Yesterday, Josh Stevens, Demelza Ward and I started our in-depth spoiler discussion about the film everyone is talking about – Avengers: Infinity War. It’s such a packed film, with so many talking points, that it only made sense to split it into two. Whilst we previously discussed Thanos, our favourite sequences and some issues we had with the film (click here to read that piece), this article is going to get into the ending of the film and what it means for the Marvel Cinematic Universe; especially what it means for the as-yet-unnamed Avengers sequel coming out next year. At least you didn’t have to wait a year for the sequel to our Tanuki Talk, right?
WARNING: WE’RE GOING INTO SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. IF YOU WOULD NOT LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT CERTAIN MAJOR EVENTS, THEN TURN BACK NOW.
Bringing Balance to the Universe
William Robinson: OK, it’s time. That final sequence… I inagine you both had a certain reaction?
Demelza Ward: I must admit that the final sequence is actually the weakest part of the whole movie for me. The problem is that while it was meant to emotionally break the viewer, it just seems far too easy to undo if you sit and think about it for five minutes. Watching more than half of our favourite heroes disappear was painful, but I think their deaths are cheapened by the fact Tony will probably fix the Infinity Gauntlet and find a way to undo it all. Because of that it also, unfortunately, feels like none of the deaths will stick.
This wasn’t helped by the fact most of the heroes did just simply disappear – it was only really Spider-Man’s ‘death’ that upset me because he did more pointedly have a scene saying he didn’t want to go. On the reverse of that I felt Bucky’s disappearance didn’t bother Captain America as much as it should have – probably again not helped by the overall pacing. I think it was very brave of Marvel to wipe out half of their characters, but ultimately because they went so far with it they ended up leaving the viewer almost convinced that this isn’t actually the end and everything will be fine – and I’m not sure that’s what they set out to do.
Demelza Ward: I think it was very brave of Marvel to wipe out half of their characters, but ultimately because they went so far it ended up leaving the viewer almost convinced that this isn’t actually the end
Josh Stevens: We all wanted the stakes to be high, but I think Demelza’s on the money about them being too high to not just be retconned away in the next film. Losing some characters along the way, like Loki, Vision and Gamora was expected, but there’s no way the likes of Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and Black Panther will stay dead – Marvel’s accountants would cry before any of us do! As I mentioned previously, Thanos taking the stone from Vision was an incredible highlight. I applaud Marvel Studios for having the balls to have a character do something so absolutely twisted. A harrowing, remarkable scene.
While Avengers: Infinity War had a depressing ending, it was necessary for Thanos to win here. If he hadn’t, we’d have no reason to care for the next film. When the movie finished, my screening was stunned into silence. Marvel Studios likes their films to inhabit genres and this really was a war movie in more than just name. I think the ending may have been too bleak however, especially for the younger viewers. Maybe even a closing scene of Cap rallying the survivors would have been a silver lining, to show that there is a plan to become the Avengers in more than just name.
WR: Yeah, it was when Black Panther disappeared that it was basically confirmed that this is being reversed in some way. No way is he gone! Also we know a sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 are coming, so unless they’re now being led by Ned and Rocket Racoon respectively as solo movies, then we are going to see characters come back. It’s interesting that they kept the original Avengers line-up alive (if Hawkeye survived, which seems likely).
Whilst Tony Stark being killed by Thanos on Titan would have been a big moment, it wouldn’t have served as a satisfying conclusion for him. His entire story has been about his repeated failure to prepare and protect the human race, and him having Peter Parker literally die in his arms at the end – and many others around him – is a really powerful manifestation of that failure. Like he says earlier in the film, he knew about this incoming threat for years, but was still powerless against it. If he can reverse this in the sequel, perhaps even sacrificing himself to do so, that could be an amazing conclusion to his character arc.
William Robinson: Whilst Tony Stark being killed by Thanos on Titan would have been a big moment, it wouldn’t have served as a satisfying conclusion for him
JS: The most impactful death for me was the one nobody expected: Spider-Man. Seeing a young boy clinging to the idol he just wanted to impress, pleading that he didn’t want to die… I wonder if that was too much? Especially given the 12A certificate and Spider-Man’s status as an accessible hero for kids. Although I fully expect Spidey and the other Gauntlet deaths to be reversed by the end of the next film.
DW: In reality, the reason Marvel hasn’t been announcing any films is because they want us to believe that someone (or many!) Avengers are dead, but like you say Will the moment characters like Black Panther, Spider-Man and the Guardians disappeared it was very obvious that they’re not staying that way – either because they have sequels coming or because they’re too ‘new’ as characters. I definitely believe that one of the older Avengers is going to die sacrificing themselves to the Gauntlet. I’m fairly certain it’s Iron Man we’ll be losing – Perhaps Pepper Potts is pregnant (which I feel the story was hinting at) and ultimately he’s saving not only his friends, but his unborn child and the boy he sees as a son already – Spider Man. It seems like a good way for his story to finally come to a close, especially considering how long it has been since Iron Man last had his own movie.
JS: “Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is going to be a great film and you know it. I must admit, for a moment I really did think that was it for Tony. Thanos’ beat down was brutal and the film making a point of making Tony lose his helmet, exposing his mortality, was really powerful. I think one of the founding Avengers taking possession of the Infinity Gauntlet is a sound idea – although I wonder if it might be Steve Rogers? His superhuman strength could allow him to better resist the strain of using the Gauntlet’s power, before ultimately killing him – making him the martyr of the war.
I think it could be Tony bearing the gauntlet, but this first part of the story was so Tony-centric, that I think the focus may shift to Steve in the next one? The real question though, is what will happen to the Infinity Stones afterwards. Will we get an Illuminati-type set-up for the MCU (hopefully with a less cringy name), or will Wanda destroy them, as Infinity War established she can do? Also, Marvel have said that the title of the next Avengers film is being withheld due to spoilers, but can it be anything other than “Avengers: Infinity Gauntlet”?
Great Plans and Poor Decisions
WR: Perhaps the only moment in the film I actually outright dislike is when they have beautifully teamed up to incapacitate Thanos on Titan, they are about to beat him by taking the Gauntlet… and Starlord, despite all his character growth over two Guardians movies, doesn’t see reason and lashes out, bringing Thanos to his senses and allowing him to hit back. That seemed out of character and forced to me, as if a reason for the film to continue was needed. I bring that up now because I think it is a perfect moment for any time rewind magic. If they can get the Time Stone, then rewinding to that moment and carrying out their plan (Spidey just needs another second, it was almost off!), then that is your fix.
JS: That moment was a weak point, yeah. Heck, why didn’t someone just slit Thanos’ throat and end it there? Forget the struggle of removing the Gauntlet, kill the titan!
DW: Yeah, I’ll agree with both of you that while the fight on Titan was impressive, Starlord not seeing reason felt forced (although I didn’t feel it was too far out of character for him, considering his girlfriend is dead). Taking the chance to kill Thanos was never really considered and I think it should have been. Josh’s earlier point about Cap being killed off instead of Iron Man in the assumption they use the Gauntlet is also an interesting point because I also think he’s an easy Avenger to get rid of now. He hasn’t had as much of the spotlight lately and I think he’s as equally finished as Iron Man is in terms of the story – although if he doesn’t get more focus next movie, then he’s almost certainly going to survive.
WR: They almost have to end those two stories, as they might risk feeling stale after this. On Star Lord; I’d agree a while back, but after dealing with his Dad in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 he should be stronger now and realise how misguided it is to strike Thanos there. Honestly, Doctor Strange is who I’m most intrigued by. He knows the one way to be victorious, and he alludes at the end that half the universe being wiped out was part of that – which includes him! I feel he has a final trick we aren’t aware of yet… That comment about being in the endgame? That may well sum up the next Avengers film.
Josh Stevens: I think more imagination could have been used when figuring out how Thanos was going to obtain all the Infinity Stones
JS: I thought Star Lord punching Thanos was stupid, but not out of character. Remember how he totally flipped out when learning that Ego killed his Mum? Both Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans have made comments implying their eras of super heroism may be up. Maybe we’ll have say, Steve Rogers dying and Tony Stark retiring? Then the next step for the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be building on the newly introduced heroes – Doctor Strange, Black Panther and of course, Captain Marvel (that post-credit tease!). I’m really excited for more Doctor Strange. Apparently, the creative team of his solo film were to hold back some ideas for a sequel, as they were deemed “too weird” for his introductory feature. Maybe we’ll see the likes of Shuma-Gorath in the future?
Another point I will make is that I found the film a bit repetitive at times. For example, Thanos bartering someone’s life for an Infinity Stone happened twice – first with Loki and Thor, then Doctor Strange and Tony. Another repetition came from both Gamora and Vision telling their respective love interests to kill them if Thanos captured them – only for said love interests to finally build up the courage, then be thwarted at the last second by an Infinity Stone. I think more imagination could have been used when figuring out how Thanos was going to obtain all the Infinity Stones.
DW: I think the problem is that Thanos is too powerful, and as he collected more Infinity Stones no one really stood a chance of standing in his way before he’d gotten to Vision’s Mind Stone. It was a shame to see the repeated plot threads with Gamora and Vision, I’d have much preferred Gamora hadn’t gone down that road and only Vision requested to be killed by his lover. Ultimately I feel as though it’s just a byproduct of the stakes being too high and having way too much to cram into one movie.
WR: As we’ve already started talking about the next Avengers film, then… The after credits scene showed both Maria Hill and Nick Fury dying as chaos was caused by half of the universe being wiped out. Nick Fury just about got time to call Captain Marvel. Between now and the next Avengers film next year, we have Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel; how do you expect those two films to connect to this massive MCU event?
DW: I’m personally of the opinion that Ant-Man and the Wasp won’t connect up at all. We already know it’s set before Infinity War and I think ultimately whatever happens in it is an easy way to not include Ant-Man (I never felt like he fitted with the Avengers anyway). Captain Marvel will be an interesting one because again it’s very pointedly set before this movie (and decades before many others, it has to be said!), but I hope that doesn’t mean the introduction of Captain Marvel is just going to be a token effort because of the fact that the sequel to Avengers: Infinity War comes soon after. It’s a shame, but I don’t think either are going to be important movies for the MCU universe as it stands.
JS: With Ant-Man and the Wasp potentially exploring the Quantum Realm, I think that could potentially explain his lack of an appearance in Infinity War. I think the content of the film will be inconsequential to the overall picture though. Imagine how painful it would be if the film’s post credit scene is his daughter fading away! It’s funny how Demelza says Ant-Man doesn’t fit into the Avengers, because Hank Pym was a founding Avenger in the comics, but considering we have tech geniuses, master sorcerers and Gods… yeah, a man who can make himself little or big is kind of out of place (albeit with more powers than Falcon or War Machine).
Captain Marvel being a prequel set 20-30 years in the past will likely limit any direct impact on the story aside from introducing audiences to the titular heroine. Perhaps if the film ends with Carol receiving Fury’s message, that could lead into the next Avengers film? I do wish the release schedule was different though. After the amazing success of Black Panther and the hype of Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp will no doubt evoke a “So what?”; especially when we’re all so anxious for the next Avengers film.
DW: I think Ant-Man has the “So what?” feeling all round. His first film is easily one of the weakest Marvel entries for me, and his character has never been as compelling to watch as, say, Doctor Strange and Black Panther, who have come after his introduction and fit right into this wacky universe.
WR: I think it’s likely that we see the other end of Fury’s message as the after credits of Captain Marvel. What’s most agonising, though, is just the whole year we have to wait for a resolution! It’s going to be long, painful, and full of clickbait YouTube videos about what will happen next. We can do it, guys!
This is the Endgame
WR: Now, though, it’s time to attempt to conclude this discussion. There is just so much to Avengers: Infinity War – we could literally talk for days about it, and most likely will after this – but I’d like to get your closing thoughts. We’ve talked positives and negatives here, but what are your overriding feelings about this film as a whole? I also would like a score on a scale of 0 of 6 Infinity Stones, please!
JS: If Captain America: The Winter Soldier was Marvel’s spy movie, then Avengers: Infinity War is, as the title suggests, Marvel’s war movie. From the opening moments, harrowing scene after harrowing scene flows as heroes we’ve bonded with for years fight for survival against unfashionable odds. In a sense, it could arguably be called “The Nerd’s Dunkirk”. It was a breathtaking experience where I didn’t know what to expect at each turn. It has flaws, however, that are exposed with even the lightest scrutiny, and whilst as an adult I liked the much darker tone, I think some elements may be upsetting for children – parents should definitely see this film by themselves first and make an informed decision before planning a family trip. I’d rate this film 3/6 Infinity Stones; keeping the Time Stone for myself to jump forward to next year!
DW: Avengers: Infinity War sets out to destroy all that we’ve come to know and love about Marvel – the heroes. How this is done is often heavy-handed and a little bit out of character for some of the cast, but undeniably it’s a fun ride. While the consequences probably won’t be as bad as the film would have you believe, perhaps the high stakes paid off in how it left the majority of us temporally speechless after viewing – and also gave us a lot to speculate over before the second half! I’d rate the film 3/6 Infinity Stones as well. It doesn’t quite match the hype and expectations I had for it, but it is a mostly satisfying way to bring together and destroy the Avengers.
Josh Stevens: If Captain America: The Winter Soldier was Marvel’s spy movie, then Avengers: Infinity War is, as the title suggests, Marvel’s war movie
WR: I suppose it’s my turn! As I watched this film, it was often thrilling watching these characters together, but there were times I was consciously thinking about how it occasionally dragged and left me looking for a bit more, as both of you have touched on. However, the more I think about this film, the more I like and appreciate what it achieved; getting to the point where there is even enough characters that killing half works as a cliffhanger is remarkable. Thanos was a great villain who had reason behind his actions, and many of the fight scenes were incredible to boot.
It will be interesting to see how our perception changes once the next film comes out. Infinity War is an event comic adapted to an event film that barely tries to fill you in- this is firmly made for those who know the Marvel Universe. Overall, I’m on a similar page of this being a superb achievement with clear flaws, but the scale of what was attempted makes me lean slightly more positive. I’ll go 4/6 Infinity Stones. As a final remark, let’s get some name predictions for the sequel!
DW: As a slightly silly but fun suggestion: “The Avengers: Those Left Standing”!
WR: I don’t not like it. I heard the idea of “Avengers: Disassemble”, which works tonally after seeing this. Let’s see what Josh comes up with!
JS: Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers have previously said that the title will be a spoiler for Infinity War, so I think “Infinity Gauntlet” may be the most obvious and logical choice; even matching the names of the two comic books arc that inspired these films (1991’s “The Infinity Gauntlet” and 1992’s “The Infinity War”). I really like the idea of “Avengers Disassembled” however, as although it isn’t a literal spoiler, it could be thematically. I don’t think I could think of a title better suited than either of those two, to be honest.
WR: Either way, it seems that now is the time for us to disassemble. I thank you both for joining me and also restraining your excitement levels during this massive spoiler chat! Somehow we came away with something vaguely structured, which is an achievement in itself. The wait begins for the next Avengers film…
Whew, that was a long one, eh? Infinity War is a monumental release and is packed with so many talking points that even this extensive Tanuki Talk can’t cover them all. You can leave your thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War in the comments below!