After 18 films of build up over a decade, and years of anticipation, Avengers: Infinity War has finally arrived – you can read our Bertie’s excellent review right here. Thanos still demands our silence, but it’s no spoiler to say that by the time the credits (and the inevitable post-credits stinger) have rolled, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been completely turned on its head.
Still, the show must go on: in fact, the MCU’s head honcho Kevin Feige apparently has another decade’s worth of storylines already planned. So what could happen in the aftermath of Infinity War? Well, after we collectively got our breath back, we sat down to process what we’d just seen.
Be warned: this article contains MASSIVE spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, so do not read past the dancing Baby Groot if you haven’t seen the movie.
Where Were Hawkeye & Ant-Man?
Everybody’s favourite bow and arrow expert has been conspicuous by his absence in the majority of the marketing for Infinity War, but we were surprised to see neither hide nor hair of him in the film itself. Equally of note was the fact that Ant-Man, another post-Civil War fugitive, also proved a no-show.
A blink-and-you’ll miss it line reveals that the pair are keeping a low profile for the sake of their families, hiding out far away from the reach of Thanos. Hawkeye is on the run after Captain American busted him out of prison at the end of Civil War, but there’s lots of evidence he’ll be back for Avengers 4: the folks at Digital Spy found an image of Jeremy Renner dressed in the garb of Ronin, an alias used by Hawkeye in the comics.
We’ll probably get the lowdown on Scott Lang’s whereabouts when Ant-Man and the Wasp hits cinemas later this summer, but there’s another reason to be curious: reports that Emma Fuhrmann has been cast as Scott Lang’s daughter, Cassie. The fact that she’s older than the current actor, Abby Ryder, has led to waves of speculation that Cassie (and maybe her dad) will be getting into some time-travel shenanigans in the near future. That might well come in handy considering the dots that need to be joined between the end of Infinity War and Captain Marvel’s upcoming ’90s origin story.
SO. MUCH. DEATH.
We always knew that not all of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were going to make it out of this one alive. Still, that didn’t make it easier when Death came a-knockin’. As far as opening moves go, Thanos’ attack on the Asgardian Ark was a doozy. Not only did Idris Elba’s badass warrior Heimdall fall to the black order, but – as many suspected – Loki finally met his end at the hand of Thanos himself. The God of Mischief’s faked his own death before, but sadly we don’t think there’ll be chance of a resurrection this time around.
Even more heartbreaking was the death of Gamora, thrown into a pit by Thanos as a toll for the final Infinity Stone; a soul for a Soul. Not only was it shocking that one of the Guardians of the Galaxy bit the dust, it proved just how far the Mad Titan was willing to go in his quest for the Stones. Given how heartbroken Peter Quill looked when he found out, it’s fair to guess that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be a lot less light-hearted than its predecessors.
On the flip side, the one person we were surprised to see still standing by the end was Tony Stark. As the starting character of the MCU (and the one who’s undergone the most development), sacrificing himself to save the Avengers would have been a fitting end for Iron Man. Likewise, we had money on the rest of the original big three (Captain America and Thor) meeting their end, but all three were still standing at the end. Maybe that’s appropriate considering…
Thanos Actually Wins
Almost from the outset, we’re aware of how high the stakes are. If Thanos gets all six Infinity Stones, he can wipe out half of all life in the universe just by snapping his fingers. And he does it.
There’s a click and a flash of bright light, and heroes that we’ve grown to know and love over the last decade start disappearing. Bucky, Groot, Star Lord, Drax, Mantis, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange – they’re all gone in a moment. And in the film’s closing moments we see the Mad Titan, surveying his work with a smile on his lips.
To be honest, we couldn’t believe it. The last three in particular are the freshest recruits to the MCU with sequels all confirmed or strongly rumoured. Is this really the last we’ll see of Tom Holland as Spider-Man? Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Strange? Or Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther?
This is not how superhero movies are supposed to go. Sure, we all know that things that will be set right by the end of the next Avengers film; after all, Peter Parker met his end on Titan, but we know Spidey’s due a sequel in 2019. But for Marvel to leave things on such a cliffhanger takes a whole lot of chutzpah. It’s on a par with the ending of Empire Strikes Back: our heroes (the ones that are left) are scattered across space, with no hope in sight.
O Captain, My Captain
After the most downbeat credits sequence of any Marvel movie so far, the Russo brothers give the knife one final twist. We get a glorious short cameo of Nick Fury and Maria Hill, before the Infinity Gauntlet’s power takes them too. But before Fury blows away on the breeze with a final line only Samuel L Jackson could deliver, he has time to get out one last message – and the logo on his pager suggests he was calling Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel.
We know that the upcoming Captain Marvel movie will be set in the ’90s, with fan favourite Agent Coulson making a welcome return to the MCU after his time in the TV wilderness. Not only is this an excuse for some banging wardrobe and soundtrack choices, it’ll hopefully provide some explanation as to why one of Marvel’s more powerful superheroes has been AWOL this whole time. Just saying – she’d have been very useful in the Battle for New York. And now, she may be the only one who can save the Avengers…