Infinity War: What to Know Before You See It

Potential spoiler alert for most Marvel Cinematic Universe movies (including Black Panther and Infinity War) ahead!

 

On April 27th of this year, one of the biggest movie events of all time is coming to theaters. Avengers: Infinity War, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, is sure to destroy previous box office records if its pre-sale numbers are anything to go by. This is not surprising, considering the fanfare surrounding it and the number of characters involved in this undertaking. Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, has admitted to there being around 76 different characters within the film. A lot, especially since we only know of 34 that will sure to make some sort of an appearance. So, with all those characters, and it being the third in the Avengers series, it’s safe to assume that there are things you need to know beforehand to be sure you’re not left confused on the big day.

 

To better understand how monumental this movie really is, let’s take a quick look back at where the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, all started. On May 2nd, 2008, Iron Man made its North American debut. Not only was Robert Downey Jr.’s career arguably riding on the success of this movie, as he was  deemed a high risk hire, but Marvel Studio’s ambitious plans were as well. Things turned out better than expected, though, with the first Iron Man movie grossing $585.2 million worldwide. This set something in motion that no studio had ever attempted before: an interconnected series of films (over a period of time) all leading up to one big event. 17 movies have since followed Iron Man, the most recent being Black Panther, which already grossed over a billion dollars in less than a month.

 

So, if you don’t have the 38 odd hours it takes to watch all 18 movies before Infinity War drops, what’re the ones you should prioritize? It’s hard to say, obviously, since we’ll need to see the movie before we know which of its predecessors are the most vital for its story. It’s safe to assume though, that watching the first two Avengers, as well as Captain America: Civil War, are a must. Include the movies that introduce any of the Infinity Stones, and you’re probably pretty well off. Not including post-credit scenes, this includes: Captain America: The First Avenger (Space Stone), Marvel’s The Avengers (Mind Stone), Thor: The Dark World (Reality Stone), Guardians of the Galaxy (Power Stone), and Doctor Strange (Time Stone). But, if you just want a crash-course, look no further!

 

Source: Twitter

 

So, what’s an Infinity Stone? It wasn’t until Guardians of the Galaxy that they were more thoroughly explained when the Collector (Benicio Del Toro) revealed that “…before creation itself, there were six singularities, then the universe exploded into existence and the remnants of this system were forged into concentrated ingots... Infinity Stones.” It was well before this though, that the Infinity Stones were actually introduced. So far, we’ve been shown the Mind Stone, Reality Stone, Power Stone, and Time Stone, leaving the Soul Stone left as an unknown.

 

The Space Stone

Source: Marvel Studios

 

Thor showed us the Tesseract in a post-credit scene, and it was then further explored in Captain America and The Avengers. The Tesseract is important because it’s a container for the Space Stone. It’s hard to say what any of the Stones’ exact powers are since the MCU, unfortunately, hasn’t set strong parameters for what they can and cannot do. What we do know about the Space Stone, though, is that it can teleport its wielder to any location and is immensely powerful when adapted for weaponry. It was last seen in Asgard, but we do see Loki holding it in the Infinity War trailer and Thanos (Josh Brolin), the main antagonist of the film, attaching it to his Infinity Gauntlet.

 

 

The Mind Stone

 

 

Source: Marvel Studios

 

The Mind Stone was brought into play during The Avengers, housed in Loki’s scepter. It’s what gave Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson) their powers and was eventually used to bring life to Ultron (James Spader) and Vision (Paul Bettany). From what we’ve seen, it brings sapience and sentience to inanimate things as well as giving its user the ability to control minds, amongst other capabilities. As for where it resides, it’s currently with Vision, right on his forehead, though that looks like it’ll change as the Infinity War trailer strongly suggests that the Stone will be forcibly taken from him.

 

The Reality Stone

 

 

Source: Marvel Studios

 

The Reality Stone first made an appearance in Thor: The Dark World in a vessel known as Aether and is explained as being able to “change matter into dark matter” by Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Its last known location is the Collector’s museum, which we get a better look at in Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s in this aforementioned movie that we’re also introduced to the Power Stone.

 

The Power Stone

 

 

Source: Marvel Studios

 

This Stone was held in the Orb obtained by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in the beginning of the film and, as shown throughout, has the ability to give its wielder immense and devastating power. It also can’t be held for long without killing the one holding it, giving us insight as to why the Stones need containment units in the first place. As for where the Power Stone is now, it was last in the Nova Corps Vault but, like the Space Stone, it’s since been revealed to be in Thanos' possession.

 

The Time Stone

 

 

Source: Marvel Studios

 

So, with two out of the six Stones with Thanos (Space and Power), two left up in the air (Reality and Mind), and one unknown (Soul), that just leaves the Time Stone. Currently, it’s in the Eye of Agamotto with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as seen in his titular movie and the new trailer. It has the power to manipulate time on small and large scales.

 

The Soul Stone

 

As for the Soul Stone, it’s hard to say where it is for sure. Promo material and merchandise have given us hints, strongly implying that Tony Stark and/or Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) have it, or at least will at some point in the movie. It’s this merchandise, and scenes in Black Panther, that strongly hint the Stone is actually in Wakanda, having arrived in a Vibranium meteor. As for what it does, we can look to the comics for clues. From what they tell us, it’s able to give the bearer the ability to manipulate souls, trap them in a different world, and even take others’ powers. To increase the stakes even further, in the tie-in comics, “Avengers: Infinity War Prelude”, it’s revealed that this Stone could “be the biggest threat of them all.”

 

Who is Thanos and why is he so important?

 

 

 

Source: Marvel Studios

 

He’s essentially the ‘final boss,’ if you will. It’s his goals that have driven many elements and events in the MCU. If it wasn’t for him, Loki wouldn’t have launched his invasion and Tony Stark wouldn’t have created Ultron, to name a few. So he’s definitely important, especially with the screenwriters of Infinity War, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, stating that “this is Thanos’ movie.” But where have we seen him before? If you’ve kept up with the movies, you would’ve first seen him in The Avengers during a mid-credit scene. He’s appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and was mentioned in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, unsurprising since he’s tied to the backstory of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). His spaceship is also seen at the end of Thor: Ragnarok.

 

What does he want?

 

From what we can gather from trailers and past movies, Thanos’ goal is “to wipe out half the universe,” and he is willing to bring untold destruction to reach his goal of “balancing” it out. Driven by his “amoral” philosophy with “understandable motivations and emotions,” Thanos will do what he feels he must to reach his objective. Which, unfortunately, seems to include taking out some of our favorite heroes, since the screenwriters were given the okay to kill whichever characters they wanted.

 

How is he going to try to pull this off?

 

There’s not too much we know about his plans just yet. What we do know is that he has the left-handed Infinity Gauntlet which, as the name implies, is able to hold the Infinity Stones. This gauntlet is what gives the wearer the ability to channel the Stones’ power. If it looks familiar, you may have seen it in some of the other MCU movies, the most recent being Thor: Ragnarok in a scene involving Hela (Cate Blanchett) in Odin’s vault. It’s here that we see what looks to be the Infinity Gauntlet, though it may be  a replica or even the second (right-handed) gauntlet. If the gauntlet isn’t already enough to worry about, we also have four new baddies to watch out for. Known as the Black Order: Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian will all be joining Thanos in his quest. The trailers have given us a glimpse of these characters, particularly Ebony Maw in the newest one, and let’s just say, it’s not looking good for the Avengers.

 

 

Source: Marco Grob/ Marvel Studios

 

So here we are, 10 years and 18 movies later, ready to have our minds blown as we watch some of Marvel’s most recognizable characters try to stop the mother of all villains. Will the movie live up to the hype? I guess time will tell, but I hope so. If not, at least we can still sit back and be wowed with amazing action sequences and special effects while hoping against all odds our favorite doesn’t bite the dust.