don’t want to post this because then it will mess it up. *sigh*)

        Liked by 1 person

  6. THIS IS BRILLIANCE! Loved all these comparisons! There’s so much to learn from and appreciate about movies. ❤
    (Also. Yes. When Cap wields Mjolnir is one of the most epic scenes in all of Marvel. I also recently saw that video from the premiere of everyone shrieking in awe, and it was fabulous XD )

    Liked by 1 person

  7. hi there! i know you don’t know me, and i don’t know you, but i’d just like to say a few things:
    1. your writing is beautiful
    2. you sound like a kindred spirit kind of human
    3. this post was so much fun to read
    4. i’m very upset i haven’t followed before
    5. thank you for existing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness Jo

      In return, here’s some things you should know:
      1. this has made my week
      2. I’ve heard so much about you from other bloggers
      3. I’m not sure why I never actually went to follow your writings, but I did
      4. Your writing is so raw and the kind of thing that puts things into perspective
      5. It’s a pleasure to meet you (: (: (:


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