The final two movies in the Infinity Saga are full of connections and callbacks to the previous MCU films, helping to sell the feeling that one long story is coming to an end. Fans have picked up on most of them over the past few years, then, but a new subtle link to 2008’s Iron Man has been spotted in Avengers: Infinity War, with Tony Stark’s first confrontation with Thanos having echoes of an encounter with his original nemesis, Obadiah Stane AKA Iron Monger.
ScreenRant has pointed out that two scenes in Infinity War and Iron Man mirror each other. First of all, the battle with Thanos on Titan ends with the villain stabbing Tony. While the hero is incapacitated from his near-mortal wound, he can only listen as the tyrant rambles on, admitting his respect for his opponent but reinforcing that he’s about to wipe out half of life on Earth.
Meanwhile, in Iron Man, Stane surprises Tony by removing the Arc Reactor from his chest. The sick, paralyzed Stark is likewise helpless against his foe who waxes on about his evil plan. The framing of both scenes is very similar, too, with the bad guy looming over our hero. Interestingly, Thanos puts his hand on Tony’s head while Stane rests his arm next to Tony’s head. In both cases, the gesture is meant to belittle Stark and assert their own authority.
It’s interesting to compare and contrast the two villains’ demeanours in these sequences, but Thanos is actually the one to show more compassion towards Iron Man, as the Mad Titan appreciates that he and the Avenger are in some ways alike. On the other hand, Stane, who’s known Stark since he was young, is extremely callous as he conspires to end his life. So, there’s your lesson, kids: even alien genocidal maniacs aren’t as bad as greedy rich guys.