The Infinity Saga that Marvel and Disney brought us the passed 10 years is an unprecedented acheivement in film making, the likes of which will be extremely difficult to replicate. Star Wars, though my favorite franchise, doesn’t come close to the level of universe building in film as the MCU does. That isn’t to say the MCU is perfect because it’s far from that but it is an impressive achievement.
After a decade, we finally got to see the demise of Thanos and the Infinity Saga come to a close. While there were many influential Avengers in the defeat of Thanos, I am going to focus on the 5 most influential of the group from the story of Infinity War and Endgame. It should go without saying but massive spoilers for Infinity War and Endgame follow.
5. Captain Marvel
Anyone who listens to the podcast will know that none of us Crunchers were very impressed with her solo film. Still I don’t particularly love what Brie Larson has done with the character. Even so, she made a major impact in taking the mad Titan down once and for all. When Scarlett Witch was about to kill Thanos all on her own, he sent down a rain of fire from his warships which started to decimate both the opposing force and the Avengers. Even though the sorcerers were doing a fabulous job of protecting everyone, it was only a matter of time before their energy gave out. In this moment of despair, Captain Marvel arrives and saves the day decimating Thanos’ ship with ease.
Further to her impact, when the villain acquires the gauntlet and is about to snap his fingers, Captain Marvel stops him mere milliseconds before he snaps his fingers thus preventing the permanent wiping out of half the universe.
Our very own Professor Hulk makes his mark in a number of ways. While Tony eventually fixes the gaps in time travel, it is Professor Hulk that begins this process to save the universe. Further, he convinces the most difficult person in the world to hand over the time stone, a task that no one but Bruce Banner could have completed.
Adding on to his scientific impact and obtaining the time stone, Hulk’s gamma radiation enables him to use the gauntlet to snap everyone back to existence. It’s funny because at a quick glance, some Hulk fans think the character played a minor role in the story when the reality is, he was a vastly different character but was extremely influential by using his Brian and personality instead of pure brute force.
Ant-Man’s credits in Thanos’ defeat are admittedly small but I think most could agree that if a pinch hitter came in during the 9th inning, hit a grand slam to win the game and peaced out, the victory would be largely granted to his contribution. This is why Ant-Man features prominently on the list. Lost in time for 5 years, Scott loses all this time with his daughter and love Hope. Instead of wallowing in self pity, he immediately contacts The Avengers and offers up a crazy idea, the time heist. He even goes as far as to offer himself up as a test subject not knowing if it will lead to his untimely demise. Without Scott’s idea to go back in time and gather the stones there is no victory against the mad Titan and the snap is never undone. Scott goes on to literally squash The Black Dwarf (one of Thano’s Black Order members) and in the process saves Iron Man from certain doom. While this accomplishment is certainly important, his idea to go back in time using the Quantum fields is of paramount importance to the ultimate demise of the powerful MCU villain.
2. Iron Man
Scott Lang had the idea to travel back in time and even the great mind of Bruce Banner/Professor Hulk could not figure out how to properly execute said time travel. It was Tony who used his incredible mind to dive into the secrets of time travel and offer up a time compass which allowed the Avengers to enter the Quantum tunnel and gather the Infinity Stones.
When the heist went ary due to The Hulk of 2012 smashing a door into Tony’s face, Tony determined that he and Steve could go back to 1970 and recover the space stone there. Sure, Tony lost the space stone of 2012 but he couldn’t have been expected to take an armor-less hit from The Hulk and walk it off that easily.
Of course we can’t leave out the biggest moment in all of MCU history where the one who started it all snapped Thanos and his army away there bye sacrificing himself for the greater good. It’s a story arc that has played out in every Avengers movie since 2012 where Tony was willing to sacrifice himself to save innocent lives. This ultimate sacrifice after more than 10 years of MCU is slightly cheesy sure but it also stands as an example of a hero who started as a narcissistic play boy and made his way to a responsible father who gave up his family to allow billions of others to have theirs back.
1. Dr. Strange
Dr. Strange is easily the most influential Avenger in defeating Thanos. Granted he cheated but without his cheat, there is no chance that The Avengers would have ever defeated their greatest nemesis yet. When on Titan, Strange used the time stone to see more than 14 million alternate futures wherein the heroes only won a single eventuality. It’s not a new concept to the superhero genre considering the CW’s Flash as well as the comics version constantly uses time travel to his advantage. Dr. Strange is the wisest of all and determines that giving the time stone to Thanos and allowing the decimation to occur was the only way to get to ultimate victory.
After 5 years away, Hulk snaps everyone back into existence and Strange quickly rallies basically the entire MCU to come to the aid of the remaining Avengers team and portals them to the fight. He then proceeds to stop a tidal wave from crashing down on the entire battlefield and killing many. While Strange knew that he would return based on the past that he saw, he allowed himself to lose 5 years of time in order to save the entire universe. Further, he had the foresight to keep it all to himself. Strange isn’t the most kind hearted of The Avengers but he still cares. It couldn’t have been easy to see the look of betrayal that Tony gave him when Strange gave up the time stone to Thanos. Strange then waited until the exact moment to tell Tony that it was time to make the ultimate sacrifice. In the end, Dr. Strange was the most pivotal character in the demise of the mad Titan and the hero will continue to amaze us again when his next film arrive in 2021.
What do you think of this list Crunchers? Are we totally off, spot on or somewhere in the middle? Sound off in the comments below.