All spoilers on this page are left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
"Hear me, and rejoice! You have had the privilege... of being saved by the Great Titan. You may think this is suffering. No...it is salvation. The universal scales... tip toward balance because of your sacrifice. Smile - for even in death... you have become children of Thanos."
— Ebony Maw on the Mad Titan's worldview.
Following his cameo in The Stinger of The Avengers, the Marvel Cinematic Universe spent six years building up Thanos as the ultimate threat. Now, it's time to see the Mad Titan unleashed.
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- Let's start with the plot of the movies themselves: A Galactic Conqueror goes on a rampage across the galaxy looking for extremely powerful artifacts that would grant him control over reality, space, time, souls, minds, and power, and the heroes of the MCU are too divided and powerless to stop him.
- At one point, Mantis remarks "Death follows him like a shadow", which could, in the context of the MCU, refer to death the phenomenon or The Grim Reaper herself. In any case, it looks like Thanos is going to make good on his threat to make the universe "long for something as sweet as pain".
- At one point, Thanos grabs Thor by the head. The fact that Thanos is literally more powerful than a Physical God — without the Infinity Gauntlet — is quite frightening in and of itself. Especially considering this takes place after Thor became more powerful. This effectively makes Thanos at least as strong as Hela before he has the Infinity Stones!
- There's also a moment where you see Loki holding out the Tesseract to someone off-screen (presumably Thanos) with a look of utter fear on his face, inferring the likely possibility Loki is offering the Tesseract in exchange for his life over his previous failure to acquire it. Before that, we see Ebony Maw stepping over a mass of dead people, some of whom were seen as background characters in Ragnarok. That and Loki's beaten up appearance promise nothing good for the people of Asgard. A shot from the second trailer shows Loki being held at spearpoint by the Black Order. And they absolutely tower him, despite him being 6' 2'' (1.88m) tall.
- The statues of the Children of Thanos might be a little unsettling, with their pale, gaunt appearances and weaponry.
- One example would be the involvement of Spider-Man. Sure, while it might be awesome seeing Spidey helping the Avengers and Guardians fight Thanos, remember this: he's roughly sixteen years old during the events of these movies and he is fighting an omnipotent Galactic Conqueror from another planet.
- Illustrated in the trailer when Thanos himself pins Peter to the ground!◊.
- One scene in the Superbowl TV spot shows Peter on the circle, presumably attempting to stop it, from an overhead perspective looking down. He is about 20km (12.4 miles) high! The idea of a teenager at that high an altitude alone could give one the shivers. He then takes his mask off and is shown struggling to breathe.
- Finally, in one scene Thanos throws an entire planet at our heroes. Yikes. Before doing so, Thanos says the following:
- The officially-released trailer adds a brief Evil Laugh in the middle of that line, reinforcing the fact that, yeah, slaughtering people and crushing heroes is Thanos' idea of fun.
- The Outriders, Thanos' new footsoldiers, look even more horrifying than the Chitauri and Sakaaran mooks from previous movies. They are large, four-armed reptilian monstrosities that tower over normal humans and they are very numerous, so much so they appear to overwhelm the Wakandans with their sheer numbers. The second trailer shows them overwhelming the Hulkbuster!
- One part of the trailer features Corvus Glaive trying to forcibly gouge the Mind Stone right out of Vision's forehead with his weapon. Poor Vision is screaming in pain and looks as if he can't do a thing to stop it.
- More of a Freeze-Frame Bonus, but at one point in the first official trailer, after a clip of him adding the blue Space Stone to the Gauntlet, Thanos holds up his hand to show off the two Stones he has obtained by that point. What's the color of the other Stone he holds? It's purple — meaning Thanos has, by that point, already taken the Power Stone and dealt a Curb-Stomp Battle to the Nova Corps earlier in the movie or offscreen entirely. And knowing the capabilities that the Power Stone displayed in Guardians of the Galaxy, it's quite possible that Thanos finished what Ronan started, and destroyed Xandar entirely when he was finished with his assault. In fact, the devastation Guardians see in the bootlegged Comic-Con trailer may very well be debris of Xandar, completely obliterated...
- You can also see Thanos inserting the Space Gem into the Gauntlet... with his bare fingers. This is an artifact that can and has atomized anybody who touches it without special protection, and Thanos handles it like he was arranging flowers.
- As if that wasn't enough, a new image has surfaced with Thanos appearing to grasp a nearby moon...and anyone who has seen the D23 trailer knows exactly what happens next.
- Even worse is the context. This is after the heroes manage to restrain Thanos and nearly remove the Infinity Gauntlet; until Star-Lord attacks him out of grief-stricken rage over learning about Gamora's death. After Thanos breaks free as a result, he is clearly and extremely livid. He only has four stones at this point; and it is enough to throw the moon at the planet; and also subsequently devastate his opponents as brutally as possible. Thanos' power knows no equal.
- The mood of almost the entire trailer is this. The Avengers and the heroes of the MCU have fought off aliens, genocidal warlords, killer robots, extradimensional terrors, Celestials and even The Goddess of Death, but the trailer goes out of its way to make it clear that to Thanos and the power of the Infinity Stones, they are nothing but minor nuisances to him.
- The first part of the trailer is especially scary. All we see is a completely terrified Tony, who has in fact called Cap, likewise terrified and heartbroken looking Banner, distressed Strange and Wong, all acting as if something extremely scary is outside the Sanctum. When they leave the Sanctum it appears to be something in the sky... and Peter's Spider-Sense warns him of something — a mechanical circle hovering in the sky. And we don't see it do anything... what IS that thing which scares some of the most powerful superheroes on Earth so much?
- Look very closely after the circle is revealed. One shot reveals it slowly pulling buildings apart.
- In a recent interview, Mark Ruffalo revealed that Banner is terrified of Thanos with The Hulk being impressed by him. Considering that the Incredible Hulk has given a Curbstomp Battle to everyone minus Thor, the Hulkbuster, Fenris and Abomination, that should say a lot.
- One of the clips released shows this fear up close. The desperation and sheer terror on Banner's face as he warns Stark about Thanos has to be seen to be believed.
Tell me his name again. Banner: Thanos.
He's a plague, Tony. He invades planets, he takes what he wants, he wipes out half the population! He sent Loki! The attack on New York
, that's him!
- The second trailer has something truly chilling: Ebony Maw torturing Doctor Strange. Keep in mind, Strange was able to endure millennia of torment at the hands of Dormammu without even breaking once. Yet Thanos and Ebony Maw are able to make the good Doctor scream! Strange may be used to pain, but what the Other told Loki all those years ago was no idle boast: Thanos can go so much further than pain. Said method of torture is quite disturbing as well, Ebony Maw piercing Strange through the body and skull with what appear to be long, crystalline needles. Ebony Maw's whole appearance is very frightening, with his gaunt, wrinkled skin and his scanty half-bald head. At one point we see him shushing someone while wearing a sadistic smile and the background makes it look as if the scene takes place during Thanos's confrontation of the Asgardians.
- The scene where Gamora says Thanos' name is scary in just the way she says her adoptive father's name: with dread and fear. With very good reason, too, as the second trailer reveals Thanos taking young Gamora's hand while his guards keep the Zehoberi people held back. And then you remember that Thanos didn't just kill Gamora's parents, he killed half of her species.
- A scene in the trailer shows Captain America, who might be the last Avenger left standing, confronting Thanos. Thanos attacks and Cap blocks with all his might, both arms struggling against Thanos. Meanwhile, the Mad Titan is barely putting in any effort and seems more amused than anything at Cap's resistance.
- The "Chant" TV spot shows the moment Thanos personally arrives in Wakanda. It's cropped off in the Youtube version, but the Twitter version shows that he has the Space, Power, Reality, and Soul Stones, and possibly the Time Stone. The best case scenario is that he's missing the Time Stone and Mind Stone, which are all that stand in his way to omnipotence. Worst case scenario: he's only missing the Mind Stone, and this truly is a last stand moment for our heroes.
- Post-release, the latter case ends up being true.
- A recent TV spot opens Thanos complimenting the heroes' strength before stating that he can erase them all with a snap of his fingers.
- This is followed up by this exchange between Doctor Strange and Iron Man about how Strange saw into every possible outcome of the film. Tony asks if they win in any of them.
- Right off the very bat, the movie starts with a black screen... in complete silence. After a few seconds, the Marvel Studios logo begins, but its usual fanfare is also silent. Then, ominous music becomes audible, followed soon after by a distorted voice. It's a distress call from an Asgardian as everyone else is being slaughtered by the Black Order.
"This is the Asgardian refugee vessel, Statesman! We are under assault, I repeat, we are under assault! The engines are dead, life support's failing. Requesting aid from any vessel within range. We are twenty-two jump points out of Asgard. Our crew is made up of Asgardian families, we have very few soldiers here. This is not a war craft, I repeat, this is not a war craft!"
- The Black Order. They may not be as unstoppable as Thanos, but they are equally remorseless and ruthless all the same. In particular is the hulking brute Cull Obsidian, and Ebony Maw with his telekinetic powers, including his (mentioned below and seen above) use of crystal needles against Doctor Strange.
- A quick thing to point out is how... out of place they feel. Sure, it's a comic book superhero movie, but if you put them side by side, the Black Order wouldn't seem so out of place in Warhammer 40,000 (Hell, Ebony Maw even looks and acts like a Water Caste Tau, Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight have the look of Dark Eldar or Chaos Champions while the Outriders in general look like Genestealers◊).
- During Thanos' massacres of the Zehoberei and the Asgardians, Ebony Maw can be heard speaking over the carnage, giving grand speeches about how the victims ought to be grateful that their lives have been sacrificed for "balance." One of these speeches, as Maw walks among dozens of murdered Asgardians, is the very first line of utterance in the film after the "Marvel Studios" title card. It comes off almost like something out of Jonestown, and makes Thanos's ideology seem much like the death-worship it was in the comics.
- Just the way the first shots of the movie are filmed and the whole situation is revealed to the viewer bit by bit. We see the Asgardian ship getting fired at with its shields failing, and then we cut to someone's feet walking over Asgardian bodies while an ominous voice praises Thanos and declares that the dead should be grateful, until Ebony Maw's face is revealed. You can only imagine the massive massacre that happened prior to that (though you get hints of it seeing Corvus Glaive prowling amidst the corpses, finishing off the dying). The only Asgardian left standing is Loki, who stares petrified at someone in front of him, who is then revealed to be Thanos, reciting his sympathetic monologue. And then you realize that one of the bodies lying at Thanos' feet is an utterly beaten up Thor, who Thanos picks up by his collar and carries as if he's a small child.
- Thanos' monologue itself counts as well, as he outright compares himself to destiny itself, and painting himself as an unstoppable natural force.
I know what it's like to lose. To feel
so desperately that you're right, yet to fail nonetheless. It's frightening, turns the legs to jelly. I ask you, to what end? Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same. And now it's here. Or should I say, I am
. [shows a Psychotic Smirk as he reveals the Power Stone, already installed in the Infinity Gauntlet]
- The way Thanos forces Loki to hand over the Tesseract; pressing the Power Stone to the side of Thor's head and just leaving it there, making Loki watch as it begins to steadily, painfully burn Thor alive like it did to the Collectors servant girl back in Guardians of the Galaxy, heck Thor's skull begins to glow under the outburst of energy. No wonder Loki caves in.
- What really sells it are Thor's screams. Now, when was the last time the strongest Avenger screamed his lungs out in pain?
- The fight between Thanos and the Hulk... if one can even call it a fight. At first, Hulk tears into the Mad Titan, pummeling him at full force, looking like he might win... and then Thanos starts fighting back. His strength proves to match if not surpass the Hulk's and with his superior combat skill, he absolutely wrecks him.
- The Black Order don't even need to raise a finger, with Maw telling them to "let him have his fun." In other words, the Hulk never even stood a chance. This is the first time he has ever been so badly beaten.
- Thor tries to attack Thanos with a piece of debris, but has no effect on him.
- The moment when Thanos shatters the Tesseract cube with one hand to obtain the Space Stone. The casual way he does it is chilling, as is the pervasive boom as it breaks.
- Loki's death is horrifying. He pretends to side with Thanos to get close enough to stab him, but Thanos is prepared. He stops Loki's arm holding the dagger with the Space Stone and then effortlessly lifts Loki up by his throat with the hand that's wearing the Infinity Gauntlet and squeezes, with Loki desperately struggling against the grip, until his eyes start to become bloodshot and bulge out. And then he snaps his neck with a Sickening "Crunch!" while smirking sadistically and drops his body in front of Thor, who is restrained and can do nothing but watch. The strangulation before the neck snap is drawn out, with a good look at his kicking legs and his bloated face before it's over. It truly looks like an execution and might be the most realistically graphic and brutal death in the MCU so far. It's actually surprising that the death itself didn't give the film an R rating.
- Look closely at Loki's face after he dies (if you have the stomach for it). His face isn't just bloated. Thanos strangled him with enough force to break blood capillaries in his face. And it gets worse. If you look at the exact moment Thanos snaps Loki's neck, blood begins to drip from his mouth, nose and eyes.
- For a more psychological kind of horror, the heroes spend most of the film knowing that once Thanos gets all the Stones, he can kill any of them without even being present. They don't know how far he's gotten or what he's doing unless he's right in front of them, and Tony and Steve's teams spend the movie with no idea what, if anything, the other one is doing. The team going to Nidavellir probably has it the worst, because they don't have any of the Stones with them, and have no idea what's going on anywhere else. For all they know, they could all die at any moment during their mission.
- When Tony and Bruce are at the Sanctum in New York, commotion stirs outside, people panicking over something large, an aircraft, hovering over the city causing destruction. People were uncomfortable in theaters thinking back on 9/11 and the eerie parallels. In-universe, it's even worse, people in New York are reminded of 9/11 and the attack of 2012.
- When Peter senses and then sees the ship over New York City, he tells Ned to distract the others so he can slip out unnoticed. Ned sees the ship and immediately starts screaming "We're all gonna die!", alerting the other kids on the bus to the presence of the invaders. Ned isn't just creating a distraction for Peter; he's legitimately, pants-crappingly terrified. And for that matter, so are the other kids, who start screaming in horror at the sight of the ship hovering over NYC. Moreover, Ned's line is likely all too accurate. After all, those kids on the bus were probably taken out by Thanos' snap too.
- Vision getting impaled from behind by Corvus Glaive, with no warning whatsoever.
- The sight of dozens of Asgardian corpses floating in space when the Guardians arrive by is incredibly unsettling. The Guardians themselves, who were in the midst of arguing over the morality about asking for payments from a ship full of distressed refugees, are stunned into silence once they get there.
- The attack on Gamora's homeworld. Not only is it immensely destructive and brutally indiscriminate, half of the remaining population afterwards is separated from the rest and then gunned down by Chitauri. In the background, you can hear Ebony Maw giving a demented "sermon", similar to the one he gave the Asgardians earlier on in the film, to the captive Zehoberei, demanding acceptance and even gratitude for the impending slaughter.
- Even though the scene where the huge Thanos leads the dainty child Gamora away by the hand seems cute and touching, it's anything but. With deceptive gentleness, Thanos is leading Gamora away from finding her beloved mother (who will likely die in the next few minutes if she isn't already dead), away from her life and childhood and innocence, away from her entire world, and into his own darkness. The faux gentleness of the scene between Thanos and Gamora undoubtedly makes it even more chilling. Gamora isn't calling for her mother anymore, but instead Thanos manages to completely distract her with the dagger while half of her people are slaughtered behind her back.
- Though the effects are temporary, Thanos uses the Reality Stone to petrify and dice up Drax (who was attacking him) and turn Mantis (who was just standing there) into spools of fleshy (and still alive) threads.
- The moment when Thanos tells Gamora that he knows that she lied to him about the location of the Soul Stone. She confidently assures that she never found it and apologizes for disappointing him, but Thanos just bows down to her and whispers in her ear that he indeed is disappointed, but not because she never found it, but because she did and lied to him. His demeanor is completely collected and Gamora is completely alone with him and at his mercy. At that moment, you really expect anything that Thanos could do to Gamora to make her talk and to punish her for lying.
- After thwarting her attempt on his life, Thanos has been keeping Nebula in a special magnetic torture chamber which simultaneously pulls all the cybernetic parts of herself (read: most of her) in different directions, causing her tremendous amounts of pain. If you look hard enough, you can see her brain. note In order to make Gamora tell him where the Soul Stone is located, Thanos then increases the force that's ripping Nebula apart at the seams, as Gamora weeps helplessly and her sister shrieks in utter agony.
- Ebony Maw attempts to coerce Strange into releasing the spell he has on the Time Stone by drilling a number of crystal needles into his flesh, one at a time, slowly.
- The needles start to glow as they pierce his skin, giving the audience a nice, back-lit view of Strange's veins and arteries as he visibly tries not to scream.
- This, from the hero who'd let himself be brutally killed so many times to save the universe before, mind you. And now he's going through it all over again, but without even the respite of actually dying.
- Even worse, Maw specifically mentions that the needles were originally tools used for microsurgeries. Given Strange's former profession as a neurosurgeon, the thought of a life-saving medical tool being perverted for use as a torture implement would be some serious psychological warfare alongside the physical pain.
- Nidavellir is such a vast place, but so desolate and lifeless. Once the forge where Mjölnir was built, the star it orbits is dying and its only surviving occupant is Eitri, whom Thanos forced to build the Infinity Gauntlet. Eitri had hoped the dwarves would be spared if he cooperated. The weapon was finished, but Thanos killed them all anyway.
- What's worse is that even though Thanos spares Eitri (presumably as reward for making the gauntlet), he ensures that the dwarf will never be able to make anything that can possibly counter the Infinity Gauntlet by ruining both Eitri's hands. Assuming that Eitri isn't affected by Thanos' culling of the universe, he's basically suffering from a Fate Worse than Death.
- Seeing what looks like The Grim Reaper seemingly floating towards Thanos and Gamora is enough to make you wonder what fresh hell is coming... and then we see it's the Red Skull. Who has apparently been trapped on Vormir ever since the events of Captain America: The First Avenger back in the 40s. That's 70 years there... and he hasn't yet managed to escape. How many of those years did he spend in utter isolation, between trips from people seeking the Soul Stone? Why has he never hijacked a visitor's ship or stolen aboard — is there some kind of spell that prevents him from leaving the Stone? How does he know every detail about his visitors' lives? And just where the hell did that shroud come from? The unanswered questions are almost scarier than his actual appearance.
- Think about this: He's been trapped on Vormir long enough to have lost most, if not all, of his German accent. This, with no one else to talk with, shows he's been conscious the entire time (not like Bucky, who was repeatedly frozen over time).
- Also, according to the Russos, now that Thanos has the Soul Stone, the Red Skull is free.
- Gamora's death. She knows it's coming and tries to kill herself to avoid a worse fate, but Thanos prevents it from happening just so he can kill her himself to get the Soul Stone. You can feel her becoming terrified once she realizes Thanos does love her and therefore is ready to kill her, and there's nothing she can do about it.
- Or, rather, that she knows that Thanos doesn't truly love her - he abused the hell out of her for her entire life, after all - but that he believes he does. And she knows that he's willing to follow through on that destructive belief.
- The reality subtext here will make any victim of abuse sick: Gamora's fate is shared by far too many abuse victims. Many live with the fear that their abuser will someday kill them for whatever reason, since an abuser sees their victim's life as belonging to them, like a possession. Gamora winds up experiencing one of an abuse victim's absolute worst fears: being murdered by their abuser without the opportunity to survive and thrive beyond everything done to them. It's even right down to the reality subtext that women who are murdered by their abusers are more likely to have this happen after they leave their abusers, which Gamora did - she escaped from Thanos, but he found her again anyway. And that she dies alone with her abuser (save for Red Skull, a witness who will not try to save her life) on a lifeless planet, away from everyone and everything she has ever loved makes it that much worse.
- There is also a Freeze-Frame Bonus on the shot of Gamora's lifeless body on the ground far below. A green puddle of blood around her head can be seen.
- There also seem to be different colored stains from dried blood surrounding Gamora's body. Thanos is not the only one who's tried to get the Soul Stone. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, this becomes even more horrifying when we consider whose blood might well be on those rocks.
- Planet Titan itself. When we first see it, it's already a shockingly empty-looking planet that has seen better days, but then Thanos himself shows up on it and shows us what it used to look like. The sheer force of difference between Titan as seen in a flashback — a lush, beautiful world dotted by oddly-shaped but futuristic buildings — and Titan as it exists now — a post-apocalyptic, brown-tinted, ruin-filled wasteland — is shocking.
- On Titan, Strange uses the Time Stone to try out different battle plans that he, Tony, Peter, and the remaining Guardians can use against Thanos. He burns himself out after living through over fourteen million scenarios. The number of options they can take where they can "win"? One. And it transpires that Strange wasn't entirely forthcoming as to what a "win" of that type entailed.
- Strange had to watch over fourteen million potential outcomes of their fight to find the one future in which they actually beat Thanos. FOURTEEN. MILLION. Even then, it still requires Thanos acquiring all of the Infinity Stones and killing half the universe. One can only imagine how bad the other fourteen million outcomes are. Hell, it's a wonder Strange is still mentally stable after witnessing all that.
- The Outriders pushing themselves through anything from the Wakandan energy field treats the viewers to a number of severe burnings and mutilations as the horde savagely tears holes through the barrier with the mangled bodies of their fellow soldiers. The look on Okoye's face as she sees this and comments on it really sells how terrifying it is to face an army that literally has no concept of self-preservation, almost like facing a horde of Zombies.
- Iron Man's fight with Thanos is absolutely brutal. Poor Tony is hammered into the ground, tossed around like a ragdoll, and his desperate onslaught of attacks result in a single, miniscule cut on Thanos's face. What makes this scene different from most other fight scenes in the MCU is how clearly terrified Tony is of Thanos. He's fueled by pure desperation, fighting for his life, which is hammered home even more by the horrified look on his face every time Thanos tears his helmet off.
- Not only that, Tony doesn't say a word during the fight. The MCU's greatest Deadpan Snarker, who is widely known for joking and taunting his enemies during fights, is stunned into complete silence by the brutality of it all.
- Right after Tony manages to nick Thanos in the face, Thanos just smiles, wipes off the blood, and returns the favor with an absolutely vicious blow to the head. Even through Tony's armor, the hit inflicts massive, bloody gashes on his face.
- The fight ends with Tony being stabbed through the abdomen with his own nanobot-sword, so deep that it sticks out of his back. And as if that image wasn't enough, blood starts dripping from his mouth as he gasps and whimpers in pain and fear, and the look of pure and utter horror never leaves his face.
- This is the fight that Tony has been dreading for six years, ever since the Battle of New York. He's wearing the most advanced armor he's ever developed, he has the support of people he didn't expect (like a Master of the Mystic Arts), and he has the guy outnumbered 6:1. The fight has finally come, and despite all of these advantages, he's losing. It's hard to imagine that kind of quick-sand despair.
- What really sells this is after stabbing Tony and taking the Time Stone Quill charges at Thanos guns blazing only for Thanos to teleport away. The look on Quill's face when he asks Stark "Did we just lose?" really cinches it. They had numbers, advanced weaponry, arguably some of the big heavy hitters, and they all still lost to Thanos.
- In The Avengers, Tony had a pretty snappy comeback for what he is without armor, and in Iron Man 3, he learned that Iron Man is himself, not his suits, a lesson he later passed along to Peter. As he begins to run out of nanobots and more and more of his body is left unarmored, this sentiment is quickly forgotten, and by the end of the fight, we are no longer watching a superhero fight a supervillain, just a 48-year-old man in nothing but his street clothes receiving the beating of his life and realizing he's going to lose.
- While the deaths of the Black Order are rightfully deserved and downright satisfying to watch, they're still incredibly grisly in their own right:
- When Thanos arrives on Earth, Banner rushes him with the Hulkbuster armor. Bruce is subsequently neutralized when Thanos uses the Space Stone to turn him intangible and fuse him into a cliff.
- Thanos arrival in general has a notable sense of dread as the wind starts to subtly pick up and the heroes realize someone powerful is coming and when Thanos arrives you can see that while they are trying to hide it well, our heroes are intimidated by this man whose feats Bruce probably already told them about.
- We never see exactly what Bruce is experiencing in there. For all we know, his eyes might have landed inside a rock.
- Thankfully, though overshadowed by the horror of half the universe dying, we see Bruce in the Hulkbuster in the last scenes, seemingly fine besides missing most of the armor above the shoulders.
- With no other options, Wanda is forced to do what Vision has asked of her before and is begging her to do now — after losing her parents, her brother, her freedom, she now has to murder the man she loves in order to save half the universe. And after Vision's horrific death, Thanos simply undoes his destruction, only to callously rip the Mind Stone from him and toss his body aside like an empty soda can. Wanda had to watch her lover die twice, once at her own hands and once at the hands of Thanos; and Vision had to suffer the nightmare of being destroyed, only to be brought back to life and killed again.
- The image of Thanos taking the Mind Stone is absolutely horrifying. When he takes out the stone, he also takes out part of Vision's skull, leaving him with a gaping hole in his forehead through which circuits and wires are clearly visible. The audience is essentially looking at the remains of Vision's brain after a brutal lobotomy.
- Thanos reversing the process is also quite horrifying to watch. You can observe Vision's explosion in reverse, basically how the pieces of him that are shattered around assemble. All in slow-motion. And of course playing this in reverse shows exactly how he died. The only reason Disney could get away with it is because Vision is basically a robot.
- A tamer example than most, but it's very apparent that as Thanos collects more Infinity Stones, the Infinity Gauntlet starts to give him more of an electric jolt. While it is prevalent when he gets the Time Stone, by the time he finally gets the Mind Stone, the Gauntlet electrocutes his body with its power, causing Thanos to audibly cry out as electric currents visibly flow through his arms. The Gauntlet is powerful enough to the point where its power causes harm even to its wearer.
- By the end of the film, Thanos succeeds in his goal of wiping out half of all life in the universe. Let this sink in, the combined efforts of nearly every hero in the MCU from the Avengers, to the Guardians, Wakanda, Strange and Spider-Man were not enough to stop him. To say this is the series' Darkest Hour would be a grand understatement.
- The line uttered by Thanos before he performs his signature Badass Fingersnap, in how chilling and simple it is in conveying his victory and, by extension, Thor's screw-up.
"You should have gone for the head." (snaps finger)
- A moment before, Thor slices through a beam created by all six Infinity Stones before impaling Thanos through the chest using Stormbreaker. You might be cheering — but seeing the ice-cold rage on Thor's face in the next shot will stop you cold. He grabs Thanos' head and makes him look him in the eyes with an expression of pure Tranquil Fury as he continues to press the axe deeper into Thanos' chest. It should be noted that none of the antagonists in his own movie trilogy elicited this much hatred from Thor. Not even Malekith, who killed Thor's mother, or his own sister Hela, who destroyed Thor's eye and killed shedloads of Asgardians, including the Warriors Three. He really hates Thanos this much.
- Pushing Stormbreaker deeper into him is enough to make Thanos scream in pain. This is the first time we witness him experiencing genuine pain, and it's not pretty.
- Hell, Thor himself, from the point of view of Thanos' forces. Thor with Stormbreaker is one of an exceedingly small number of beings in the whole universe capable of genuinely threatening Thanos. The Black Order saw Thanos personally defeat Thor and leave him to die, but here he is still alive and more powerful than ever. And he's furious. In fact, he's so terrifying the Outriders actually try to flee. Thor, in his rage, smashes through their ships as they do.
- The lead-up to the Snap is terrifying in its own right. Thor has impaled Thanos through the chest with Stormbreaker, and it seems like another victory for the Avengers; as Thor gives his Badass Boast and shoves the axe in deeper, Thanos stammers out what initially sounds like his last words...and then he gets the words out, and they turn out to be his Pre-Mortem One-Liner instead. The realization hits Thor just an instant too late. The camera shows Thanos's gloved hand, and Thor has just enough time to let out a panicked "NO!" before...*snap*.
- Thanos and Gamora advertise his mass-murder of half the universe via the Infinity Gauntlet as an instantaneous and painless process. They're mistaken. While physically painless, the deaths of trillions involves the unlucky victims swiftly crumbling to cosmic dust — and not all at once, so even if you see it happen to someone else, there's a very dangerous and tense window of time where the same could happen to you.
- Perhaps the very worst part, for the victims; your head is one of the last things to go, so if you're awake, you get to watch yourself disintegrating.
- The music doesn't help. Meaning, there is no music at all. From the moment Bucky disintegrates to Steve mourning, most of the theaters are so silent you can hear a pin drop.note
- The Stinger makes it even worse. Sure, the people go away painlessly. But they go away with no regards to the consequences their absences leave behind. A car swerves right in front of Nick Fury and Maria Hill as they're driving when its occupant dissipates, and when they get out, they see a helicopter crash into a building after losing its pilot. Imagine The Rapture only across the entire universe.
- A civilian behind Fury witnesses Maria Hill's disintegration, moments before he notices his body is disintegrating with his last words being "Oh my God..." as the man next to him watches in horror.
- If you listen closely during the final moments of the post-credits scene, you can hear crowds of people screaming.
- Back when Thanos killed his victims directly, like Gamora's people, while it was still monstrous, bodies were left behind and the people could identify, bury, and mourn their loved ones. With the Gauntlet, nothing is left of the victim — their clothes and anything else on their person goes with them. Even the dust dissipates in seconds, meaning that unless one's death is directly witnessed by a survivor who knows who they are, that person is gone without a trace and nobody will ever know. Thanos graduated from mass murder to UnPersoning trillions. On the Avengers' level, Vision is the only one amongst their dead they're able to retrieve, while they have to live with their other dead teammates' ghosts haunting them.
- It's especially terrifying for the group on Titan. In Wakanda, everyone's so busy fighting that they don't have time to worry about the snap until it happens. The heroes on Titan have no such luck. They know Thanos only has one more stone to go, have no reason to hope that he won't get it, but they have nothing to distract them from what's coming. They know they've lost and all they can do is wait for it.
- Peter says he doesn't feel so good. Why? His Spider-Sense was going off. Danger everywhere, and absolutely no way to avoid it.
- Moreover, Peter — like Bucky — probably has some measure of super-soldier regeneration or quickened healing factor. Both of them stating that suggests that their heightened physiques were desperately trying to reconstruct and regenerate them even while in the process of being torn apart.
- Similar to the above, Mantis seems to sense the emotional turmoil of the trillions of lives being affected across the cosmos, the psychic reverberations so hard to comprehend that she can only utter "something... is happening...", shortly before she herself disintegrates.
- The scope of this atrocity cannot be overstated. Thanos committed the single largest act of genocide in existence. Earth's population is about 7.5 billion people of which half is now dead. Repeat for untold numbers of inhabited planets — most of which (Earth included) would have no idea why most of their population is suddenly disintegrating.
- Part of the premise of the film is the fact that this is Tony Stark's worst nightmare brought to reality — he saw Thanos's forces on the other side of the wormhole in The Avengers, (canonically) six years before this film, and his PTSD took that horror and ran with it, causing his emotional/mental instability in Iron Man 3. Wanda was the cause of his vision of all the Avengers being dead in Avengers: Age of Ultron, likely bringing those nightmares back to the surface from whatever progress he may have made in the interim. And now, the nightmare that has been plaguing him is a reality. He says as much to Doctor Strange on Ebony Maw's ship that he's been plagued by the nightmare of Thanos for years. And now it's a reality.
- Seeing people around you crumble to dust is already horrible enough, but looking at it from the point of view of Stark and Nebula is even worse: Everyone on Titan but them is wiped out. For all they know, it's an Everybody's Dead, Dave situation on an universal scale.
- It's bad enough from the perspective of a normal citizen. But now think of it from Fury's point of view. There's an alien invasion on, but at least he knows Wakanda and the Avengers will be there to meet it. But then his satellites indicate something unimaginably powerful shows up, and a minute later, half the people around him start to disintegrate, followed by himself. It's no wonder he called Captain Marvel. Every other time Earth was in danger, he had the Avengers, but apparently now they've failed. Captain Marvel is his last resort, because as far as he knows, this time the Avengers are dead. And he's half-right.
- And he can't even be sure the phone call will be answered. For all he knows, Captain Marvel herself may be disintegrating too.
- One of the most terrifying things about Thanos's "keep the the universe balanced" theory is that he never once considers that there are so many other ways of fixing the Overpopulation Crisis. With all of the Infinity Stones, he could have reduced fertility rates or spread the universe's population out over more habitable planets. Instead, he stays fixated on the Kill 'Em All option. That should tell you something about his mental state. They don't call him The Mad Titan for nothing, after all!
- What's worse is that he may genuinely have considered other options, but decided against them because of what happened to his own people. The people of Titan destroyed themselves in their unchecked greed. To Thanos, any peaceful solution would've been met with defiance as people would refuse to limit themselves. But by force? Then they'll listen.
- The remaining survivors after Thanos's snap head to Captain America, broken, and completely in despair as everyone else is. Steve Rogers' final, horrified and utterly stunned line sums everything up really, really well.
Steve Rogers: Oh God.
- The final shot in the film before the post-credits scene? Thanos smiling calmly amidst a bright and beautiful landscape, set to a hauntingly beautiful score. What would usually be a closing shot for a hero who saved the day instead went to the villain who had just accomplished his goal of wiping out half of all life in the universe.
- There is no mid-credits scene. For that matter, there's no flashy credits sequence either, like in previous films. The major names merely appear and disappear, and the screen is black here too. Given the last thing that happened, it's as if they're being read off from a list of casualties. Then the title of the film pops up, before crumbling away into dust like the rest of our fallen heroes. It's a grim reminder of the shocking finale that we witnessed just moments ago and the horror doesn't end even in the after-credits scene. Though it does end on a somewhat optimistic note.
- The "[X] Will Return" message seen after every post-credits scene gets a rather unique and horrifying twist this time.
- Four simple words are the most horrifying thing of all: The Bad Guy Wins. Thanos lost everyone and everything he had, but he ultimately completed the Infinity Gauntlet, did his Badass Fingersnap, and killed half of all life in the universe. Whatever heroes are left are broken and hopeless, and he himself sits in a garden content. The Avengers, for the first time of their existence, have failed.
- The revelation that Thanos, a godlike, alien being who wields ultimate power, commands a fanatically loyal army through unbeatable force and mesmerizing charisma, and strikes terror into the hearts of everyone who's unlucky enough to lay eyes on him... is, at the end of the day, just some guy. A person with basically altruistic motives who feels sadness and happiness at the same things most people do. His actions are pure evil, and his abilities are downright demonic, but his personality, however twisted and cynical, is identifiably, completely human. Thanos is no Eldritch Abomination; he's a reflection of the monster in all of us.
- Thanos snapping half the universe away becomes even more horrifying when you realize that pilots and surgeons would have disintegrated. Way more than half the universe died...
- Potentially not so, through the use of Fridge Logic and Alternate Interpretations. If the Mind Stone is self-aware, and the 6 reality stones control the entire universe, AND Thanos is very specific that he wants perfect balance, did the Gauntlet account for the doctors, pilots and similar professionals in order for the body count to be exactly half? (For example, if a pilot was set to disappear while flying a plane carrying 60 people, would the total amount of people vaporized be 60 less?) It's highly unlikely, but would entirely depend on how much control the powers controlling the gauntlet's influence had on Thanos' snap, and how much foresight those overseers (or even Thanos himself) had when executing the genocide.
- Word of God reveals that animals were affected by the snap too. But that would have been random as well. Imagine if you disintegrated, but your dog didn't — the dog would end up starving to death with no one to feed it. Not to mention how many endangered animals such as elephants, tigers or rhinoceroes affected by the snap, leading to the greatest extinction event since the dinosaurs.
- Hell, the film's violence in general is pretty disturbing and unlike most of the violence portrayed in the main MCU. Along with Loki's aforementioned death, there's also Gamora's death, Tony being practically impaled by Thanos complete with Blood from the Mouth and blood all over Tony's face and hands, illusion Thanos having purple blood practically gushing out his throat when Gamora stabs him, mass genocide, being shredded by a giant wheel mechanism and the fact that every time Corvus Glaive stabs Vision (and when Vision does likewise) you hear what sounds like bones breaking. Probably the closest the MCU has gotten to an R rating so far.