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Why I Love The Tragedy of Avengers 4 Being a Definite Ending

What? I love being sad apparently

Chris Evans in Infinity War

Confession time: I love that with the upcoming Avengers 4, it will be the last time I ever see some of my favorite Marvel characters.

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That seems like a backwards statement. Favorite characters are key to the enjoyment of any media, so how can the deaths or farewells be a joyful occasion? Especially when the characters are ones you’ve come to love for years, who are dear friends to you? That’s the case with Marvel; these characters have been part of our lives for ten years. And soon, we’ll have to say goodbye.

We’ve already said a few goodbyes in Avengers: Infinity War, but for the most part the characters who vanished will come back. Loki might be gone for good, but Gamora might be rescued from the Soul Stone and everyone who turned to dust will hopefully be back one day. But we know already that Chris Evans is done with Cap after the next film. It’s likely we’ll be saying goodbye to Tony too. Maybe Bruce. Natasha gets a backstory film but we might see the last of her in the present day. Thor. Clint. All of them might be going away.

This is a painful thought, one that’s taken me a long time to adjust to. Steve Rogers got me through a year of being bullied in high school. There is probably no fictional character who means more to me than Steve, and thinking about his inevitable final bow has always resulted in tears, sad tweets, and rewatching Captain America: The First Avenger on loop. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more it makes sense and I’m happier for the journey rather than saddened by the end.

The problem with film and television is that the stories have to end at some point. Actors cannot play characters for all eternity. Worse, a miserably dragged-out finale that goes way past when the story has reached its natural end can poison the way you feel about the narrative overall.

Ever had a TV show that kept shambling forward even when there was no more story and characters kept repeating their old arcs? Oh yes, no one would want them to keep bringing these characters back when there is no more story to tell. It would sully how great they were when the narrative needed them most to bring them back for no good reason.

And while the comics can run infinitely, the movies cannot. Marvel was wise to do a contained narrative with a lot of moving pieces to build up to Thanos, because it kept you engaged for all those years and films. There were some films that weren’t as good as the others, but all of them served a purpose. There was a beginning to this story, and that makes sense that there’d be an ending for some of these stories too. If they didn’t have some sort of concrete finale they were building up towards, there’d be a lack of payoff. They need to have a climax and some closure, otherwise there would be all this tension and no release.

This isn’t to say Marvel should shutter it’s windows after Avengers 4. Moving onto a new storyline centered on characters like Peter Parker, T’Challa, and Carol Danvers and introducing newer heroes keeps the franchise moving forward and keeps that money rolling in. But now, it’s time to say goodbye to the old characters with definitive endings for their stories. Happy or bittersweet, they’ve got to move on to make room for the new guard. And if Avengers: Infinity War is anything to go by, it will be immensely bittersweet.

I love a good ending in fiction. Endings allow you to reflect on the journey that brought you to that place. To allow you both a sense of closure in the fictional world as well as a moment of reflection on how a story affected you in the real world. To pull off a satisfying ending to a multi-year story is amazing; to pull off a satisfying ending for a ten year groundbreaking franchise will be another thing all together. Marvel already nailed the first part of the story, but to see how they’ll close out the rest of the story and bring a new beginning to the MCU? That’s the kind of very rare event in pop culture that I live for.

There’s a part of me that knows that when Steve Rogers appears on screen for the last time, I will start crying and won’t stop until the post credits scene ends. I have a friend who’s going to lose it if Tony Stark dies, and honestly, if anything happens to Thor we’re both going to be a mess. But there will be closure for their stories ten years in the making, and that’s a beautiful thing. It’s like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows all over again.

It happened, and I’m happy to have been a witness to these stories, even if it’s a bittersweet happiness that they’re finally coming to an end.

Now, off to watch the Infinity War gag reel a few more times to cheer myself up.

(Image: Disney/Marvel)

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Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.

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