Despite a record-number of heroes beating the crap out of each other in 2016’s Captain American: Civil War, literally none of them died. In this 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the stakes seemed similarly high and yet, everyone lived through that, too. The pattern here is clear: MCU movies have no stakes anymore which is why both Iron Man and Captain America could and should die in Avengers: Infinity War.
Check out this video of a real-life Iron Man suit.
On Monday, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi discussed humor in the next MCU film, which is great. But what about life and death? Sure, the Marvel movies are known for their trademark witty dialogue, but good superhero stories demand consequences, otherwise, people stop caring. And while most fans are willing to go along with the suspension of disbelief inherent to most superhero movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe seems ridiculously dangerous for civilians but really safe if you happen to be a superhero. If any of these people were remotely real, someone would have blown themselves up by accident at this point. Which is why the next big Avengers flick needs to bring the danger back to fighting interdimensional evil. If we’re supposed to believe that Thanos is as badass as he seems, then there should be more than a few super-casualties.
Killing off Captain America makes a lot of sense at this point, mostly because he’s already estranged from the primary Avengers. Good old Steve Rogers is on a tragic path, one that seems unlikely to be resolved just by hugging it out with Tony Stark. Plus, having such an unflappable, moral superhero die at the hands of Thanos would bring down the house in terms of fans crying. When’s the last time you felt strong feelings in an MCU movie? You will if Cap bites it.
Though a wildly different character, Iron Man is on a similarly tragic path. The character of Tony Stark has struggled with his overly controlling personality since the very first Iron Man movie. Let’s face it, there’s no happy ending for this guy, either, which makes the idea of him dying a heroic death in Infinity War super appealing from a storytelling standpoint. We don’t want Tony to die, of course, but if it seems like the only way for Thanos to be defeated is for him and Steve to go out fighting. Which could make for the most epic ending of an MCU movie ever.
The final consideration is the fact that the MCU is introducing even more new characters than ever before. How can the new Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther truly take the spotlight if they are always in the shadow of Captain America and Iron Man? The answer is simple: If the MCU is going to move forward with its new heroes, it means some of the old heroes have to die. Plus, as the comic books have proven time and again, just because Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are gone doesn’t prevent other heroes from strapping on Iron Man’s suit or picking up the shield of Captain America.
Avengers: Infinity War* will hit theaters on May 18, 2018.
The next MCU movie, Thor: Ragnarok, is out in the U.S. on November 3.