People love a happy ending, and they love to see good triumph and evil lose. Or, they might like to see the bad guy win and triumph as a twist. But one thing that people don’t like to see in the movies is the loss that is, believe it or not, entirely necessary. To be honest, loss is more necessary than triumph since without the former, the latter either isn’t possible, or it doesn’t matter. Experiencing the loss of the characters on the screen is insanely tough for some folks that love to invest themselves fully in one character or another, or are invested in the entire story. The emotional impact that a loss in the movies can create is great enough that some folks can’t help but feel as though they’ve endured an actual loss that affects them in a physical manner, but as I already mentioned, this loss is far more necessary than a triumph, and there’s a simple reason why. Trying to reason with people and help them to understand that loss has to happen to experience meaningful triumph is kind of tough at times since no one wants to go through the emotional pain that loss brings.
But despite the fictional nature of the movies that people enjoy, the stories told are still crafted in a manner that makes them feel the events that are being shown on the screen, and as a result, these movies can alter the mood of the audience members. Think of it this way, in a movie that shows great loss but then shows greater triumph before the credits roll, one can almost always find themselves walking out of the theater feeling pumped, vindicated, and even validated in a way. Remember back to the third Matrix movie, when Neo and Trinity were gone, and yet their sacrifice had helped to make the world a better place. The triumph, the mending of relations between humans and the machines, didn’t exactly feel as though it was the greatest resolution, but it was a compromise that eased the sting of losing two of the best characters in the movie.
Avengers: Infinity War was a sore spot for a lot of people since, by the time it ended, Thanos had won, and many popular characters had been lost. There was the obvious understanding that they would be coming back, hopefully, in another movie, but at that moment, the MCU effectively tore the collective heart of the fanbase in two as they forced such a great loss upon the audience that people felt it like a physical blow. When Endgame came along, many people still felt a bit raw about Infinity War and were ready to see the Avengers pull out a W with a vengeance that would leave Thanos wondering what in the hell had happened. Well, it didn’t go that way, thankfully, but there were several triumphs within Endgame that people were happy to see, such as the return of the many heroes that had been lost, which led to the face-off between the Avengers and Thanos’ army that had many theaters reverberating with the approving roars of the fans.
Loss in real life is tough, sometimes even life-altering, but a loss in the movies, despite being a work of fiction, is something that can alter the mood of a person just as much, even if they don’t have any real personal stake in the story. But the loss is necessary since otherwise any triumph that is experienced isn’t complete and comes without having sacrificed anything. In just about any movie, the happy ending, aka triumph, that people are so used to and desire, only ever comes through struggle, strife, and yes, loss. By this method, a story will establish the time-honored formula that has been a part of human existence for longer than cinema has been around. The fact is that loss is one element of life, much as triumph is, as both help to write a complete tale that will mimic the human experience in such a way that people find it possible to identify one or many characters on the screen as they endure their own struggle, and eventually push through to find their own vindication by the time all is done and said.
When sitting down to watch a movie, the general idea is that people are there to enjoy the story and to satisfy their need for a pleasing tale. Many know that depending on the movie, there might be incredible losses that have to be dealt with. But the difference between one movie and the next is how well the story is told, which can indicate how much the audience will invest in the story. Those that go all-in will feel the losses that are incurred within the movie, and will typically await the triumph to come. Sometimes the formula is followed, and other times the loss endures. However it happens, there are a few different ways that losses are felt in the movies, and they’re all equally important.
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