The Intriguing Obstacles Avengers: Infinity War has Created for Marvel
The Russo Brothers Avengers: Infinity War is currently zooming into film history, already becoming the 5th largest global release of all time. This past Mother’s Day weekend saw Infinity War topping the box office for the third weekend in a row, with the second largest opening in China’s history. The film’s somber tone—and that heartbreaking ending—have not kept audiences from the theater. Yet while Infinity War has been an absolute smash for Marvel (after Ryan Coogler’s historic Black Panther broke box office records and buried, at long last, hoary old ideas about what films can, and cannot, become global blockbusters), Infinity War‘s story, especially its ending, has created a host of intriguing obstacles for Marvel going forward. Thanos (Josh Brolin) was the film’s central character, and his quest for the Infinity Stones (spoiler alert) shockingly ended in success. Now that he’s found (by force) all six stones, Thanos is virtually unstoppable. His successful quest, and the death he left in his wake, creates a dizzying array of narrative obstacles for not only the coming films in the MCU, but also the Marvel shows on TV.
One major question going forward revolves around The Guardians of the Galaxy, specifically Chris Pratt’s Star-lord. Not only was Star-lord one of the many causalities of Thanos’s finger-snap destruction of half of the universe’s population, he was, prior to that, arguably the reason Thanos wasn’t defeated in the first place. It was Star-lord who freaked out over Gamora (Zoe Saldana)’s death and ruined the Avengers plan to get the gauntlet from the Mad Titan. Considering James Gunn has already said there will be a third Guardians of the Galaxy in 2020, one assumes Pratt will be back—but even if he’s resurrected, what kind of character will he be now that the love of his life is almost certainly gone for good? This is to say nothing about the fact all of the Guardians are gone, save for Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). A grieving, vengeful Star-lord is quite counter to the irreverent, devil-may-care hero Guardians fans have come to know and love, yet there seems to be no way to bring him back without also saddling him with a serious case of the furious mopes.
Then there’s the tricky issue of the Spider-Man timeline. The teenage web slinger, played winningly by Tom Holland, is in high school during the events of both Civil War and Infinity War, with Marvel apparently going with the Harry Potter approach and having each of his films represent a single school year. Yet with all the timeline hopping and world-colliding in Infinity War and the upcoming Avengers 4, keeping Peter Parker involved without aging him well into college (or beyond) is going to be tricky.
Will Nebula take over the Gauntlet if/when the Avengers are able to defeat Thanos in Avengers 4? Will Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) somehow use the Time Stone and bring back our fallen heroes? Will Shuri (Letitia Wright) take over as Black Panther in T’Challa’s absence, creating a potential conflict if/when he’s brought back to life?
ScreenRant has identified seven serious issues that Infinity War has created for the MCU going forward. Obviously, if you haven’t seen Infinity War yet (and you’re for some reason still reading this piece), do not watch this video. One thing’s for certain—when you create a massive cinematic universe, you can and should expect an extremely high degree of difficulty in keeping all the interconnected stories not only satisfying, but sensical. Marvel has proven they can handle the load, but they’ve created an intriguingly complex path forward thanks to the epic events in Infinity War.
Featured image: Thanos’s quest for the Infinity Stones drives the plot. Courtesy Marvel Studios