Of all the shocking twists and surprises offered in Avengers: Infinity War, the Mad Titan sitting in a peaceful quiet after wiping out half the universe with the snap of a finger (with an assist from a fully loaded Infinity Gauntlet) was perhaps the darkest and least-happy ending ever for a Marvel Studios movie. You almost expected Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool to show up and proclaim the film to be a dark DC Comics movie instead.
Your experience with the ending of Infinity War was most likely affected by how strongly you follow production news from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sounds silly perhaps, but most of the gasping phone calls and texts I received from family and friends after they watched the film were from those who aren't devoted followers of all things Marvel.
Lots of heroes died. And if you thought it'd be the ones no one is really emotionally invested in (sorry, Hawkeye), you were wrong. Big-timers bit the dust. But is it worth getting emotional over? Again, depends on your devotion to movie-production news.
Perhaps the two most shocking deaths were Spider-Man and the Black Panther. Walk into the film with a blind eye to movie news and you're devastated. But the first thing I thought is, "Meh, they'll be back." The sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives in July 2019. Black Panther? His movie just made $1 billion; he's not going anywhere. But for the here and now, in the moment, their deaths are still powerful.
There are also plenty of people who walked into their viewing of Infinity War who might not have realized this is a two-part movie. Without knowing there's a sequel coming exactly a year from now, seeing Thanos triumphant and watching multiple superheroes evaporate into dust could have been quite the shocking (and confusing) experience.
And then there's the shock of who survived. The two most notable Avengers to remain standing at the end of Infinity War were Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), the duo that many outlets predicted would be the most likely to die. Fittingly, they'll have to put aside the civil war they have had against each other and come together in Part 2 to try to fix all of existence.
The good guys lost. We have no idea what is going to happen now. And don't expect this July's "Ant-Man and the Wasp" to have all (or any) of the answers. It's cold, calculated and cruel and exactly why Marvel Studios keeps getting it right with their franchises. We'll just have to trust them. They haven't let anyone down yet.
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