Everything We Know About Avengers Infinity War
After a decade of buildup and hype, the Infinity War is almost here! Everything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has led to this moment, the time when Earth’s Mightiest Heroes face off against the dread Thanos, the ruiner of worlds. We’ve already met Thanos, and we’ve even developed a bit of a crush on one of his daughters, the Guardian of the Galaxy known as Gamora. What else do we know about the threat Thanos poses to the entire MCU? Read on to learn everything that we know about Avengers: Infinity War.
How We Got Here
Everything started with Iron Man. Back before Disney owned Marvel, some enterprising executives of that company decided that the time was right for a series of superhero films. At the time, their ambitious were somehow modest AND grandiose. The idea was to create three origin story films that told the tales of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. From there, Marvel planned to unite the three characters in a superhero team-up, The Avengers.
Yes, the original plan for the MCU was four movies. That was 17 movies ago. The latest offering, Black Panther, wasn’t even up for discussion a decade ago. Today, it’s less than two weeks away from becoming the most popular comic book movie of all-time. Building an entire universe of Marvel characters was daring. It’s also one of the most lucrative business gambits of the 21st century.
Since Disney bought Marvel, they can seemingly do no wrong with the characters and products. My guess is that you’re sporting some Marvel merchandise in your home or possibly even on your person. The MCU has become ubiquitous in pop culture, and Disney’s integrated several of the most popular characters into their theme parks. So, that’s the brief synopsis of the genesis and achievements of the MCU.
What’s Going on in the MCU Right Now
But what’s happening with the characters that you love? This set of circumstances is the foundation for Avengers: Infinity War, a movie that takes place in the wake of Captain America: Civil War. In that movie, the Avengers suffered a schism and effectively broke up, leaving several superheroes in flux. Let’s take a look at a few key characters.
Thanos has made four appearances in the MCU thus far. He first appeared in a post-credits scene of The Avengers, wherein he learned that his plans to take over Manhattan had been thwarted by said Avengers. Then, he tried to manipulate a Kree warrior, Ronan the Accuser, into destroying the Guardians of the Galaxy in that film.
Next, Thanos showed up in Avengers: Age of Ultron to deliver an ominous line, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” He grabs an Infinity Gauntlet immediately afterward, one that holds, oh, about six Infinity Stones. And this is the most important aspect of the character. Thanos is obsessed with collecting all the Infinity Stones, which he believes will give him the power to enslave the universe. The MCU contains all six of these stones. You can read some of the specifics here. You may learn about several tidbits that you missed while watching the films.
The crux of Avengers: Infinity War will be Thanos trying to take the Infinity Stones from various Avengers and their associates/allies/enemies. We know from the trailers that he’ll invade Wakanda at some point. It’s even possible that the film’s climactic battle takes place here, given how much screen time it gets in the ads.
Tony Stark is a hard man to love, even though almost all movie goers love him. He’s rough around the edges, overly confident, cocky, and frankly the person every man wishes that they could be. He’s also on a break with Captain America. Yes, Steve Rogers chose his friend from the 1930s, Bucky Barnes, over Iron Man, and Mr. Stark is a bit salty about it. He did recently have a bit of good news, though. He may have gotten engaged to long-time (and long-suffering) girlfriend Pepper Potts. It depends on how you imagine the ending of Spider-Man Homecoming.
Speaking of Spidey, the character debuted in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War. Then, he earned a standalone title, the aforementioned Spider-Man Homecoming. Audiences instantly fell in love with Tom Holland in the role, and he seems likely to have a key role in Infinity War as Stark’s protégé. My guess is that he’s primarily there for comic relief, although several superheroes in the film qualify for that particular role.
Steve Rogers isn’t one of the funny ones, though. His world collapsed when he accidentally placed all of his closest friends in turmoil. Some are still in jail, which isn’t very superheroic, while others resent him for the divorce. Everyone hates it when mom and dad fight, although I’m not sure which is which of Captain America and Iron Man. All we know for sure about Captain America is that he saved…
I’m honestly not even sure if I should count him as an Avenger right now. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he was the Winter Soldier, which is to say that he that he terrorized a lot of people. In Civil War, he was the cause of the Civil War. Also, a key moment at the end of the film that I won’t reveal proved that he’s not above a little murder. Again, not very superheroic.
Something we did learn at the end of Black Panther is that the Winter Soldier is gone. In his place stands the White Wolf, a good guy who has befriended Wakandan royalty. He also appears to have some Wakandan tech in the form of a robotic arm, which makes him the most bionic Avenger.
Thor and The Hulk
When you hear the term Ragnarok, you may expect everyone important to die. Thankfully, the green guy and the Norse God of Lightning (or is it Hammers?) survived the widespread destruction. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you haven’t watched Thor: Ragnarok yet, please skip down to the next section about the Guardians of the Galaxy now. I’m about to spoil something. In the wake of their battle, they picked up a powerful new friend in Valkyrie, maintained their wary alliance with Loki, and set up a meeting with the…
Guardians of the Galaxy
One of the less heralded aspects of the first two movies is that they were set a few years before other MCU films. The plan all along was to introduce them to other Marvel characters during Infinity War. And it appears from the trailers that they’ll bump into Thor and/or The Hulk and Loki at some point. Presumably, the connection is Thanos, who seeks the Infinity Stones, one of which is likely in the possession of Loki.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have already killed an ally of Thanos, and they also have at least one of his children in their ranks, possibly two depending on what’s going on with Nebula. They seem like key players in Infinity War for myriad reasons. Don’t be surprised if they’re critical to the plot.
Black Widow and Hawkeye
When we last saw Black Widow, she had aligned with Iron Man against Captain America. She did, however, allow her friend, Steve Rogers, to escape once she understood his actions. She’s been training the newest members of the Avengers at their base, too. She should have a leadership role in this film, which resolves a sticking point among female Avengers fans who feel Black Widow hasn’t gotten enough respect.
As for Hawkeye, he came out of retirement to help Captain America and mentor the Scarlet Witch. The pre-movie comic for Infinity War AND the trailers hint that he is back to being retired, though. His presence in this film is minimal. This aspect of the film is something you should understand in advance. With literally dozens of characters in play, some will get shortchanged in terms of onscreen appearance time.
Doctor Strange and Ant-Man
In the wake of Civil War, the MCU prioritized new characters rather than resolve the fates of various Avengers. These two superheroes had standalone films in the interim. Both were well-received, but only Ant-Man made an appearance during Civil War. He fought alongside Captain America before getting his clock cleaned by Spider-Man thanks to the wisdom of that “really old movie, Empire Strikes Back.”
We know from the trailers that he’s in this film, and he stars in the first post-Infinity War film, too. I’m not sure if that means he’ll have an expanded presence in this story or whether he’ll make a cameo that sets up Ant-Man and the Wasp. As for Doctor Strange, he shows up in the trailers, and his presence seems crucial. We learned in Thor: Ragnarok that he has (had?) one of the Infinity Stones. And anyone with one of those is directly in the line of fire when Thanos gets serious about his Infinity Gauntlet collection.
Marvel rolled the dice on Black Panther. They filmed Avengers: Infinity War long before the release of Black Panther. Had people hated it, Disney would have a marketing nightmare on their hands. Instead, it’s in the discussion for most shocking box office success of the 2000s, right there with Avatar, American Sniper, and The Passion of the Christ.
Now, everyone involved looks like a genius. Critical scenes from Infinity War take place in Wakanda, and Wakanda is the coolest (fictional) place on the planet right now. Black Panther was always going to be a part of the advertising for this film, but you may have noticed that new shots include Shuri and Okoye, too. Had Black Panther the movie done good but not great, that footage wouldn’t be in the ads. Disney knows that people have an insatiable appetite for these two characters in particular thanks to their social media buzz.
And Black Panther is the most important part of the conversation about Avengers: Infinity War. A secret part of movie box office performance is that one movie in a genre directly impacts the opening weekend of the next film. The comic book movie that follows Marvel’s Black Panther is…Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. They’re going to be the beneficiaries of their own success. Disney could feasibly have two $600 million domestic performers in the first five months of the year. Heading into 2018, only six films had ever done that!
From a story perspective, we also know that Wakanda is hiding Bucky Barnes for sure. Now called the White Wolf (yes, the same as Jon Snow from Game of Thrones), Barnes is residing in the country once ruled by a man the world believed he killed. And his protector is…that man’s daughter. Also, Wakanda may have an Infinity Stone. At a minimum, someone who possesses an Infinity Stone shows up here, and Thanos follows them in order to take it. My guess is the former, but that’s pure speculation.
What’s certain is that having Wakanda as the backdrop for Avengers: Infinity War makes the film play like a de facto sequel…only a few weeks after Black Panther entered movie theaters. Think about the situation from this perspective. Black Panther just won the box office battle for the sixth straight weekend. The release of Infinity War is only six weeks away. It’s the quickest sequel in movie history. Demand for this film is at the highest possible level for Disney.
What Happens Next?
Well, that answer depends on what you mean. If you’re talking about the Avengers, we’re in wait and see mode about who lives and who dies. While Marvel producers haven’t revealed their hole cards yet, they’ve freely admitted that some characters will not survive the Infinity War…and those characters will remain dead in the MCU rather than miraculously resurrect themselves at an opportune moment.
I should warn you that some spoilers are already available online. And they’re big ones, too. Be careful when you search for information about Avengers: Infinity War. You may discover more about the film than you wanted to know.
Also, I must offer you a bit of advice. Hot on the heels of Black Panther, Infinity War is the hottest movies in the history of online pre-sales. Tickets are already selling out for some shows. Anyone who plans to watch the movie on opening weekend should buy tickets. Like RIGHT now. I would also suggest that you pay for reserved seating if possible. Otherwise, you’ll have to show up at the theater an hour early to avoid sitting in the front. You’ll want the optimal viewing experience for Avengers: Infinity War. It’s unquestionably the biggest movie release since Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
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