Saturday, March 31, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Primer

Note: This article contains spoilers related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

April 27, 2018 marks the release of the highly-anticipated Avengers: Infinity War. This release is not only significant in that the Avengers will finally fight Thanos, but also because it represents the culmination of a decade of continuity, going all the way back to Iron Man (2008), six of those being spent toward the actual buildup, beginning with The Avengers (2012).

However, the anticipation for Infinity War is tempered a bit by the fact that it will likely rely on the audience having seen a whopping 18 previous films. This includes the recently-released Black Panther (2018), which will likely still be in theaters by the time Infinity War drops (unless Disney rushes a home video release). This sort of buildup means that it can be time-consuming for someone to re-watch everything or for someone new to catch up. Watching every film is very beneficial for understanding all 60+ characters slated to appear in Infinity War, but even then, some of the details for the upcoming blockbuster may have been forgotten with time.

In preparation for Avengers: Infinity War, we at Trophy Unlocked have created this handy guide to finding many, if not all, of the smaller details which are the most beneficial for viewers going in. Below we will list the most relevant films alongside their most relevant moments, as well as a brief description of what happens in each scene and why it was chosen. For veteran viewers, this guide will be more of a refresher. For newcomers, this will venture into spoiler territory, but may help as a roadmap of sorts.

Note: For Black Panther, I’ve consulted descriptions on the internet since it's still in theaters.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)

Scene 1: Loki converses with the Other.

Partway through the movie, the Avengers are slowly coming together. Loki (Tom Hiddleston), meanwhile, uses the power of his staff to contact the Other (Alexis Denisof), a being who resides in Sanctuary in the middle of space. The Other needs Loki to lead the Chitauri in an invasion of Earth, though Loki, while confident, doubts their strength. The Other hints at a greater power who gave Loki the staff and tells him that his ambition pales in comparison to what this other being has planned. Loki points out that they do not yet have the Tesseract, which puts them in a worse position. In response, the Other threatens Loki with a fate worse than death should he fail to retrieve the Tesseract.

Significance: This scene is the first hint that throughout the entirety of The Avengers, there was always a threat greater than Loki lurking around the corner. Before this threat was first established, it also hinted that there was more to the Tesseract, which first appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) as the Cosmic Cube, than anyone knew.

Scene 2: Mid-Credits

The buildup continues with the culmination of Phase One of the MCU. Partway through the credits, after the major names have gone by, we see Sanctuary once more. The camera pans on the Other while he speaks to a hidden figure about how the humans are not only more resilient than they had anticipated, but also unruly. The second figure stands up from a chair and the Other says, rather ominously, “To challenge them is to court death.” The second figure then turns to the camera with a smile, revealing their identity as Thanos (Josh Brolin).

Significance: This scene was the very first glimpse the audience would ever get at Thanos, creating the carrot-on-a-stick that kept moviegoers returning throughout Phase Two and Three in case any future film could tell them more. Though some would do this job better than others, re-watching this scene is a good reminder of where all of the buildup and hype for Infinity War began.

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Scene: Mid-Credits

Throughout Thor: The Dark World, Malekith (Christopher Eccleston), who rules the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, has threatened both Earth and Asgard with the Aether. Once the major names have gone by in the credits, the Asgardians Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) and Sif (Jaimie Alexander) are introduced to Taneleer Tivan, aka the Collector (Benicio del Toro), who already knows why they have come. He asks why they don’t store the Aether back on Asgard, to which Volstagg says that they already have the Tesseract and that it is unwise to keep two Infinity Stones so close together. Once the Asgardians entrust him with the Aether and leave, the Collector ominously states, “One down, five to go.”

Significance: This scene is the first to formally acknowledge the existence of the Infinity Stones within the MCU. At the same time, it suggests that the Tesseract (the Space Stone) and the Aether (the Reality Stone) are two of them. For a lead-in to Infinity War, this scene confirms that the Reality Stone is currently within the possession of the Collector.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Scene 1: Ronan meets Thanos

At this point, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin sent by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), has unsuccessfully attempted to steal The Orb from Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and has landed in the Klyn, an interstellar prison. In this scene, the Other contacts Ronan and informs him that his partnership with Thanos is at risk since Gamora appears to have her own plans for The Orb. Ronan is summoned to Sanctuary, where he insists that he has nothing to do with Gamora’s supposed betrayal. When the Other tries to put Ronan in his place, Ronan kills him, which grabs the attention of Thanos. Thanos, who shows no remorse for the Other’s death, berates Ronan for his attitude and threatens him with death should he not retrieve The Orb as promised.

Significance: This scene establishes that the Other will not return within Infinity War, and why, and also gives us a look into Thanos’ personality. More specifically, Thanos is the type who cares not for the well-being of those who serve him. Later movies would fail to expand more on this, but it’s at least something.

Scene 2: The Guardians meet the Collector

After escaping from the Klyn, Star-Lord and company go to Knowhere to sell The Orb to the Collector. When they finally have an audience with him, the Collector explains the nature of The Orb. He explains that six singularities existed before creation, but after the universe exploded into existence, their remnants became six concentrated ingots known as Infinity Stones. The power of the stones is so destructive that only beings of great power are able to wield them without being destroyed. When the Collector goes to retrieve the payment for the Power Stone inside The Orb, one of his servants, Carina (Ophelia Lovibond), grabs the Stone as a power grab, but is erased from existence as the Stone’s power destroys most of the Collector’s collection. Once the dust settles, Gamora retrieves The Orb and suggests giving it to the Nova Corps.

Significance: The origin of the Infinity Stones is explained and the power of the Power Stone is destructively demonstrated. Background visuals related to the origin of the Infinity Stones also more firmly confirm the status of the Tesseract and Aether as two of the Stones.

Scene 3: Closing Montage

After the defeat of Ronan, the Nova Corps speaks with Star-Lord and drop hints for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. During a closing montage set to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, we see a shot of Nova Prime (Glenn Close) placing an orb containing the Power Stone into a vault.

Significance: At the risk of sounding redundant, this moment, though brief, confirms that the Power Stone is currently in the hands of the Nova Corps.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

Scene 1: Thor has a hallucination

While the Avengers are trying to subdue Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, the latter uses her powers to cause most of the Avengers to see hallucinations. In Thor's hallucination, in which Heimdall calls him a destroyer, an image flashes of four of the six Infinity Stones as well as a close-up of Vision's face.

Significance: While not significant to Infinity War on its own, it does provide context for the next scene.

Scene 2: Thor travels to the Water of Sight

After the Avengers take refuge at Hawkeye's (Jeremy Renner) abode, Thor takes off to find an answer to his hallucination. With the aid of Erik Selvig (Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd), he reaches the Water of Sight and states that he'll be able to return to his vision should the spirits of the water accept him, though Selvig is unsure it'll end well. As Thor struggles with the power of the water, he continues his vision, which shows him the Infinity Stones. He sees the Mind Stone come out of Loki's staff, followed by the Power Stone in the Orb, the Reality Stone form from the Aether and the Tesseract burst into the Space Stone. The four stones align within a cloud in space which resembles the Infinity Gauntlet.

Significance: Thor gains information about the Infinity Stones, which ties into his decision in the next scene. As for its context for the MCU, it confirms that Loki's staff contained one of the Stones and reconfirms that the Aether was another Stone.

Scene 3: Thor brings Vision to life

At this point in the film, the Avengers fight amongst themselves to prevent Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) from activating a synthetic body containing J.A.R.V.I.S. (Paul Bettany). Thor (Chris Hemsworth) appears to activate the body, Vision, and, after a brief altercation, explains that the gem which powers Vision is the Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones, which he had seen in his earlier vision.

Significance: This scene confirms both that Loki had wielded the Mind Stone throughout The Avengers and that the Stone currently resides within Vision’s forehead.

Scene 4: Mid-Credits

After the major names have gone by, we see light flood into an opening vault with a mysterious object, an empty Infinity Gauntlet, at the center. Thanos reaches into the vault and slips his hand into the Infinity Gauntlet. He states simply, “Fine, I’ll do it myself.”

Significance: Simply put, Thanos has now gone from a passive observer and armchair general to active participant in his plan to collect and wield the six Infinity Stones.

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Scene: The Whole Movie

Significance: Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pick out any specific scene or scenes in particular that are more important for Infinity War. It is highly recommended to watch the entire movie, since the events of Civil War establish the character relationships and alliances that will echo into the beginning of Infinity War (at least among the characters on Earth).

Doctor Strange (2016)

Scene: Doctor Strange learns about the Time Stone

After defeating Dormammu (Benedict Cumberbatch), Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) returns the Eye of Agamotto to Kamar-Taj in Nepal. Once the Eye is placed onto a special pedestal, Wong (Benedict Wong) appears and tells Strange that the Eye is actually an Infinity Stone. Strange expresses confusion and Wong tells him that in spite of his gift for the mystic arts, he still has much to learn, adding that death will spread through the Multiverse if the Earth does not have a Sorcerer Supreme to protect it. Strange assures Wong that they will be ready.

Significance: This scene establishes that the Time Stone currently resides in Kamar-Taj in Nepal.

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Scene 1: Loki revives Surtur

During the climax of the movie, Loki goes to the Asgardian vault to retrieve Surtur's crown. On his way to the Eternal Flame, in order to revive Surtur to cause Ragnarok and defeat Hela, Loki passes by the Tesseract and briefly stops to look at it.

Significance: This scene implies that afterwards, Loki is in possession of the Space Stone.

Scene 2: Mid-Credits

At the end of the movie, Thor, the new king of Asgard, has chosen to take his people to Earth to rebuild their civilization. When this scene begins, Loki asks Thor whether or not it's a good idea for him to return to Earth. Thor says it probably isn't, but he's confident everything will work out fine. As soon as he says this, a much larger ship, Sanctuary II, appears before them.

Significance: This scene confirms the current location of Thor and Loki.

Black Panther (2018)

Scene: Post-Credits

Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) wakes up in a tent in a Wakandan village and wanders out. He is met by Shuri (Letita Wright), who begins to help him with his recuperation.

Significance: This scene re-confirms that Bucky Barnes is currently within Wakanda and that he’s recovered in time for his appearance in Infinity War.

I hope this guide has been helpful. Have I left anything out or made a mistake in the descriptions? Any other scenes of note? Are you looking forward to Infinity War? Feel free to leave a comment below.

1 comment:

  1. I think I am became fan of Thanos after watch Avengers infinity war online trailer. When I watch first trailer of avengers infinity war movie. This was my first encounter with the Thanos and he looks cool in videos.