We're including Avengers: Infinity War spoilers, here, but if you haven't caught he movie, yet, get on that.
As it inches closer and closer to $2 billion worldwide, it's clear that a lot of people really liked Avengers: Infinity War. Marvel fans seem to be the ones most taken with the blockbuster, but the movie hasn't been wholly immune to criticisms. One of the chief complaints from fans is that deaths in the film ultimately have no stakes because some of the characters already have sequels announced. It's not an entirely off-base critique, considering people familiar with Avengers 4 have spoken out about the deaths in the movie being legitimate. Still, the Russo Brothers, for one, think that anything is possible and sequels shouldn't be used to assume what happens in Avengers 4.
Here's the thing, I think it's important to remember anything is possible in the MCU [Marvel Cinematic Universe]. Just because there's a sequel on the books doesn't mean... people become accustomed to time moving linearly in the MCU. That doesn't necessarily have to be the case. There's a lot of very inventive ways of where the story can go from here.
Avengers: Infinity War director Anthony Russo addressed the criticism of the superhero movie and how the already-announced sequels take some of the punch out of Infinity War's gut-punching ending. Does the fact that a Black Panther 2 is happening dictate that all will be right with the character by the time the credits roll in Avengers 4? Everyone at Marvel has said that the deaths in Infinity War matter and the directors are sticking to their guns. In an interview with HuffPost, Anthony Russo stated that anything can happen in the MCU and people shouldn't assume that just because a sequel has been announced that it will take place after Infinity War.
Co-director Joe Russo took that a step further, citing specific examples of how the MCU can play fast and loose with the timeline. There are four years Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Infinity War, so the announced Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 could take place during that time period and avoid the ending of Infinity War altogether.
There's four years between Guardians 2 and Infinity War. That's a long time, and a lot of Guardians stories to tell. Again, as Anthony said, don't expect everything to move forward in a linear fashion in the Marvel universe.
While for the most part, the movies have taken place in relative real time, Marvel has lately been experimenting with when the movies happen. Ant-Man and the Wasp take place before Infinity War and Captain Marvel takes place in the 90s, though, that's arguably to help set up Avengers 4 and not have to deal with the ending of Infinity War. Still, with stories like Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 and Black Panther 2, comments have indicated people were really looking forward to seeing what the future would look like for the characters, especially how it felt for Spider-Man to eventually become an Avenger and for Wakanda to really open up to the world and become a more prominent nation. Depending on what happens with the story, the effects of Infinity War could stop both of those storylines from fully fleshing out, even if sequels end up being set before Infinity War.
Regardless of the criticism, that doesn't really make Infinity War any less enjoyable, so check it out while it's still in theaters.