Avengers: Infinity War pulls off a tremendously difficult balancing act. Not only does the film include the dozens of characters Marvel fans have come to love, but it has to manage tons of subplots alongside several shifts in tone. The movie has to overwork itself to please every fan and do every character justice in only two and a half hours. It can feel cluttered at times, but it has proven to be a massive success. Unfortunately, some story elements had to slip through the cracks.
With so many characters and plot threads to balance, some things might not have gotten as much attention as they should have. Some moments might leave audiences scratching their heads or rolling their eyes in the face of unnecessary complexity. For this list, we'll be taking a look at Avengers: Infinity War's biggest plot holes and unanswered questions to see just how much was overlooked by the filmmakers. Consider this a spoiler warning as well, because we'll be discussing extensive details about the plot — but who are we kidding? You've totally seen it already.
Keep in mind that some of these perceived plot holes do have explanations - they might just require a bit more imagination than others. Most of them just create questions to be answered in later MCU movies, but a film still needs to stand on its own — regardless of any sequels and prequels. They might not be outright "mistakes," but rather things should probably have been covered in a bit more detail.
Here are 10 Infinity War Plot Holes That Hurt The Movie (And 6 That Make Total Sense).
16 Hurt -- Why Hasn't Nick Fury Called Captain Marvel Before?
If you've never read any Marvel comics, the end credits scene of Avengers: Infinity War might have confused you. At the end of the film, Nick Fury and Maria Hill experience Thanos' deadly finger-snap as people around them disappear. Just as they themselves begin to fade away, Nick Fury pulls out an old, modified pager and activates it. As he disappears, the pager drops to the ground and reveals a colorful star-shaped logo.
Fury was paging Captain Marvel, who is one of the strongest superheroes in Marvel's canon - but why hasn't he called her earlier?
Carol Danvers is probably lightyears away, but if Nick Fury had her in his back pocket the whole time then why hasn't he gotten in touch with her?
It's not like Earth has never been in grave danger before.
Between Loki's invasion, the Ultron incident, and any of the world-ending crises in the Avengers' solo adventures, you would think that Nick Fury would have called her for help way before Thanos and his lackeys decided to show up.
Seeing as her 2019 film takes place in the 1990s (hence the pager), Captain Marvel has probably been busy in space handling some important mission. We'll have to wait until next year to find out, but it feels like should have been around to help out. Who knows — maybe Fury called, and Captain Marvel just didn't answer.
15 MAKES SENSE — Why Not Double The Universe's Resources?
This has been one of the most common complaints since Infinity War's release. If the Infinity Gauntlet is so powerful that it can essentially do whatever the user wishes, then why does Thanos want to destroy half the universe when he can just fix it?
The logic behind his life's mission lies in his backstory. On his home planet of Titan, the population grew so rapidly that there weren't enough resources to go around. Thanos suggested a mass culling — eliminating half the population to save his home. Obviously, his suggestion was ignored (because it's horrible and so is he), but the people of Titan did not survive.
Now, with the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos forces the entire universe to take his advice. Here's the problem: couldn't he just snap his fingers to make more food and water? Yes. Couldn't he make more living space in the universe? Sure. Couldn't he make it so that no living thing needs resources to survive? Totally. Why doesn't he? Because he's a bitter, spiteful monster.
His plan isn't a plot hole — Thanos just wants his revenge. He doesn't actually care about the universe, and he knows he isn't a hero. He's just managed to convince himself that he is one to justify his quest for vengeance.
14 Hurts -- Doctor Strange Doesn't Use The Time Stone
Doctor Strange is one of the smartest members of the Avengers. He might not have the hyper-genius intellect of Shuri or Tony Stark, but he is a cunning and resourceful hero even without his magic powers. This makes it especially dumb when aliens invade New York — literally landing a few houses down from his home address on Bleecker Street — and he doesn't immediately use his most powerful weapon.
Wong and the Sorcerer Supreme make it abundantly clear that they are sworn to protect the Time Stone. Yet when they come face-to-face with an alien invasion, Strange doesn't use it against them. Sure, he does eventually make the attempt to activate it (and is foiled by Ebony Maw), but this should have been his very first move.
He could have reversed time to get their ship off the ground and repair all the damage.
He even could have used it to freeze time, if only to take a moment to come up with a battle plan for himself and his new allies. Even in his solo film, Doctor Strange uses the Time Stone without restraint despite being told multiple times that he shouldn't.
Why doesn't he use it here? Is an alien invasion not serious enough for the Master of the Mystic Arts? The good Doctor might not be an A-list Avenger, but there is no reason for him to be so absent-minded.
13 MAKES SENSE – Thanos Toys With Everyone
Thanos should be nearly impossible to defeat with one Infinity Stone, let alone all of them. By the end of the film's prologue, he has two in the Gauntlet — the Space Stone and Power Stone. Those alone should make him unstoppable. Why is it then that Thanos spends the movie playing around with his opponents instead of defeating them?
It's not like he even has to weaponize the Gauntlet, either. It can punch really hard and shoot some pretty lasers, but why even waste the effort if he can turn everyone into bubbles, or shoot them into space, or any combination of quick and outrageous strategies? He shoots them with fire, creates illusions, and even throws a moon at them, but why bother?
Thanos wastes a lot of time using convoluted ways to beat the Avengers when he can easily just turn them all into ribbons or something.
Why does he toy with them? Because the guy is a drama queen. If his flashy armor, ominous monologues, and giant throne aren't enough of a statement, he loves displaying power. He loves intimidation. He loves being feared. Yeah, it should be easy to dispatch the Avengers with the Infinity Stones, but Thanos simply enjoys looking like the toughest guy in the galaxy.
12 Hurts -- Where Is The Wakandan Artillery?
For the most technologically advanced nation in the world, the Wakandans didn't bring a whole lot of weapons to the big fight. When Black Panther assembles his forces to meet Thanos' invasion, he gathers his army, M'Baku's army, the remaining Avengers, and some small personnel carriers.
Why didn't they bring some vibranium guns? Why didn't they bring any tanks or aircrafts? You would think that an army from outer space would warrant pulling out all the stops.
Wakanda still holds out pretty well, and the reinforcements from Thor and the Guardians certainly help, but there is no reason for their army to be so small. Did they not have a fleet of tanks at the ready? Some of the Wakandan gunships do show up later, but they are way too few in number to make any sort of dent. How many Wakandan soldiers could have been saved if they had brought some more vehicles to the battlefield? They didn't even bring the rhinos!
The prevailing argument is that they just don't have that big of an arsenal. Seeing as Wakanda is such a secretive nation, their officials might not see the need for one. But with all of their research into applying vibranium to technology, it's hard to believe that Wakanda doesn't have a ton of secret weapons stashed away somewhere.
11 MAKES SENSE: Red Skulls Know Everything
The Red Skull makes a surprising return as the Stonekeeper, guarding the Soul Stone atop a mountain on the planet Vormir. When Thanos and Gamora come for the Stone, Red Skull shows up in a tattered black cloak and explains how to get it without explaining where he's been all these years.
He tells them that he once sought the Infinity Stones and is now "cursed" to guard the Soul Stone. Red Skull explains the rules for getting the Stone as well, requiring the sacrifice of a loved one in exchange for its power. This is all very relevant to Thanos and Gamora, but seriously — where has Red Skull been all this time? Why is he here? How does he know all this? This has been perceived by many fans as a major oversight.
Sure, it's a cool cameo, but it feels lazy for some mysterious figure to have all this information. How does this make sense? Well, because it simply isn't relevant to Infinity War. His mysterious reappearance will likely be explained at a later date, and even though it might feel like bait for a follow-up film, Infinity War has no time to answer these questions for the hardcore fans that care. The movie has enough on its plate.
Does he have a boss keeping him there? Perhaps he sacrificed someone he didn't truly love and is doomed to that mountain for eternity. Hopefully this loose end isn't left hanging forever.
10 Hurts -- Nobody Is Ever Worried About Oxygen
There is only one instance of characters worrying about breathing in this film, and it's when Spider-Man is being dragged into the atmosphere by one of Thanos' ships. Iron Man sends him his new armor, and everything ends up fine. Somehow, despite all of the space travel and distant planets, nobody ever worries about oxygen again.
If that wasn't enough, some characters even remove their (presumably) oxygenated headgear in dangerous scenarios.
Most notably, Tony Stark enters a spaceship and takes his helmet off without a second thought.
Sure, we're aware that he probably has something in his suit that tells him whether or not it's safe to breathe the air, but he doesn't even so much as question his situation. This is the same guy who suffered from panic attacks in Iron Man 3, mind you. It might have been a few years since then, but there is no way that the same guy would be totally fine about stowing away on an alien spaceship.
Then Spider-Man absent-mindedly takes off his mask, just because he sees Tony without his!
Even the Infinity Gauntlet comic thought to address this, with Doctor Strange casting a spell on the Avengers to make sure they could breathe in space for a limited time. The MCU characters are way too careless about space travel.
9 MAKES SENSE — How Does Team Cap Find Wanda And Vision?
There are a lot of dramatic entrances in Avengers: Infinity War, but few are as good as Captain America's first appearance. Drenched in shadow, he appears from behind a moving train and catches Proxima Midnight's spear. The Avengers theme music kicks off, and Falcon and Black Widow join the fight to protect Vision and Scarlet Witch.
It's a fantastic moment that has fans cheering in theaters, even though it was spoiled in the trailers. It does beg the question, though: how did Cap know where to find them?
The events of Captain America: Civil War have disassembled the Avengers. Natasha and Sam seem to have stuck with Cap in the meantime, while Wanda and Vision went off on their own to further explore their relationship. At the beginning of the film, Tony remarks that Vision "turned off his transponder," which makes it impossible to track him. Assuming that this is something unique to Vision, then Cap likely couldn't have found him that way.
This complaint is never specifically addressed, though there are a handful of explanations.
Cap and company may have been tracking the villains who attack Vision and Wanda: Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight. Perhaps they even found another way to track Vision, or maybe it's even simpler. Maybe they're just tracking Wanda somehow, like through her cellphone.
It's a minor discrepancy, but totally worth it for Cap's sick entrance.
8 Hurts -- Thanos' Changing Power Levels
This is one of the film's most glaring issues, though it ultimately does the movie a favor by making the action sequences even cooler than they should be.
Thanos is supposed to be extremely powerful on his own. Add the Infinity Stones, and he is as dangerous as it can get. Unfortunately, his strength seems to correspond to whomever he is fighting, and whomever the story needs to be defeated.
From the start, Thanos humiliates the Hulk like it's nothing. Later in the film, Thanos struggles to fight off the teamed-up Avengers and Guardians. Iron Man eventually proves to be a worthy opponent all by himself, and somehow even Cap alone manages to be a slight challenge. Why is Thanos' power so inconsistent?
If he can destroy the Hulk without using an Infinity Stone, then there is no reason for Captain America to be more than an annoyance.
As a matter of fact, Thanos doesn't actually defeat any of the Avengers at the end of the film — he simply uses the Gauntlet to get most of them out of his way. This goes back to Thanos toying with his enemies, but sometimes it he struggles a bit too much for that excuse to satisfy.
Thanos is so tough that he should be leaving bodies in his path, but it's mostly just the bodies of tired, cramped, and unconscious individuals. Not very villainous at all — but at least the fights are cool!
7 Hurts -- Stan Lee Is A Horrible Bus Driver
This might not be a movie-ruining moment, but think about it! He couldn't be bothered to care about an alien invasion. He literally let a child jump out of the window - or at the very least, didn't care enough to see it happen. Is it a great cameo? Yes. Is Stan Lee the man? Yes. He still should not have been driving this school bus.
Of course, we're only joking. It might be a nitpick, but that doesn't make it wrong. In a movie filled with a few gaping plotholes, this minor one is still worth a mention. He's putting these children in danger and should probably be a bit more involved in his job. It might not make for a great cameo, but hey — think of the children!
Also, did nobody notice that Peter Parker was gone? Stan Lee certainly didn't, but there were plenty of kids on that bus. Does Peter Parker not have one other friend that would notice he was gone? What about Michelle? What she not at the field trip that day? Surely somebody would have said something.
Look, maybe we're taking this one a bit too far, but come on. You know we're right.
6 MAKES SENSE — Valkyrie and Korg are missing
Avengers: Infinity War relies on audiences to know a decent amount about other Marvel films — especially Thor: Ragnarok. The first 15 minutes of Infinity War is a direct continuation of the end of that film and most of Thor's character arc deals with the aftermath of its events. Audiences can get by without having seen it, but those who have will end up with several questions — the biggest of which pertains to the whereabouts of Korg, Miek, and Valkyrie.
Ragnarok ends with Thor's ship being invaded by Thanos and his disciples, but Infinity War starts with the passengers all but deceased. Heimdall and Loki meet a brutal end, Hulk gets sent to Earth, and Thor is left to suffer amidst his fallen comrades before the ship explodes. Korg, Miek, and Valkyrie are nowhere to be found. The films take place minutes apart, leaving many fans wondering whether or not those characters made it out alive.
Fortunately, the movie hints at their survival.
Infinity War opens with an Asguardian distress call, meaning that they could have received help off-screen. Thor also mentions that "half" of his people are gone, meaning that the attack left some survivors.
Perhaps the Revengers escaped before Infinity War began, within the few minutes between the two films. Nobody can say for certain, but hopefully these characters will be back.
5 Hurts -- Why Doesn't Doctor Strange Use More Portals?
These magic portals are so useful. Not only do they let characters travel from place to place in an instant, but they can even be used in combat. Why doesn't Doctor Strange use more of them? This should be more of a nitpick than a major plothole, but there are so many instances where portals come in handy and nobody thinks to use them.
Despite using portals for everything in the New York action sequence, Doctor Strange suddenly forgets about them when he, Tony, and Peter Parker are trapped on the spaceship.
Instead opening a portal back to Earth, Strange wastes time arguing with Tony about whether or not he knows how to fly the alien craft.
If that wasn't dumb enough, portals are shown to be effective weapons despite never being used that way again. Wong throws Cull Obsidian (Thanos' Hulk-sized minion) through a portal, and accidentally chops off his hand.
Why not just do this to Thanos? Make a portal around his hand, or his head, or his body, and he'll drop to the floor. Why pull the Gauntlet off his hand when they can just slice it off? Problem solved.
Maybe there are some rules about how portals work that have never been explained, but it seems like a huge oversight that they aren't used more often.
4 Hurts -- Why Does Gamora Go To Thanos?
The illusive Soul Stone finally shows up in Avengers: Infinity War through some unexpected channels. After all this time, it turns out that Thanos sent Gamora to find it and has kept its location a secret from the rest of the universe. It is revealed that Gamora found the map to the Soul Stone and set it on fire, so that Thanos could never hope to find it — that is, until she has no choice but to take him to it.
Gamora realizes how dangerous her knowledge is in the hands of Thanos. Still, when the Guardians decide to split up, she decides to go with the team heading towards him anyway. She knows what a bad idea this is -- she's keenly aware of it that she asks Star-Lord to end her life if Thanos catches her — so why does she even go to him?
She easily could have accompanied Thor, Rocket, and Groot to Nidavellir to get Thor's new axe.
It seems out-of-character for Gamora to make such a stupid decision. Not only does this enable Thanos to get the Soul Stone, but she ends up paying for this decision with her life. Thanos eventually throws her off of a cliff, leading to one of the saddest losses in Avengers: Infinity War.
Seriously, Gamora? You're smarter than this.
3 Hurts -- The Hypocrisy Of Trading Lives
No Avenger wants to lose a fellow hero, but why is Vision worth risking the lives of half the universe?
This is one of the core emotional conflicts in the film: the Avengers need to destroy the Mind Stone in Vision's head, but they don't want to hurt (or "delete") Vision himself. They're afraid that the Stone's destruction is something he cannot come back from, and nobody wants to get their hands dirty hurting a friend — especially not his girlfriend, Scarlet Witch.
Captain America even remarks that the Avengers "don't trade lives" in the face of crisis. It's a very noble and heroic sentiment and we expect nothing less from Cap.
Why does Wakanda need to sacrifice tons of lives for Vision? That's pretty hypocritical.
Aliens invaded Wakanda, so its people had no choice to but to defend themselves. With that said, the aliens wouldn't have come if it weren't for the Avengers bringing Vision to Wakanda for an operation. This situation is so dire that they should have had the smarts to understand that sacrificing Vision is the safest play.
Because the Avengers can't make the hard choice, hundreds of soldiers lose their lives in the defense of Wakanda. Sacrificing the Vision might not be the most heroic option, but it would have saved lots of lives and kept Thanos from completing the Gauntlet — and by extension, saving half the universe.
2 MAKES SENSE — How Does Thanos Know Tony Stark?
At the end of the confrontation on Titan, Iron Man and Thanos have a one-on-one showdown. When their fight kicks off, Thanos reveals that he is familiar with Tony Stark despite having never met him. Thanos claims to be "cursed with knowledge" and even displays a level of respect for Tony that he doesn't have for his other opponents. How does he know Tony, and why does he treat him this way?
The simplest explanation is that Thanos is aware of Tony's actions at the end of The Avengers, where Tony destroys the Chitauri army.
Loki might have told him about it sometime between that film and this one, or maybe there were Chitauri survivors who somehow spread the word. Either way, it isn't too much of a stretch to say that Thanos would know something about the only Avenger to fight his army in space - even if all Tony did was carry a missile.
As for his respect for Tony, that remains a mystery. That could come also come from Thanos' knowledge of the first Avengers film as well, but it is implied that Thanos knows more than he lets on. It's a nice thematic choice for two of the MCU's misguided father figures to respect each other, but this still needs to be explained in Avengers 4.
1 Hurts -- Why A Finger-Snap?
The Infinity Gauntlet might not come with instructions, but how does snapping your fingers correlate to "destroy half the universe"? Why is it specifically that gesture? Does the Gauntlet have to be programmed? Can "destroy half the universe" be done with finger-guns? What about jazz hands? These are serious questions, folks.
How does one even snap their fingers with a giant metal glove on? It's hard to make a satisfying snap with mittens on. It wouldn't even snap either — it would sound like nails on a chalkboard, followed by a small metal clink. Thanos' finger-snap might be a cool visual cue, but it still doesn't make sense.
The answer here lies in flimsy comic book logic. The Infinity Gauntlet holds ultimate power. It can do anything, and mostly responds to the user's wishes through their sheer force of will. If he wants to snap his fingers to accomplish his goals, then so be it. Even still, if all he needs to do is will half the universe away, why does it require a physical gesture? Each question only creates more questions.
In the end, this is just something that fans of the movie will have to get over, because this plot hole will just cause headaches.
What Avengers: Infinity War plot holes did we miss? Are they any that stuck out to you? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!