As Avengers: Endgame turns 5, the film's composer reflects on the movie's best scene: "It's a very biblical event"

avengers: endgame
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Somehow it's been five years since Avengers: Endgame was first released, arguably the high point of the MCU thus far. As the film celebrates this key anniversary, people around the world have been reflecting on one of the best cinema experiences of their lives and what the movie means to them.

And so, as we caught up with composer extraordinaire Alan Silvestri (who has worked on several Marvel movies including Endgame) at the Sands: International Film Festival in St Andrews, Scotland, we had to ask about the best scene from the hit film – yes, of course we are talking about 'Portals'.

Reflecting on that remarkable moment, Silvestri shared with GamesRadar+ why he thinks the Portals scene has had such a lasting impact. As he explained, it all comes down to what Captain America is going through in the immediate moments before.

"The spectacle [of Portals] is ultimately overwhelming but I think it's emotional because we've never seen every ounce of optimism destroyed in Captain America," he says. "In a sense, his soul was dead, he was hopeless, he had given up. We had never seen this in him before. It's almost biblical that in his darkest moment a blessing appears – then another one, then another one.

"So, we start with basically a funeral scene – I'm burying Captain America with this trumpet! From there not only does he come back to life, but everyone in his world is coming to help him. It's just an incredibly powerful image to have Cap rise from the dead, then be supported and surrounded by everyone to vanquish the demon. It’s a very biblical, emotional event that Joe and Anthony [Russo, directors] captured in an unbelievable way."

Avengers: Endgame Captain America Peggy

(Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

Further discussing that climatic point in the epic film, Silvestri also unveiled what it was like seeing it all come together, watching the finished scene for the very first time. 

For the composer, during that time his eyes were on director duo the Russo Brothers and MCU boss Kevin Feige to see their reactions, he shares: "What was most fun was I knew what it was going to be, but for Sandra [Silvestri's wife] and I to sit there watching Joe [Russo], Anthony [Russo], and Kevin Feige see it for the first time was just breathtaking. In the end, they are my audience, if they don’t like what I do the audience will never see it and hear it. 

"It was amazing to see the impact that it had on them. They were very concerned about that scene, it was such an important one in the Marvel universe. And when we saw the last element, which was the music, come into it and see wow, that it was really going to do what they were hoping it would do, It was fantastic."

Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Admitting to Silvestri that every time I watch that scene (or even simply hear his music from it) I end up in floods of tears, he chuckles sympathetically, fully understanding the emotional power Portals holds. 

As it turns out, the movie scene which is always guaranteed to make him well up is also from a superhero film: 1978's Superman, directed by the late Richard Donner – thanks to an incredible score by John Williams. Even just thinking about it triggers Silvestri's tear ducts. "There was a scene in the original Superman where he is out at sunrise and I think at this point his dad had already died and his mom comes up behind him," he continues. "He’s contemplating the fact that his destiny will have to force him to leave home. John Williams just wrote some exquisite music for this and it gets me every time – it gets me now just thinking about it.

"When I write I have to be brought to tears routinely if that’s what the scene is supposed to do. Like in a car you have gauges like heat and speed, all these instruments tell you what’s going on. When I write, my emotional gauge is the only way I know if the music is working, so I have to be an audience in order to write for an audience. So, it’s simple for me: if I’m feeling it, I know the world will feel it."

For more from the Sands festival, check out our interview with the Russo Brothers where they reflected on Captain America: The Winter Soldier's 10th anniversary, teased their next movie The Electric State, shared their thoughts on Robert Downey Jr.'s recent comments about a return as Iron Man, reacted to the idea of 'superhero fatigue', and explained why they want to "build their own Star Wars".

Meanwhile for more from the world of the MCU, check out our guides to how to watch the Marvel movies in order and all of the upcoming Marvel movies and shows.

Emily Murray
Entertainment Editor

As Entertainment Editor at GamesRadar, I oversee all the online content for Total Film and SFX magazine. Previously I've worked for the BBC, Zavvi, UNILAD, Yahoo, Digital Spy and more.