WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Avengers: Infinity War
After seeing Infinity War, I have to admit that overall the film had me in awe. I made sure to watch it as soon as possible to avoid spoilers, and it was certainly worth doing so as so much of the film is unexpected that almost every second could be considered a spoiler if talked about in too much detail. For those who have yet to see the film, stop reading now, as this post will be heavily discussing a lot of these scenes, as well as the ending of the film. You have been warned.
For those who have seen the film, you will surely have, like me, come out of the cinema emotionally wrought. The Russo brothers did not pull any punches while making this film, and as such, death came to a number of our favourite Marvel characters. Now I have to say that personally I feel that for the most part these sections were handled well, whether we are talking about the early scenes aboard the Asgardian cruiser where we lost a couple of our favourite Asgardians, or the heartbreaking scene when we saw Gamora sacrificed in order for her ‘father’ to achieve his end goal. These scenes managed to leave me both shocked and saddened by the losses, even though I was fully prepared for some characters not to survive when I entered the cinema.
However, there was one point in the film which I felt both undercut the impact of some of the deaths we had already seen, as well as not being as heavy a blow as I feel it was originally intended to be. I am referring to ‘the Snap’, the moment at which Thanos reduces the population of the entire universe in half in a matter of seconds. While this moment has a great impact, and leaves the film with a tone that I have not personally seen since watching ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (although admittedly I did not experience this in the cinema as I am too young), I feel like the information that has already been given out regarding Phase 4 of the MCU has minimised the impact that this film should have had for me.
To explain this slightly more, I am going to be focussing specifically on some of the characters who are killed by Thanos’ snap. For me, the loss of people like Scarlet Witch, Bucky Barnes and the Black Panther hold quite a strong impact, as these are newly introduced heroes but are tied quite heavily into the Marvel mythos, and equally are big fan favourites. However the loss of these heroes, and the impact of all the losses, are undercut by the fact that heroes such as Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and most of the Guardians of the Galaxy were also killed off in the snap.
The issue with this is not the heroes themselves who were killed, but instead the knowledge we already have regarding them. Marvel has created a great deal of attention towards Phase 4 of the MCU and has confirmed a number of films that are already in development. Notably, these films include a Doctor Strange sequel, a Spider-Man sequel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. While we as fans can look forward to these, they strongly suggest that the deaths of the characters in the snap are likely not permanent, as these characters need to return for their solo outings that have been announced. Equally, we have had confirmation that Spider-Man will be one of the most important characters in Phase 4. This undermines the impact of the deaths of these characters in Infinity War but also raises an even larger problem.
If we know these characters are going to be returning, it also potentially undermines the deaths not only of others involved in the snap, but equally anyone who was killed during Infinity War itself. While many believe the Loki has likely once again faked his own death, the other deaths in this were not made by characters with this degree of trickery up their sleeves. Yet if the heroes that were killed in the snap can be resurrected, why not the heroes killed before the snap? After all, the soul stone holds power over all souls, living or dead, and has been used previously to reverse death, so there is a strong possibility this could happen within the MCU.
Personally, I think the impact of this would have been much greater if it was handled in a similar way to the Phase 3 announcement that was made. Until almost the launch of Infinity War Part 2, I believe that Phase 4 should have been kept hidden, or at least announced but with no confirmation of any films that would come afterwards. Instead, either during the build-up to or shortly after the release of the 4th Avengers movie, we should have seen a mass announcement of the film titles that would be involved in Phase 4. While if done before the film, this still would have given away the return of a number of the heroes, we would have been waiting almost a year before we got any confirmation of this, and the film’s ending would have left a much stronger impact in the cinema-goers who had seen Infinity War.
Equally, I feel that the fact the snap left the ‘Original 6’ completely untouched was a bit underwhelming as well. We know for sure that Cap, Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor and Banner were all untouched, and while Hawkeye may have been caught by the random pick this would seem to be an underwhelming way to do this as he is not seen for the entirety of the film. Again, I feel that removing either Stark or Steve from the mix would have been a good way to show a heal of the Civil War divide, as whichever of the two remained could be fuelled to bring their friend back, showing a reconciliation between the two for the events that unfolded in that film. Instead, we have to assume that Iron Man and Cap will be coming back together to undo what Thanos has done in Avengers 4.
However, this is only an opinion on this. Superhero Subculture is interested to see what other opinions are, so please comment on this post, or on our Facebook and Twitter feeds with your own opinions on whether the impact of Infinity War was diminished for you due to this knowledge.