The event known as Avengers: Infinity War is something incomparable to anything seen before. I’m not saying the hype or the level of quality is better than every movie ever made. I mean there has never actually been an experience like this from Hollywood; Eighteen films spanning over ten years leading up to a cinematic moment. The Snappening, the very name of this site, was born from this film. Thanos achieves his goal with the snap of his fingers, and when asked “what did it cost?” he replies “Everything”. This movie has a common theme throughout about ‘Sacrifice’. Almost every character in the film has to deal with the question; what are they are willing to pay. And in every character’s individual stories, the price is always too high.
Tony Stark’s Sacrifice
Last time we saw Iron Man, his life was pretty good. At the End of Spider-Man: Homecoming he was truly happy. Pepper had taken him back and obviously we see she accepted the proposal. He even has a pseudo son figure in Peter Parker, teaching him wisdom so that one day the kid can take up the mantle. But Tony pays the price of that happiness. He should have retired twice by now but he wont. Pepper and all of his friends will lose him again. He says to Spider-Man “This is a one-way ticket.” When he boards the alien space craft to save Doctor Strange he knows, or at least thinks, that he is never going to see Pepper again; he is never returning to Earth. Another sacrifice is that of admission of guilt. When Bruce asks Tony about Steve Rodgers, Tony says it’s complicated. After the events of Civil War, Tony has cut off ties with the Avengers and specifically Captain America. Stark, the ego maniac that thinks he knows everything, considers sacrificing his hubris; proving he was wrong when he signed the accords. It may not be as important as the issue with Potter, but personally it is a great detail that shows the growth of the character.
Doctor Strange’s Sacrifice
Steven Strange is not a newcomer to sacrifice. The point of his solo film was to prove that he should not spend his magic fixing his hands and instead should focus on protecting the Eye of Agamotto (a.k.a. the Time Stone). Not to mention the end of his film; he accepted a lifetime of death from the hands of Dormammu in order to protect the planet. But what I love about Strange in this movie is what he tells Stark on Maw’s ship. “If it comes to saving you, the kid, or the Time Stone… I will not hesitate to let either of you die.” Steven is a Doctor who took an oath to save people, and yet he is willing to let a child die. It’s a heavy price. Unfortunately at the end of the film he does give up the Stone. Many people think he was doing what was right, but I have a theory that the only reason he gave Thanos the Time Stone was because that was shown in the one timeline where the Avengers win.
Wanda and Vision’s Sacrifice
Ever since Age of Ultron, audience members( and fans of the comics) have wanted to see Vision and Scarlet Witch form a relationship. It was bubbling in Civil War but we finally got to see them as a true couple; Sharing a touching moment in the beginning of this film. After the first attack, the Avengers realize the Mind Stone inside Vision’s head is needed for Thanos to complete his plan. Vision suggests paying the ultimate price, his life. Obviously the Scarlet Witch isn’t going to take it lightly but this movie throws and added bonus because Wanda is the only one that can kill Vision and destroy the stone. She reacts “It’s too high a price” to which he sadly states “Only you have the power to pay it.” Now obviously they try to find another way and remove the stone without killing Vision, but plans rarely work out in this movie. Wanda pays that price and has to destroy the love of her life. I still get teary eyed when I see that scene. What’s worse is she is immediately robbed of her grief by Thanos, who reverses time and gives Vision a more violent death in front of her. The lovers pay the price and don’t even get to save the day.
This movie starts showing the immediate events following Thor: Ragnarok. Unlike the other Avengers, Thor has already lost everything. He very much-loved his mother and father, but they both died in front of him. His best friend is killed. He finally has a healthy relationship with his brother, and he dies in possibly the proudest moment the character has ever had. He is king of a dead people with no home world. All he has left is grief and revenge. So the price he has no issue paying is his own life. It is played off as a moment with a few jokes and a scene of Chris Hemsworth showing off his massive biceps, but the Star’s iris scene at Nidavellir is really important. Thor puts himself in a situation where he can very well die and he doesn’t care. If Stormbreaker isn’t made, then he wont get his revenge. If he doesn’t get his revenge then… why be alive at all. And I would say at the end of the movie, that revenge costs him. He takes his time trying to kill Thanos while the axe is in his enemy’s chest instead of ending it quick. Which is why we got The Snappening.
Quill and Gamora’s Sacrifice
The Guardian’s of the Galaxy have all made sacrifices, whether willingly or not. By the time we meet them in the film, they have really formed a full family. Drax is the dumb uncle. Mantis is the strange aunt. Groot is the child. Rocket is the asshole brother. Gamora and Peter have taken up the roles of mother and father. This film is the first time we actually see the two in a full relationship. Gamora is weirdly the moral compass of the group. Upon hearing that Thanos has begun his search for the Infinity Stones, she has to consider the ultimate sacrifice. When she asks Peter to pay the price, he agrees reluctantly. I would argue Peter and Wanda are forced to pay a harder price then the lovers they are being forced to reluctantly kill. Later in the film we see a situation where he has to do what Gamora asked of him. He pulls the trigger with tear in his eyes. It doesn’t work but he was going to make that sacrifice. A moving and hard moment to watch; which is followed by Thanos saying “I like him” as if he approves of Peter dating his daughter only after he was willing to kill her.
Wakanda is in unfamiliar territory after the events of the Black Panther movie. The solo film starts off with the country being extremely nationalist, to the point of letting people around them die just because they are not Wakandan. By the end of the movie King T’challa learns that is a mistake through witnessing the terrorist Kilmonger and what he had become when abandoned by the country. In Infinity War the country opens its walls to a group of strangers in order to help The Avengers. In doing knows it will result in the possible destruction of Wakanda. T’challa’s price isn’t highlighted as well in the movie but I think it is an important one. At the end of his solo film he says “now is a time to build bridges, not walls” and the first helping hand he extends causes many of his people to die by the hand of Thanos’ children. There is no heavier price a King can pay then the lives of his people.
Steve Rodger’s Sacrifice
He doesn’t have one. The end…. I’m serious. Captain America truly is the greatest character in this universe because of this defining moment. When Wanda and Vision are discussing the potential sacrifice of Vision in order to destroy the Mind Stone, the camera focuses on Steve. I thought this was weird at first, but he sees himself in this moment. In the first Captain America movie he downs a plane to save millions, and it cost him a life with Peggy Carter. He has paid that price before and knows it isn’t worth it. That is why when Vision says “One life cannot stand in the way of defeating him” Cap replies “But it should, we don’t trade lives.” Throughout all of the Captain America and Avengers movies we have seen this mentality time and time again. He refuses to accept sacrifice. When the U.S. Army gave up on the soldiers Hydra captured, he saved them. When Nick Fury started a program that would take away people’s freedom, he stopped it. When Tony and Bruce made Ultron, Tony uses the ‘what happens when aliens come back and we die’ excuse, Cap just says “then we’ll do that together too.” He is a shining fucking beacon of hope that all of us should aspire to live up to. I believe his soul is why he was able to hold off the Gauntlet with his own hands for a few seconds. I very much hope we get a moment of Captain America’s ideology vs Thanos’ twisted moral compass in Avengers 4.
The entire plot of the film revolves around Thanos collecting all six Infinity Stones so that he can save half the galaxy. See how I didn’t say “destroy half the galaxy.” The character actually believes he is saving lives. We are treated to a part of Thanos origin story when he meets Doctor Strange on Titan. His planet was on the verge of extinction and he proposed randomly killing off half the population in order for the rest to survive. Rightfully, his government called him a mad man. I mean he isn’t nicknamed the Mad Titan for nothing. But according to Thanos, it is just the price to pay. He already proved himself right. Gamora’s home planet was so over populated that children were starving. He killed half the planet and now the planet is thriving. Thanos doesn’t see life in the realm of the individual, he is a collective thinker. He is a believer in Utilitarianism, the suffering of some individuals is necessary for the good of the masses. Gamora calls him out and says he doesn’t really know if what he is doing is right. He replies “I’m the only one that knows that. At least I’m the only one that will act on it.” This line is what makes me think why there are so many #ThanosDidNothingWrong fans. Our planet has so many issues and yet our governments seem to do nothing about it. People flock to the idea that even a mad man killing people is more right then people allowing suffering and not even attempting to do anything to fix it.
I want to talk about a specific price Thanos pays. The sacrifice he makes for the Soul Stone. A lot of people interpreted the scene as Thanos killing the only person he loves, Gamora. Her “soul” was sacrificed in order for him to obtain the stone. I watched it very differently. I suggest that Thanos sacrificed his own soul in that scene. His love for Gamora was the only sense of humanity he had left. Thanos is a monster but he still, in his own fucked up way, cared for another person. Him needing to kill Gamora was Thanos ridding himself of that humanity. After The Snappening, when asked “What did it cost?” he replies “Everything.” I don’t think Gamora was his everything. Obviously she wasn’t or else he wouldn’t have killed her. Instead, the next time you watch this movie I want you to think that ‘everything’ means himself. What else would you call it when a man sacrifices everything that makes him an individual for a mission.
Movie watched and…….. OH SHIT AFTER CREDITS SCENE!
The Audience’s Sacrifice
This movie was hard to watch. I know many people actually didn’t like it. It deals with some really depressing thoughts. The film has abuse, attempted suicide, and torture. It makes us feel uncomfortable. When I saw it in theaters, there was a child sitting next to me that cried when Loki died. This isn’t a movie for the weak of heart. The MCU has been around for so long that the person I was the first time I saw Iron Man in theaters is dead. We as humans evolve and so should the stories we love. Very few film franchises have the ability to last this long, and if they do, they have to take risks. My favorite MCU movie is Spider-Man: Homecoming because it is fun and self-contained. But I would never want every single movie to be just like that. What the Russo Brother’s did with Infinity War was dangerous, and I think it generates an amazing film. We as an audience cannot expect every MCU movie to be the same story. We need to sacrifice being comfortable in order to keep this franchise alive. As much as I hate to admit it, Super Hero fatigue is a real possibility, and movies like this shake us around and wake us up. Do not be upset that Infinity War didn’t make you feel good. Instead feel the ugly emotions this movie forces to the surface of our brains. Appreciate that people in Hollywood care enough about us to do more than just spoon feed us smiles, colors, and Stan Lee cameos.
Movie watched and time sacrificed by: Troy Smith