“Stark Raving Fan” is a column about one man’s love for all things involving popular culture – television, movies, and all facets of pop culture from here to there. Of course, it’s not the kind of love that unites a group of people like a bunch of hippies. More like the kind of love someone has when they’ve blown a gasket and have something to say. After all, aren’t we all just driven mad by fanaticism sometimes?
Ye be warned – major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War lie ahead. If you tread further, you’re at fault for spoiling such a wonderfully emotional and epic blockbuster. That said – here we go.
I had to wait until the dust settled from the biggest movie to hit theaters, like, ever, before I started to process what I had just watched. God no, I don’t mean Avatar. Sorry, Mister Cameron, no one is suffering from Avengers Fatigue yet, but we are suffering from a lack of caring for anything in relation to your Avatar sequels. No, I obviously mean Avengers: Infinity War. I’ve read discussions on social media and digested a wide variety of speculative editorials across a variety of platforms. Hell, people are actually engaged in water cooler talk in my break room for once – and all about a Marvel movie! While the talk has been mostly all positive, there’s just one tiny problem. Okay, maybe it’s more of a minor grievance that people are taking much too hard.
Avengers: Infinity War isn’t a two-part story, but more of a self-contained movie. There are no tidy ornate bows. Nor are there blaring trumpets signaling victory. Most importantly – there is no conclusion. In fact, you could say we were left with a bit of a cliffhanger.
Everyone loved Infinity War, save for DCEU fanboys that thought the film was too funny, too light, and lacking real dramatic punch. (Here, take my advice – there’s the door. Clearly you’ve forgotten the disaster that is the DCEU.) Too many people took issue that the ending of the movie was not the end at all. Seeing as how I’ve warned you all above, you know I’m about to spoil the ending. If you’re still reading, you can only blame yourself for not clicking away.
Seriously folks, Thanos is the Mad Titan. He wanted all six Infinity Stones. Like a Pokemon trainer, he collected them all. (Gotta catch ‘em all! Just no fluffy cute Pokemon to contain.) He eliminated half of the universe with a snap of his fingers and with no remorse. He gave everything he had to make that decision. The sun rose across the Earth, those who remain left in complete shock and defeat-and Thanos? He basks in the sun’s glow with a simple smile. Even after the stinger in the post-credits for Captain Marvel (you bet I marked out like a fanboy!), you all clamored to know what happened. The movie was self-contained, but a plethora of questions remain. No, you don’t want to wait. You want to know right this second, because you can’t wait a year.
Hold up…wait. You all can’t just hold tight but need to know the answers now? Are you kidding me? No, of course you’re not kidding, because no one has patience these days. No one can wait for anything or for that extra-special payoff. We’re a need-to-know-now kind of people in 2018. If there’s bad news, don’t delay. Just throw us into oncoming traffic now before it’s too late! We don’t want to feel like the wait is worthwhile. No, we want to plant our faces in the windshield now!
You know, there was this miraculous answer to solving the problems of a cliffhanger back in the day. Yeah, I’ll date myself, I don’t care, all of you are probably younger than me. (Okay, well, a fair amount anyway.) We would turn off the television, first and foremost. Next we would rest our ‘wittle heinies’ on a chair, pulling on our socks and sneakers. Now, here’s the hardest part. You can’t bypass this step. We would open the door to go outside into the sunlight and we would play with our imaginations! Oh my God, can you imagine? No Internet, no online gaming, no cellphones or tablets or anything of that. None of that! We would frolic and play and scream and shout and get sweaty and worn out until our parents called for us to run on home to clean up and prep for supper.
But no. You all want the answers now. You can’t wait a stinkin’ year to feel totally appeased. Nope. Instant gratification or nothin’ at all! You’re exactly like Veruca Salt standing before Willy Wonka. “No Daddy, now, I want it nnnnoowww!”
Well, if you feel like stomping your feet and having a pity party, boy do I have news for you. No one owes you any answers. Instead, you get the privilege of going online, and bellyaching to an opaque crowd of like-minded fans who don’t care what you think. Sorry, not sorry. That’s how the world will work for the next twelve months. Marvel’s got an unflappable poker face and y’all got not leads, no tips, nothin’. Face it – as much digging as you all can do, you’re going to unearth absolutely no new information.
First of all, and your minds may explode upon learning this, but Infinity War was actually a complete movie and was never meant to be a two-parter. No fade to black, no dramatic pause nor Dramatic Chipmunk to end the movie either. Upon the Russo Brothers’ vision, the third Avengers film was a simple standalone that ended with our heroes losing. Gee, that’s happened before right? Oh yeah. Remember The Empire Strikes Back, anyone? The blockbuster sequel has a concrete beginning, middle, and end. Yes, that ending is definitely a finale. Did you see the words “to be continued” crawl on the screen anywhere, even after we see a relieved Thanos basking in the glow of the rising sun?
No. We do get the simple phrasing “Thanos Will Be Back.” Of course he will. What, is Howard the Duck going to wield the Gauntlet the next go-round to confuse our, in Thor’s words, “morons” back on Earth? Our heroes have to fix the snap heard ‘round the cosmos after all. Billions of voices were squashed as bodies faded away into ash and dust. The Mad Titan may be grinning like a total idiot now, sitting in a tent by his lonesome and feeling content with a busted gauntlet, but his story isn’t done – not by a longshot. Cap and company aren’t going to let Thanos claim triumph.
And guess what? We all won’t have to wait a year to get clues. In just two months’ time we’ll be treated to Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man & The Wasp. That’s right, even though billed as a sequel to the 2015 origin tale, this film actually is linked to Infinity War somehow. No, I don’t know how, I’m not clairvoyant. We’ll all have a better idea just how what’s left of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will attempt to undo all of the damage done. Hell, Captain Marvel (though set in the 1990’s) is due in March 2019 – just two months before Avengers 4.
Yet, none of you can wait that long? What happened? Was it the explosion of the Internet? The ability to simply go to a website and see spoiler-filled set photos? Rummage through Reddit or 4chan. Peruse rumors that have surfaced online to fuel the fires? Or can we blame lack of patience and acting like bratty children. Here, take this. It’s your sippy cup with some fruit juice.
I hate to be the town crier and bellow the bad news. There have been countless cliffhangers and to-be-continued scenarios that I’ve endured in my lifetime. Hell, I experienced two of the biggest cliffhangers in pop culture history. First and foremost there was one in 1989-that’s one I’ll never forget. Robert Zemeckis’ Back To The Future Part II was dominating the screens that summer. I remember the first time I saw that movie. Marty’s standing in the middle of the road, a monsoon soaking every fiber of his tired body. Federal Express drops off a letter from Doc Brown – but written in 1885. And the DeLorean is shot to shreds. The last scene contained the 3 dreaded words I didn’t want to hear. ‘To Be Continued.”
I bellowed into the sky after that ending. Worse yet was waiting for the answer a full year later in the summer of 1990! Same can be said for the season three finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. My God, the best season finale cliffhanger of all time aired that June evening. It was a Saturday, had to be the weekend after I got out of elementary school for the summer. The Borg were coming – and they were coming from Captain Picard. My God, they got him. My God, they turned him into a fully-functional Borg. The crew on the bridge look on aghast, their fearless captain now a pawn of the Borg. Riker’s famous last words to end that episode was simply, “Fire.”
And then I waited a whole summer- three painful months of agonizing and torture. Those beautiful bastards running Star Trek: The Next Generation knew what they were doing! Going to the pool didn’t help. A vacation up north to New Hampshire couldn’t distract me. I tried everything I could to forget, but I couldn’t. Nowadays, none of you have that sort of excruciating pain you must endure to satiate your curiosity. No, you go right online and there are your answers. Why wait for the payoff?
I applaud everyone who made Infinity War such a testament to what a blockbuster film should be like-The Brothers Russo, Kevin Feige, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, the cast, the crew and everyone. They’ve kept some of the film’s greatest secrets quiet all the way up until this point. Now, they’re all back in lock-down mode again until the marketing juggernaut begins towards next May’s cataclysmic finale. No idea exists of who the cast is, where the film picks up, or how they’ll be able to fix all the wrongs that Thanos has completed in his warpath. You know what?
That makes me feel damn good that I need to wait to find out. In fact, it puts a smile on my face.