I’m sorry this blog about Avengers: Infinity War is so late after the premiere. I needed the therapy.
Jokes aside, by now it’s no spoiler to say that the last installment in the MCU was quite dark. After seeing this movie riddled with death and destruction end on an impossible cliffhanger, I stomped out of the theater like a little girl having a tantrum (I’m not even kidding). Knowing that I’d have to wait at least a year for a full and viable conclusion to this story that seemed to end halfway through, right at the point in the arc I refer to as “The Abyss,” I was ready to blow.
To be fair, of course, I should have known from the moment the opening credits rolled without the Avengers theme music.
It wouldn’t have made the experience any more comforting to have known how it would go. All the losses of important characters – and some of the more tragic experiences of those left behind – were something I couldn’t stand without some kind of justification for it all. The bad guy accomplished what he set out to do! Our heroes have suffered heavy losses and now face the burden of carrying on through the fallout! How can we as fans possibly move forward when we are right in the middle of the story?
As a writer and a self-aware fangirl, I know at the end of Part II we will get a real conclusion, so that is some consolation.
More importantly, I know that it was a great move on their part to leave us hanging. One of the reasons this type of ending resonates so well with audience members (despite how much we protest it) is because this is one of the fundamental experiences of human existence. Arguably the deepest darkest fear living inside all of us is the sense of being left high and dry – of being left behind.
Fans who are old enough to appreciate these movies fully recognize this. Our experiences in the real world tell us over and over life is short, things don’t always work out the way they should, and sometimes the bad guys win. Having to figure out how to get back up after we’ve been beaten down and keep fighting the good fight is something we know all too well. That’s part of the reason why we run to fictional experiences – entertainment gives us some small escape from the endless parade of evils that plague our world, and reignites our abiding hope.
Christians aren’t exempt from this, either – not even the earliest of us. When Jesus died on the cross and was buried in the tomb, the apostles were justifiably terrified. They scattered and hid. They went back to their old lives. They doubted everything they believed about Jesus. At the darkest hour, they were afraid and alone, and left without a (tangible) leader.
Little did they know (or at least, little did they understand) there was something unbelievable coming to them: the Holy Spirit.
In describing this previously incomprehensible comfort, Jesus told them, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). He explained that His Spirit, the Spirit of the living God, would indwell them – and all who believe in Him, even thousands of years in the future – and they would never be left alone. Later, after He was resurrected and just before He ascended into heaven, He reaffirmed this by saying, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Luckily for us, we aren’t stuck in a world like we saw in Infinity War. Instead, the presence of our infinite God has been promised to us – even when it seems like we’re mired in a universe that’s been half-vaporized, or locked into a story that has no satisfying ending. We have not been left behind to carry on alone. That is a comfort that will stand the test of time.