Submitted by Tornado Dragon
In the final battle in Marwen, Deja Thoris tries to take Cap’n Hogie into the future with her in the time machine that Mark built for her, after pointing out to him that the Nazi soldiers (the representations of Mark’s attackers) attacking his entourage (the representations of Mark’s friends) never die and will never stop torturing him. However, before she can bring Hogie into the future, he finds out that she is a Nazi spy and is the reason why the Nazis won’t die, and more than that, he figures out that she is the physical representation of Mark’s addiction to his medication and yells that he won’t let her kill Mark. He soon jumps out of the time machine just before she takes a bullet from one of the Nazis that was meant for him, and moments later, the time machine sends her into the future forever. With her gone, the Nazis finally die, and Hogie saves Nicol’s life and marries her. In the real world, Mark gets rid of his pills and boxes up Deja and the Nazi dolls.
Mark goes to court for the sentencing of his five assailants, and he tells the judge that, no matter what sentences they get, he knows that they can’t hurt him anymore because they are gone and gone for good, and he is still here, and he has his friends, his town, and his pictures, and he will be okay. He then goes to his photo exhibition in New York City with his friend Roberta, where he tells her that he has decided to rename the town to Marwencol, adding the “col” as a tribute to his newest friend (and inspiration for the namesake doll) Nicol since he feels she inspired him to overcome his demons. Nicol shows up to the exhibit, having earlier received a photo from Mark of her doll self with Hogie along with the words “thank you” written in a heart on it, and she exchanges slight smiles with Mark before she departs. Mark then decides to forge a romantic connection with Roberta by asking her out for sushi, and she accepts.
We are then shown a photo of the real Mark Hogancamp, along with a description that states that he lives quietly in upstate New York and continues to create art and photos, his work is regularly featured in art galleries across the country, and he has not touched alcohol since the night he was attacked. The population of Marwencol has also grown to over 200.
One day, Mark (Steve Carell) – after quite a bit of coaxing from his friends and from his attorney Demaryius (Conrad Coates) – goes to court for the sentencing of the five white supremacists who assaulted him in order to read a victim impact statement that Demaryius has prepared for him. Unfortunately, a prolonged stare he makes at the swastika tattoo on the arm of one of the attackers eventually causes him to imagine them transforming into their Nazi selves from his Marwen fantasies and then shooting up the courtroom and killing some people. His Cap’n Hogie identity then appears in human size and battles them and helps him get out of the room, but in real-time, the frightened Mark has fled the room to the confusion of everyone there. Demaryius asks the judge for a 20-minute recess, but the judge – clearly seeing that Mark is out of sorts today – instead decides to postpone the sentencing to the 27th of the month, the same day Mark is supposed to display his photos of Marwen at an exhibit in a New York City art gallery.
While Mark is having tea with his neighbor Nicol (Leslie Mann) (whom he created a namesake doll of as a love interest for Hogie) and showing her some photos he recently took of Hogie proposing marriage to the Nicol doll with a Purple Heart, he suddenly proposes marriage to her with a genuine Purple Heart that he bought at the hobby shop his friend Roberta (Merritt Wever) works at. Nicol tells him that she values their friendship, but she doesn’t see it in a romantic way, and he deserves someone who does. She tells him that she has something for him and excuses herself to get it, and while she is gone, Mark takes a closer look at one of the pictures and sees Deja Harlis (Diane Kruger) – the Belgian Witch of Marwen who is hell-bent on having Hogie all to herself – in the background, and he becomes distraught. By the time Nicol returns with her present in a bag, Mark has already gone back home.
He confronts his Deja Thoris doll and asks her why she is following him now, thinking that she sabotaged his proposal, but then he abruptly changes the subject by telling her that he has finished making the time machine that she ordered him to make, which he then shows off to her (it is made of various items and bears a resemblance to the DeLorean from the Back to the Future film series). He tells her that this machine has a countdown timer, and it only allows one-way travel into the future. Nicol then gets his attention from outside and drops her gift off at the front gate, telling him that it is to commemorate his upcoming show. Mark checks out the package later on and finds it is a Nazi doll in a box, but in his mind, it starts to act like Nicol’s rough and ill-mannered ex-boyfriend Kurt (Neil Jackson), whom he earlier met. Its actions freak him out and make him kick it into his Marwen display, where it takes on the role of Major Meyer.
When Mark goes back inside, he again imagines a full-sized Hogie standing in his living room, and Hogie forcefully asks him when he is going to get Deja Thoris off his (Mark’s) back and just grow a spine in general. Seconds later, Hogie is interrupted by the sound of a Luger pistol going off, so he goes back into Marwen and discovers that Nicol has just been shot by Meyer, and though she is still alive, she is losing blood. Meanwhile, Mark finds himself being seduced by Deja Thoris again, who tells him that she is the only one who can remove his crippling fear, as well as the pain and the shame that he carries from the attack, telling him that it was his own fault that he got beaten so badly. After she disappears, Mark breaks down, saying that what happened was all his fault, and he is so tired of being alone and ashamed. He then imagines Hogie and his entourage tending to Nicol and giving her stiletto shoes to Hogie, and G.I. Julie (Janelle Monáe) tells Hogie that they will always have his back, and she knows he is hurting, but he has to love the pain because it reminds us of our strength. When we next see Mark, he is dumping all of his medication into his hand, seemingly with the intent of swallowing it all and killing himself.
The film then cuts to Hogie praying to God in Marwen’s church while wearing Nicol’s stilettos until he comes under attack from Meyer, who chases him up to the bell tower. They battle it out up there until Hogie sticks one of the stilettos into Meyer’s neck before throwing him over the edge, and he falls onto the fence around the church and gets impaled. Deja Thoris shows up moments later in her time machine and rescues Hogie, then tells him that this machine will take them 15 million light-years into the future so they can be together, then points out the Nazis below – who are back once again and exchanging gunfire with Hogie’s entourage – and says that they never die and they will never stop torturing him. After she says this, Meyer wakes up and starts trying to reclaim his pistol, which lies just out of his reach. Deja then starts the countdown timer, but Hogie tells her that he needs both of Nicol’s stilettos because he is not leaving one with a Nazi. He thus forces Deja to put the time machine in reverse and stop above where Kurt is, and they hit the church as they do so and cause the countdown timer to pause. Hogie then forces Deja to bring the machine down to Meyer so he can retrieve the stiletto, but the machine’s descent is stopped by one of the gravestones and leaves the shoe just out of Hogie’s reach. As Hogie tries to get a hold of it while fighting off Meyer, Deja resumes the countdown timer, and Hogie soon asks her to give him her magic glove-covered arm so he can lower himself further. Shortly afterwards, he pulls the glove down and discovers that Deja has the same swastika tattoo on her arm that Mark’s attacker has. He realizes that she is a Nazi spy and is the one that has been keeping them alive, and he also realizes that she is the physical representation of Mark’s addiction to his medication and yells that he will not let her kill Mark. Just as the timer is about to reach zero and Meyer finally manages to get his pistol thanks to Hogie being distracted, Hogie tells Deja that he vanquishes her in the name of Marwen, then backflips out of the time machine just as Meyer fires a shot at him, causing Deja to take the bullet instead. Hogie lands on Meyer and knocks the gun out of his hand, and then the time machine blasts off into the future with Deja. With her now gone for good, the Nazis finally perish, and Hogie retrieves Nicol’s stiletto and magically puts them both back on her feet through kissing her unconscious self, restoring her to perfect health. In the real world, we see that Mark photographed these events, and the next morning, he disposes of all of his pills before putting Deja Thoris and the Nazi dolls in a box marked “R.I.P.”
When the morning of the 27th arrives, Mark stops by Nicol’s house before heading for the courthouse and leaves an envelope for her on her doorstep. At the sentencing, Mark initially reads the victim impact statement, but he soon sets it down and starts using his own words. He tells the judge that, no matter what sentence she decides to give his five assailants, he wants them to know that they can’t hurt him anymore because they are gone and gone for good, and he is still here, and he has his friends, his town, and his pictures, and he will be okay. As he says all of this, we see a few of these once-tough white supremacists trying to hold back tears, no doubt out of fear over the fact that they face long prison terms. That night, Mark goes with Roberta to his photo exhibit, and while chatting with her, he tells her that he has decided to change the town’s name to Marwencol, adding the “col” as a reference to Nicol. The story he gives behind this change is that Hogie decided to rename the town to that to commemorate the decisive defeat of Deja Thoris and the Nazis and bringing true peace and happiness to all, and as he tells her this, he displays a photo he took of Hogie and Nicol having gotten married. Meanwhile, Nicol shows up to the event, and we see her holding the contents of the envelope: A photo that Mark took of Hogie and the Nicol doll standing by the renamed town sign and Mark having drawn a heart on it with the words “thank you” written in it, obviously crediting her for inspiring him to get past his demons and adding the “col” to honor her. She and Mark look at each other, and they exchange slight smiles before she heads out the door. Mark then decides to make a real romantic connection with Roberta by asking her out for sushi, and she accepts.
The film ends with a photo of the real Mark Hogancamp, along with a description that states that (at the time of the film’s release) he lives quietly in upstate New York and continues to create art and photos, his work is regularly featured in art galleries across the country, and he has not touched alcohol since the night of the attack. The population of Marwencol has also grown to over 200.