The six little gems – the Space Stone, Mind Stone, Reality Stone, Power Stone, Time Stone, and Soul Stone – that make up the Infinity Stones haven’t just played key roles in individual Marvel Cinematic Universe installments through the last decade.
They’ve also provided a motivation for franchise big bad Thanos, who spent nearly a decade of real time trying to get his hands on the Stones in order to fulfil his misguided mission to balance the universe. Despite the combined efforts of most of the MCU’s biggest heroes, Thanos finally achieved his goal in Avengers: Infinity War – demonstrating the Infinity Stones’ power by wiping out half the intelligent life in existence with a snap of his fingers.
The Infinity Stones are clearly a pretty big deal – but that doesn’t mean the logic around them always stacks up. Sure, it’s understandable that the team at Marvel Studios occasionally scales down the Stones’ powers from time to time. After all, we want Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the rest of the gang to have a decent shot at saving the day, even if it causes minor storytelling inconsistencies.
Nevertheless, there are so many instances where the Infinity Stones just flat-out don’t make sense, that it’s become virtually impossible to ignore them all. In a lot of cases, these discrepancies seem to be the result of Marvel working out the mythology surrounding the Stones as it went along!
With this in mind, here’s a round-up of 20 Things That Make No Sense About The Infinity Stones.
20 The Reality Stone Isn’t A Stone (Except When It Is)
When you hear the term “Infinity Stone”, you immediately picture an extra-special kind of rock – which is essentially what each of the Stones are - except for the Reality Stone.
Uunlike its five mineral brethren, the Reality Stone primarily manifests itself as a liquid-like substance, known as the “Aether”.
Exactly why the Reality Stone possesses these unique properties is never really made clear, although we can speculate baddie Malekith (the Aether’s original “owner”) repurposed the Stone in this fashion.
That said, the next time we see the Stone, it’s back to being an actual stone, resting snugly inside Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet. Again, this shift from fluid back to solid goes unexplained!
19 The Space Stone Behaves Like The Power And Mind Stones
By and large, the Space Stone does behave the way you’d expect. At the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, it transports the Red Skull across space, dumping him on the planet Vormir. It also creates wormholes to transport Loki’s invasion force in The Avengers, and to get Thanos from A to B in Avengers: Infinity War.
However, the Space Stone also mimics the properties of two other Stones at least twice. It copies the Power Stone in Captain America (powering Hydra’s advanced weaponry) and the Mind Stone during Thor’s post-credits sting (Loki apparently uses it to establish a mental link with Doctor Selvig).
How does this work? Your guess is as good as ours.
18 The Soul Stone Has Its Own Special Ritual And Caretaker
Typically, there’s no real “trick” to obtaining an Infinity Stone. All you need to do is track down its location and – providing you’re able to contain its raw power – go and get it. As revealed in Avengers: Infinity War, things aren’t that simple when it comes to getting your mitts on the Soul Stone.
Not only does this Stone have its own guardian, the “Stonekeeper”, but whoever seeks to acquire it is required to sacrifice someone they love first.
This makes for very dramatic storytelling, but we’re still left wondering who – other than maybe the Stone itself? – appointed the Red Skull as the current Stonekeeper, not to mention established the rules around gaining possession of it.
17 The Reality Stone Has the same abilities as The Power Stone
Another cosmic gem not ashamed to borrow the attributes of another, the Reality Stone spends the vast majority of its debut outing in Thor: The Dark World ripping off the Power Stone.
True, the trippy physics it causes in an abandoned warehouse is an undeniable instance of reality being altered. However, aside from this, the Reality Stone – when harnessed as “the Aether” by Malekith – is oddly indistinguishable from the Power Stone for the remainder of the film.
Rather than rewriting the laws of nature, Malekith attempts to dispatch Thor with anti-matter blasts instead.
This was such a confusing development, fans actually speculated that the Aether was really the Power Stone, until Marvel Studios set the record straight!
16 Why Does Thanos Even Need To Snap His Fingers?
When Thanos – his Infinity Gauntlet at last fully blinged-out with all six Infinity Stones – snaps his fingers and erases half the intelligent life in the universe, it’s arguably the biggest moment in the MCU to date.
It’s incredibly harrowing, as we see several of our favourite heroes reduced to dust, and the casualness of the gesture underscores just how much power the Mad Titan has at his disposal.
We’re left wondering why Thanos even needed to bother snapping his fingers at all.
In the other films, the Infinity Stones can be utilized simply by holding them (either directly or within a channelling device) and willing them to work. Why can’t Thanos do that here?
15 Why Do The Reality Stone's Effects Wear Off?
When the Guardians of the Galaxy (minus Rocket and Groot) confront Thanos on Knowhere, the Mad Titan quite literally dismantles Drax and Mantis using the Reality Stone. Despite both heroes’ best efforts, they’re no match for the Stone’s powers, and they’re promptly reduced to piles of living building blocks.
The funny thing is, that part actually makes sense – after all, the Reality Stone’s whole deal is that it can alter the physical world. What doesn’t make sense is that after Thanos departs Knowhere, Drax and Mantis immediately recover.
Would a ruthless villain like Thanos really restore his enemies to full health? If he didn’t, how come the Stone’s supposedly lasting effects wore off?
14 Thor's Infinity Stones Vision Was Pointless
One of the most heavily criticized scenes in Avengers: Age of Ultron sees Thor receive a mystical vision, alerting him to the threat posed by Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Stones. At the time, critics argued that the God of Thunder’s psychedelic experience amounted to an unnecessary storytelling tangent which distracted from the movie’s main plot.
What really irks many fans is that follow-up Thor: Ragnarok later rendered Thor’s vision completely pointless.
Despite what he witnessed, the Odinson doesn’t end up much wiser about the Stones’ location, or Thanos’ true identity or agenda.
As a result, the purpose of this whole event – both in-universe and as a storytelling exercise – is now utterly baffling!
13 The Mind Stone Mimics The Power Stone
Rounding out the trio of entries on this list dedicated to occasions when certain Infinity Stones copied the attributes of their counterparts, here we spotlight when the Mind Stone got in on the act.
More attentive viewers will have noticed this going down in The Avengers, where Loki uses his sceptre to fire energy blasts at his victims. This is more of a Power Stone trait, and therein lies the rub – the God of Evil’s staff secretly houses the Mind Stone, which isn’t as well known for overt displays of offensive might.
Whenever Loki uses the sceptre to attack people, rather than control their minds, it’s honestly a bit of a head-scratcher!
12 The Mind Stone Gave The Maximoffs Their Super Powers
As depicted in the MCU, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff – better known by as their superhero alter-egos Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver – derive their superpowers from Infinity Stone-based experiments. Bizarrely, Hydra’s scientists unwittingly used the Mind Stone (at the time hidden in Loki’s sceptre) to provide the twins with their superhuman gifts.
In fairness, the exact nature of the procedures conducted upon the twins is quite vague – and any Infinity Stone, regardless its core properties, is obviously an incredible cosmic energy source capable of mutating people.
It seems a bit strange that the Mind Stone was able to generate super speed and telekinetic/telepathic powers.
Surely you’d expect this from the Space and Reality Stones, instead?
11 Why Doesn't Thanos Use The Space Stone To Teleport His Enemies?
From the moment Thanos gains possession of the Space Stone in Avengers: Infinity War, it becomes the Mad Titan’s main means of transportation. And why not? When you can conjure up a targeted wormhole merely by making a fist, every form of travel seems inconvenient by comparison.
That said, we’re not convinced that Thanos utilized the Space Stone to its full potential in Infinity War. Think about it: he can open wormholes that lead wherever he wants them to, anywhere he wants them to open.
Why even bother fighting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? Why not simply deposit them all into the deadly vacuum of space, where they at best snuff it, and at worst, are completely stranded!
10 Odin Gave The Reality Stone To The Collector
On the face of it, Odin’s decision not to store two Infinity Stones – the Space and Reality Stones – in the same location is a smart call. After all, it’s bad enough if one Stone falls into the wrong hands, let alone two. Even so, we’re not sure that handing over the Reality Stone to the Collector – as seen in Thor: The Dark World – was such a sensible idea.
Taneleer Tivan is famous for his impressive stash of ultra-rare objects – making him the first port of call for anyone eager to track down an Infinity Stone.
Worse still, his collection appears to be virtually defenseless, which ultimately allows Thanos to stroll in and steal the Reality Stone!
9 Why Doesn't Vision Use The Mind Stone To Control People?
A major plot point in Avengers: Infinity War revolves around the team’s resident android, Vision, having the Mind Stone lodged in his noggin.
Now, the Stone definitely benefits Vision – indeed, it’s key to his continued survival, as removing it from his forehead would be fatal.
That being said, it feels like Vision could be putting the Mind Stone to better use. Namely, he should be using it to control minds, something we never see him even try to do. Ethical quandaries aside, this ability would have come in handy several times since Vision’s MCU debut - most recently, when Thanos successfully attempted to pry the Stone loose from his brow!
8 Doesn’t The Time Stone Give Doctor Strange Unlimited Do-Overs?
Much has been made of the scene in Avengers: Infinity War where Doctor Strange uses the Time Stone to review over 14 million possible futures – and discovers that the Avengers and their allies win in only one. It’s an ominous revelation, but we can’t help feeling that the tension here rings a little false.
This is because Strange still has the Time Stone in his grasp right up until the moment where he surrenders it to Thanos.
If events had started to deviate away from that lone positive outcome, Strange would have simply reversed time repeatedly, until they unfolded properly – which leaves us thinking things’ll work out just fine in Avengers 4!
7 Thanos Didn't Use The Reality Stone To Acquire The Soul Stone
As discussed previously, for somewhat murky reasons, the Soul Stone demands a hefty price from those who would lay claim to it: they have to trade the life of someone they love in its place. Interestingly, this stumbling block causes seemingly heartless big bad Thanos a surprising amount of anguish.
See, it turns out the Mad Titan’s affection for adopted daughter Gamora is genuine, and her demise breaks his heart.
Did Thanos even need to put himself through this? At this point in Avengers: Infinity War, he already has the Reality Stone. If we were him, we’d have used it to undo the whole ritual surrounding the Soul Stone – or at the very least, revived Gamora straight after!
6 How The Space Stone Wound Up On Earth
Early in Captain America: The First Avenger, the Red Skull seizes the Space Stone – at that point still contained within the Tesseract – from its hiding place in a small village in Norway. How did the Stone end up there in the first place?
The Red Skull claims the Tesseract – once the prized exhibit in Odin’s Asgardian treasure room – was lost on Earth centuries ago.
Not only does this require a lot more explanation (you don’t exactly misplace an Infinity Stone while on vacation), but so does the All-Father’s failure to reclaim his property.
Surely Odin’s long-time ally Heimdall – whose magical eyesight is the sharpest in the Nine Realms – could have tracked down the Stone’s (poorly disguised) Earthly location?
5 The Power Or Reality Stone Doesn't Make Thanos Invulnerable
Although the Avengers ultimately lose in Avengers: Infinity War, Thor comes this close to saving the day late in proceedings, when he embeds his new axe Stormbreaker into Thanos’ chest. It’s a grievous injury that nearly proves fatal. The Mad Titan still manages to accomplish his insane mission and later heals the wound using the power at his disposal.
What we’d like to know is: why was Thanos even able to be harmed in the first place?
Shouldn’t the Power Stone grant him pretty much total invulnerability from physical attacks? If not, why not use the Reality Stone to make himself impervious to pain?
4 Why Aren't The Infinity Stones More Widely Spread Apart?
According to the MCU, the Infinity Stones were originally six singularities, compressed into their current rock-like form and flung across the universe shortly after the Big Bang.
How come all of the Stones turn up within our galaxy?
Isn’t that a little too close together?
Sure, searching for these cosmic gems is still like looking for a sextet of needles in an interstellar haystack – but it’s not quite the same as them being scattered to the furtherest edges of the cosmos. Indeed, compared to that, the Infinity Stones weren’t really spread all that far apart at all.
3 Their Power Levels Are Just Generally Inconsistent
We mentioned in the introduction that we totally sympathize with Marvel Studios occasionally adjusting the relative power levels of the Infinity Stones to suit the needs of an individual story.
Even factoring in some understandable storytelling contrivance, it’s borderline ridiculous just how much the Stones’ power levels change from film to film.
For example, there’s really no way to rationalize how one minute, the Power Stone is dangerous enough to decimate the entire planet Xandar in Guardians of the Galaxy, and the next its energy blasts aren’t strong enough to penetrate Iron Man’s shields!
2 Thanos struggles against the Avengers while he wields 5 Infinity Stones
Viewed from a purely in-universe perspective, there’s absolutely no way that Thanos should struggle as much as he does against the Avengers and friends.
He has the Power Stone and Time Stone for nearly the entire Avengers: Infinity War runtime, and he adds the Reality, Time and Mind Stones to his inventory prior to the big finale. How can anyone – especially more modestly powered heroes like Captain America – stand against him?
Wielding the Power Stone alone – which can destroy planets – the whole exercise should have been a cakewalk for Thanos.
Either the Stones are overrated, or Thanos is criminally incompetent!
1 How Does The Collector Know The Infinity Stones’ Origin Story?
According to the comics on which the MCU is based, the Collector is really old – like billions of years old. So it stands to reason that if his big screen incarnation is equally ancient, the Collector could possibly be aware of part of the Infinity Stones’ origin story: the moment when the Stones were scattered across the universe post-Big Bang.
Unless the Collector of the MCU is even older than his comic book counterpart, it makes no sense for him to know that the Stones were originally six singularities in the universe that proceeded ours.
Yet in Guardians of the Galaxy, he states this information not as speculation, but as outright fact – and we’ve no idea how!
What are some other things about the Infinity Stones that make no sense in Avengers: Infinity War? Let us know in the comments!