Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War is a celebration of the first ten years of the Marvel Comic Universe, but it has also served the purpose of letting the filmmakers remind fans what exactly the important things are that they need to remember.
This unprecedented flick has nearly an entire decade of establishing work from 18 other films that all had huge narratives and often easy-to-miss details. If you haven’t already, it would probably be a good idea to go back and watch all the MCU movies before you see the latest film – treat it as a refresher course – and take some notes.
But even though there are a lot of things that you need to remember before buying your ticket for Infinity War, there are quite a few details that the studio needs you to forget – dropped balls, narrative cul-de-sacs, source material details, and sometimes even entire characters – because they don’t work anymore. They no longer fit the narrative.
There are instances where they have retconned some of those details, but it still can be distracting for fans. The X-Men franchise has done it numerous times via timeline twists and intertwining past and future events, and it has resulted in some confusing movies when you try to piece it all together.
With Avengers: Infinity War being one of the biggest movies in the history of the world, it is time to take a look at some of those confusing events in the series, and what it all means now. Marvel has done their best to bury some things to make it clear that they are not important anymore, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go back and look. Just be sure to pay attention.
15 War Machine's Off-Screen Magic
The accidental grave injury sustained by James Rhodes – AKA War Machine – in Captain America: Civil War during the airport battle was supposed to be extremely important. The injury, which came at the hands of Vision, gave Tony Stark a more personal reason to have an issue with Team Cap and it fit in with his anxiety about putting his friends (and the world) in danger.
It may have been cruel to use Rhodey as a narrative morality tale, but at that point he wasn’t doing much else.
But now, thanks to some off-screen magic, Rhodey can walk just as well as if his spine was never horrifically crushed. It almost seems like the dramatic tension built in Civil War was a huge inconvenience for the Russo’s when it came to them wanting to use him in Infinity War.
It would make more sense for him to be retired or a more behind-the-scenes character. But, instead, he is front and center because of some plot armor augmentations, and it is like his injuries never happened. And, that is probably what Marvel wished because there’s not many other ways to explain it.
14 What Do We Know About The Ten Rings?
Most people tend to just look past the Ten Ring and the plot surrounding it, but is important to Marvel and how everything fits together. The ten rings can get pretty confusing, but overall it was a terrorist group similar to Hydra, like in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
As recently as Ant-Man there was evidence that 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 only to Ant-Man and Hank Pym, but also to Tony Stark, who had vowed to crush them for their atrocities.
But this is a loose end and a huge inconvenience to Marvel because it is time to do away with Tony Stark to get that “fresh start” they are looking for. And, if he is gone and Ant-Man is focused on the multiverse, the Ten Rings would be left behind to be evil in greater terms than what is left of Hydra.
13 Where Is Extremis?
Fans will remember that at the end of Iron Man 3, Tony Stark stopped the Extremis “infection” that Aldrich Killian gave Pepper Potts and isolated the virus in order to save her.
We also know, thanks to the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., that they later used and stabilized the virus in the Centipede program, and Stark had to keep some of it because his inquisitive scientist’s brain wouldn’t allow otherwise.
So why has the Extremis vanished entirely from the Marvel Comics Universe? Clearly this could be very useful as a weapon should it fall into the wrong hands. Being able to infect enemies and make them explode would come in super handy when battling formidable foes that need to be taken down immediately.
And, in its stabilized form, you could use it to help injured allies or provide a super heroic boost. But, Infinity Wars won’t even give it a mention.
12 The Disappearance of Jane Foster
Jane Foster and Thor were inseparable in the first two Thor movies. They were friends, lovers, and allies who fought together and almost died together. But, in addition to their romance, Foster was the world’s leading authority on the science of the multiverse, and that made her a valuable asset to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.
But thanks to Natalie Portman, Foster didn’t return for Age of Ultron or Thor: Ragnarok, and writers explained in the script that she and Thor had split. He then appeared to be upset for a few seconds before falling in love with Valkyrie. So, that means Foster isn’t important anymore, right?
Not really. Multiverse theory is going to be massively important in Infinity War and the upcoming sequels Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel, so having the top Multiverse theory scientist on the team would have been useful.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing has happened before – writing characters out of movies too soon. X-Men’s Xavier (Patrick Stewart) was gone way too fast, and that led to writers having to figure out a plot twist to explain his appearance in later films.
11 Odin’s Mysterious Gauntlet
So, everyone knows about Odin's infamous gauntlet and have wondered since its presence in the movie what kind of purpose it would serve. Many have suggested that the gauntlet should be the center of attention because it possessed the Infinity War, hence why Odin is so particular about keeping it safe so that it doesn't fall in the wrong hands.
Now we all gasped when it was revealed in Thor: Ragnarok that it was indeed fake. So what's going on? Did Odin know? Or was he gullible enough to believe that indeed that was the real artifact in his possession? This seems like a massive inconsistency in the MCU universe because Odin is not a foolish character, so why is making a Loki move here? It might be that Odin was not as smart as we all thought, which is really kind of a tragic thought. But it can also be that there is more to the gauntlet that meets the eye, and Odin knew all along. We just have to be patient and see how this storyline unfolds.
10 Thanos Was Somehow Working With Ultron?
There are times when Marvel, or any production company for that matter, throws things into a movie and then expects the audience not to think anymore about it. But, there will always be people out there who know the series better than any director or writer. And sometimes, there is just no way to explain something to make it fit into the series.
At the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron, audiences see Thanos in his second post-credits stinger cameo as he reveals that he had the Infinity Gauntlet and was going to “do it himself” after his minions failed. That seems to suggest it was Ultron’s failure that made him decide to take matters into his own hands, despite the fact that Ultron wasn’t working for Thanos.
Marvel will presumably just ignore that all together and act like the timing of the scene suggested an illogical assumption. It is one of those things that we just aren’t supposed to pick up on, and Infinity War completely ignoring it confirms that. This might annoy some fans, but there really wasn’t any other way to go about it.
9 Spider-Man's Instant Hurt Mode
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, part of Tony Stark’s redevelopment of Peter Parker’s Spider-Man suit was that he put in a training wheels protocol that stopped Peter from accessing the suits functions that he wasn’t mature enough to handle. It wasn’t a bad idea, considering that the genius inventor had put in an Instant hurt mode that would allow him to straight up murder people.
They included it basically as a gag in the film, but there is no denying that the suit was supposed to be in that mode.
But thanks to Tom Holland, we know they have turned this mode into something else. He revealed in one interview that it was probably meant to pull in all electricity in the vicinity (like a pinch, from Ocean’s Eleven).
In other words, Marvel doesn’t want you to think about this Instant hurt mode feature and how he could use it against Thanos or any other enemy. It is best to just forget it. But, that is infuriating to some fans, knowing that he has such a powerful weapon locked up in that crazy suit.
8 Hawkeye's Relationship To Ant-Man
Being a superhero for hire is pretty much a life-long commitment. You are literally the last (and sometimes only) line of defense against the worst scum in the universe. Hawkeye made a pledge before he retired to focus on being a farmer, so when he got the call to help his fellow Avengers once again, despite his concerns about his family, he jumped right back into the fray. In Civil War, when there was danger, he came.
Ant-Man did the same thing when he excited joined Team Cap and answered the call when the world needed him.
But now, both Hawkeye and Ant-Man are sitting out of Infinity War because they have families, and nothing gets in the way of being a good dad. Even when the world is literally on fire and half of everything in the universe is now dead.
Fans are supposed to believe that Hawkeye would ignore the biggest threat the universe has ever seen and stay on his farm. It makes no sense because he un-retired twice already, so he would absolutely get involved this team.
To a lesser extent, this also counts for Ant-Man because there is no way he wouldn’t answer the call to protect all of humanity. Being a good father is important, and he is a good guy driven by his moral integrity. It seems to be incredibly short-sighted for him to sit this one out, especially since Thanos could click his daughter out of existence.
7 Remember When Thanos Gave The Stone Away?
Before we knew that there was a stone in it, Thanos gave Loki his scepter to help conquer Earth and then hand over the Tesseract to him, so he could keep the Infinity Stone center to himself.
But, thanks to some retcon story-telling, it turns out that the scepter had a Stone inside, which meant that Thanos had handed over one of the stones to an untrustworthy ally while attempting to get his hands on all of the Infinity Stone. Basically, it was kind of an idiot move.
However, now filmmakers are trying to convince us that this was all part of a big plan or Loki duped him into believing that humanity was a push-over and he could gamble one Stone to ultimately get two back.
But either way, Thanos will look stupid and no amount of back-peddling to convince audiences it was part of his genius will help that.
The fact is, Marvel didn’t know there was an Infinity Stone in that sceptre until later, so it would just be best if we all forgot that Thanos gave it to Loki in the first place. Especially, since being duped would cause another plot hole – if humanity were a pushover, why would they require a Chitauri army to subjugate them?
6 The Power of Vision and Scarlet Witch
Vision first arrived in Avengers: Age of Ultron as a “pure” specimen who was capable of remarkable – sometimes unthinkable – feats because of the Infinity Stone. He was a magical robo-Jesus with unimaginable power.
Likewise, Scarlet Witch was a huge deal as the literal personification of the Infinity Stone’s powers, and could warp her enemies’ minds, manipulate them, and use their powers against their allies.
But filmmakers have consciously decided to dial all of that back because both characters had way too much power. Together, they would have had the appearance of supermen who could have easily taken on any foe, but that had to change. Now, they are mentally unfit and markedly less powerful, which is a big deal in Infinity War because they would have been powerful weapons against Thanos instead of expendable soldiers.
5 That Spider-Man Is Kinda Young
At the beginning of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony Stark clearly gave Spidey the brush-off when he asked about becoming a full-time Avenger. Stark’s reasoning was that Peter was too young and wasn’t ready. He also said that Spidey was never in any real danger during the battle in Civil War because Cap would never hit a kid. Instead, he was just there as a battle nerf and it would be a long time before he was ready for the call.
Homecoming reiterated this as Peter managed to cause a ferry disaster and wasn’t yet a great hero because of his lack of maturity and experience. In other words, Tony Stark was right. Then, at the end, Peter came to the same conclusion – he needed to stay in school and focus on smaller scale heroics. Because if he tried to be an Avenger, it would most certainly result in his death.
But in Infinity War, Spidey is no longer too young and has a more dangerous suit. He is old enough to go to space and become a full-blown Avenger. He apparently achieves this by accidentally surfing the Black Order’s donut ship right off of Earth, and one would think that would be one of those impulsive, reckless acts that Tony said he needed to cut down on.
So, did Tony actually come to the conclusion that Spidey could be an Avenger at the end of Homecoming? Or did he just get the promotion because of lack of numbers? By the end of the film Peter himself even said he was too young. It’s best to just try and forget all of that.
4 The Nova Corps
The Nova Corps on Xandar were a big deal in the first Guardians of the Galaxy. They were galactic protectors and eventually entrusted with protecting the Power Stone after the Guardians defeated Ronan.
Even when the villain’s attack on Xandar destroyed a lot of their forces, they clearly were a strong enough force to get the task of protecting the Stone. Otherwise, the Guardians literally discovered a Stone, found out that Thanos wanted it (with one of them being fully aware that he wanted to wipe out half of existence), and then gave it a weak security set-up.
However, it seems that now Thanos effortlessly brushes aside Nova Corps and arrives at his first meeting with the Avengers and Guardians with the Power Stone already in his possession.
So, we must ignore the most brilliant protective services of the Corps because there are inconvenient to Thanos’ motivations. It’s the same way filmmakers hamstrung Vision and Scarlet Witch, and it really doesn’t make any sense.
3 Thor Actually Had The Upper Hand
The key central message in the final act of Thor: Ragnarok is that Thor was far more powerful than he had ever imagined, and the destruction of Mjolnir didn’t really matter because he had the special stuff in him all along and he could use his powers of commanding lightning without a conduit weapon.
It also marked is final ascension to being truly worthy, and it wrapped up the trilogy rather nicely.
But now, apparently Thor decides he does need a weapon after meeting the powerful Thanos, which suggest his life-changing revelation in Ragnarok only matters for the few minutes in between the end of the movie and the appearance of Thanos’ ship in the post-credits scene.
That’s got to be a record.
It looks like Marvel doesn’t want that to matter anymore because, once again, it makes Thor too powerful and too big of a threat against Thanos. Instead, his limitations must spook him, which means an immediate retcon of the whole no-weapon revelation. This could potentially anger some fans because they know the strength of Thor in comparison to the Infinity War villain.
2 Origins Of The Comics
If you have ever read the Infinity Gauntlet comic book (and the rest of the saga) and the later Infinity arc by Jonathan Hickman, you were probably excited that the Infinity Gauntlet would be based on both of those great comics.
But, it is obvious at this point that Marvel Studios has no intention of purely adapting the comics source material. Instead, they prefer to appropriate the title, include some small story details, and then take huge liberties.
If you go into Infinity War expecting any of it to be like the comics that filmmakers have said it is based on, you need to get those thoughts out of your head immediately. Just like Civil War, Age of Ultron, and Thor: Ragnarok you will be disappointed if that is your expectation.
Every production must somewhat downplay the strengths of our heroes, otherwise they would never be able to create a proper villain. For the most part, Wolverine is supposedly invincible, but even he has weaknesses, just like Thor and the Incredible Hulk.
1 Avengers Infamous Post-Credit Scenes
If you can think back to the first Avengers movie, that is when we met Thanos for the very first time – albeit briefly – but it is what his underling said about his plan that was very telling. He talked about “courting death” and “challenging” humanity, and Thanos turned around with a glint in his eye, seemingly responding to both the challenge and the idea of courting Death.
That would have fit in with the comic book telling of Infinity Gauntlet where attempted to seduce Death.
But, aside from him appearing, nothing in that post-credits scene matter and they have retconned most of it from relevance. There will be no courting Death, and instead Infinity War introduces Thanos’ plan to wipe out half of existence to re-balance the universe.
Also, why was Thanos even thinking about challenging humanity at that point. His only purpose then was getting his hands on the Tesseract, which he promised Loki the Earth for, and which longer involved humanity because Thor took it off the planet at the end of the film.
There was never a call to challenge humanity. It was an insignificant side-concern and revenge would have been an illogical side-step for someone so focused on re-balancing the entire universe.
References: whatculture.com, imdb.com, theverge.com, sideshowtoy.com, screenrant.com