Avengers Infinity War : Cliffhangers, Cliches, And Character Arcs (Spoilers)
[Spoilers; Yeh been warned]
Do not read the article if you have not seen the film. Instead… Run!
I saw Avengers infinity war yesterday.
What can only be described as a heartbreaking and daring climax, Avengers have defied the expectations of the audience, including mine. I knew that this film will involve a lot of deaths and several founding members (Hemsworth, Evans Downey Jr) and their Marvel contracts have expired.
I kind of assumed that they will meet the dust. But, in a shocking and WTF moment, the deaths happened to be, not one or two, but half of the Avengers who represent the future of Marvel. My father who accompanied me to watch the film said, “what the hell did we just watch? What happened?”. If the directors wanted the audience to ask that question or if they wanted the fans to fell hopeless in terms of future then they have succeeded. Now, if you have read the comics then you will know all possibilities of how the story can go on. The cast list of the Avengers 4 according to Wikipedia shows that all the characters, including the ones who died before Thanos snapped his fingers will show up.
As far as the movie is concerned, the plot related to the infinity stones are carefully developed with the previous films. Unlike DCEU, MCU took time liberty and patience to develop the story-line, by giving space for each character and their relationships. Nothing can beat MCU and the way they have outlined the franchise in the past decade. When you look at this film, everything is a continuation of the previous films. From Captain America civil war, Guardians of the galaxy 2, Thor Ragnarok, Doctor Strange, and Black Panther. Dr Strange has the time stone while Vision’s life depends on the mind stone. We have seen glimpses of all the stones in Thor Dark world, Guardians of the galaxy etc.
At the end of the movie, after pretty much disposing everyone in his way with his might, Thanos gets all six stones and he snaps his finger. Mind you, despite his invincibility, the Avengers almost had him at two occasions; when iron man and group held him while they tried to take the gauntlet off but Star Lord’s breakdown over Gamora’s death messes the plan and second occasion is when a newly charged and powerful Thor stabs him in the chest. Thanos simply states the obvious, he should have gone for his head.
When Thanos snaps his finger, half the population including the avengers die. Personally, I am not at all surprised or anxious about their futures because of the cliches and the obviousness in the second movie. I have few theories related to the same, though I might be wrong and Russo brothers indeed took a daring decision in terms of sticking to the deaths and the future of the MCU stops here.
Superheroes dying and then coming back to life is a cliche that has been used a lot. Elektra dies in Daredevil movie but he resurrected in Elektra movie. Daredevil dies in Marvel’s defenders but the end gives away a cliffhanger where Murdock is shown to be at a hospital. Batman vs superman dawn of justice kills Superman after just giving him one movie’s worth character development but lo and behold, he is back in Justice league! In the teen titans animation series, Raven’s father Trigon uses Raven as a portal to destroy the world. But Raven herself is resurrected and she uses her power to reset the world. Hollywood should quit using the “back from the dead” cliche. It is just ludicrous and it is one of the reasons why my heart is not broken *smirks* after the climax of this movie. Or I stopped being a fan of this genre after seeing too many cliches and less inclusion rider. Or the cast of Avengers 4 kind of gave away that suspense, not even Russo Brother’s blunt interview could convince me otherwise. It is quiet obvious that the characters will be resurrected, unless we see it for sure in Avengers 4. Unless Superman’s death in Batman vs superman, here we do get a sense of hopelessness and that is because of the buildup of the franchise.
Here is why I believe so…
In the comics, several Avengers does indeed die and in one of them Thanos himself brings them back to life. But let us discard the comic book angle of the same. Let us discard the fact that Marvel announced Guardians of the galaxy 3, Spiderman 2 and that Black Panther is the most profitable superhero currently.
Thanos has six infinity stones, three of them being “soul”, “reality” and “time”. Avengers infinity war ends with Nick Fury giving out a code red distress signal to the one we identify as Captain Marvel. So, I guess Captain Marvel will show up in the Avengers 4 and use Thanos’s gauntlet after defeating him. Time stones can reset and bring all the characters back. As long as the time is stone is alive, the characters are not actually dead. We saw that with Thanos and Vision in this movie. Or since there is a soul stone, the comics does mention soul world. So half the population did not really die, whereas they just entered the soul world. We see the glimpse of soul world when Thanos speaks to a young Gamora. The working of the gauntlet can explain it. The alternate reality in evolving time and space but powerful enough to cover the universe.
Dr Strange uses the time stone to peek at different possibilities he looks at 14 million different possibilities and in his own words, they win in only one. Strange probably did not reveal the plan where they win or the plan always involved him surrendering the stone to Thanos and let Thanos win. Just before disintegrating, Dr Strange says, “There is no other way”. Which means that the plan where they win involves letting Thanos have the upper hand. Probably the founding members of the Avengers along with Captain Marvel being alive means, Thanos’s defeat.
Above all, if you have seen the first trailer for the movie, this moment from the trailer is not there in the film.
In the film, Hulk literally refuses to come out and the reason for the same is not fully explained. Here the Banner has evolved into the Hulk! And Black Panther and Falcon are alive, so the moment could be from Avengers 4?
Despite the cliches behind the effectiveness of the film’s cliffhanger and the excess use of CGI, here are moments I liked from the film. Except the Hulk, everybody else have their character arc. Star lord at one point was ready to kill Gamora to prevent Thanos from getting the soul stone. That gives a new angle to a goofy yet charming hero. He took a tough decision and showed his way of keeping his promise. We saw the same with Scarlet Witch who kills Vision before Thanos resurrects him with the time stone. After witnessing her brother’s death in Avengers age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch’s soft side is pretty much down and she could take tough decisions. Gamora, however could not sacrifice her sister.
The best character arc is definitely Dr Strange’s. Strange at the beginning says that he will protect the time stone with his life and that he will sacrifice his opponents if it means to protect the stone. But then, when Iron man’s life was in danger, Strange gives up the stone to Thanos. Strange understands the meaning of saving a life. That moment turned him from a anti-hero to a super hero. A real hero.
If my theory is right and if Dr Strange’s vision where the avengers win involves letting Thanos have the stone, then it means that he did foresee his death and Strange was ready to take the bullet for the others who could save the universe. I am glad that the movie gave more depth and time for Benedict Cumberbatch as he always nails it and make the screen lively and sequence where he has one on one fight with Thanos is done well. We saw how the most powerful folks could not hold back Thanos and they were like feathers before his gauntlet’s powers. Yet there is this one moment where Captain America holds back Thanos by blocking and holding his punch with his bare hands.
Until that moment I was never really a fan of Captain America. But that moment gave a whole new angle to the character. There have been many theories as to how he was able to do when other powerful folks couldn’t? Well, Captain America is the most determined character from the Avengers. He has the ego, he is flawed but he won’t give up just like that. That moment showed that Captain would pick a fight with Thanos despite being half his size and knowing that the odds might be against him. We see a glimpse of surprise on Thanos’s face, maybe he does respect Captain America’s determination after all. It is like the old saying, one moment can change everything.
Thor is the one character who shined in this movie. He got the best superhero entrance since Wonder woman in BVS. 😀
Black Panther and Spiderman could not have their moments like the rest. How come Black Panther’s suit’s nanites did not absorb the kinetic energy from Thanos and redistribute the same?
When it comes to women, Scarlet Witch had a solo fight with Thanos and it could be bad-ass combined effort if she could team up with Dr Strange in the future films. Feminism and inclusion rider became a thing since the success of Wonder woman and Black Panther. The ending showed that the future act belongs to a woman. Hopefully, Marvel will stick to their promise and give Black Widow her own movie and a platform. She barely had her say in the movie despite being at the top cast bill. I was glad to see Shuri in the film, her fate is not clear but it will be nice to have her in the suit in future films. Gamora had the most screentime. Is that it for her, assuming that pre-snapping deaths will be maintained?
On behalf of the fans, I would like to point out how disappointed I am that there was no “no shit Sherlock” joke when Dr Strange and Iron man were on screen together. Tom Holland himself expressed that he wanted to bring the joke in.
So, Marvel fans… chill out. A cliffhanger means hope. And to the ones who have seen this a lot, welcome to the club.
And to ladies out there, the future is female. *toast*
Featured image: comicbook.com