It’s been several months since Avengers: Infinity War was released in theaters, and the dust has settled (pun intended) on the tragic string of deaths that take place in the final moments of the film. In just a couple of minutes, as well as in two clever post-credits scenes, fans around the world watched as some of the most beloved heroes of our time faded away into nothing at the snap of Thanos’ fingers.
This tragic event has become a talking point among theorists looking for clues to Avengers 4, but it remains a difficult scene for most fans to watch. Even through multiple repeat viewings, the sight of these Avengers becoming dust still sits with us. For that reason, among others, this will likely go down as one of the most memorable and well-executed scenes in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What I’ve realized after watching it a few times though, is just how different each of these death scenes makes me feel. Some continue to get more and more painful as time goes on. Others are actually kind of funny. Time has a strange way of affecting our feelings when it comes to things like this, so I thought it’d be fun to go back and see just how upsetting each of these individual death scenes actually are.
After watching the Infinity War ending a couple more times, and sniffling my way through almost an entire box of tissues, I’ve now ranked every Avengers “dusting,” in order of total sadness.
Have fun! (Also, I’m deeply sorry.)
Slide 1 of 1313. NIck Fury(Photo: Marvel Studios)Nick Fury probably would have been sad, had the character not gone out in the most Sam Jackson way imaginable. How can you be sad at the guy saying, “Muthaf—-” as he’s dusted away? It was vintage Samuel L.
In addition to the comical exit line, Fury’s dusting wasn’t all that said because it brought the hope of the future, and the tease of one of the most anticipated characters in all of Marvel.
As he said goodbye to this world, Fury sent out the message to Captain Marvel, essentially ushering in the next wave of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s hard to be sad about that.
Slide 2 of 1312. Maria HillFor a lot of the same reasons as Fury, Maria Hill’s exit wasn’t really much to get upset over. Cobie Smulders sold it well enough, but the focus of our attention was somewhere else entirely.
Not only was Maria not exactly an core character of the franchise (with her death bringing way fewer tears than Coulson’s), but everyone watching that movie couldn’t take their eyes off of Samuel L. Jackson because it was clear his actions were going to be important.
Unfortunately, Maria Hill didn’t exactly get a “proper exit,” like the other characters, but no one is really complaining.
Slide 3 of 1311. The Pym/Van Dyne FamilyIt’s definitely sad to think that an entire family got wiped out in one fell swoop, but the shock accompanied with the moment kept us from really being upset about it. The whole thing was a massive surprise, catching everyone off-guard.
The scene also wasn’t super sad because of the context of the rest of the movie. In Infinity War, the Snap was a moment that had building for the entire movie, so we all felt the weight of it when characters started disappearing. A few months later, after watching a heist comedy, the loss of Hank, Hope, and Janet was simply a “Wait…WHAT THE F*** JUST HAPPENED?!” kind of situation.
Slide 4 of 1310. Doctor StrangeDoctor Strange is a character that well all love, and no one wanted to see him go, but his farewell was another one that came with cryptic hints and promises for the future.
Unlike everyone else who died from the Snap, Strange wasn’t at all confused. He was frightened. This was all part of the future that he saw, and he knew he had to trust Tony and the other Avengers to make things right.
“There was no other way” remains an immensely powerful line, but it’s not exactly sad, either.
Slide 5 of 139. The WakandansOn one hand, watching a group of Wakandan soldiers disappear into dust wasn’t all that sad because we didn’t know any of their names. They were just bodies that helped show that the Snap wasn’t something that only happened to the Avengers who were nearby.
On the other hand, however, this scene was incredibly sad thanks to M’Baku. The pain and confusion on Winston Duke’s face really drove home the fact that there were people around the galaxy watching entire groups of people they love vanish into thin air. It was his acting chops that made everyone realize just how widespread this chaos really was, putting all of us in his shoes.
Slide 6 of 138. QuillPeter Quill’s dusting is a bit of tough one to rank here. Like Nick Fury, Star-Lord went out with a somewhat comical delivery, making it a little harder to be sad about his exit.
But Quill is also a fan-favorite character in the franchise, and losing him is a tough blow to anyone. Guardians of the Galaxy is undeniably the most emotionally-driven franchise within the MCU, so we are all naturally more attached to the characters from those movies. Quill had an incredibly depressing arc throughout Infinity War, and this goodbye was the icing on the cake.
Slide 7 of 137. SamThe sadness of Sam’s death comes completely from the context in which he’s dusted. If you recall, he’s laying on the ground, and disappears almost instantly, just as Rhodey walks by to look for him.
That sequence may not be sad on its own, but it puts things into perspective when it comes to what’s happening around the globe. Imagine having no idea anything had happened, and then suddenly fearing that your friends or family were just missing all of a sudden.
It’s a terrifying thought, and makes this sequence a lot more depressing.
Slide 8 of 136. Drax & MantisI’m going to put Drax and Mantis together for this ranking, just because their disappearance took place at the same exact time. It was almost like a joint-dismissal, if you will.
Like with Quill, the deaths of Mantis and Drax were tough to swallow because of how connected we all are to the Guardians franchise. When they were swept away, after already losing Gamora and Groot, viewers realized that the Guardians were almost all gone. That was a total gut-punch in the theaters.
It might have been even sadder if one or the other had survived, interrupting the budding love story between the two.
Slide 9 of 135. Bucky(Photo: Marvel Studios)Bucky was the first one to go, and his dusting caught everyone by surprise. Audible gasps could be heard in the theater when this sequence took place.
More than the initial shock of losing a beloved character, Bucky’s death hurt so much because he shared the moment with Steve. These two have been the greatest platonic love story in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we’ve watched them go to war with and for one another for nearly a decade. Steve having to watch his best friend fade away was a painful sight.
What made things truly gut-wrenching was the fact that Bucky called out to Steve for help, just as he was dying. Their friendship began with Bucky looking out for Steve back in New York when they were younger. The story came full circle in the last couple of movies as Steve has had to take care of Bucky, and he’s always been able to succeed in the regard. He protected Bucky from the government, the Avengers, and a twisted form of mind control.
But not even Steve could save Bucky this time, and that thought alone is enough to make any Marvel fan weep.
Slide 10 of 134. Scarlet WitchScarlet Witch is a sneaky one, as her death doesn’t seem all that sad the first time you watch it. The man she loves is gone, and now she’s going too. The end.
However, when you pay more attention to her scene, it’s a straight-up tragedy.
What makes it all so sad is looking at Wanda’s face and realizing that she had already given up on life. While she proved herself to be one of the most powerful Avengers, the love of her life was gone, and she didn’t want to exist without him. This results in an eerie, heart-breaking smile that crosses her face just as she starts to fade away.
Slide 11 of 133. T’Challa(Photo: Marvel Studios)You could argue that this scene here is what makes the entire movie work. If this sequence isn’t acted precisely as it is, the Snap doesn’t feel nearly as devastating, and Infinity War as a whole is less effective. This was the moment that brought everything together.
Luckily for Marvel, Danai Gurira is a damn fine performer.
T’Challa being killed is deeply upsetting, especially because the entire world was still riding the high of Black Panther when Infinity War was released. However, his dusting alone isn’t enough. It’s the complete and utter despair on Okoye’s face that makes it all come crashing down.
Gurira single-handedly made all of us feel her pain, and that kind of performance is incredibly rare in a blockbuster of this magnitude. Because of how she conveyed Okoye’s anguish, the world around us came crashing down in that moment, and we were all ready to be completely broken.
Slide 12 of 132. GrootGroot’s death was so hard to watch for a number of reasons. First and foremost, he had to say goodbye to his best friend and father figure. For Groot, that’s a pretty hard thing, but for Rocket it’s even worse. He already saw Groot die once. Then he raised a new Groot, only to watch him stripped away a couple of years later.
On top of that, Groot’s scene hurts so bad because it was the moment that directly followed T’Challa. Remember all that stuff I just said about Okoye’s reaction, and how it broke down all of our barriers that keep us from crying in movie theaters?
This opened the floodgates.
Slide 13 of 131. Peter Parker(Photo: Marvel Studios)Of course, the saddest moment in Infinity War, and perhaps in the entire MCU, is Peter Parker begging for help in the arms of Tony Stark.
For two movies, Peter has been an apprentice of Tony and wanted nothing but his mentor’s adoration and respect. Tony tries his best to protect the young hero, telling him to stay in New York when he leaves space. But, as we’d all expect him to do, Peter tags along anyway. Like Tony says earlier in the movie, “If you die, that’s on me.”
The set up for this death was extraordinary, leading to an impossibly painful scenario, but it wouldn’t have landed well had Tom Holland not put up the defining performance of his promising young career.
0commentsPeter begging “I don’t want to go” to the only father figure in his life is frighteningly genuine and heartfelt. He really conveys the point that he’s a teenager facing his own mortality. It comes full-circle, and the pain rises to a climax, when he looks Tony in the eye and says, “I’m sorry.” Even in death, Peter is worried about failing the one person he wants to be proud of him.
I’ve seen this movie probably a dozen times now, and I still can’t watch this moment without tearing up. I’m confident I’m not the only one.