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Warning: MASSIVE Avengers: Infinity War spoilers in this article! Seriously, do not read any further if you have not seen the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster yet. You've been warned!
We have been waiting years for this, and it did not disappoint. Specifically, I am referring to Avengers: Infinity War, a movie that promised surprising moments and narrative left turns at every step of its marketing campaign. Seriously, we knew the film would shock us, and yet it still managed to leave our jaws on the floor when it ended.
With that in mind, and now that audiences have had a chance to actually see Avengers: Infinity War in theaters, we have put together a list of the most shocking moments from the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe outing. Check out our list and let us know what moment shocked you the most in the comments, below. On that note, let's kick things off with one of the film's earliest surprises.
Thor Is Already Defeated At The Beginning
The ending of Thor: Ragnarok made it abundantly clear: Thanos had arrived, and he was due for a showdown with the God of Thunder. With that in mind, you can imagine our surprise when Avengers: Infinity War opened, and we saw that the Asgardian refugee vessel had already been mostly destroyed by Thanos and his goons. In fact, Thor is already on the brink of death when the movie begins. Avengers: Infinity War is a profoundly somber movie, and few elements of the story hammer that idea home more than seeing some of the film's most powerful heroes get their asses handed to them so early. It is a shocking way to frame a mighty badass like Thor and an awesome gut punch to get things started.
Red Skull's Return
Avengers: Infinity War answers a question that many Marvel fans have wondered ever since the credits rolled at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger: where the hell did Red Skull go? Well, seven years after the debut of that film, we finally get our answer. It turns out that the Tesseract blasted the Nazi scientist into space, and he has spent the better part of the last century on a secluded planet overlooking the location of the Soul Stone. Knowing that Red Skull is alive (albeit played by a different actor now) is huge for the Captain America corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it promises the potential of even more evil from the classic villain as the MCU presses forward into the events of Avengers 4.
Although Avengers: Infinity War opens with some major deaths onboard the Asgardian refugee ship, those deaths are relatively easy to see coming for fans who had done their homework. That said, things get even more intense from there when Thanos takes Gamora to obtain the Soul Stone. There, with a sad look on his face, we watch as The Mad Titan somberly murders Gamora in order to acquire the gem. It's beautifully-acted moment by all involved, and downright shocking because we have become so used to characters being saved from execution at the very last minute when their friends swoop in to help them. Not this time. Gamora is gone, and we don't know if she will be able to come back after what's happened to her.
Star-Lord's Impulsive Mistake
Building off of that last point, the death of Gamora puts events in motion that largely dictated the outcome of the rest of the film. Specifically, when Peter Quill learns of the death of Gamora, he flies off the handle and begins to mercilessly attack Thanos in a desperate attempt at revenge. The problem? The heroes on Titan have already subdued Thanos, and Peter's attack on the villain affords him an opportunity to break free and get his hand back on the Infinity Gauntlet. It's one of those moments that keeps you frozen in your seat as you say "no" repeatedly under your breathe, and while we know that Star-Lord is an impulsive hero, few of us could've ever previously anticipated this type of behavior in any of the Guardians movies.
Every character takes a beating in Avengers: Infinity War, but Vision arguably gets the worst of it. Not only does he go through some serious pain during the battle against Thanos' army and the Black Order, but he's also forced have Scarlet Witch kill him to destroy the Mind Stone before it can fall into Thanos' hands. However, what looks like victory quickly turns south when Thanos shows up, quickly uses the Time Stone to restore the Mind Stone, and then proceeds to murder Vision anyway. It's about as cold and heartless as a moment has ever gotten over the course of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's ten-year history, and a scene that embodies Infinity War's differences from the films that preceded it. In this battle, all bets are off.
Doctor Strange Handing Over The Time Stone
As one of the adults in the room, Stephen Strange makes it pretty clear early on that he has no intention of letting Thanos complete the Infinity Gauntlet. That said, as The Mad Titan delivers a potentially killing blow to Tony Stark in the battle on Titan, Strange decides to acquiesce and make a deal. He offers up the Time Stone around his neck in exchange for Tony Stark's survival. Here's the thing: we don't think Strange did that out of the kindness of his heart. He has seen every possible outcome from the battle against Thanos, and while we don't actually see the single path that leads to victory, Strange seems to think that it requires Tony Stark's survival. Now let's just hope that Tony can make good on his promise to take Thanos down in Avengers 4.
Thor's Arrival In Wakanda
Earth's mightiest heroes are largely fractured, splintered, and scattered throughout the cosmos during the events of Avengers: Infinity War. That's what makes Thor's arrival in the Battle of Wakanda so surprising. Just when all seems lost, the Bifrost opens and the King of Asgard shows up with Rocket Raccoon and Groot at his side, and the three lend a helping hand to turn the tide of the battle against Thanos' army. In a movie that's chock full of character deaths, somber moments, and a consistent feeling of dead, Thor's arrival on Wakanda stands out as one of the most uniquely encouraging and downright awe-inspiring in the entire story. Now, if only his arrival in the African nation had been more successful in the long run, but we will get to that in a second...
Thor Failing To Kill Thanos
Every major hero in Avengers: Infinity War has a connection to Thanos in some way or another, but Thor is the one with the clearest sense of personal hatred towards The Mad Titan. It's not hard to understand why; we watch Heimdall and Loki die in the opening scene, and it's clear that Thor doesn't have much left to lose after his encounters with Thanos and the Black Order. With that in mind, Stormbreaker's killing blow against Thanos seems to provide an incredible sense of pathos to the film when it looks like Thor has finally done the impossible, but we're then treated to one of the films biggest surprises when it turns out that Thanos still has some life left in him -- not to mention the ability to still move his fingers. Dammit, Thor. You should've aimed for the head.
The Finger Snap
It's the moment that Marvel fans were dreading, while also somewhat hoping to see at the same time: the murder of half of all life in the universe. Thanos actually managed to snap is fingers during the climax of Avengers: Infinity War -- resulting in an explosive sound and a cut to a hallucination of young Gamora. In the buildup to Infinity War, many had assumed that Thanos might actually get a chance to snap his fingers if he were to get his hands on all of the Infinity Stones, with the killing blow from Thor at the end of the battle, it genuinely looked like those teases were not going to pay off. Nevertheless, Thanos managed to snap his fingers and the result as a massive genocide arguably unlike anything ever seen in any other blockbuster franchise.
This one seems intentionally framed to mislead audiences. When the heroes start to fade away after the Battle of Wakanda, we see Okoye struggling to get to her feet in the aftermath of the battle. T'Challa crawls over to her in an attempt to lend a hand, but then the king of the advanced African nation turns to dust and fades away -- resulting in some of the film's most intense gasps. The scene sets it up to make it look like Okoye will be the one to go instead of her King, but T'Challa's disappearance is one of Infinity War's most insane shockers. Now, with him gone, we're left with one critical question: who will rule Wakanda and serve as its protector until the true Black Panther returns?
It's a nightmare to watch any of our heroes fade away after the Thanos finger snap, but one of the most surprising and heart wrenching of the bunch is the "death" of Spider-Man. Going away much more slowly than any of the other characters before him, Peter slowly stumbles into Tony Stark's arms and apologizes for failing his mentor in one of the film's most emotionally devastating moments. The kicker? Spider-Man has only been around in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for two years and has clear plans for another movie, so it seems unlikely that anybody would've expected that he would be one of the people to go at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. With Peter gone, Tony better think fast to bring his teammates back and undo what Thanos has done.
Nick Fury And Maria Hill's Disappearance
Last, but certainly not least, we round out our list of shocking moments from Avengers: Infinity War with its undeniably awesome post-credits scene. Nick Fury and Maria Hill show up for the first time in the film's story, and they look on in horror as the people around them begin to fade away as a result of the finger snap. Nick loses his right-hand woman when Hill disappears, and he runs to the back of his car in a desperate attempt to call Captain Marvel. Then, in one last shocker, we see the former head of S.H.I.E.L.D. fade away into nothingness. Hill fading away was a surprise, but Nick's disappearance was a total bombshell of a moment. Now we have to wait and see what Carol Danvers can do to lend a hand.