This post contains spoilers. Don't Read anything else unless you want the movie spoiled.
Avengers: Infinity War has finally done something that I’ve been begging for many years, it took them 10 years and 127 movies to finally kill someone. At the end of the post credits scene of the first Avengers movie Thanos is introduced and is seen smiling when he’s told to challenge the Avenger is to “court death”. Since then It’s all been building to this, the moment when he’d get the infinity stones and with the snap of a finger destroy half the universe.
The best part is, he did it. He actually did it.1
The REAL best part is that people felt it. As Steve Rogers’ “Oh God” rang out in the theater the crowd was completely silent. The bad guy won? Spiderman’s dead? The Guardians except for rocket is dead? BLACK PANTHER is dead? Yup. They’re all dead.
Well, not really. A quick google search or paying attention to any of the news following the release of both Spider-Man: Homecoming or Black Panther and anyone would be aware that there’s already contracts in place to create sequels for both of those movies. The movie itself also has a number of devices it could use to undo what was done in this movie. Thanos’ use of the time stone in how he retrieved the Mind stone from Vision is a clear example of what could happen. Not to mention the ending of the post credits scene flashes the emblem of Captain Marvel who according MCU boss Kevin Feige will be the most powerful character yet. There’s a way to undo this, and it will be undone.
Still it doesn’t change the fact that it happened.
The movie was supposed to be an event. Not just another movie leading into the next one. For ten years audiences have been treated to a movie that leads to the next without anything but a few cool moments happening in between. While this movie ends with a “Thanos will return…” on the screen and pointing to an obvious undoing of it, it achieved something that no other movies in the MCU have done.
It bummed people out.
Imagine what it must have been like to watch Empire Strikes Back in the theater. I've thought about how great that would have been way too many times. At the end of the movie the Rebellion is well and truly screwed, our hero is actually the SON of Darth Vader? Han Solo is captured? And worst of all Lando isn’t that cool?! Crowds were bummed out, theories floated about how Vader couldn’t really be Luke’s father and he was just using “psychological tricks” to get in the young Jedi’s head. Overall it was a tough pill to swallow, I couldn’t have imagined what being in a theater at that time was like until I sat in the theater and watched Peter Parker say “Mr Stark, I don’t feel so good”.
Looking back at Empire Strikes Back now it’s easy to overlook what an impact the ending of that movie might have had since we already have the full picture in sight. Nowadays some go so far as to say it was obvious, but to the people living in that era it was a moment. To us living in this era this is a moment. Years from now, or really only one to be exact, this will all be undone. And the teeming masses will happily have the full roster of heroes back, Disney will be able to sell their merchandise and the MCU movies will go back to simply pointing to the next one.
For now though, let’s enjoy that something happened. That it bummed people out, but the fact that it did was a triumph in its own right. It could have been funny, it could have been weightless, it could have been cheap. It could have been half assed, or obviously stated that they’re not really truly dead and gone forever. But it wasn’t. It was sad. It was a moment. It’s our moment, for 2018. The era of leaks and spoilers couldn’t spoil the emotions of the ending of this movie for hundreds of people. “Mr Stark, I don’t feel so good” will go down for years as an emotional line just like “No,I am your father” became the line to describe a reveal in a movie.
Something finally happened in a Marvel movie, and for at least one year I’m going to pretend I don’t know there’s 400 more movies coming out after this one.