Just how does Thanos use the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Infinity War? In the MCU, the Infinity Stones are "six singularities" that predate the universe itself. When Thanos acquired the Space Stone, Ebony Maw claimed that his master was the first being in all of history to wield the power of more than one Infinity Stone. By the end of the film, the Mad Titan had claimed all six.
Over in the comics, Marvel recently revealed that the Infinity Stones exist in a sort of "feedback loop." Mastery of one Stone grants the bearer power over another. Thus mastery of the Space Stone, for example, amplifies the power of the Time Stone. It's unclear whether or not that same principle applies in the movies, but certainly there's some sort of synergy between the Stones shown in Avengers: Infinity War; that's why Thanos needed to acquire all six in order to be able to erase half the lives in the universe with just a snap of his fingers.
Marvel put a lot of thought into how they would demonstrate the power of each Infinity Stone. As Joe Russo explained, "Each gem has its own special power... Not only are you dealing with a lot of characters, you are also dealing with the Stones, the gems, and there's a lot of them. So for people to keep track of all of it, we had to get really specific." This was achieved by a pretty smart concept; the Infinity Gauntlet wasn't just envisioned as a glove containing the Infinity Stones, but as a mechanism that allowed Thanos access to their power. Every time he triggered an Infinity Stone by clenching his fist, the Stone(s) in use flared. That simple visual tool allowed viewers to know what was going on.
Over on Reddit, one Redditor has used this to help break down all the different and distinctive ways Thanos wielded the Infinity Stones. We'll follow a similar approach here, but we'll also examine what each use implies as regards the power of the Infinity Stones, and Thanos's mastery of them.
- This Page: Using Infinity Stones To Collect Other Stones
- Page 2: Using Infinity Stones Together To Beat The Avengers
- Page 3: How Thanos Used Each Individual Stone
Thanos Using Infinity Stones on the Asgardian Ship
Avengers: Infinity War begins with Thanos only wielding one Infinity Stone, the Power Stone (stolen from Xandar in a deleted sequence). By the end of this scene, though, he's acquired the Space Stone as well - and immediately shows a grasp of its power. He's able to wield both Infinity Stones to terrifying effect.
Thanos's first use of the Power Stone is to torture Thor by pressing it against the God of Thunder's face. This fits with the lore established in Guardians of the Galaxy, with just physical contact with the Power Stone burns a living being up. In this case, Thanos is less demonstrating what he can do with the Power Stone, than he is taking advantage of its very nature.
It's ironic that Loki gives Thanos the Space Stone before making an attempt on the Mad Titan's life; Thanos is able to use the Space Stone to freeze Loki's hand in space, preventing him from slitting his throat. Previous movies and tie-in comics had seen the Space Stone used as a power source (Captain America: The First Avenger, before Marvel had decided that the Tesseract was an Infinity Stone); to create portals (The Avengers); and to harness the Bifrost (Thor: The Dark World Prelude). This is the first time we've ever seen it used to freeze an object in space, and it's possible Loki didn't know it could do that.
Thanos then uses the Power Stone to build up a charge of energy that destroys the Asgardian ship; it's a similar idea to the one demonstrated by Tivan in Guardians of the Galaxy, when he claimed the Celestials previously used the Power Stone to judge entire worlds. The Mad Titan then teleports himself and the Black Order away from the ensuing explosion with the Space Stone.
Thanos Using Infinity Stones on Knowhere
The next scene featuring Thanos is on Knowhere, with the Mad Titan already in possession of the Reality Stone. Its powers haven't really been explored before; the Reality Stone (or the Aether) was introduced in Thor: The Dark World, but back then Malekith intended to unite the Reality Stone with a galactic event known as the Convergence. This was apparenty a time when the Reality Stone's power was at its height. With the Convergence now passed, Thanos gives viewers a glimpse of the Reality Stone's usual power levels.
Thanos's most impressive use of the Reality Stone is in his creation of what the writers and directors have called a "Reality Cloak," a false reality that deceives the Guardians of the Galaxy. It's so real that Gamora even briefly believes she's killed her "father" - before Thanos wills the Reality Cloak to fade away, revealing that he has already taken the Reality Stone. The most impressive aspect of the Reality Cloak is that characters Thanos has created appear to have some sort of autonomous will; Tivan waves as he disappears, perfectly in-character. Thanos then uses the full force of the Reality Stone against the Guardians, turning Drax into bricks, Mantis into ribbons and Star-Lord's blaster-shots into bubbles. With the Guardians defeated, Thanos depart from Knowhere courtesy of the Space Stone, taking Gamora with him.
It's interesting to note that, when Thanos leaves Knowhere, Drax and Mantis reform. This suggests that the Reality Stone has to be in relatively close proximity for its effects to be maintained. It may explain why Malekith needed the Convergence in order to amplify the Reality Stone's power; the Convergence seemed to break down the spatial barriers between all the Nine Realms, which would thus allow Malekith to use the Reality Stone on all of reality at once.
Thanos Using Infinity Stones With Gamora
Moving on to Thanos's vessel, the Mad Titan tortures Nebula in order to force Gamora to reveal the Soul Stone's location. He combines the Power and Space Stones in order to do this, tearing Nebula's cybernetic body apart and causing her unbearable agony. This is the first time Thanos melds the power of two Infinity Stones.
Thanos then uses the Space Stone to transport himself and Gamora to Vormir. It's notable that he materializes on exactly the right part of the planet to get to the Soul Stone, hinting that - as in the comics - the Infinity Stones are drawn to one another. Later in this scene, he turns Gamora's knife to bubbles using the Reality Stone.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019