In the groundbreaking first Avengers movie, Nick Fury brought Earth’s mightiest heroes together to battle Loki and the Chitauri. Then, in the inevitably disappointing second film, Age of Ultron, the team expanded as it faced a villain of its own creation (well, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s creation). But the third movie was perhaps the boldest, as it brought together characters from wildly different worlds like Black Panther, Doctor Strange, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the pre-existing Avengers, for a completely different kind of movie. We got to see characters that wouldn’t normally be in the same room rub shoulders with one another.
10 Iron Man and Doctor Strange
Since Tony Stark and Stephen Strange are so similar – they’re both rich, privileged, arrogant, and goateed superheroes – it mightn’t have sounded like a good idea to team them up. In stories, conflicts usually come from characters’ differences. But these characters’ similarities led to differences being created. They both hate taking orders and working with other people, so telling each other what to do and trying to work together didn’t work out immediately. By the end of Infinity War, Strange goes back on his promise to let Tony die to protect the Time Stone and exchanges it for Tony’s life, because Tony needed to survive for Strange’s one-in-14-million victory to come true.
9 Rocket and Bucky
When Rocket arrived in Wakanda via the Bifrost with Thor and Groot, he initially approached Bucky Barnes to ask him for his metal arm. Bucky told him it wasn’t for sale, and while Rocket refused to let it go, they got back into the fight when some Outriders showed up. Bucky came up with the novel way to utilize Rocket’s strengths as a trigger-happy outlaw and help out his weakness as a diminutive creature by picking him up with his non-shooting hand and spinning around, so that bullets were flying in every direction and the oncoming Outriders were taken care of.
8 Captain America, Black Widow, and Black Panther
Obviously, Captain America and Black Widow are a well-known MCU pairing. They hit it off in The Avengers and then continued their close friendship throughout Captain America: The Winter Soldier as they joined forces to take down Hydra-led S.H.I.E.L.D. operations. But it was surprising how well T’Challa fit into the mix in Infinity War. When Cap and his team arrived in Wakanda, T’Challa’s noble, heroic nature and lack of hesitation to spring into action made him a perfect fit for Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff’s exclusive clique of top Avengers. The trio walked down to face the Black Order together, at the edge of Wakanda’s shields.
7 War Machine and the Falcon
James Rhodes and Sam Wilson left things on sour terms when we last saw them in Captain America: Civil War. The Vision shot a laser beam out of his head towards Sam, Sam ducked out of the way, and the beam hit Rhodey, sending him plummeting to the ground. Tony Stark designed state-of-the-art prosthetics so that Rhodey could walk again, but he was still mad at Sam.
The threat posed by Thanos brought them back together in Infinity War, and they paired up as the two airborne heroes fighting off the Black Order during the film’s climactic battle in Wakanda.
6 Doctor Strange and Star-Lord
On paper, Doctor Strange and Star-Lord don’t seem like they would get along. And frankly, they don’t. At first, Stephen Strange looks down on Peter Quill, because he seems to be less intelligent than him. But then Quill formulates the plan that incapacitates Thanos (even if he then immediately screws it up), so he gains Strange’s respect. The moment in which Quill hops across a bunch of magical stepping stones that Strange is conjuring up as he fires his blasters at Thanos, and then disappears through a portal Strange creates while giving the Mad Titan the finger, is simply awesome.
5 Bruce Banner and Shuri
When the Avengers arrive in Wakanda with the Vision, needing to figure out a way to remove the Mind Stone from his head without killing him, Shuri comes up with a solution immediately. She asks Bruce Banner why he didn’t just do that, and Bruce admits that he didn’t think of it. Shuri is just a teenager, and it took her two seconds to outsmart the smartest character in the MCU. Bruce and Shuri only shared this brief moment, but if they put their heads together and collaborated on some tech or an experiment, there’s no telling what they could come up with.
4 Black Widow, Okoye, and Scarlet Witch
During the battle in Wakanda, Scarlet Witch gets a call from Shuri, telling her that the bad guys have broken into her lab and the Vision is in trouble. Scarlet Witch rushes over to help, but she’s taken out by Proxima Midnight, who stands over her, prepared to kill her, and says, “He’ll die alone. As will you.” And then, Proxima Midnight hears a voice coming from behind her: “She’s not alone.” She turns to see Black Widow and Okoye, waiting to kick her ass. An intense fight breaks out in which Natasha, Okoye, and Wanda triumph over the Black Order’s only female member.
3 Spider-Man and Doctor Strange
Although Stephen Strange was initially apprehensive towards Peter Parker, refusing to even shake his hand when he introduced himself, the pair grew into a sort of odd couple throughout Infinity War’s middle act. Spidey even came up with the Alien-inspired plan to save the Sorcerer Supreme’s life when Ebony Maw had him suspended in mid-air with sharp blades pointed at his face.
Tom Holland has since said that he’d like to see a team-up of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in the MCU, emphasizing the clash of a man of science (Spidey) and a man of magic (Strange). It would be a lot of fun.
2 Iron Man and Star-Lord
Tony Stark and Peter Quill have a few key differences – namely, that Tony spent his whole life on Earth and got a top-of-the-line education, while Quill was raised in space by flesh-eating aliens and taught himself everything he needed to know – but they also share a love of making pop culture references. When Quill was devastated upon finding out Thanos had killed Gamora to acquire the Soul Stone, Tony desperately tried to prevent him from screwing up the Gauntlet-nabbing operation, but he was also very understanding (even though it ultimately didn’t work). Iron Man and Star-Lord made a hilarious duo.
1 Thor, Rocket, and Groot
Chris Hemsworth reportedly asked Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the writers of Avengers: Infinity War, to tweak Thor’s arc in the script to reflect the changes made to the character in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok. Part of what worked in that zany movie was giving Thor a comic-relief sidekick in the form of the Hulk, so Markus and McFeely paired him up with Rocket and Groot. The three ended up making an incredible team, with Rocket’s bluntness forcing Thor to let go of his cocky facade and reveal his insecurities, and Groot sacrificing his arm to give Thor’s new weapon a handle.