While Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War has obviously been aimed at celebrating the first ten years of the Marvel Comics Universe (with lovingly crafted recap video packages and retrospective-looking trailers), it’s also served a valuable purpose for the film-makers. It’s basically allowed them to run a recap on the important things we need to remember for the long-awaited movie.
This sort of movie is pretty unprecedented, with almost an entire decade of establishing work in 18 other movies, both in terms of huge, obvious narrative swatches and in tiny, easy-to-miss details. Basically, if you haven’t already, it probably makes a lot of sense to go and rewatch all of the MCU movies in the final days before the global release of the hotly-anticipated ensemble. Maybe even take notes.
But even more importantly, there are things the studio legitimately need us all to forget too: dropped balls, narrative cul-de-sacs, source material details and even entire characters in some cases who simply don’t fit the narrative any more. Sometimes, those details have been retconned out of the franchise entirely, but that doesn’t mean fans won’t immediately think back to when they were relevant and get all distracted. With the X-Men franchise, this has been done a number of times already with the timeline twists and past and future events occurring intertwined. It made for a few very confusing movies and trying to piece it all together. We are going to highlight when it mattered in the series, and where it’s at now.
Luckily though, Marvel have done their best to either bury those details or make sure we all know that they’re no longer important for Infinity War. So you just pay attention, okay?
15 That Vision Was Basically A God And Scarlet Witch Was Incredibly Powerful
When Vision first arrived in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, he was every bit the magical robo-Jesus man that Ultron seemed intent on making. He was a “pure” specimen, capable of remarkable – even unthinkable – feats thanks to the Infinity Stone that has now become his cross to bear. No power was unimaginable to him.
Likewise, when she was introduced as the literal personification of the same Infinity Stone’s powers, Scarlet Witch was a huge deal. She could warp her enemies’ minds, manipulate them and use their powers against their allies. She was basically the original Ebony Maw, before it was cool.
But now, sadly, both characters have been hamstrung consciously by film-makers who realised that both were way too powerful. With their combined powers, they could have taken on any foe, so they were made to be mentally unfit, volatile and markedly less powerful to make sure they didn’t appear to be supermen.
That’s important for Infinity War, specifically, because where they would once have been huge weapons against Thanos, they’re now likely to be cannon fodder.
14 That Tony Stark Has Extremis
At the end of Iron Man 3, Tony Stark managed to somehow reverse the Extremis “infection” that Aldrich Killian had given Pepper Potts and isolated the virus and stopping her from exploding. Rather ungratefully, this is apparently when she suggested they should probably see other people. Harsh.
Thanks to Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. we know that the virus was later used and was stabilized thanks to the Centipede program. And there’s no way Tony Stark didn’t keep a hold of some of it himself, thanks to his inquisitive scientist’s brain.
Extremis has vanished entirely from the Marvel Comics Universe, despite the fact that a weaponized version that could literally make infected enemies EXPLODE would be really, really useful against an enemy as terrifying as Thanos and the Black Order. If you could literally turn them into bombs and have done with it – with the fate of half of existence in the balance – there’s no way you wouldn’t. What an ironic turn of events to make something like this just disappear.
And even in stabilized form, using it to help allies who might be gravely injured or might require a super heroic boost would be just as useful. But there’s no way it’ll even be mentioned.
13 Jane Foster
For the first two Thor movies, there was no separating Thor and Jane Foster. They were friends, lovers, allies and they fought together, loved together and almost died together.
More importantly than any of that romantic nonsense, Foster was also the world’s leading authority on the multiverse (or the science of it), which made her a really valuable asset to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.
Well, thanks to Natalie Portman’s post-Dark World frustrations, Foster didn’t come back for Age Of Ultron or Thor: Ragnarok and it was revealed they’d split up. Thor looked glum for about 17 seconds and then fell in love with Valkyrie. End of Foster’s importance, right?
Well, no, not exactly, because multiverse theory is going to be MASSIVELY important in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel (both Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel will deal with it), so having someone as in-the-know as her on the side of good might have been pretty useful. Shame that. Unfortunately, this has also happened a few times where characters have been written out of movies too soon. Just like Xavier, played by Patrick Stewart was too quickly killed off in X-Men, and then they had to figure out a plot twist to show him in later films.
12 Why Odin had a fake gauntlet
The Infinity Gauntlet in Odin’s vault on Asgard was something of a pain in Kevin Feige’s backside after it was used as an Easter Egg before the Infinity War saga kicked off. It seemed to suggest that there was a Gauntlet on Asgard that had all of the Infinity Stones already in it, which was being protected for the good of the universe, or something.
And while it was a loose end for a while, it was tied up in Thor: Ragnarok when Hela casually confirmed it was a fake – you know, despite Feige hinting there were in fact two Gauntlets in the MCU at one point.
But that doesn’t hide the fact that there was still a FAKE Gauntlet in the vault, being treated like a real artifact.
If you explore this too much – which Marvel definitely don’t want you to because of what Hela confirmed in Ragnarok – all you end up wondering is why Odin was idiotic enough to be taken in by a fake. And there’s absolutely no way Infinity War will in any way address that fact when it comes along, so we’re just going to have to accept that Odin was not smart as well as the most powerful being in the Nine Realms for a while. Plainly, they just don’t want you to ask.
11 War Machine’s injuries
In Captain America: Civil War, the accidental grave injury sustained by James Rhodes – AKA War Machine – at the hands of Vision during the exceptional airport battle was supposed to be extremely important. It not only gave Tony Stark a more personal reason to be annoyed at Team Cap, but it also fit in with his anxiety about putting his friends (and the entire world) in danger.
Sure, it was cruel to use Rhodey as a narrative morality tale, but he wasn’t doing much else by that point.
Thanks to some excellent off-screen magic – confirmed by Don Cheadle as being down to Tony Stark’s genius – Rhodey is able to walk just as well as if his spine WASN’T horrifically crushed. Almost as if the dramatic tension built in Civil War was a huge inconvenience when it came to the Russos wanting to use him in Infinity War.
Like, seriously, shouldn’t he just be retired? Or offering his military expertise backstage like a Marvel Oracle? Nope, he’s front and center and thanks to some plot armor augmentations, it’s like his injuries never happened. This is exactly what Marvel probably wished and it appears there’s not many other ways explain it.
10 The Ten Rings
The ten rings can get pretty confusing, and most people might just look past the whole plot that surrounded it, but in the end, it was pretty important to Marvel and how everything fits together. Overall, it was a terrorist group, probably similar to the group called Hydra as you would see in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I guess we will have to see what happens.
As recently as Ant-Man, there was evidence that the terrorist group The Ten Ring was still operating, presumably under the real Mandarin figure who revealed himself in the one shot All Hail The King.
This was important not least to Ant-Man and Hank Pym but also to Tony Stark, who had basically vowed to crush them for their atrocities (even when part of it could be pinned on Obadiah Stane).
That loose end is an inconvenience to Marvel, because they really need to kill Tony Stark off (probably in Avengers 4), to herald that “fresh start” they’re looking for with Phase 4. And if he’s killed (and Ant-Man is focused on the multiverse), won’t The Ten Rings just be left to be evil in far more real terms than what’s left of Hydra?
9 That Thanos Thought He Was Working With Ultron (Somehow)
Sometimes Marvel or any production company throws things into a movie, and expects the audience not to give it any further thought. But there will always be people out there that know the series better than the directors themselves. And sometimes, there is just no plausible way to explain something practically to make it seem fitting to the overall series.
At the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Thanos was seen for his second post-credits stinger cameo as he revealed that he had the Infinity Gauntlet and was now going to “do it himself” after the failures of his minions.
Weirdly, this seemed to suggest that it was Ultron’s failure that had made him decide to “do it himself”. You know, despite the fact that Ultron wasn’t working for Thanos. Like, at all.
Presumably, Marvel will simply ignore Thanos’ brain-fart and act like the timing of that scene suggested an illogical assumption. It’s one of those issues we’re definitely not supposed to pick at and the very fact that it will definitely be completely ignored in Infinity War, will most likely confirm as much. This might annoy some viewers, but I guess they had to do what they did.
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8 Pretty Much All Of The Avengers Post-Credit Scenes
Back at the end of the first Avengers movie, we met Thanos for the first time – very briefly – but what his immediate underling said about his plan was very telling. He referred not only to “courting death” but also to “challenging” humanity, who it turned out were not the walk-overs Loki had promised Thanos and The Other.
At that point, of course, Thanos turned round with a glint in his eye, seemingly responding not only to the challenge but also to the idea of courting Death, which would have fit in with the comic book telling of Infinity Gauntlet, where he attempted to seduce Death.
Aside from him appearing, nothing in that post-credits scene matters, because it’s most been retconned from relevance.
Firstly, there will be no courting Death as Infinity War will introduce Thanos’ plan to wipe out half of existence as a well-intentioned attempt to re balance the universe. Not to get him laid.
And secondly, why the hell was Thanos already thinking about challenging humanity at this point? His only purpose at this point was getting his hands on the Tesseract, which he promised Loki the Earth for (literally), which no longer involved humanity because Thor took it off planet at the end of the movie.
There was literally no call to challenge humanity: they were an insignificant side-concern, and for someone so apparently focused on re-balancing the universe, revenge would have been an illogical side-step. Plus, he didn’t even follow up on the threat, so it’s almost like it would have been better if it hadn’t been written in at all.
7 Spider-Man’s Natural Mode
As part of Tony Stark’s redevelopment of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man suit in Spider-Man: Homecoming, he put in a Training Wheels protocol that stopped Peter from accessing all of the suits functions until he deemed him mature enough.
That wasn’t a bad idea really, considering the genius inventor had FOR SOME REASON put an Instant Kill mode in there, in case a teenager he didn’t trust to help him in the controlled environment of Avengers missions wanted to straight up murder people. It was basically included for a gag in the film, but there’s no getting around the fact that it absolutely was supposed to be a killer mode.
Thanks to Tom Holland (probably at the behest of his Marvel paymasters), the Instant Kill mode has already been turned into something else. He told one interviewer recently that it probably only meant an instant kill for all electricity in the vicinity (a pinch, to borrow from his co-star Don Cheadle’s Ocean’s Eleven appearance).
In other words, they don’t want you to think about how useful an Instant Kill feature might be against Thanos or his enemies, so just forget it, okay? This might infuriate some fans, knowing he has a weapon like that locked up in that crazy suit.
6 Hawkeye And Ant-Man’s Heroic “Vows”
Being a superhero for hire is sort of like being a doctor: once you’ve committed, you’re sort of in for life, because you’re literally the last (and sometimes only) line of defense against the worst scum of the universe. Yes, like the Men In Black.
Back before Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Hawkeye made such a pledge (though he was actually a S.H.I.E.L.D. employee too), before he retired to focus on being a farmer and presumably shooting down his corn crops with special arrows. But then, when the call came, despite concerns about his family, he jumped back into the fray to help his fellow Avengers again. Same for Civil War. When there was danger, he came. The same can be said of Ant-Man, who excitedly joined Team Cap (despite being press-ganged initially), answering the call when the world needed him. Because he’s that sort of person.
Both Ant-Man and Hawkeye will apparently sit out Infinity War because they’re family men and nothing gets in the way of being a good dad. Even when the world is literally on fire and half of everything that was once alive is now not.
We’re supposed to believe that Hawkeye would ignore that threat and stay on his farm, because his story is a “long-game.” But there’s no way a character who unretired TWICE wouldn’t do it again for the biggest threat to the universe ever. There just isn’t. It also counts for Ant-Man to a lesser extent, but he’s still a really good guy driven by his moral integrity. There’s no way he wouldn’t answer the call to protect ALL of humanity (and beyond) simply to be a good father. That’s remarkably short-sighted of him (particularly as Thanos might click her out of existence if he wins). Then where will he be?
5 That Thanos Idiotically Gave A Stone Away
Back before we knew that there was a Stone in it, Thanos gave Loki his scepter to help conquer Earth and hand over the Tesseract to him, so he could keep the delicious Infinity Stone center to himself.
Unfortunately, thanks to some retcon story-telling, it turned out that the scepter had a Stone inside it itself and in trying to get his hands on all of the Infinity Stones, Thanos somehow handed one of them over to an untrustworthy ally and lost it. In other words, he was an idiot, but nobody tell him to his face.
We’re either going to be told that it was all part of his plan or that he was duped by Loki into believing that humanity was a push-over and he’d be able to gamble one Stone to ultimately get two back. Either way, Thanos will look stupid and no amount of furious back-peddling to insist it’s part of his genius or a moment of weakness will help that.
The simple fact is, Marvel didn’t know there was an Infinity Stone in that sceptre until later and it’s just best we forget he handed it over to Loki in the first place. Especially as him being duped would cause another plothole – namely, if humanity were a pushover, why would they require a Chitauri army to subjugate them?
It’s just best we put it aside entirely.
4 That Spider-Man REALLY Isn’t Old Enough
Back at the start of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony Stark very clearly gave Spidey the brush-off when he asked him about becoming an Avenger full-time. Stark’s reasoning was that he wasn’t ready, that he was too young, that he wasn’t ever in any real threat during the battle in Civil War because Cap would never hit a kid. That he was only there, by inference, as a battle nerf and wouldn’t be ready for the big call for a while.
During the events of Homecoming, this was reiterated as Peter managed to cause a ferry disaster and generally wasn’t that great a hero – mostly because of his lack of maturity and experience. Tony was right, in other words.
Then at the end, Peter came to the same conclusion: he needed to stay at school and deal with smaller scale heroics, rather than becoming an Avenger. Because he’d definitely die or something if he did.
Apparently, in Infinity War, Spidey is no longer too young to be given an even more dangerous suit, go to space and become a full-blown Avenger. He achieves this, by the look of it, by accidentally surfing the Black Order’s donut ship right off the planet Earth, which you’d normally think would be counted as one of those impulsive, reckless acts that Tony had said he needed to cut down on in Homecoming.
Ok, so Tony did come to the conclusion that Spidey could be an Avenger by the end of Homecoming, but you have to wonder whether that was more down to a lack of numbers than him really deserving it. And it’s not like Peter shared his revelation at that point: by then, he was the one admitting he was too young.
But let’s just forget that, ok?
3 That The Nova Corps Matters
In the first Guardians Of The Galaxy, the Nova Corps on Xandar were a big deal: they were galactic protectors – a police force responsible for putting scum like the Guardians in really insecure prisons – who were eventually entrusted with the protection of the Power Stone after Ronan was defeated.
Even with a lot of their forces destroyed in the villain’s attack on Xandar, they clearly had enough power to them to be deemed a strong enough force to protect the Stone. Otherwise, the Guardians literally discovered a Stone, found out Thanos wanted it (while one of them was fully aware of his plan to wipe out half of existence) and then put it on-show with a really weak security set-up.
If rumors are to be believed, Thanos is going to brush aside the Nova Corps effortlessly and arrive at his first meeting with the Avengers and Guardians with the Power Stone already in his possession.
In other words, the supposed brilliant protective services of the Corps need to be completely ignored because they’re inconvenient to Thanos’ motivations. Which is presumably why they’ll be hamstrung the same way Vision and Scarlet Witch were, which doesn’t make much sense.
2 That Thor Had The Special Stuff All Along
Back in Thor: Ragnarok, the key central message of the final act was that Thor was far more powerful than he ever imagined and that the destruction of Mjolnir didn’t even matter because the special stuff was in him all along and he could use his powers of commanding lightning without a conduit weapon.
That also marked his final ascension to being truly worthy, which wrapped up the entire Thor trilogy nicely.
Apparently, Thor will decide that he actually does need a weapon after meeting Thanos and seeing how powerful he is. Which suggests that his life-changing revelation in Ragnarok won’t matter for more than the first thirteen minutes or so it took to end that movie and have Thanos’ ship appear in the post-credits scene.
That’s got to be a record.
Basically, Marvel doesn’t want that story to matter any more, because it makes Thor far too powerful and far too great a threat to Thanos. They need him to be spooked by his own limitations, which means an immediate retcon of what that whole revelation. This is another little facet of the series that could potentially anger some fans, because they know the strength of Thor in comparison to the villain in Infinity War.
1 The Comics It’s “Based On”
If you read the Infinity Gauntlet comic book (and the rest of the saga) and the later Infinity arc by Jonathan Hickman, you would have been extremely excited to hear that Infinity Gauntlet will be based on both of them. They’re great comics, after all.
As you should have noticed by now, Marvel Studios have no intention of purely adapting Marvel Comics source material. Instead, they prefer to appropriate the title and some small story details while taking huge liberties.
If you’re coming into Infinity War expecting any of it to be like the comics that the film-makers have expressly said it is based on, you need to forget those thoughts as quickly as possible. Because you’re just going to be disappointed when it is as unlike the comics as Civil War, Age Of Ultron and Thor: Ragnarok were. But in the end, every production has to somewhat downplay heroes strengths, otherwise they would never be able to create a proper villain for any movies. Wolverine is supposedly to be completely invincible for the most part, and even he has weaknesses. The Incredible hulk even gets tossed around a few times in the films, and so does Thor.
References: whatculture.com, imdb.com, theverge.com, sideshowtoy.com, screenrant.com
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