The ending in LotV could be handled a lot better, and does not feel very well thought out (in addition to retcons), but I'm a sap for it anyway. Even though Gradius has a point that it feels undeserved.
But to me an undeserved bad ending is FAR worse. One of the most crushing ones I've ever seen is the ending of the Continuum series. A lot of people seem to like it, because maybe "we learn that's not how the world works" as you said, but to me it feels as though a world that uses up a person and throws them away like they mean nothing does not deserve to be saved.
I'd avoid getting involved in works like that, as well as "shoot the shaggy dog" stories that are both crushingly depressing and ultimately pointless, but unfortunately it's impossible unless you wait for them to finish first and subject yourself to spoilers. Needless to say, hardly ideal.