AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR has taken the cinematic world by storm, but with ten years of cinematic history backing it up, some of its core elements can be a bit confusing. With that in mind, I have decided to delve into the history surrounding the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Stones.

This article has a HUGE Spoiler Warning. I chose not to limit myself in this exploration, meaning that certain scenes (including the ending of INFINITY WAR) will be discussed in this article. I seriously cannot stress enough how many spoilers I will touch on. With that in mind, proceed at your own risk.

Please note, also, that this is primarily a look at the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet and Stones. While I will be looking to the comics to fill in some gaps, the bulk of my info will come from the movies. If you want an in-depth look at the comic book version of the golden glove, ComicsVerse has you covered here.

All Hail the Golden Glove

MCU's INFINITY GAUNTLET
Thanos wielding the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet, Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet made its initial story appearance during the end credits sequence of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. In anger, Thanos slipped the Gauntlet on while saying, “Fine. I’ll do it myself.” This film acted as one of the first real explorations of the Infinity Stones, outside of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. This means that Thanos’ quote suggests that the Mad Titan would collect the stones on his own, instead of waiting for worthless pawns to do it for him.

What to Read After Seeing AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

While this is the first main time that we saw the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet, we don’t learn its origins until AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. During Thor’s side plot, he, Rocket, and Groot travel to Nidavellir to claim a new weapon for the God of Thunder. While there, the three meet Eitri, the dwarven smith of legends. All is not well for Eitri, though, considering cooled metal encases his hands. They also notice a mold for the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet sitting on his workbench.

Apparently, Thanos approached Eitri and his brothers to “commission” a device to wield the powers of the Infinity Stones. When they refused, Thanos proceeded to slaughter the other dwarves until only Eitri remained. Eitri agreed to help Thanos, but after the Gauntlet was completed, Thanos dipped Eitri’s hands in molten metal to keep him from forging ever again.

The THOR Connection

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
Hela and the Fake Infinity Gauntlet, THOR: RAGNAROK. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

While AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON was the first prominent appearance of the Gauntlet, it wasn’t the first appearance. The MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet first appeared during THOR. While the Frost Giants raid the All-Father’s vault, they pass by a right-handed version of the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet on a pedestal, as well as six glowing stones.

You could take this particular fact many different ways. Maybe Odin had his own Gauntlet commissioned to gather the stones. Perhaps Thanos had tried to craft the Gauntlet centuries earlier, but Odin stopped him. My personal theory is that Marvel had no idea that their Cinematic Universe would expand so rapidly in such a short amount of time. Back in 2011, they probably didn’t even think an AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR was possible. When THOR first came out, it simply added a geeky flair to the proceedings.

Marvel’s Top Six Cosmic Events

None of these theories matter because this Gauntlet turns out to be nothing more than an elaborate fake. During Hela’s takeover of Asgard in THOR: RAGNAROK, she scoffs at the golden glove before knocking it over. While it may not have been the real deal, it is still cool to think that Odin had purposefully added that “weapon” to his personal vault. It raises a lot of questions that future filmmakers could easily explore.

Powers

In all actuality, the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet doesn’t have any true powers of its own. In many ways, it simply acts as the conduit for the stones. Without them, it only acts as a heavy golden glove. It may be effective in defense or attack, but for the most part, it is useless.

Its main purpose is to focus the power of the Infinity Stones and allow the user to wield them without many repercussions. If you remember the closing scene of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the heroes were nearly ripped apart by the unleashed might of the Power Stone. Meanwhile, Ronan, who used his hammer as another conduit, was able to withstand the stone’s immense strength.

It is unclear whether or not a person needs to meet any prior qualifications to wield the Gauntlet. With the Stones, the wielder must possess enough physical or mental fortitude to use them alone, without a base object. There is no basis in the films, though, as to whether or not Joe Schmoe could wield the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet on his own.

Eitri’s Failure

I should take a moment to reiterate here that this article contains spoilers. Up until this point, most have been fairly tame, but I am going to be openly discussing AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR’s ending right now.

The Black Order: Who Are They and What Can They Do?

With that said, I want to point out that Thanos’ life-ending godly moment comes at a major cost. After using the Stones’ power to wipe out half of the life in the universe, the Gauntlet appears to be wrecked and deeply burned. This could signal that Thanos’ victory could spell defeat in the next film. His Gauntlet may not work anymore, meaning that the Avengers may have a chance to stand against him.

While it is unclear whether or not it still works, the internet has been going crazy because of the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet’s final moments. There is no precedent in the comics or in other films for this minor detail, and while I have theories, I do not have answers. The best way I can think about it is that the Gauntlet is like a car battery. It is capable of handling an immense amount of energy, but if too much is added to the system, it blows.

Eitri is a very capable smith, but we have seen his creations destroyed before. After all, he created Mjolnir, which was destroyed by Hela in THOR: RAGNAROK. We will have to wait until AVENGERS 4 for answers, but needless to say, this burned out Gauntlet will play a major role in the coming film.

To Infinity and Beyond

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
The Collector Discussing the Infinity Stones, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

While the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet is key to Thanos’ plans, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is all about the Infinity Stones. The Stones may just represent the most powerful objects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Created as a by-product of the Big Bang, these gems are essentially the crystallized energies of Creation itself. Each of the six Infinity Stones represents an element of the created universe: Power, Space, Reality, Time, Mind, and Soul.

An Ancient Threat Falls From the Skies in AVENGERS #1

Each of the six Stones by itself has the potential to create or destroy based on the user’s will. However, as was seen in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, the individual Infinity Stones can be too powerful for their hosts. To be used, the Stones are typically bonded to a sort of conduit that mitigates some of this destructive energy.

To Crush a Planet: The Power Stone

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
Ronan and the Power Stone, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

While technically not the first Infinity Stone is seen in the MCU, the Power Stone is the first to be called as such. Appearing in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, this stone acted as a major part of the film’s plot. After Star-Lord reclaimed it from the planet Morag, the Stone went through many hands before it reached the film’s villain, Ronan the Accuser. This Kree warrior originally worked for Thanos, searching for the stones in the Mad Titan’s stead. After claiming the Power Stone, though, he decided to use it himself and destroy both his master and the Nova Corps on Xandar.

Road to INFINITY WAR: 6 Things We Learned From MCU’s Phase 3

After the battle with Ronan, the Power Stone was retrieved and placed in the care of the Nova Corps. The Guardians believed it would be safest with them, seeing as they had a high-tech army at their beck and call. This plan fails, though. Thanos destroys the entire Nova Corps. without the aid of any other Stones and takes the Power Stone for himself. It is the first stone in his Gauntlet in INFINITY WAR and the one he uses most in the film.

Powers

In comparison to the other Stones, the Power Stone seems a bit underwhelming. It grants the user incredible physical strength and endurance, while also enhancing any of the powers they originally have. Depending on how much of the Stone’s power the user draws upon, they can essentially become invincible.

This particular ability, though, is far less flashy than another typically used in the MCU. The wielder can also manipulate a form of purple energy. This has mostly been used for destructive purposes. Thanos uses this energy in INFINITY WAR to crack the distant moon and pull the pieces down to Titan’s surface in hopes of crushing the Avengers.

However, none of this explains why Thanos chose to gather the Power Stone first. While the “energy telekinesis” is nice and being invincible would certainly help a war effort, collecting any of the other Stones would seem more pressing. Thanos chose to collect the Power Stone first because of a sort of hidden ability it has.

Steve Rogers: Captain America Is Taking a Stand

The Power Stone amplifies any abilities it encounters. Any power multiplies, meaning that the other Stones in the Gauntlet grow in strength when exposed to the Power Stone. He gathered it first for the sake of the long game, knowing full well that his strength would then grow exponentially with each subsequent Stone.

It also makes sense that he gathered the Stones as a means to remove the Nova Corps. from the picture. They had the greatest opposing army and the highest probability of stopping Thanos if they joined the Earthly fighting force. This doesn’t excuse the one line of exposition they get in INFINITY WAR, but I do understand the Russo Brothers’ decision here.

A Glimpse of the Universe: The Space Stone

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
Red Skull and the Tesseract, CAPTAIN AMERICA. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The Space Stone was the first Infinity Stone seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, no one knew it. Much like the other Stones, someone (likely the Asgardians) already encased this stone in a conduit to limit its power. The Space Stone made its first appearance in CAPTAIN AMERICA within the confines of the Tesseract. Throughout the MCU’s first two phases, no one knew that this powerful energy source, in fact, held an Infinity Stone.

Looking back on the early MCU, it makes perfect sense. All of the Stones have seemingly endless energy, and Red Skull’s entire plan stemmed from the Tesseract’s unending power supply. Also, his “demise” (more on this later) involved being shot into space by the cube. It also explains why the Cube had properties that drew the eyes of Loki, Nick Fury, and even Thanos himself from the start.

In INFINITY WAR, the Tesseract still encased the Stone when Thanos came knocking. Before the destruction of Asgard in THOR: RAGNAROK, Loki had pocketed the cube, seemingly for old time’s sake. However, in INFINITY WAR, he uses it as a bargaining chip and as a distraction in hopes of killing Thanos. Instead, Thanos snapped his neck and proceeded to smash the Tesseract and add the Space Stone to the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet.

Powers

The Space Stone has, by far, the easiest powerset to explore. When used, the Stone can teleport the wielder to any point in the universe. It truly doesn’t get simpler than that. However, the use of this Stone in Thanos’ military movement only makes sense. He can open portals of any size to send his generals, the “Children of Thanos,” anywhere to strike at anything. With it in the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos can literally be anywhere in an instant, meaning that he can run a universe-wide empire with almost no strain.

Get Hype: Hela in THOR: RAGNAROK, From The Comics To The Big Screen

The Space Stone has one other ability seen in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. During the battle on Titan, Thanos uses the Stone to freeze Spider-Man in place. It is a subtle, rather unexplained ability, but the blue glow around the webbed hero signals it as a result of the Space Stone.

Bending Existence to Your Will: The Reality Stone

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
The Collector and the Reality Stone, THOR: THE DARK WORLD. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

One of the more obscure Stones on this list, the Reality Stone actually made its first appearance in THOR: THE DARK WORLD. It is the crystallized form of the liquid entity called the Aether. The Dark Elf Malekith sought this powerful weapon as a means to bolster his armies and strike back at Asgard. When possessed of the Aether, the wielder is capable of altering the very fabric of reality itself. Considering that it is the base form of the Reality Stone, this should have been clearer from the start.

At the end of THOR: THE DARK WORLD, the Warriors Three, and Sif bring the Aether, now in a crystal form, to the Collector for safe keeping. However, INFINITY WAR saw this as a failed plan as well. The Collector’s entire home is destroyed by Thanos and the Stone has been collected long before the Guardians ever arrived on the scene. In fact, Thanos even had time to construct an elaborate illusion as a means to test Gamora.

Updated Odds Each Avenger Dies In INFINITY WAR and AVENGERS 4

Powers

The Reality Stone allows the user to actively alter the very fabric of the universe itself. In the film, Thanos used it to create the above illusion as well as another to show the heroes what his homeworld used to look like. He also used the Stone to change Drax into a pile of stone blocks and Mantis into a puddle of ribbons.

This Stone is the driving force for many of the universe-changing abilities that the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet has proven capable of. It can even bring people back from the dead, which is important to mention, given the ending to the film. Literally, any act is possible with the Reality Stone at your side, and once Thanos gained this weapon, no one stood a chance.

Turn Back the Clock: The Time Stone

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
Stephen Strange and the Time Stone, DOCTOR STRANGE. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Of the Stones, we have had the most exposure to and explanation about the Time Stone. First appearing DOCTOR STRANGE, the Time Stone acts as the core to the Eye of Agamotto. This powerful mystic artifact utilizes spells and abilities so powerful that the Ancient One forbid its use. No one but the Ancient One was allowed to use the Stone, but Stephen Strange being Stephen Strange, he couldn’t stop himself from playing with one of the universe’s most powerful artifacts. This proved the universe’s salvation, though, when Stephen used the Stone to defeat the dread Dormammu.

Stephen had the Stone for most of the film and used it on a number of occasions. In fact, his entire goal throughout the film was to safeguard it from Thanos’ forces. Nevertheless, he gave it up in order to save Tony Stark’s life. Though this seemingly damned the team, Strange was confident that his decision was “the only way.”

Powers

The Time Stone, like the Reality Stone, has the widest and most terrifying potential of the Stones. At the user’s behest, the Stone can alter the flow of time, turning it backward or pushing it forward. Strange and Thanos use this skill throughout the films, and it actually acts as Thanos’ final gambit. When Scarlet Witch destroys the Mind Stone, Thanos simply turns the clock back to a time when the Stone wasn’t destroyed.

Revisiting Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

However, the Stone is capable of so much more, and Thanos really never uses the full extent of its power. In fact, Doctor Strange is the only one who has. In his self-titled film, he creates a Time Loop that only he controls.

Essentially, he annoys Dormammu to the point of giving up by constantly turning back time to the beginning of their negotiations. In INFINITY WAR, Strange uses the stone to fast forward over a billion times to see the different outcomes of their fight. No matter how you spin it, though, both the Time Stone and the Reality Stone have incredible power.

A Glimpse into Your Subconscious: The Mind Stone

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
Loki and the Mind Stone, AVENGERS. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Like the Space Stone, the Mind Stone made its first appearance without anyone noticing. Set in the tip of Loki’s spear in AVENGERS, the Stone had already found its conduit before the film’s start. Throughout the film, Loki used the spear to manipulate and control the minds of scientists and superheroes to serve Thanos. Marvel wouldn’t reveal the Stone, though, until AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON.

At the start of the film, Baron Strucker has captured the spear and used it to experiment on Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Using the Stone’s energy, he gave them superpowers. After recapturing the spear, now with visions of the world’s end in his skull, Tony Stark discovers an entire artificial intelligence within the spear’s tip. Instead of leaving things be, though, Tony decides to use the alien intelligence to create a peacekeeping program, which becomes Ultron. Later, when Ultron attempts to build an evolved version of himself, he shatters the spear and gifts the Mind Stone to his “son,” Vision.

AVENGERS: An Avenger Must Die In INFINITY WAR

The Mind Stone still resides in Vision’s skull at the beginning of INFINITY WAR, and it is essentially the construct that gives him life. His sentience exists because of the Stone. As such, the Avengers fight like hell throughout the film to protect the Android Avenger. In the end, though, that fighting was futile. When Thanos comes to claim the Stone, Wanda destroys the Stone, only to watch it reform under Thanos’ control.

Powers

We know very little about the Mind Stone as of this writing, and most of it is fairly vague. We do know that it has some mind control abilities, as showcased by Loki in AVENGERS. It also has an entire neural network apparently built into the structure of the Stone which results in Ultron and Vision. Vision has even used the Stone as a conduit for a laser attack, though we don’t know if that is actually the stone or a natural part of his physiology.

The Total Destruction of Self: The Soul Stone

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
Thanos and Gamora, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I have largely discussed the Stones in the order that Thanos collected them in INFINITY WAR. Despite the fact that he claimed the Soul Stone before the Time or Mind Stones, I  tackled this particular Stone last because there is a lot to discuss.

The Soul Stone makes its first MCU appearance in INFINITY WAR. Located on the planet Vormir, a barren world without life, the Stone is one of the few with a chosen guardian. This poor soul is actually the spectral form of the Red Skull, whose tampering with the Space Stone sent him hurtling through space to Vormir. While the other details here get a bit fuzzy, we know that his time as a spirit has been nothingness, an eternity of waiting.

Upon arriving on Vormir, this spirit accosts Thanos and Gamora. He tells them that they can only claim it by sacrificing the thing they love most. Gamora, believing her foster father incapable of love, feels she’s won. That is until Thanos, his eyes full of tears, throws her off the cliff and claims the stone for the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet.

Power Levels: The Past, Present, and Future Of The MCU’s Superpowers

Powers

As such a new element in the MCU, we know almost nothing about the Soul Stone. There really wasn’t any time to explore the Stone’s powers by the end of the film. What we do know comes only from the Red Skull’s words. He states that the Soul Stone is different from all of the others. It has a sort of “wisdom” to it, and it commands the other Stones.

Still, this isn’t much to go on. This means that we must go by the comics alone. As the name suggests, all of the Soul Stone’s powers stem from the manipulation of the Soul. The wielder can alter the nature of a person’s soul, thus turning a good man evil. They can also peer into a person’s soul to discover lies or hidden truths. It also can attack a person’s soul and deteriorate it. However, the most important power stems from a particularly odd trait of the Soul Stone. It carries within itself an idyllic pocket dimension wherein it traps the souls of its wielder’s enemies.

“What Did You Have To Sacrifice?”

At the end of the film, Thanos has won. His victory assured, half of the universe has died by his hands. Nevertheless, when he snaps his fingers, things get a bit weird. Suddenly, he finds himself in a new world. Orange light floods the entire sky, and before him lies a broken temple. He no longer has the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet or the Stones. Standing before him is Gamora but as a child. She asks him, “What did you have to sacrifice to win?” To which Thanos replies, “Everything.”

INFINITY WAR: A Path of Fears Made Real For Tony Stark

This scene set the internet ablaze with speculation. Only recently has Joe Russo confirmed that this orange landscape is actually the Soul Stone’s inner world. This means, by the strictest terms, that Gamora’s soul is very much alive. Her soul was simply trapped in the Soul Stone after her death. This would seem to signal, then, that the other heroes reside in there as well. After all, they couldn’t have simply disappeared. Even with his god-like power, Thanos had to send them somewhere. This most likely nods to future events in the series, as well as hope for the Avengers and Guardians. If their friends still exist somewhere, they can save them eventually.

What’s Next for the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet

MCU's Infinity Gauntlet
The Infinity Gauntlet, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

AVENGERS 4 couldn’t come any faster. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR was a fantastic, intense experience, but it left me and plenty of others with more questions than answers. The MCU likes to leave itself a bit vague at times. With that said, I hope this article has proven informative.

The MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet has a long history in the comics, and not much of it is very clear. What information I gave comes from almost three decades of storytelling, and some of that contradicts what we see in the films. We may never know the full extent of the MCU’s Infinity Gauntlet’s power. Maybe, all we need to know is that it can wipe out half of the universe’s life with a snap of the fingers. Either way, it is a terrifying and awesome power.

Show ComicsVerse some Love! Leave a Reply!