HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
It’s been over week since I’ve seen Avengers: Infinity War, and like most I’m still trying to piece together my thoughts about it, and reconcile how it made me feel. I enjoyed the movie for the most part, even though there are some things that I didn’t necessarily like, or don’t agree with. But at the end of the day, I think Marvel did the best they could with the story that they wanted to tell.
That being said, holy moly did a lot of people ever die.
Fan favourites who have been around since the start, new favourites who just seemed to be finding their footing…there’s a lot to unpack after seeing this movie.
FINAL WARNING. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
All we are is dust in the wind.
It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that a lot of the characters who were “dusted” at the end of the film won’t be gone forever—Marvel is not going to let that be the end of T’Challa and Peter Parker because it will hit them right in their bank account. But just because they’ll be back doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt when we said goodbye to them, no matter how briefly.
I mean, I still get emotional watching Bucky fall from the train in Captain America: The First Avenger and he came back. And that was also eight years ago.
But there are a few characters who we’re likely to never see again, and we need to make peace with that. As horrible as watching Loki get the life choked out of him was, it seemed a noble end for a character who has bounced back and forth between being an ally of Thor’s and nuisance (I hesitate to call him a villain).
With all that in mind, here are some of the deaths that hit me the hardest and left me speechless as the credits began to roll.
If either of the daughters of Thanos were going to kick the bucket by Infinity War’s end, I had Nebula pegged as being the one we’d say farewell to. And given our introduction to her, pulled apart and disassembled, yet kept alive to feel everything, to be used as pawn by which Thanos could get information from Gamora, I thought that we were going to see the end of her.
But at the end of the film Nebula is left standing, and Gamora has been long gone.
Thrown over a cliff to obtain the Soul Stone by Thanos (after revealing Red Skull has been alive the entire time and inhabiting Vormir—which received a big gasp from me), Gamora’s life is snuffed out in the name of advancing the plot. Which didn’t entirely sit well with me, especially given the reason why.
In order to obtain the Soul Stone, Thanos must relinquish something that he loves. And evidently, this is Gamora. It’s even in Gamora’s last words—“No, this isn’t love.” I think Thanos believes that he loves Gamora, it has been told to us that she’s his favourite of his two daughters. But it’s not love.
And I think that is why, in part, Gamora’s death hit me so hard.
She clearly has a complicated relationship with Thanos—and experiences guilt when she thinks that she’s killed him on Knowhere. This is the result of years of abuse at his hands—he abducted her from her home, forced her to fight, to become what she is—but he’s also been a sort of father figure to her, it’s natural that Gamora would feel conflicted about killing him. Not for a second did I believe she succeeded, but it was an emotional moment—especially when Peter Quill makes ready to do what he promised, and kill Gamora so that she doesn’t reveal where the Soul Stone is.
I like Gamora as a character, but I’m unsure if I felt her death particularly strongly because of the character, or because of the manner in which it was executed. Regardless, I felt a profound sadness when I saw her body on the ground, and was dreading the moment when Quill would find out that she wasn’t coming back.
Do androids dream of electric sheep? Are androids aware that they are capable of making me get teary eyed in a theatre?
I had rightly assumed that Vision would be one of the casualties of Thanos’s quest for the Infinity Stones. Mainly because there’s one right in the middle of his head and it seemed pretty necessary for him to, y’know, live and stuff.
What I hadn’t assumed was how hard Vision’s death would hit me. Probably because I hadn’t counted on his connection to Wanda Maximoff making it hurt that much more.
I spent the whole movie waiting for Thanos to get the Mind Stone, and for Vision to die. There is a lot of time spent trying to protect him and to get the stone out of his head in a way that won’t kill him. The fact that it took pretty well the entirety of the movie for this event, which I knew was going to happen one way or another, probably didn’t help my emotional anxiety much. Especially when there was a moment when it seemed like perhaps Thanos wouldn’t get the Mind Stone after all, that maybe he wouldn’t win.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Watching Wanda destroy the stone that is as much a part of her boyfriend as whatever he has that passes for a heart, all the while Vision tells her that it’s all right, that all he can feel is her, his last words to her being “I love you,” felt like the emotional gut punch that I spent the whole movie waiting for. It delivered. I just hadn’t thought that it would come as a result of Vision’s death.
Wanda kills her android boyfriend, and for just a moment I thought that it was over, that everything was going to be okay. Thanos wouldn’t get the last stone, and the deaths we’d seen on the screen up until that moment would be it. The remaining heroes would emerge victorious as they always do at the end.
And then Thanos used the Time Stone to bring Vision back, to rob him of the merciful and loving—yet necessary—death that he had just experienced. Thanos forced Vision to die all over again, in agonizing pain, ultimately aware that his death would bring an end to half of life in the universe, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
Not only was this difficult to watch, but it made it very clear that barring any sort of miracle, that it was very possible that this wasn’t going to end how we thought it would, and that Vision’s death would not be the last.
Once upon a time, there was a saying in comics fandom that no one really stayed dead—except Uncle Ben and Bucky Barnes. This was before Ed Brubaker brought Bucky back as Winter Soldier in a 2004 arc of Captain America. These days, it’s difficult to imagine a time when Bucky wasn’t the Winter Soldier, wasn’t cheating death at every opportunity.
He dies, or is thought to die, a lot in the comics too. Which is why I don’t think that this death will stick. Besides, Sebastian Stan has a nine picture deal with Marvel, and we’ve barely scratched the surface here.
Though we can say with a degree of certainty that Bucky will return, it doesn’t make his death any less crushing. If you even know me in a casual capacity you know that Bucky is my favourite (as is Sebastian because life gifted me this union for doing something really nice once, I suppose). So to watch him turn to dust (while wearing my Winter Soldier t-shirt, of course) had me gasping loud enough for all to hear, hands covering my mouth, where they would remain until the credits rolled, and well after.
But it wasn’t just because I felt this death particularly personally that it was heartbreaking, it was because of when it happened and the context surrounding it.
Bucky is the first hero, the first person, we see subjected to exactly what that snap of Thanos’s fingers does.
We’ve been sitting there holding our breath for a moment, waiting for the inevitable. Thanos has done it. He’s won. And half of the universe’s population is about to cease to exist. But we don’t yet know what that means, how it’s going to happen.
Then it’s happening.
For me, it was in Bucky’s last word, confused as he takes tentative steps forward, beginning to disintegrate and turn to dust. The name of his best friend. “Steve?” He says it as if Steve could save him—he certainly has before.
In a stark contrast to this, in Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve liberates the 107th Infantry Regiment from Red Skull’s HYDRA Facility in Azzano, and finds Bucky there, having thought that he was dead. Bucky’s first word (when he stops reciting his name, rank, and service number) was the same as his last—“Steve.”
In the first Captain America movie it was said with joy, with relief. In this Avengers movie it’s said with confusion, with fear.
While Bucky’s death was devastating, it was in Steve’s reaction too that I found my heart taking up residence in my throat. He says nothing, simply walks toward the place where his best friend should be, but isn’t. Steve touches the ground and then glances around, looking so completely done. He’s lost Bucky so many times before, has had to watch him die twice now. It hardly seems fair.
It’s also in Steve’s “Oh god,” that we begin to feel the full weight of all that they’ve lost.
This is fine. I didn’t need my heart.
Like there could’ve been anyone else at the top of this list.
It’s easy to forget, when Peter is trading quips with the likes of Tony Stark, Stephen Strange, and Peter Quill, saving the world and doing flips in mid-air, that he is just a boy. We saw him on a school bus at the beginning of the film for crying out loud. Though he may be an Avenger now (after an impromptu “knighting” from Tony in space), he’s a teenager, no more than 16 years old.
While everyone else obviously knows that something is wrong as it’s happening to them, Peter is the only one who feels it before it happens.
Spider Senses have pros and cons. And one of those cons is apparently knowing that you’re about to depart from this mortal coil.
Peter has watched Doctor Strange and the Guardians who are with him on Titan turn to dust. It’s no secret what’s about to happen. He knows why he feels the way that he does. And he doesn’t want to go.
When he conveys to Tony that he doesn’t feel well, I think everyone in the theatre made a noise all at once. It had become clear that Marvel wasn’t holding back the punches, we had already watched characters who we thought would survive this film die. Characters that we thought would make it out of this fight relative unscathed.
“I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go, Mr. Stark. Please. Please, I don’t want to go.”
Hi, I thought I was not okay after Bucky’s death, but after Peter’s I was severely not okay.
Terrible as his pleas to Tony are, who can’t do anything, who can’t save him, who can just hold him and offer him some manner of comfort before he dies, it’s what he says last that drives the knife in a little further.
To offer an apology because he can’t stay, or because he feels that he’s let his mentor down, I don’t know if it’s been established which it is. Perhaps it’s both. Perhaps it’s meant for us to interpret. Either way, it’s gut wrenching and I’m going to need the Time Stone so I can go to May 2019 and receive some answers post haste. It’s also made all the more heart wrenching now that it’s been revealed that Tom Holland improvised his lines in the scene. So…thanks for that, Tom.
Gamora and Vision are likely gone forever. There’s a lot of sound theories that could make for good reasons to expect them to return, but Kevin Feige insists that the deaths in Infinity War are for good. No resurrections, as Thanos so eloquently put it. (For the record, I was bummed about Loki dying too, but have kind of been expecting it since this movie was announced so I wasn’t as devastated by it as the ones I’ve mentioned above.)
While I think Bucky and Peter will return, I don’t think it diminishes their deaths or the impacts of them. Sure, we as an audience know that they’re likely to come back, but the characters left behind don’t know that. And that’s part of why these deaths hit so hard. It’s in the people that are left to deal with the fallout that we find even more sadness, the ones that they care about ripped away so quickly and there’s nothing that they can do about it but to simply watch helplessly.
The fact that we need to wait a year for answers that we all so desperately want immediately is the ultimate test of patience. A virtue that I do not possess, no matter how much Captain America suggests that I do.
And take a look at the chat Team Normal had about Infinity War below:
Written be Megan
Current Obsessions: Megan is a freelance writer from Canada, who was born on one coast and now lives on the other. Her day job is at a local research university, but she’s eagerly awaiting the day when she can focus on her writing full time. Though she’s a 90’s girl, she has an inexplicable fondness for the 80’s. She’s been watching hockey since she was in diapers, and will immediately shut down any mansplaining of the sport. She misses the snow in winter, right up until there’s some on the ground for longer than a week, then she longs for summer. Megan is a self-identified habitual ruckus causer and feminist tornado, though asking those close to her would confirm these descriptions.