Jeneé Osterheldt

New 'Avengers' is so sad you'll cry infinite tears. In the dark. In fetal position

I’ve never left a Marvel film — or any superhero film — feeling like I needed a good cry.

And maybe a glass of Virginia Black whiskey. Or, as one friend told me, you just have to go home and sit in silence. Lights off.

And, in my case, curled up in a ball.

"Avengers: Infinity War" must have drunk from the Disney cup that Pixar poured when it made tear porn its mission. My eyes defy me when I think of Bing Bong and "Inside Out."

The new "Avengers" earned $95 million in 43 countries before it even officially opened Friday. It's poised to Hulk-smash box office records. I just wonder if Marvel will set aside some funds to send fans to therapy to recover from the hammer tossed into our hearts.

It's tradition for me and my friend John to see comic book movies together. We were the type of kids who would turn blankets into superhero capes. Now in a theater, we lay our burdens down. We're just two nerds geeking out on superpowers.

We normally leave the movies laughing, tumbling over each other in a tangle of arms and half-hugs as we reflect on the beauty of the little guys pulling off the impossible. See "Ant-Man." Or the over-the-top shenanigans and fun of "Deadpool." (We'll be seeing those sequels together this summer.) That's the point of superhero flicks. They make regular shmegular folk feel extraordinary. Empowered.

Not too long ago I was seeing "Black Panther" for the fourth time and screaming "Wakanda Forever." Not this time, friends.

We've been waiting years for this crossover event. The stand-up Avengers squad, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man and the royalty of Wakanda rock out with the funky bunch of "Guardians of the Galaxy" and battle Thanos the genocidal giant.

It's a two-part story, with the second installment due in May 2019. Maybe things will look up by then. But not right now.

There was no applause at the end of "Infinity War." And the wait for the usual post-credits scene was uncomfortable. Never have I witnessed a Marvel film with no afterglow. That ass-kicking high after the first "Avengers" has been crushed. This isn't like that first time I saw Gamora in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and went on a mad hunt for her action figure. Right about now I could use a Care Bear.

Our heads hung low as we walked out of Alamo Drafthouse downtown. We had heard there would be losses and this "Avengers" would be darker than the others. I imagined the doom and gloom of D.C.'s "Dark Knight Trilogy."

But Marvel never said there would be days like this, y'all.

Disbelief and grief cloaked us like sweat. Thanos isn't just a mad titan. This isn't just an infinity stones smash-and-grab kind of movie.

This film is what America looks like on our hardest days: hopeless. It is that feeling in the bottom of your stomach that eats away at your self-esteem and makes you question yourself. It is your broken heart after too many injustices.

Well, Marvel decided to slap all of our mess on the big screen. No popcorn can comfort you. A milkshake is not going to cut it. Sure, there are laughs and love. And Groot is Groot. Sort of.

Just as you can't escape an episode of "This Is Us" with a dry eye, you can't be saved from the darkness of "Infinity War."

Thanos is here. There's no running from this fight, Marvel fandom. To forge forward, we must face this movie. But bring your own blankie.

Jeneé Osterheldt is a Kansas City Star culture columnist. On Twitter: @jeneeinkc