As shown in his solo movie, Doctor Strange doesn't really play well with others. The Master of the Mystical arts is intelligent and capable of wielding magic as well as the Time Stone, but he doesn't seem to have many friends outside of the devoted Wong. He has yet to be a part of an MCU team. Fans going into the film were interested to see how Doctor Strange would work together with the other Avengers, especially the equally snarky and smart Tony Stark.
From the start there was tension between Iron Man and Doctor Strange as they trade barbs and try to one-up each other while taking on Thanos' Black Order. But it is Doctor Strange's sacrifice that ultimately saves Tony's life- and sets the stage for Avengers 4. After Thanos stabs Iron Man through the heart, Strange makes a bargain with him: the Time Stone for Tony's life. Thanos agrees and actually holds up his end of the bargain, sparing Tony. While it could be argued that Doctor Strange only made the deal because he saw it as the only way to beat Thanos, he is also making an incredibly difficult choice. Seeing the future means he must know what's coming, including his own death and that of half the human race. Strange does it anyway, placing his faith with Tony.
Tony Stark is the Avenger who has been around the longest. From 3 solo films to Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming, we have seen Tony change from the "genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist" to a mentor, friend, and team leader. Infinity War gives Tony even more development as a character by putting him face to face with his biggest fear shown to him by Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron: that he did not do enough to help save his friends.
Throughout Infinity War, Tony is faced with difficult choices. He goes into space to rescue Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. He puts aside his ego to work with both Doctor Strange and Star-Lord a plan to defeat Thanos on his own turf. And when Thanos finally snaps his fingers, Tony is left comforting a disappearing Peter Parker, the boy he has come to care for like a son.
At the end of the movie, Tony is the only one left who knows that there is a future where Thanos is can be defeated. Despite his losses (we don't even know if Pepper made it out okay), he is going to have to be the one, once more who rallies the team and comes up with a way to save the universe. Tony seems to play a key role in Doctor Strange's plan so he will need to be the one with the clearest head going into the Avenger's endgame with Thanos.
Avengers: Infinity War succeeds on multiple levels. It is a movie for the fans who have stuck with the franchise over the years. It has one of the best Marvel villains to date. And it allows for true character growth for a select number of characters in a film filled to the brim with stars. Hopefully, Avengers 4 will do the same for the other characters who did not get a chance to shine in the film - like Hulk (and hopefully Hawkeye).
- 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