Note: As you can see with the title of this article, this discussion of Avengers: Infinity War contains massive spoilers about the ending of the film. So don’t read this if you haven’t seen the film and want to see it spoiler-free.
All right. I even put a picture in-between the spoiler warning and the spoilers. Just in case. So now you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
Two pictures. I did two pictures. Spoilers. Here they are. Now. Dead people. Spoilers. Dead superhero spoilers. Now. People die.
In fact, pretty much exactly half of them do. This is because, at the end of Avengers 3, big guy with distracting chin lines Josh Brolin (pictured above) literally snaps his fingers to erase half of the universe. The villain’s endgame successful, we watch in montage as character after character that we have come to know and love in the MCU turns to ash. Again, quite literally.
The title of this article may sound a bit more click-baity than it ought to. The ending of Infinity War doesn’t ruin the experience of the film as a whole (you can read my full non-spoiler review of the film here). But I do think it undercuts its own effectiveness significantly. While the climactic moment in the film is meant to be devastating, it becomes all too obvious that this move from Marvel Studios is a feint.
Whereas the other deaths in the film—Loki, Gamora, Vision, and less so with Heimdall—have a genuine impact within the narrative of the film, the deaths during the climax are noticeably contrived.
This is because, from a financial standpoint, Marvel has no business killing off the IP that they kill off in this final scene. And I actually mean that they would have no business if they did it. Black Panther is the highest grossing Marvel film to date, and a sequel is already in the works. A sequel for Spider-Man: Homecoming is already scheduled for 2019. A third Guardians of the Galaxy movie has been discussed quite heavily, as well.
Therefore, it makes little sense to see T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), Peter Parker (Tom Holland), and most of the Guardians disappear at the end of Infinity War. It can make for a surprising moment within the narrative of that singular film, but we all know that the film is anything but singular. It is part of an ongoing franchise in which movies need to continue making money for the business to survive.
Again, I don’t think this move actually ruins the film. But it does give the ending less of an impact. And it also lowers the stakes going into the next Avengers film. With these characters gone, we are pretty much guaranteed to see the survivors find a way to reverse this process. There are already elements inside the MCU that have the power to do that, so it isn’t a stretch for another thing to come along that can do it, too.
Sure, It is possible that Kevin Feige and Marvel will move on to new characters that can fill the shoes of the deceased. Miles Morales can be Spider-Man. Rocket was already set up as a captain figure in this film, so he could find a new crew to lead in Guardians 3. Shuri (Letitia Wright) or M’Baku (Winston Duke) could take up the mantle as Black Panther.
But a reset is a very comic book thing to do. Characters always come back, just drawn by different people. That Infinity War kept many of the old MCU characters (whom many thought would be on the chopping block in this film) and ousted newer ones probably means that things are likely not what they seem. I would be surprised if all of these vanishing characters stayed gone for very long.
Because you know what they say: No one dies except Uncle Ben.
And if you were looking for simply a list of deaths that we witness in Infinity War, here you go:
- Heimdall (Idris Elba)
- Loki (Tom Hiddleston)
- A bunch of Asgardians (names not available)
- The Collecter (maybe) (Benicio Del Toro)
- Gamora (Zoe Saldana)
- The Black Order: Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon), and Corvus Glaive (Michael Shaw)
- Vision (Paul Bettany)
- Vision, again
- Various citizens of Wakanda (names not available)
- Bucky Barnes / The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)
- T’Challa / Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)
- Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen)
- Sam Wilson / The Falcon (Anthony Mackie)
- Groot (Vin Diesel)
- Drax (Dave Bautista)
- Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
- Peter Quill / Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)
- Peter Parker / Spider-Man (Tom Holland)
- Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)
- A person in a car (no name given)
- A person in a helicopter (no name given)
- Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders)
- A couple of dudes standing in-between Sam Jackson and his backseat pager (no names gives)
- Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
- Half of the known universe, but probably no name-characters that we didn’t see disappear on screen
As always, thanks for reading!
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)