'Avengers: Infinity War' Might Be the Most Destructive Comic Book Movie of All Time

Avengers: Infinity War has been in theaters for over a month now, and has already impacted the comic book movie landscape in plenty of ways. But there just might be yet another record that the Marvel Studios epic has managed to break.

Spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War below! If you haven't seen it, turn back now.

Over the past few years, there has been a surprising amount of discourse (including on this site) on just how much damage is caused within comic book movies. Sure, The Avengers featured a pretty ghastly city-wide alien attack, something that was referenced offhand for years within the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Netflix shows. But the centerpiece of this discussion was the 2013 release of Man of Steel, a film that (for better or worse) depicted a version of Superman whose actions had some pretty major consequences.

Much of the destruction occurred around Man of Steel's third act, which saw Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) not being afraid to destroy Metropolis in his fight against General Zod (Michael Shannon). Granted, these actions weren't taken very lightly, and essentially kick-started the narrative of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Either way, the plot was seen as largely controversial, especially after years of thinkpieces about the film's hypothetical death toll and millions of dollars in property damage.

But when you look at Avengers: Infinity War through both of those lenses, when you really look at the hypothetical damage that the film's events caused, things get much more dire.

Even the early events of Infinity War - like Thanos (Josh Brolin) murdering half of the Asgardian refugees, and any damage caused by the attacks on New York and Wakanda - could potentially have a major amount of damage behind them. But it's the film's final moments, where Thanos snaps his fingers and erases half of the population, that arguably take the superhero movie genre into unseen levels of catastrophe.

While Thanos argues that his form of indiscriminate population control is ultimately for the best, the notion of spontaneously doing so in a matter of minutes creates some major after-effects. The film's post credits scene even shows this to a small extent, as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) witness the effects of "The Snappening" firsthand, before fading away themselves. In the span of thirty-or-so seconds, Fury and Hill see the event cause several car accidents, and cause a plane to crash land into a nearby skyscraper -- all on one city block.

If you apply a similar level of cataclysm to every city block, in every city, on every planet within the entire universe...things could get pretty dire. And there's a pretty good chance that that chaos could lead to some of the remaining half of the population dying, whether through accidents or starvation or just pure panic.

Comic writer Justin Jordan argued just as much in a series of Facebook posts, in which he dissected all of the different flaws that exist within Thanos' plan.

"In a real world situation, the sudden loss of 50% of the population on Earth is likely an extinction level event." Jordan wrote shortly after Infinity War's theatrical release. "The developed world really IS just a couple of weeks from starvation at any given time. It's not a huge issue NOW, because nothing that happens to us is (as yet) global. So when s--t like Katrina or what happened to Puerto Rico happens, we can move resources there. This, though? You don't have that out. And our infrastructure as a whole is not really designed for stopping and restarting."

So while Avengers' The Battle of New York and Man of Steel's The Destruction of Metropolis both have tragic consequences, they arguably pale in comparison to the scale of what "The Snappening" probably caused. Which, for better or for worse, could easily put the trajectory of the entire MCU in pretty uncharted territory.

Granted, there's no telling exactly how Avengers 4 will play out, even as early details tease heartbreaking sacrifices as Earth's Mightiest Heroes try to defeat Thanos. And unless the Avengers' success involves time travel and other forms of retconning, the heroes that remain post-Avengers 4 could be in a completely different universe - one that could very well take years to rebuild from the effects of Infinity War's end.

Do you want to see Infinity War's destruction carry over into the future of the MCU? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

3comments

Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now. Avengers 4 will land in theaters on May 3, 2019.