Spoilers ahead- you have been warned…
Queuing up for the midnight showing on Wednesday night, I had mixed feelings about the film… If I don’t see the film the people can’t die… However I also had the overwhelming excitement to see this huge cast on the big screen. Coming out of the film I needed time to process what I had seen… I mean holy shit… So in this article I want to first discuss the implications of the end on Avengers 4 and the MCU before dealing with the film itself as well. This will be spread across two articles however this one is dealing largely with the end and looking forward while part 2 will take a look more at the stand out moments, easter eggs and general discussion points. Without further ado, here we go:
Spoilers ahead- you have been warned…
Given that I am a fan of the comics I knew what to expect with the gauntlet story line; a snap of the fingers and a lot of death. Part of my was concerned for a while was that we would get a Sopranos cut to black but fortunately we don’t get that but we definitely do get a final emotionally fueled 20 mins. It has taken me 2 days to gather my thoughts and put it down on here so here we go:
Let’s talk about those deaths:
A couple of people asked me ‘do a lot of people die in the film?’ but how do I explain that literally half the universe dies? I mean Disney are clearly stepping up their death tolls as each film comes out and it seems that nine off planets in Star Wars; Force Awakens wasn’t enough. Anyway, Thanos wins (I warned about spoilers) and succeeds in wiping out 50% of the universe in an attempt to balance life and prevent it from collapsing under its own weight although more on that later. You begin to see many heroes literally crumbling before out eyes, from Black Panther and Falcon on Earth to Spider-Man and the Guardians on Titan. I sat there in awe and horror as it unfolded with my emotions being mirrored in the remaining cast on screen.
As I reflected however I came to a more positive outlook on this film. Those who died all have confirmed sequels in Phase 4 so they can’t be dead can they? In my mind this means one of two things:
- Disney have released a fake franchise plan and are trolling EVERYONE by claiming Spidey has a number 2 when in fact he’s a pile of ash in Tony’s arms
- Part of the story arc in across Avengers 3/4 is the solution of what happens in this film. To me it suggests we get a good resolution for these characters in Avengers 4 through some time travel hijinks. Let’s also not forget that Dr Strange saw one outcome for winning and he set this all in motion by handing over the Time Stone….
If number 2 is correct (and hopefully more favourable) then I am reckoning that the deaths we expected that didn’t happen (I’m looking at you Cap) will actually happen in 4. This will require them travelling back in time/using the gauntlet to rewrite what happened at the end but at the loss of their lives. I actually think the people who are in for perma-death as it were has been shortlisted for us in the form of surviving Avengers.
The scale of the death however at the end of 3 is not to be ignored. You literally see the world around our heroes decend into chaos and I imagine that this will be explored further in 4. Everyone in there that remains will be driven by their failure and the loss of life that this will become the driving force behind fixing it.
Tony most however will be impacted by this. After all the work he put in, after all the effort he made to stop this happening following the events of Avengers 1, he has still failed and not only has half of all life been wiped from existence, he had to hold a dying Peter in his arms and watch him blow away. I mean this was pulling at my heart strings, I can’t even how much Stark will be taking that to heart considering he is responsible for him. This film never actually sees Cap and Stark join up again and share that friendly hug everyone wants and I believe that was intentional. They both played huge roles independent of each other, one on earth the other in space, and both lost so much personally too (glad that White Wolf title stuck so long Bucky). This will be the final push for them to come together and prove that neither can do this without the other. A united front in 4 will be how they succeed.
Although it’s easy to talk about the last 20 mins, the other deaths throughout deserve a mention too. Loki at the start was getting more obvious as the film opened especially with many of the TV spots alluding to this as well. I’m glad he went out the hero though trying to defend Thor and arguably the universe although it was a considerably short sighted choice he made to attack Thanos like that especially after giving him the Space Stone and doubling his power. Attack him before dumbass. Anyway, this was needed to spur Thor on. He’s lost so much over the last two films and with his entire family dead and him possibly being the last Asgardian currently, he became more driven and reckless which meant he literally to the brunt of a star to forge a new weapon. Now given we expect a universal reset in a year, it’s possible that Asgard will return, even if not in its shiny form from Thor 1.
The other dead that came more of a surprise to me was Gamora. A lot of rumours had been circulating that she was actually the Soul Stone and although I didn’t believe them I was annoyed I hadn’t considered her link to this Stone. The comics at the moment and historically have created a connection between these two so it goes to support that she would be intrinsically linked in the MCU. As the whole scene folded out at the altar of the Soul Stone however it’s definitely more obvious to the audience that she was going to die than it was to her. We had the benefit of understanding Thanos better at this point so we know that she had to die and it was a test of his willpower and dedication to the cause. This death also actually saved Thanos in the later fight when knowledge of it caused Quill to lose control. A huge surprise to me, however given the only surviving Guardian is Rocket I don’t think this death will stick either.
The Thanos show…
A welcome surprise for me was how much of this Thanos dominated the film. He was the driver of the narrative and the film took the time to progressively and naturally flesh out the villain and you can kind of understand his point. Suffering a tragedy on his own planet drove him to bring balance to the universe again. He is under no illusions that people have to die but he sees it as a mercy. But let’s just consider for a second that as a Titan he probably has a different view on the universe anyway (despite his fellow Titans objecting) so he would rationalise this different to a human given our technology, experience and general short but arrogant lifespan. He’s driven by a rational arguement that could, if the approach/measure was different, could easily be the path of a hero not a villain.
“In some films, a hero will sacrifice anything if it’s for the greater good and in this film that’s Thanos.”
Sacrifice and willpower is something that is key in this film and Thanos keeps discussing his, almost like a mantra to keep himself in the path. But it got me thinking that the definition of a hero can change depending on the context, hero and even film. In some a films a hero will sacrifice anything close to them to ensure the greater good survives, have the willpower to see it though and the power necessary to do it. On this description this in Thanos in Infinity War, not the Avengers. If anything, the film goes to demonstrate that the humans weaker willpower and willingness to give into emotions is the cause of their ultimate failure. They refuse to destroy the Mind Stone and Vision early enough to stop him as one life shouldn’t be taken for the many, Quill didn’t shoot Gamora early enough and also interupts Mantis due to his emotional outbursts and honestly Tony’s pride stops him from reuniting the Avengers. These led to the fracturing and failure of the Avengers, while Thanos’ demonstrated he would do anything necessary to preserve life. He sacrificed Gamora, a daughter he was seen to fully care for to get the Soul Stone, he showed signs of modesty and compassion when sparing Tony and he wasn’t stopped in his campaign.
Thanos speaks to me in just how close a good villain and a good hero is. Some villains aren’t evil, they are focused but misguided or misunderstood. They are committed to what they believe is right, and in this case Thanos believes that mass genocide is the right course for the greater good. But this single minded focus is no different to that of Tony’s very drive to ensure that the Earth is protected which resulted in Ultron.
The development of Thanos had to be right in this film as it’s been 10 years in the making and I think they nailed it. Funnily enough his original motivation was to court death so he created death but in this iteration, he created death to preserve life. This allows the villain to be sympathised with and you can understand why he does what he does, even if you don’t agree. Ultimately he behaves in a way that is unfitting of a traditional hero, torturing Nebula, setting his lap dogs on planets and you know the whole genocide thing, but he does justify this to Gamora in the fact her planet is now prospering. He’s closer linked to a misguided, religious fanatic than an incarnation of evil and honestly I see a lot of parallels with Tony.
You don’t see them win that often either. And Thanos’ ending is very reminiscent of the comics but also very modest. He’s not sat upon a throne lording over his subjects, he’s sat in a modest cabin enjoying the sunset. This only goes to support the idea that he is not doing this for personal gain, it is for life itself. He has finally achieved his goal and now he can relax in peace on his own. You compare this to Loki who came to Earth to conquer and ends up on the Throne of Asgard or one of the many power hungry humans the heroes have fought, their victory scene would have been domination and power, the opposite to Thanos.
As an antagonist he also serves to tell a story and a warning of how dangerous blind ideals can be to the world. Given the political unrest at the moment between a few, singularly powerful people who believe, for one reason or another, they are right it certainly paints a sobering picture if one was to succeed. I mean I’m not saying Trump will get the Infinity Gauntlet but if he starts waving a golden glove around we should probably step in.
To be honest I could go on, however for now that’s call this the end. Much like Infinity War, there will be a part two, however that will be sooner than Avengers 4.
Let me know your comments, leave me a like and let’s chat. You happy with the deaths? Should there be more? Less? And is Thanos the real MVP?