It’s easy to see how our heroes failed in Infinity War. For one, they had very little advance knowledge of their enemy. Banner’s warning to Dr. Strange and Iron Man came moments before Thanos’s henchman arrived. They are all spread out all over the world with little or no communication. Captain America and Iron Man aren’t on speaking terms. Vision and Scarlet Witch are attempting to live a normal life incognito. Banner hadn’t even been on Earth for a few years. They are divided, and this division leads to their downfall. *Spoilers ahead*
We see this in how they fought separated battles with Thanos instead of a unified battle. Iron Man, Spiderman, Doctor Strange, and The Guardians of the Galaxy engaged him on Thanos’s old home planet. Though they are almost successful, Quill attacks Thanos when he realizes that he killed Gamorah. This allows Thanos to come out of the Mantis-induced trance and to successfully subdue them all. Dr. Strange then gives up the time stone to save Iron Man’s life.
Back on Earth, the other Avengers are trying to save Vision’s life by removing the mind stone from his forehead to destroy it before Thanos can get it. Thanos’s army arrives, and they run out of time. Scarlet Witch destroys the mind stone, killing Vision, at his request. However, when Thanos arrives moments later, he uses the time stone to turn back time and get the stone. The other Avengers keep trying to kill Thanos before he uses the stones, and Thor with his new weapon comes closest when he slices into Thanos’s chest. Thanos does not die, though, and says that Thor should have aimed for the head instead. He snaps his fingers, disappears into a gateway, and then people begin to disappear.
Failure Divides Them
Each hero carries the weight of failure individually–Iron Man feels guilt about his young protege, Spider-Man; Thor regrets not using a more killing blow; and so on. Their guilt also separates them from each other. In Avengers: Endgame, after Iron Man and Nebula are rescued, what’s left of the team discusses their next steps. Stark, recovering from almost dying and hooked up to an IV angrily accuses Captain America of not being there. He blames him for their defeat.
All hope seems lost until Antman comes back from the Quantum realm with an idea that could give them all another chance. Later, when this new plan is birthed, Iron Man approaches Captain America with forgiveness, saying that the resentment was corrosive. This is a turning point for them as a team. While Iron Man and Captain America are divided, the Avengers are useless. Zemo’s plans begun in Civil War is a large part of their failures in Infinity War. The reversal of that division is what brings them success.
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