In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos will present the greatest threat the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever seen, and he'll do it all with the most simple of things: a finger snap. But what exactly does that click mean, and what does this ultimate goal say about the future of the Avengers?
Earth's Mightiest Heroes are assembling in greater numbers than ever before to try to stop the Mad Titan from gathering all of the Infinity Stones. If Thanos is able to collect the six powerful ingots into the Infinity Gauntlet, he will have the omnipotence he needs to accomplish his goal of wiping out half of all life in the universe. Although he's coming to Earth with dangerous alien minions called the Black Order, Thanos' greatest weapon isn't a sword, a shield, or a gun. Rather, it's a jeweled glove; therefore, his method of annihilation the trailers are teasing - a finger snap - is fitting.
Thanos simply snapping his fingers is a novel approach to ending billions of lives rooted in Marvel Comics' Infinity Gauntlet, which Avengers 3 is (partially) based upon. With so much weight on Thanos' thumb and forefinger, let's look at whether the film will homage or even replicate this iconic moment.
The Finger Snap In Infinity Gauntlet
The events depicted in Jim Starlin and George Perez' Infinity Gauntlet are quite different from how Infinity War is set to play out. For one thing, when the graphic novel begins, Thanos already possesses all six Infinity Stones; in the first issue, the Mad Titan is swelled by omnipotence and ponders how best to wield his might to impress Mistress Death, whose heart he desires. Death had tasked Thanos with balancing the cosmos and eliminating half of all life, which the Titan realized he had yet to accomplish. So, he raised his newly-won Infinity Gauntlet, snapped his fingers, and wiped out half of the universe - just like that.
In the comic, this apocalyptic event happens midway in the first issue. This was not a cliffhanger, culmination point, nor even the most pivotal event in the story. It's the inciting incident; the sudden disappearance of fifty percent of living beings in the universe was the act that motivated Earth's remaining superheroes, and later the cosmic beings of the Marvel Universe, to assemble against Thanos. Eliminating half of all life wasn't Thanos' goal in the comic as it is in the movie, rather a way to impress the woman he loved.
The Finger Snap In Avengers: Infinity War
What Infinity War has done, then, is reconstitute the idea. Mistress Death is absent, with her motivations put directly on the Mad Titan himself; he wants to wipe out half of all life for himself.
Related: Why Is Thanos Only Attacking NOW?
The powering finger snap is an ominous threat that Infinity War's marketing has made sure to spotlight. This doesn't just nod to the comic, though, but foreshadows the finger snap as a key event in the film. In the trailer, Gamora, whom Thanos raised as a child to be one of his assassins, explains what her "father" wants to the Avengers: "The entire time I knew him, he only ever had one goal: to wipe out half the universe. If he gets all the Infinity Stones, he can do it with a snap of fingers. Just like that!" Thanos himself echoes the threat in a different TV spot for Avengers 3: "You're strong. But I could snap my fingers and you'd all cease to exist." Directors Joe and Anthony Russo are clearly promising that Thanos snapping his fingers will be a moment in the film that will be as impactful as it was in the comics.
But it's one thing to tease as a motivation, it's another to actualize. We already have a change in the snap from starting point to goal, does that change whether it will happen?
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