It’s been an entire week since my first viewing of the epic comic book extravaganza known as “Avengers: Infinity War.” Since that time, I have reviewed the film (granting the film my highest grade), seen the film an additional three times, and watched from afar as “Avengers: Infinity War” continues to conquer the box office. I loved the film, and luckily I get to have an outlet to release my thoughts, expectations, and theories for both “Avengers 4” and plot aspects from “Avengers: Infinity War.” So to begin this spoiler-filled discourse, I’ll focus on the big question: who dies and who lives?
So all of the characters you see above have found themselves disintegrated by the Infinity Gauntlet, but where have they gone? Are they dead? Or, are they merely stuck somewhere? I am not sure if they are apart of the soul gem now, but we do get to see Thanos awake in the soul gem after he snaps his fingers. We see him wake up in the same place in which he was awarded the soul stone, which I am assuming is inside the soul stone itself, and speaks to childhood version of Gamora as she asks “did you do it?” and he responds “yes.” She then asks “what did it cost?” and Thanos softly replies “everything.” What does he mean by this? I am not sure yet, but it may be that apart of him has been taken by the universe in response to his actions as we see him wounded and seemingly exhausted after he commits this mass genocide.
As far as who stays dead and who doesn’t, I wanted to say that none of the characters killed by the gauntlet are permanently dead (especially considering a few of them have sequel, but that shouldn’t take away their resonance from that haunting death sequence) and that all of those killed before that are permanently dead, but since we see Gamora in the soul gem there may be a few more exclusions. It may also be that Gamora was the sacrifice, but there may be a few more characters saved by the stone.
I will also add that the idea of Cap and Stark living is far more poignant because seeing them watch helplessly as their friends fade into ash was far more potent than their deaths would’ve been. It’s not about the characters permanently dying and Infinity War becoming a “Game of Thrones” kind of bleak epic, but it's like “Empire Strikes Back” in which these characters losing is far more shocking than watching them get brutally and permanently killed off. As far as Starlord being responsible for this entire downfall of the universe, I think it was the right call. He's a character that has struggled to find anything worth holding on to (mother is gone, dad is a psychotic celestial, and never formed a relationship with Yandu) but when he does, its taken away. How can you expect him to control himself when the one person he's found to fall in love with is gone? It's a very human moment, and the fact that people are getting so upset about it is a testament to the power of this film.
The many callbacks to past MCU storylines and character arcs were powerful on rewatching in that of Doctor Strange stating “we’re in the endgame now,” a reference to “Avengers; Age of Ultron” in which Tony says that the invasion of aliens is the end game. They weren't able to stop it together though, as Tony and Cap’s relationship remains on the mend.
Ant-Man and Hawkeye are absent from this epic though; I do believe this is for a story based reason in that they will become essential to stopping Thanos. Hawkeye can become that vital in the sense of bringing the Avengers together again, so he’s crucial to the team's emotional construct, but Ant-Man’s subatomic abilities could play an even more substantial factor as the rules of space and time become irrelevant in that quantum, a possible tool to use against Thanos. Especially now that we know that Pim has found a way to enter the quantum realm based off of the new trailer for “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” and I do hope that movie ends with a repercussions of Infinity War in which we see Ant-Man be forced to watch his loved ones fade away, perhaps his daughter.
The Black Order was something that I was incredibly excited for as well, but the lack of context given to them was a flaw for me on the first watch. On second viewing, I realized their inconsequentiality to the narrative which explains their lack of depth. Nonetheless, we get to see four of the five members of the black order, Supergiant seems to be missing, in the Black Dwarf, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive. Another thing that was missing was the Thanos character we know and love from the comics.
This change has rubbed some the wrong way as Thanos is more of an empathetic religious zealot who seeks absolute balance in the universe so that we can continue to extend the time frame of life in the galaxy, but in the comics he’s an obsessive death nihilist in which his favorite thing to do is destroy planets. Not because of balance, but because of his fidelity to mistress death. It worked for me, apparently, and I agree with the Russo’s choosing to not introduce the metacharacter of Death. That would have been a massive character for non-comic book fans to absorb.
Captain Marvel is on her way. As the most powerful character to ever be introduced into the MCU, Captain Marvel may be treated like Adam Warlock from “Infinity Gauntlet,” who is rendered by Doctor Strange a bit who I believe is far more ahead of the game than we give him credit for as the Doc may know that this was the only way to defeat Thanos indefinitely. Captain Marvel is a Kree and human-like being whose powers include flight, enhanced strength, durability and the ability to shoot concussive energy bursts from her hands. We can expect her to be a formidable opponent for Thanos who may be like Adam Warlock and be able to wield the Gauntlet on her own, but another question is if he’ll have the Infinity Gauntlet in “Avengers 4.” I believe that the Gauntlet may have been far too damaged to be used again, but the one remaining Dwarf from Nidavellir may be forced to assist in building something worse for Thanos.
Some final predictions for “Avengers 4” and summarized thoughts going forward would be that everyone who is a cameo or MIA will play a significant role in the upcoming sequel, the Hulk will return in a big bad way, Pepper and Tony’s relationship will grow in depth, and the MCU is in for something far more extraordinary than we’ve seen already, which is saying something after seeing this comic book epic. We’ll get to see relationships get tied up and watch the ending of Cap and Stark’s respective journeys as leaders of the Avengers, but the future of the MCU has a multitude of outcomes that even us comic book fans are unsure as to where Marvel is going with these characters. We don’t have that long of a wait, so that’s the good news. Time to read up on some Captain Marvel, Thanos, and meta-universe style comics.