The release of Avengers: Infinity War on Disney+ gives fans the opportunity to relive the surprise and shock they experienced when they first saw the film in theaters over two years ago.
Avengers: Infinity War burdened the Russo Brothers with one of the most difficult tasks in film history: culminate 10 years of rich MCU films and fan-favorite heroes into a 149-minute visual spectacle. As reliable of a track record Marvel Studios has, fans still were hesitant on if the Russos could band together star-spangled fugitives, cross-dimensional sorcerers, secret African nation royalty, and many more into a properly-paced quest.
Two years later, and Infinity War’s magic is still as strong as a Stephen Strange sling ring.
To commemorate Infinity War's availability on the Disney+ platform, we at The Direct decided we couldn’t limit the most memorable moments into a Top 10. Without further ado, here is The Direct’s 12 most memorable moments from Avengers: Infinity War (plus some honorable mentions).
Doctor Strange and Thanos go One-on-One: Each Infinity Stone possesses a different god-like power, and with his possession of the space, reality, soul, and power stones, Thanos was able to match Doctor Strange's sorcercery strength. The Mad Titan and Master of the Mystic Arts traded jabs in a cowboy-esque shootout, each being forced to dive deep into their bag of magic tricks. In a visually stunning exchange, Strange first deflects Thanos's power stone by summoning the mirror dimension, just for Thanos to shatter it and transform it into a black hole. Don't blink during this battle.
"She's Not Alone": In a brief moment, Proxima Midnight overpowers Scarlet Witch, throwing trash talk her way as she prepares to strike. Behind her, Black Widow and Okoye approach, giving fans two of the film's best hand-to-hand combat warriors a chance to shine. Not long after, Scarlet Witch regains her strength and shows off a small taste of her full power. This moment had fans salivating for a potential A-Force team-up in the future, and that would be teased to the extreme in Endgame.
Scarlet Witch Makes Ultimate Sacrifice: One of the biggest subplots throughout Infinity War was the relationship between Vision and Scarlet Witch. Since the mind stone birthed him in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, fans speculated that the artificial intelligence had an inevitable death sentence. After spending the whole movie trying to protect him by extracting the stone safely, Vision realizes it is too late and tells Wanda to destroy it. With tears streaming down her face, Wanda uses all her strength to reduce the stone to atoms, all while simultaneously holding off an approaching Mad Titan. "I understand my child," Thanos coldly speaks over a suffering Wanda. "Better than anyone." Despite her successful efforts, Thanos simply rewinds time with his newly-acquired time stone, and plucks the mind stone out of a prone Vision's body.
12. The Guardians Meet The Avengers
In a scene expertly balanced with tension and comedy, the Guardians' first interaction with Tony Stark and company would prove to be a highlight from the crossover event. Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Star-Lord stalemate, each pointing their respective weapons at each other in the MCU’s answer to that finger-gun stand-off in The Office. In just about a minute, each hero snuck in a one-liner that left audiences howling.
From Drax’s “Why is Gamora?!” to Peter Quill’s “I’m not from Earth, I’m from Missouri!” to Spidey’s “we’re the Avengers, man,” this scene is everything fans expected and more from the first interaction between the Guardians and the Avengers.
11. Cap Arrives in Scotland
It was only a matter of time that Vision and Scarlet Witch would get roped back into battle, and the attack on them came unexpectedly during one of their intimate strolls in Scotland. After being ambushed by two members of Thanos’s Black Order, the street-clothed Avengers were less than prepared to take the fight to their latest foes.
In a classic deus ex machina moment, Captain America emerges from the shadows of a passing train, with rumblings of the Avengers theme disguised in the score. Fresh with a new beard and a tattered suit, Cap takes the fight to Corvus Glave as fellow fugitive friends Black Widow and Falcon take out Proxima Midnight.
This was the first time that the Captain America: The Winter Soldier trio shared the screen since being excommunicated from Avenger relations in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. While a truly awesome entrance, it would pale in comparison to another arrival later in this list...
10. Thor Forges Stormbreaker
Thor’s subplot throughout the movie takes him on a journey to forge a new toy, after his favorite one was broken by his mean older sister. Asgardian family drama, I know.
Jokes aside, Thor takes Rocket and Groot to Nidavellir with hopes to craft a new weapon. They are greeted by a giant-sized dwarf in Eitri (played by Peter Dinklage). He reveals he forged Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet, and had his hands molded in metal by the Mad Titan to ensure he could never forge a weapon again.
Refusing to take no for an answer, Thor takes on the labor himself, including taking the force of a dying star in Marvel’s signature “flex those biceps” scene. After forging the metal end of Stormbreaker, Groot sacrifices his arm for the handle, a callback to Phase 2’s obsession with losing arms as a tribute to Star Wars.
Combined with some of the best score in the whole MCU, Nidavellir established itself as an essential scene towards taking the fight to Thanos.
9. Cap Holds Back the Gauntlet
Captain America would prove to have numerous worthy-level moments in the two-part Infinity Saga climax, and despite being shown in the trailer, this moment still left fans shocked.
Throughout the whole movie, Thanos exudes power and control over his enemies. He goes toe-to-toe with a master's degree-level sorcerer, K-O’s an unbeatable beast, and makes a god-level AI look like a children’s toy. Despite all this domination over other-wordly opponents, it is a mortal man that withstands his might. While brief, Cap blocks Thanos’s massive gauntlet with just his hands, leaving the Mad Titan in surprise.
Once realizing Steve Rogers is not the type of opponent to go easy on, Thanos wacks him aside with ease. However, it is in the moment of resilience fans caught their first glimpse of Cap’s great strength, a moment that would be “hammered” home in Endgame.
One of the best kept secrets about Infinity War was the whereabouts of the soul stone. Since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger, Infinity Stones have been peppered into MCU flicks, with every stone making an appearance except the soul stone.
The location of the missing soul stone turned out to be Vormir, a desolated planet shrouded in darkness. As Thanos dragged his daughter on a very one-sided field trip to find the magic amber rock, fans were left shocked to discover the identity of the Stonekeeper: Red Skull.
Despite his immense popularity in Captain America: The First Avenger, fans were unsure if the former leader of HYDRA would ever return due to original actor Hugo Weaving's disinterest in donning the crimson prosthetics again. Luckily, Marvel landed the talents of impersonator extraordinaire Ross Marquand to take on the role for the cameo. Despite many fans believing the appearance was a one-off, Marquand has hinted that we have not seen the last of the Red Skull.
After being told he must lose that which he loves, Thanos unwillingly sacrificed Gamora in exchange for the Soul Stone. While a terrible deed, this moment revealed that the genocidal Titan did actually possess some emotions.
7. Thanos Massacres the Asgardians
“We are under assault! I repeat, we are under assault!”
The voice of a vocally-camoeing Kenneth Branaugh echoed silently throughout the galaxy as the Statesman came under attack by the Sanctuary II. Avoiding any set-up and taking fans right into the story, Ebony Maw tiptoes over slain Asgardians as his master, Thanos, grips a weakened Thor by the skull. A former employee in Loki confronts the Mad Titan, who introduces a battle-ready Hulk with a nice callback line to his first encounter with the gamma-radiated beast. Despite his best efforts, Thanos makes quick work of the Hulk, showing off his mixed martial arts-like fighting style.
Within a matter of minutes, Thanos and his forces massacre dozens of Asgardians, defeat Thor, embarrass Hulk, kill Heimdall and Loki, and escape with the space stone.
Talk about a scene you can never watch the same again.
In a brief moment, Mantis directs her friends’ attention to a tranced Doctor Strange, levitating and rapidly moving. Strange explains to them that he was traveling forward in time to view alternate futures of the coming conflict. He reveals that out of the 14,000,605 possible outcomes, the Avengers are victorious in one.
Before revealing their lone victory, he looks deeply at Tony for six seconds. While it seemed like a pause for dramatic effect at the time, Strange’s hesitation takes on a whole new meaning after knowing Tony Stark’s fate in Endgame.
5. Star-Lord Loses His Cool
Just when the Avengers were about to get the ball in the red zone, Peter Quill stepped offside and put them out of field goal range.
This moment left fans losing their minds with frustration, not just on the night of release, but for months after.
Starlord is that dude in your crew in high school who is the whole reason you wind up having to fight your way out of a party at 2 in the morning.— jelani cobb (@jelani9) April 29, 2018
I should make a research paper about Infinity War SO I MAY THEREFORE CONCLUDE THAT IT'S ALL STARLORD'S FAULT— 𝕥𝕚𝕥𝕠 𝕞𝕒𝕣𝕜 #DunkinDonutsSupporter (@mrqz_mark) April 29, 2018
After the Titan team of the Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Guardians combined their powers to hold Thanos in a trance, Star-Lord approached him demanding to know the location of his M.I.A. girlfriend. After Thanos mutters something about sacrificing her, Star-Lord gets hooked on his feeling of rage and attacks Thanos, snapping him out of his moonage daydream.
In a panicked frenzy Spider-Man shouts that he’s almost got the gauntlet off, just to be swatted away by an awakened (and extra grumpy) Thanos.
While fans initially focused their blame on Star-Lord for the eventual snap, that blame turned to gratitude when they realized without his mistake, there would’ve been no Endgame.
4. Thor Opens Up to Rocket
For all the fantastic action set-pieces Marvel delivers on, one of the most underrated aspects of the MCU films are the human moments. Before reaching Nidavellir, Rocket and Thor share a heart-to-heart conversation about the impending battle, with the talking racoon questioning if the Asgardian is ready for it.
In a very rare moment, audiences get a glimpse into Thor’s vulnerability. After listing off all he’s lost, including his brother, sister, mother, father, and best friend, Rocket questions whether he’s ready to take on Thanos. After a brief pause, the God of Thunder resumes his macho personality, saying this next foe is no different from the thousands he’s slain before.
“And what if you’re wrong?”
“Well, if I’m wrong, then… What more could I lose?”
In a blink and you’ll miss it moment, Thor sheds a single tear. While numerous other heroes have been keen to let the waterworks flow, Thor has always been one to suppress his emotions. Evidently, he quickly wipes it away, fearful to show his new friends any form of vulnerability.
Thor is looked up to as a leader, a role model, a god. This moment shows fans that even the mightiest of heroes suffer the same emotional struggles as us mortals, and that embracing those struggles is what makes a true hero.
3. “Thanos is Coming… He’s Coming!”
How do you convey to audiences that the latest villain is a genuine threat? You make the strongest hero afraid of him. This was done perfectly in what would be the title sequence scene of Infinity War. Fresh off his one-sided defeat at the hands of Thanos, the Hulk is sent spiraling out of control through the Bifrost, eventually making the Sanctum Sanctorum his personal crash-pad.
This was another Infinity War moment adapted straight from the page, substituting then 20th Century Fox-owned Silver Surfer for Bruce Banner as the crash-test subject.
With fear in his eyes, recently-transformed Bruce Banner looks up to a pair of confused sorcerers, gasping out a warning: “Thanos is coming… he’s coming.”
2. Thor Arrives on Wakanda
If you look up the phrase “fist-pump moment” in any dictionary, you’ll find an image of an Asgardian god wielding a giant axe accompanied by a racoon and a walking tree, surrounded by shimmering cosmic light. Easily regarded as one of the most rewatchable scenes in the entire movie, Thor arriving on Wakanda had every theater applauding.
After spending the entire flick on a mission to wield a “Thanos-killing” weapon, fans were ripe with anticipation for when the God of Thunder finally confronted the Mad Titan. While his Earth-bound friends struggled against the force of Thanos’s army, a beam of familiar Bifrost light encapsulated the Wakandan battle field. Fans immediately recognized what was in store when the music shifted into that oh-so-familiar score. Appropriately enough, the Russos saved using the full-force of the iconic Avengers theme until this moment, and boy did it pay off.
Quick flashes of smiling Cap, impressed Black Widow, and overjoyed Bruce Banner accompanied Thor’s arrival, climaxing with the Mighty One bellowing “Bring me Thanos!”
1. The Snap
Could it really be anything else? Often regarded as the best cliffhanger in film history, Infinity War’s unexpected end had every moviegoer’s jaws on the floor from “you should’ve gone for the head” up until “Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo.” One by one, fan-favorite heroes crumbled to dust, all while an eerie silence echoed underneath.
Beyond the massive universal implications of Thanos’s victory, the snap provided some of the most heart-tugging moments between surviving and dusting characters.
Rocket solemnly mutters “no… no…” as his teenage tree friend lets out one last “I am Groot” (which James Gunn later confirmed translated to “Dad?”, in case you needed to cry again), Okoye watches in shock as her king, T’Challa, turns to dust, and Spider-Man holds back tears as he collapses in Tony’s arms, heartbreakingly uttering “I don’t want to go… I don’t want to go.”
As if the dusting wasn’t painful enough to watch once, fans endured it twice more, both in the end credits of Ant-Man and the Wasp as well as the opening scene of 2020’s Infinity War follow-up, Avengers: Endgame.
Even now with the knowledge that mostly everything is okay in the end, fans still need to keep a box of tissues close for this moment.