Are the Stakes in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Real Enough?

Infinity War was released to worldwide acclaim last month and has now become the fastest movie to gross $1 billion dollars worldwide, but a big criticism of the film has been that the stakes and consequences of the film don’t mean all that much going forward.


Needless to say, crucial spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follow, so if you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to be spoiled, please watch it first before reading on further.


On the face of it, Infinity War seems like several kicks in the gut for anyone who is a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With over half of the main cast wiped away by the Infinity Gauntlet, you’d have to wonder what’s in store for the MCU when so many heroes’ story arcs have been cruelly cut off before they had a chance to complete them.


However, hardcore fans will know that there’s really not that much to worry about. Spider-Man has another solo film coming out next year, while the Guardians of the Galaxy have their threequel arriving in 2020.


Both Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy have sequels coming


Doctor Strange will surely get his own sequel that will have him squaring off against Mordo and possibly Dormammu again, and it’s a pretty safe bet that Disney will make sure that Black Panther gets a sequel after all the money and critical acclaim it earned back in February.


There is also a more story-focused reason as to why the heroes killed by the gauntlet are likely to return.


As fans who have read the source material will know, the Infinity Gauntlet is just capable of resurrecting lives as it is taking them. While the likes of Loki, Heimdall and presumably The Collector will probably stay dead, anyone who was killed with the gauntlet can be resurrected using the soul stone.


This will likely be how Earth’s Mightiest Heroes win in the next Avengers film.


You can see why fans might have felt the criticism valid, once the dust settled. Anyone going into this film with knowledge of the source material and the MCU’s upcoming movie slate will be able to predict what happens next.


But try telling that to the theatre full of casual moviegoers that I saw the film with. There were murmurs when Strange crumbled, audible gasps when the Guardians fell (Groot in particular), and shocked cries of “Not T’Challa!” when Black Panther disappeared.


T’Challa and Bucky will likely return in Avengers 4


If you’re unaware of what comes next, then these twists were shocking and and landed with an emotional punch to the gut. It’s easy to forget that while we comic fans can anticipate and predict big story developments like these, the rest of the world will come into these films not knowing what to expect.


In that case, the Russo brothers have done their job. If you have only surface level knowledge of the Marvel heroes, then this twist will absolutely have worked for you. Considering how much longtime fans have obsessed and theorised about this film, it would have been impossible for the directors to craft a twist that no one could have seen coming.


It makes sense that they would instead try to shock the more casual viewers and hope that those who are more invested will reel from the emotional impact of seeing these characters crumble to death in front of their eyes.


If watching a panicked teenager disintegrate before your eyes won’t make you shed a tear, then what will?