Let's Talk About That 'Avengers: Infinity War' Ending...
(WARNING: SPOILERS APLENTY!)
And from the ashes of procrastination there shall rise a hero for all to look upon and marvel at. I guess what I mean to say is, I’m back baby!!! For all of my 20 fans out there that have been waiting patiently for this day, I pray that you are not disappointed, for I mean to bring to you wondrous content based on what is being hailed as "the biggest crossover movie of all time"...
Okay, so I’m not really here to talk about The Seven Little Foys, but in terms of dance-offs, it makes the groovy moves of Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy look like a quaint little shuffle. No, I’m here to talk about Avengers: Infinity War and how it ended with Golden Gloves Champion Thanos winning the day and wiping out half of the known Marvel universe. For some, this ending has been viewed as a bold move by Marvel Studios and one that has seen their 19th film likened to The Empire Strikes Back in terms of taking its heroes and audiences to a dark place. I would like to point out that ESB ends with the characters literally saying “Hey, let’s go get Han and fix all that bad stuff that just happened,” while Infinity War ends with The First Avenger nervously rocking back and forth in tears. I’ll let you be the judge as to which film has the darker ending. Personally, I don’t get all hyped up when folks compare movies to Star Wars 2, Episode V, Verse Six. However, if you want to bring Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock into the conversation, then you’ll have my full attention with a modicum of giddiness as well. Now there was a movie that knew how to leave a beloved character in the ground.
Yes, a lot of people were wowed by Marvel’s willingness to kill off half their roster in a manner that has given birth to a whole new generation of “Oh Snap!” memes. I myself was pleasantly surprised by the ending, as I had been wondering how faithful Marvel Studios planned on being to The Infinity Gauntlet, which is one of the most popular comic- book storylines in history and one that I’ve skimmed over at least twice. It’s always a roll of the dice when it comes to what comic book adaptations plan on adhering to faithfully, or changing out of necessity due to the fact that movies are not comics and need to be structured and presented differently otherwise they will hella suck. So yeah, I liked the ending too.
There are others, though, out there in this wide world of ours that did not. These fine feathered folk have declared the ending to be empty and hollow because it is a foregone conclusion that most of these characters will not stay disintegrated. Our sadness is but a cheaply manufactured in-the-moment bit of trickery and nothing more. They will pick themselves back up and go on to help the innocent, save the world, and fulfill contractual obligations. I assumed all of this as well because, like Thanos, I too am burdened with knowledge. I know of these franchises and upcoming sequels as well. I look forward to them (mostly). But the ending still didn’t bother me, and believe me when I say that I had issues with Infinity War.
This ending, in my humble opinion, works, and it works not because of the fear that we feel at the concept of never seeing these beloved characters again, but because of the fear that Tony Stark feels as he watches his allies and young mentee fade away into nothingness. The ending works because we see a mighty figure like Captain America look absolutely helpless and distraught. Steve Rogers is the man we’re supposed to look to when the chips are down, but when we do in this instance, we see a broken man. He and the others were supposed to win and they didn’t. It’s the heartache of our remaining characters and the emotional journey they are about to embark upon that make the finale/cliffhanger effective and memorable. The whole crux of Civil War was that Tony felt responsible for a kid’s death and now he has to watch in horror as another dies right in front of him. That moment means something and is not nothing.
Now, maybe I’ve just been riding the Naivety Choo-Choo a little too long, or maybe my suspension of disbelief is made of stronger stuff than that of Thor’s mighty hammer, but I allowed myself to be carried away by the sorrow of our heroes and the calm righteousness of our villain. Because, at the end of the day, I don’t care if the gentleman sitting next to me (who has been whispering to his girlfriend throughout the entire damned movie) is affected by Thanos’s victory. I care about our heroes. I just watched a nearly three-hour movie featuring a walking tree and a CGI space raccoon and I accepted their existence. I have enough goodwill leftover to accept that, as of right now, half of The Avengers are dead. I have followed Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man for this long (a rocky but mostly fun road), and I’m willing to go a little bit further with them. Going back to Star Trek briefly, there is precedence for a character coming back to life and not ruining the previous film as a result. It didn’t matter if Spock stayed dead or not. It mattered that Kirk had to do this…
And I must say that I am, quite frankly, shocked. Shocked! I’m shocked to find out that gambling has been going on in this establishment. Oh, sorry, that’s a line from Casablanca. No but really, I am shocked that people are divided over this lovely little ending and not divided over that horrifying beginning! Yes, let’s piggy-back off of the funniest and most lighthearted Marvel film of all time and hit the audience over the head with death and misery. I understand the importance of establishing a tone, but dear lord, give us a minute or two!
Sorry, I just needed to get that off of my chest. Anywhoo, go see Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. It’s a super fun time that you won’t regret.
(Image via Marvel Entertainment)
- Greg McIver, Guest Contributor