Avengers: Infinity War Directors Discuss The Ending And Spoilers

"You have to go to very difficult places..."

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Avengers: Infinity War packed a surprising amount of punch. Now that fans have seen it for themselves, the directors Anthony and Joe Russo are free to discuss it, spoilers and all. Be warned: spoilers for all of Avengers Infinity War follow.

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The film ends with Thanos ultimately accomplishing his goal, completing the Infinity Gauntlet and snapping his fingers to halve the population of the universe. That means sudden deaths for several iconic Marvel heroes, even including major ones like Spider-Man and Star-Lord. In a wide-ranging interview with Variety, the Russos address why they went to such drastic measures. The pair said Marvel has always been interested in taking risks and surprising the audience, and part of that means subverting fan expectations.

"We do our best work when we follow our instincts and tell the story we want to tell," Joe Russo said. "We've had one or two experiences early in our careers where we didn’t do that and we learned a very hard lesson: When you try to predict what an audience wants, you're going to make mush. When you commit to the story you want to tell, it tends to have a much more resonant impact on the audience."

Anthony went on to explain that this movie needed "real stakes" to move the story forward and have an emotional impact. "You have to go to very difficult places for the stakes to feel real, for the characters to feel like they have something to lose, for the audience to feel like they have something at risk. What we're looking for in storytelling or art is emotional catharsis. And that’s not simply getting what you want. It’s getting an emotional experience that makes you feel and respond to it and energizes you on some level."

Given the confirmed sequels to Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Black Panther, though, fans have already started to predict that those stakes will ultimately be undone. It seems likely that somehow these major characters will come back. The Russos don't deny this, but they imply that it won't be simple and clean.

"I will say this: There is a real commitment on our end to the stakes," Anthony Russo said. "Yes, this is a fantasy world, and yes, remarkable things can happen in a fantasy world, but-"

"They come at an incredibly high cost," Joe finished. "For us, there will always be stakes and the stakes have been progressing from film to film. And I think you can extrapolate that they will continue to deepen in Avengers 4. Just you wait."

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