Yes, yes, I know I’m late to the party, but look I don’t see a lot of people with my argument so I might as well share it. What’s my argument? Simply put, Infinity War does work as it’s own film despite the fact that it was originally pushed as a two part film. I get that technically the film is setting the stage for the next, but putting aside rumors of the next part starting up a few years in the future, I’d argue this movie ends the story it set out to tell.
The most common argument I see regarding why this can’t hold up on it’s own is due to the next movie likely undoing all deaths found in this. A fair point, but here’s my argument, undoing the mistakes/actions of prior films don’t negate the impact of a film. Yes, seeing Spider-Man, the Guardians (maybe not after the controversy there) and whoever else get revived means their deaths are no longer permanent, but when you’re in the moment the emotion will always be there. What makes us all cry varies of course, but I’d argue for most of us the main things that will get us crying are the visuals, the performances and our personal attachment. I am no stranger to comics, I *get* that no deaths are guaranteed permanent here, I understood most of these characters would come back, but that doesn’t matter, I felt hurt seeing characters I like get hurt, that’s what matters. However if Marvel decided to end it here, which would be really cruel, it’d still be a fitting end.
“It sets up future stories” Sure, but it also doesn’t if you think about it. The main points brought up are of course Tony’s dream, Doctor Strange’s vision, as well as the post-credits scene. Tony’s dream only alludes this as a possibility, that could be ignored and read as part of his tragic life, wants something simple like a kid, but can’t due to his constant need to fight. Doctor Strange’s vision of one victory against millions in losses is the one that most hints we need another part of the tale, but that too could read as tragedy. The heroic sorcerer sacrifices his stone for a shot at winning, but it fails. It honestly wouldn’t even surprise me if whatever we see in the next film turns out to not even be Doctor Strange’s vision of victory. Finally, the post-credits scene, I barely count it for the film. This may differ for some, but normally I don’t think post-credit teases into account when judging a film, especially Marvel films since we already know those are there to promote other films. Simply put, the post credits scene here doesn’t affect the main film, aside from speculation there’s not even a guarantee it affects the next if we find out Captain Marvel has also been killed.
You know what’s the biggest reason this film’s ending works as it’s own thing? It ties up the important loose ends of the story. Thanos believes he’s right, he believes he must kill half the universe in order to avoid destruction of the entire universe, he’s wrong in thinking it’s the only way, but that doesn’t matter because it’s right to him. By the time we understand him we know Thanos is determined to see his “righteous” goal to it’s end, no matter the burden. He’s every tragic hero doing the right thing not because they want to, but because they believe they need to, except Thanos is definitely wrong because his right thing is an extreme idea that is never backed up with proof beyond his word. Seeing this satirical approach to the idea of a hero sacrificing his happiness to better the world is the point. Right from the beginning he goes on about destiny arriving, that despite the desire to win, our heroes can’t because it’s his mission in life to win in this particular struggle. Naturally, our heroes fight, prepare and devise ways to end his plan, but they fail, because they all bicker over a plan of action, whereas Thanos has had a clear one from the beginning, one his assistants are also clear on. Half the universe dies because that was the goal, the heroes are forced to witness their loss, as mentioned in the beginning, they’re forced to accept loss over not working together, while Thanos sits proudly for the sunset as he mentioned earlier. There’s nothing we technically need to see, we just want to see more because we don’t like seeing our heroes lose. It could end there and it’d make sense, the heroes lost over their differences, the villain won for being more thought out, he carries out his crazy idea, celebrates his win, while the heroes are all lost, facing the disappointment of loss that was promised in the beginning. Tragic, but it understands the idea it’s putting out, the fear of someone not understanding they’re destructive over the goals they seek to accomplish. Thanos’ story is complete, there’s no awkward cliff-hanger, no moment where the heroes suggest they’re ready for another fight. It ends with our villain winning, which is not a call for a sequel, , but an understanding of the themes presented.
Can the heroes come back? Sure, but seeing the movie fulfill what it’s set up is not something to ignore. The heroes lose, hopefully they all learn how to win for the next movie, but if there’s no other films after this it would still makes sense, this movie is a complete story that just happens to be a small part of the next. It doesn’t end with Thanos missing a stone, or just leaving with no reveal of what he does, it ends with him fulfilling his plan, what that means for our heroes is easy enough to be interpreted by our own logic without a direct sequel
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Written by Octaviano Macias