Avengers: Infinity War is not for the weak of heart.
[Warning: The following includes major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.]
The first half of MCU’s first grand finale is a hard lesson in the value of not getting too attached to a comic-book movie character whose fate is never certain. Infinity War claimed the lives of most superheroes, even grounding newcomers like Spider-Man or Black Panther into dust from Thanos’s disintegration attack. Watching them perish is hard to sit through and, even though it’s likely that most of these heroes will return in the still-untitled Avengers 4, the emotional distraught is visceral.
Infinity War’s devastating ending is especially felt on Tumblr, where friendships and communities based around these heroes blossomed over the years. Some of the site’s most popular MCU accounts have become beacons of light in a dark period.
Kat is the owner of two Tumblr accounts: a personal channel and an Infinity War countdown that, in the aftermath of the movie’s surprises, has morphed into a dedicated page for communal mourning. Kat is relatively new to Tumblr, joining the platform in 2017 at her friend’s urging, but told Polygon she’s been a hardcore MCU fan since 2015. She, like many other Tumblr users, became obsessed with ‘shipping different characters, but admits her OTP will always be Black Widow and Hawkeye (which she hopes was spared since he didn’t appear in the film).
Her time spent on Tumblr, obsessing over Marvel’s adored superheroes, helped build the excitement leading up to Infinity War. Now, Kat said, the Tumblr community, between gushing over what they loved, ranting about what they hated, and going deep on Avengers 4 theories, is helping her cope with the loss of her favorite superheroes. Like Spider-Man, seen in the two-part comic below, trying to cope with the realization he’s dying.
“I think people have been dying just as much as I have,” Kat said. “I see a lot of people crying together on here. I’m even in a group chat, and for like the first day we all just sobbed about Infinity War. There’s been a lot of memes and theories, [and] I really like how active they are. I’ve seen a lot of fan art and edits that were really amazing, and hit me right in the feels.”
The fan art includes elaborate memorials, honoring the fallen victims of Thanos’s war. Spliced images and GIFs tell a heartbreaking story of a fight 10 years in the making.
Logging on to Tumblr and scrolling through people’s pictorial cenotaphs, each unique and celebrating the fandom around the movie, is a big deal to Kat. Loss is a universal feeling. We’ve all been in Kat’s position at one time or another, flocking to our self-made communities online where we can openly obsess over the things that we love; especially if those interests are things our local friends don’t want to spend their entire evening talking about.
Having those types of communities for something like Avengers: Infinity War, a movie that instills emotional duress in diehard fans, is crucial in the days and weeks that follow.
“It’s really nice to have people that share your interests — or obsess over it as much as you — and being able to talk about it with them,” Kat said. “I find most of the content on here so I wouldn’t know as much about marvel if I didn’t have Tumblr. I can freely express my thoughts about it on here, too, since I don’t really have anywhere else to do it.”
Kat’s not alone in the way she finds solace in the community built around Infinity War. Tumblr user “Ms MCU,” whose real name is Melvin, has created some of the best Infinity War memes and posts since the movie was released. They understand that some people might look at the Marvel fandom on Tumblr and scoff at people openly weeping about the movie’s big losses, but after obsessing over characters for a decade, every loss is difficult.
“From an outside perspective, it might sound quite odd to mourn about fictional characters, but since Marvel has built up these characters in the past ten years the fandom definitely feels more attached to them,” Melvin said. “I mean we’ve basically known them for a few years now! So I think everyone had a reaction to the deaths in the movie.”
Peter Parker’s death is one of the most popular topics within Tumblr’s Marvel community. A tribute post to Peter that doubled as a theory really hit them hard.
“One post where someone mentioned that Peter Parker’s death lasted a longer time than everyone else’s because of his ability to heal quickly like, ‘Wow, that lowkey hurt me,’” Melvin said. “I think being on Tumblr we get to see the fans’ interpretations and theories more often and that really made the movie more than it seems sometimes. Tumblr has become a creative outlet that I sometimes enjoy more than some other social medias.”
Notorious for congregating fandoms and allowing their creative talents to both celebrate and make fun of the very things they’re obsessed with, movies like Infinity War give Tumblr a deeper purpose, being there when the community really needs to rely on one another to help process what they’ve just seen. The connections that are made in the best of times are heavily leaned on in the worst of times.
“Being on Tumblr lets you see all these theories, and its really interesting,” Melvin said. “[It] makes the movie much better than i first took it as.”