I will be discussing the end of Infinity War. Expect no recap but plenty of spoilers.
I have been seeing a lot of reviews online mostly on big news outlets that complain about the “cheap” ending of the movie. Those deaths (or disintegrations more like) should have been gut wrenching, except we all know that there’s a Spiderman sequel announced, and a Guardians sequel announced, and Black Panther must absolutely have a sequel after being such a cash cow…
What I don’t understand is this: Let’s say those sequels weren’t announced, and Black Panther was only a modest hit – would you have then thought that these characters were truly dead and thus felt a bigger gut punch? Are you not familiar with the first rule of comic books? (That no one ever dies. Except Batman’s parents. And in some cases, Gwen Stacey.) I don’t read comics. And I still know this. (To be fair, I did use to watch a lot of comic-book-based TV shows. And still do.)
People have been complaining about too many characters and about too many story lines and about the fact that they don’t care and about the fact that they can’t remember the significance of plot points because they’ve watched the previous movie only once. But I think these people are expecting a fundamentally different movie than the one Infinity War is.
It’s completely fine not to like it, or not to like the kind of experience it is. But it annoys me when people think it should be like a traditional movie. It’s not. It’s an experience of a crossover event just like in comic books! And it’s also a movie that targets its serious fans – that’s why it doesn’t spend any time catching you up to plot points you may have forgotten, and that’s why it relies on the audience already having an emotional connection to the characters. Usually, films have to ensure that they have mass appeal, beyond the core group of fans – but Marvel has managed to generate a cinematic universe that is so ingrained in the public consciousness, that it can afford to make a film just for the fans – and the rest can jump on board if they want to enjoy it, or just pass on it. But based on the amount of money it has already made, more people are jumping on board than not.
UPDATE (May 7): Found a much better article about the same topic but explaining it in the larger concept of “gatekeeping”.