Scarlet Witch has never been a star of her own movie. She worked alongside Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron before changing sides and becoming a member of Team Cap in Captain America: Civil War. Much of her character has been defined by her fear of her powers, especially after accidentally killing a number of people while on a mission in Lagos. That's because Scarlet Witch wields incredible power. The stakes in Infinity War finally give Scarlet Witch a chance to unleash these powers in a way previously not seen in the films.
Scarlet Witch's most important role in the film is protecting the Mind Stone, embedded in the forehead of Vision. Both of them know that she is the only one powerful enough to destroy the stone which is the preferable outcome to Thanos harnessing its power. But she is faced with an impossible decision knowing that to destroy the stone would also kill the man she loves. Scarlet Witch has already lost her family, her country, and her brother. She has overcome all of this trauma and become a hero, but losing one more person, at her own hands is not something she is willing to face.
However, when the time comes, Scarlet Witch proves her strength. She not only destroys the Mind Stone, but holds back Thanos in the process. Unfortunately, Thanos is able to use the Time Stone to undo her work and save the stone. It is worth noting that going back in time is the only way Thanos can defeat Scarlet Witch because she's just that powerful. Letting her use these powers (Okoye marvels at them after Scarlet Witch saves her life during the battle) allows the character to hold her own against the rest of the Avengers and prove her worth to the franchise.
Gamora has been a badass member of the Guardians of the Galaxy for two films now, but it is her relationship with Thanos that makes Infinity War so interesting. As the (adopted) daughter of Thanos, Gamora has had to deal with an incredible amount of emotional trauma over the years. The people on her planet were massacred, she was forced to fight her sister Nebula, and made to do Thanos' bidding. Somehow Thanos convinced himself that he was doing these things out of love for his daughter. Gamora never gave in, even hiding the location of the Soul Stone from her daddy dearest.
Despite it all, Gamora has managed to grow as a character. She is able to declare her love for Star-Lord when a few films ago she was barely willing to dance with him. She has mended the relationship with her sister. She is even willing to die rather than reveal the location of the Soul Stone. However, it is this love for Nebula that Thanos uses against her. When Thanos threatens Nebula, Gamora gives in and tells him the location of the stone. Saving her sister from any more torment is more important than her own life. It is a nice change to see from the hardened assassin first introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Since the mid-credit scene in the first Avengers film, fans have been waiting for Thanos to take on the heroes of the MCU. Despite mostly appearing in post-credit stingers and what amounts to basically a cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Mad Titan has made his presence known. When Loki and Ronan failed to do his bidding, Thanos decided to take matters into his own hands and find the Infinity Stones on his own. And, as proven in Infinity War, he was rather successful.
Marvel has promised Thanos as a villain as early as 2011 with Thor. They have called Infinity War, "The most ambitious crossover to date." Only a particularly evil villain could have the power to bring all of the heroes featured in the film together. It seems impossible that any bad guy could live up to that hype. However, Thanos exceeded expectations. He was pure evil and acted without mercy, even killing his own daughter (the thing he loved most in the world) in the quest to achieve his goal. His sacrifice of Gamora even allowed for (the smallest amount of) empathy for the character and proof that there might be a heart somewhere in there.
While it's easy to improve on his previous near non-existence, Josh Brolin brought Thanos to life. He made the character a real threat and made good on the promise Marvel made all those years ago.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) release date: Jul 07, 2017