Why Avengers: Infinity War will blow you away

By bringing pretty much the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) together to face off against a universe-threatening baddie, Marvel appears poised to make all the money when Avengers: Infinity War opens on April 27, 2018.

The film looks positively huge, and all the footage and information that's trickled out has fans positively champing at the bit to see more. But why exactly should this one knock our socks off? From the ante-upping villain, to fundamental changes in store for core Marvel heroes, here's why we think Infinity War will blow us all away.

The next Darth Vader?

The entire MCU has been framed around the idea that an insanely powerful baddie by the name of Thanos has been pulling the strings behind a lot of the universe's problems, popping up in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy to cause trouble, sending lackeys ahead of him in an effort to acquire the ultra-powerful Infinity Stones. 

Thanos' arrival has been set up for years, in other words, and Infinity War will finally place the Mad Titan front and center. From the footage that's been released, Josh Brolin seems more than capable of stepping into his character's gigantic shoes —and co-director Joe Russo has said he thinks Thanos has the potential to enter into the annals of cinema history alongside some of sci-fi's heaviest hitters. 

"Darth Vader was the pre-eminent villain of my childhood," enthused Russo, "and we're hoping to make a Darth Vader for a new generation." With another Avengers sequel arriving just a year after Infinity War, it stands to reason the character could be sticking around for at least one more movie. He's been a heavy hitter for decades in the comics — could he remain a key player even after the dust settles on the Infinity War?

Asgard go boom

Over the course of its first couple of installments, the Thor franchise was arguably one of the weakest in Marvel's lineup, but all that changed in 2017. Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok reinvigorated the series and added a sense of humor the mainstream MCU never knew it was missing. The film also featured some of the biggest character growth yet for Chris Hemsworth's Thor, who lost his hammer, his father, his eye — and finally his home, when Asgard was destroyed. 

Despite the losses, Thor emerged a stronger hero who'd grown quite a bit. It put him in a fascinating place as he started his journey toward Earth, though he almost certainly didn't know his adopted home planet was facing its greatest threat to date. Co-director Anthony Russo has said he feels Thor might be the most interesting character heading into Infinity War, as he enters "new territory" and finds a new path once his "past has been torn away from him." The one-eyed, de-hammered Thor will have to overcome his losses in Ragnarok to take on an even more dangerous villain.

U Nomad, bro?

A lot has changed over the past few movies in the MCU. For example, when we pick up the action in Infinity War, Captain America might not even be Captain America anymore. 

The first glimpses we've gotten of Steve Rogers show him sporting a beard and no shield — and in his most recent autograph signings, Cap actor Chris Evans has been using the name "Nomad" — a moniker Rogers took up in the comics after becoming disillusioned with his role as Captain America and deciding to roam the country looking to right wrongs. No word on whether the big-screen version will follow the same track, but no matter what Rogers is doing, Thanos' appearance will almost certainly become the biggest priority. 

Captain America: Civil War took Steve Rogers on a journey where he had to learn that his idealism might not always align with the stars and stripes he's represented. That movie pulled the Avengers apart — it'll be interesting to see whether Infinity War can bring them back together.

Villain problem: solved

As if Thanos wasn't menacing enough, he isn't coming to Earth alone. 

In the comics, he's often accompanied by a group of A-level evildoers called the Black Order. They'll also be following Thanos into Infinity War, with an expected lineup that includes Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, and Black Dwarf. They all have superpowers that would make them difficult to defeat as solo villains, but here they'll simply be backing up the Mad Titan. Considering how many heroes will assemble to take on Thanos, it makes sense Marvel would give him a deep roster of support to spread out the fight. In the past, Avengers films have filled out the ranks with mostly faceless baddies (the aliens in Avengers, the Ultron drones in Age of Ultron), but Infinity War will blow you away with a team of super-villains to really up the ante.

Oh hi, Guardians

They saved it for the final moment of the film's first trailer, which shows Thor meeting up with Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and for good reason — bringing together two of Marvel's biggest film franchises is a very big deal. 

Sure, they've always existed on the same canvas, but Guardians has carved out its own very successful niche in the cosmic corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans have already seen two movies (make it three if you could Captain America: Civil War) with all of Earth's Mightiest Heroes assembled, and the only way to make this adventure any bigger is to finally get the deep space super-team in on the action. The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is a juggernaut on its own, and the same is obviously true of the Avengers series. Putting them together could break whatever box office records are still left standing.

I am teenage Groot

It's been confirmed that we'll see teenage Groot in Infinity War (we got a brief look at him in a post-credits scene attached to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), with the character having grown up from the adorably pint-sized form he took in Guardians 2. Motion capture artist Terry Notary, who provided the movements for Groot, said the character will be "coming of age" in Infinity War, which should make for one interesting subplot to go along with all the world-ending stakes. There's no denying the role Groot has played in the success of the Guardians films, and bringing him over to a mainline Avengers film — as a moody tree teen, no less — adds yet another bit of geeky goodness to ensure as many Guardians fans as possible make a point to catch up with the team in Infinity War.

I am Iron...Spider?

Fans got a brief peek at a new Spider-Man suit at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the trailers for Infinity War show Peter Parker will definitely be taking advantage of the upgrade when Thanos strikes. But some additional reports, sourced from some apparent LEGO toy tie-ins for the film, claim we might see the Iron Spider suit made famous in the comics as well. It's not a stretch to think Tony Stark would pull out all the stops in equipping his wall-crawling protégé for the battle ahead, and the Iron Spider design is a fan favorite from the comics. What better place to pull it out than in Marvel's biggest movie ever?

Wakanda takes center stage

It's been reported ad nauseam that Black Panther will be blowing the roof off the box office, at least in terms of expectations for a debut film for a lesser-known character (compared to Spider-Man or Iron Man). Luckily for fans, it won't take a long wait to see a lot more of T'Challa and the world of Wakanda. 

Every trailer and teaser for Infinity War has made it abundantly clear that Black Panther and his world factor in heavily, with the army of Wakanda on full display as well as interactions between Steve Rogers and Black Panther (someone had to get that man a shield, right?). In the comics, Wakanda is an amazing nation, rich with technological advancement and deep-rooted culture. Turning it into a major player just in time to blow Marvel fans away with Infinity War will definitely alter the playing field for Thanos.

Giant-Size Marvel

As if it weren't already obvious, Infinity War is poised to be Marvel's biggest movie to date — and arguably one of the biggest and most expensive movies ever made. It's bringing A-list stars from every solo Marvel franchise, plus the key supporting players from those numerous super-flicks. From Wasp to Winter Soldier, this movie is loaded with pretty much everyone fans have come to know and love over a decade of the MCU. Anthony Mackie, who plays Falcon, has said it'll feature a scene with a mind-boggling 40 heroes onscreen at the same time. Few films have ever juggled a cast this massive, nor featured battles and action sequences involving so many characters. Marvel has flexed its blockbuster muscle time and again over the last decade, but Infinity War looks like it's really ready to throw down the gauntlet — no pun intended.

End of an era?

Though fans are obviously geeked about the current slate of Marvel films, it's hard not to start looking ahead at what Disney's pending purchase of Fox could mean for the MCU — If everything pans out, Marvel looks to reacquire the rights to super-teams the Fantastic Four and X-Men. 

It stands to reason those characters will eventually be folded into the MCU (a precedent already exists, with Marvel cutting a deal with Sony to add Spider-Man to the MCU). Fans hoping for a sneak peek in Infinity War will likely be disappointed, though. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige has made clear any potential purchase will not impact the studio's current slate of productions lined up through 2019 — which include both Infinity War and its untitled sequel. That slow roll is probably a good thing, considering this movie is already looking to juggle dozens and dozens of characters as it stands. 

The OG MCU bad guy returns

The MCU has had a well-documented issue when it comes to compelling villains, with the most notable exception being Tom Hiddleston's Loki. He's the character fans love to hate, veering from treacherous to anti-hero with the drop of a hat. Like pretty much every other Marvel character, Loki returns for Infinity War — though his exact role is still up for debate. 

Marvel's Kevin Feige has teased that Loki could be straddling that line once again here, and fans got a look at that shadiness in the first trailer, which features the shifty demigod holding what appears to be the Tesseract — the power source he spent The Avengers working to manipulate to Earth's doom. Will he be tempted again to back Thanos' play?