I went into this movie with a mixture of nerves and hope — hope that all the hype leading up to this would pay off. Needless to say, this film is a massive action packed journey from start-to-finish that a decade couldn’t even prepare you for until you witness the story come to fruition yourself.
Brace yourselves, spoilers are coming.
The Beginning of the End
A huge theme in Infinity War is family. That might sound dull for a war film considering it’s a reoccurring narrative we’ve seen from the MCU, but this iteration tests the bonds of our heroes relationships to extremes we have never seen, let alone expected, with stakes higher than anything conceivable.
We open to the wreckage of the Asgardian ship with Thanos and the Black Order having killed what seems like all onboard. There’s no sign of Valkyrie. Heimdall uses the last of his energy to jettison a bi-frost channel which sends Hulk crashing down to Earth. Corvus Glaive immediately kills Heimdall while Thor looks on, helpless in despair, watching his friend die. Thanos already has the power stone, with all the action it would seem a bit pointless to watch him destroy Xandar, but the planet is gone all the same.
Loki emerges, trying to use his old tricks to gain the trust of Thanos by giving him the Tesseract. However, tricks aren’t the only thing Loki has up his sleeve, as his final attempt to save Thor by thrusting a knife into Thanos fails, and as Thanos chokes the life out of Loki, Loki tells Thanos with his dying breath, “You will never be a god.” He dies a final time, saving his brother in the process.
Meanwhile, Bruce Banner lands in the New York Sanctum where he meets Doctor Strange and Wong, telling them what happened and more importantly, what is about to come. Doctor Strange wastes no time bringing Tony Stark into the fold where back at the Sanctum he reunites with Banner and learns Thanos is the one behind everything, the puppet master, more importantly the battle of New York that haunted Tony from the first Avengers film in 2012. Wong explains the significance of the infinity stones to Stark and Banner who strongly advise Doctor Strange to destroy the time stone. No dice, it’s his duty to protect it and he isn’t giving up that easily.
Two members of the Black Order come to retrieve the time stone. At this point, Peter Parker’s spidey-sense begins to tingle. Ebony Maw (the most powerful of the group) abducts Doctor Strange only to have Iron Man and Spider-Man stowaway in the donut shape ship where Strange is being tortured. Luckily, Maw is cast out into the vacuum of space and the trio are stuck on a ship heading to Titan, the home world of Thanos. This certainly cannot end well.
Back in Space…
Thor lands on the Guardians ship and once awoken by Mantis tells them what transpired and who the man pulling the strings is: Thanos. Gamora knows his boundless cruelty better than anyone and upon learning he has not one, but two infinity stones, she takes Peter Quill aside and asks him something I don’t think anyone in the theater saw coming. Gamora tells Peter in an intimate moment we’ve never seen between the two before, she KNOWS where Thanos can find the soul stone. If Thanos gets his hands on her, she needs Peter to kill her so that knowledge dies too, only then would Thanos never wield all six infinity stones and have the power to wipe out half of life in the universe. Reluctantly, he agrees to do it if the time should come.
Not only does Thor know where to obtain a weapon that has the power to defeat Thanos, he embarks on a quest to meet the Dwarves of Nidavellir, the only creatures capable of forging weapons from a dying star. Rocket and Groot join Thor after winning his favor (Rocket also hooks Thor up with a new eye he had on hand, no surprise given his affinity for stealing mechanical body parts) and they make their way to Nidavellir where all but one dwarf survived the wrath of Thanos, Eitri, played by Peter Dinklage. Eitri confessed he made the Infinity Gauntlet for Thanos in order to spare his people, but why would a Mad Titan keep his word? After fixing the damage done by Thanos, Thor, with help from Eitri, Rocket, and Groot forge his new weapon: Stormbreaker.
Thor didn’t leave the Guardians empty handed. He told them that the reality stone was stored on Knowhere with The Collector, so they race to the stone in hopes of beating Thanos to the punch. Shockingly, this goes horribly wrong. Thanos is already there and in a fit of rage Gamora stabs him in an insanely emotional moment for both of them given their history. As it turns out, it was just an illusion created from the reality stone Thanos already took. He grabs Gamora, his favorite daughter, and as Quill emerges she begs him to shoot her. It’s too late. Thanos uses the space stone and disappears with Gamora to his ship and Peter, having failed her, knows they need to go to Titan and save her at all costs.
Once Thanos and Gamora are aboard his ship, he confesses he always wanted her to take his seat one day, and all the things he did that she now hates herself for becoming are in fact the parts of her that make her the strongest being in the galaxy. His sentiment repulses her. She wants no part in the life he forced her into. Giving her a push, Thanos takes her to a chamber where he has her sister Nebula suspended while being relentlessly tortured. Thanos knows Gamora can lead him to the soul stone and he is more than willing to kill Nebula in front of her to get her to talk. The screams of her sister are too much and Gamora finally breaks, telling him she located the stone on a planet called Vormir.
Here’s where shit gets real. Thanos brings Gamora with him to Vormir where they’re met by a hooded figure who turns out to be Red Skull!?! Guess we know where the space stone threw him all those years ago! He’s the protector of the soul stone, telling the pair it can only be obtained through sacrifice. A soul for a soul — more importantly the soul of someone you love above all else. Gamora scoffs at Thanos, telling him he can never have the stone because all he knows is death and has never once known love. As tears roll down the Mad Titan’s face, Red Skull says to Gamora, “The tears aren’t for him.” Thanos turns to Gamora, the child he raised, the only thing he has ever loved, and throws her from the cliff as he watches her die… a soul for a soul, indeed.
Back on Earth…
Vision is being hunted by the Black Order and Wanda is trying like hell to fight them off. Finally, when all hope seemed lost, Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon come (literally) swooping in to rescue them. Bruce Banner thankfully gave Cap a heads up, with Stark stuck in space there’s no Civil War scheduled for today. The group heads to the Avengers Facility in upstate New York where they pick up War Machine and Banner and all hop in the jet to get Vision to Wakanda in one piece.
Similarly to the promise Gamora asked of Peter Quill, Vision asks Wanda to destroy the mind stone if they can’t find a way to remove it in time. Who says romance is dead? T’Challa meets the group with Bucky by his side and agrees to order all his forces to protect Wakanda and in turn Shuri will work on securing the mind stone from Vision in her lab. Just in time because not only have the remaining members of the Black Order arrived, but they brought an army of alien Outriders that easily outnumber the Wakandan army. I would tell you this doesn’t look good, but the movie has War in the title so you shouldn’t be too surprised.
Back on Titan, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man await Thanos. To their surprise, they meet Star-Lord, Drax, and Mantis first, on a mission to rescue Gamora. While it takes a beat before they all realize they’re on the same side, they form a plan to steal the gauntlet from Thanos without him obtaining anymore stones. Before you know it, Thanos appears wielding a brand new soul stone. Nebula emerges looking for Gamora, but once she sees the stone she knows what Thanos had done. Quill relentlessly orders Thanos to give him Gamora… but he can’t.
Nebula tells him the only way he could have that stone is if he sacrificed her. This sets Quill off and the group haphazardly struggles to fight the Mad Titan. As Stark takes beating after beating Thanos drives a dagger into his side and before finishing him off for good, Doctor Strange offers up the time stone in exchange for sparing Tony’s life. This isn’t something Strange would do lightly, so he clearly has seen in the future that Stark still has a role to play if Thanos is ever to be defeated.
Now that Thanos has five stones, he transports to Wakanda where the last stone still resides. As an epic battle rages in the background, Vision tells Wanda they are out of time and she must destroy the stone. As if dying wasn’t bad enough, having your girlfriend do it adds an extra layer of feels to the mix. With Thanos approaching, Wanda blasts the stone (and Vision) apart in a Hail Mary to prevent an extinction level event. Oh, wait, Thanos has the time stone now and can just hit reverse and bring back Vision – TO DIE A SECOND TIME – ripping out the stone, completing the gauntlet once and for all.
With two good eyes and a freshly forged weapon, Thor makes a grand appearance, thrusting the axe into Thanos’s heart. It seems like Thor just saved the world, when Thanos whispers, “You should have aimed for my head” and just like that, snaps his fingers.
One by one we see our heroes crumble to ash, the victims include Doctor Strange, Peter Quill, Drax, Mantis, Groot, Spider-Man, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Bucky Barnes, and in a post credit scene, Nick Fury and Maria Hill. Before Fury bites the big one, we see him send a signal on a handheld device. As Nick Fury falls to ashes, we see Captain Marvel’s symbol loaded on the beacon, a clear indication his distress call has been received and it’s time for her to join the fight.
So who survived? The confirmed survivors of Thanos are Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, (yay, the original team!) Rocket, Nebula, War Machine, Okoye, Shuri, and Wong. It absolutely confirms that Heimdall and Loki are dead, but with the unique circumstances of Gamora being the literal soul stone, there may be hope for her… and if we can hope she returns, maybe not all our heroes will remain piles of ash for long.