Avengers: Infinity War concludes with Thanos completing his mission of erasing half of all life from the universe thanks to the colossal power of his Infinity Gauntlet, but it’s not like Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their various allies didn’t put up a decent fight. In fact, there are at least a couple of moments where they appear to almost succeed in bringing down the Mad Titan before he can put all six Infinity Stones to use.
Of course, those moments where the team comes closest to snatching victory from the intergalactic conqueror are perhaps the most excruciating for the simple fact that these attempts come up short. A lot of fans are still mad at Thor for failing to go for the head, and while directors Anthony and Joe Russo have repeatedly come to the defense of Peter Quill for losing his cool during the conflict on Titan, some viewers refuse to let Star-Lord off the hook.
But regardless of who’s to blame for the film’s climactic genocide, the fact that our heroes got as close as they did to stopping the purple despot on these two occasions can be attributed in part to one of the few limitations of Thanos’ trusty gauntlet. For much of the movie, the villain shows himself to be capable of wondrous things with that tool, growing only more powerful with each new stone he acquires. But as co-writer Stephen McFeely points out in the commentary for the Infinity War home video release, there is a minimum level of physical mobility required to operate the gauntlet.
“As you can imagine, when you have a gauntlet that has nearly unlimited power, and every time you use it you can do what you want… we wanted to create small physical rules that would allow people to hang in a fight with him, so the idea that he had to, you know, close his fist to use a stone was the bare minimum that allowed us to have a fight.”
This limitation is especially evident in that aforementioned fight on Titan. As Joe Russo points out, Spider-Man and the gang are going all in to stop Thanos from making use of his left hand in this pivotal action scene.
“So that every choice they’re making, you’ll notice in that last minute of fighting, is to keep him from closing his fist. From Peter webbing it to the cape wrapping around it.”
By the end of Avengers: Infinity War, both Thanos and his gauntlet have suffered some physical damage, leaving the possibility that the tyrant’s greatest weapon may not be operating at full capacity when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019. In any case, the surviving superheroes are going to need all the advantages they can get in the forthcoming struggle, because there’s only so much you can do to prevent a world-conquering warlord from simply closing his hand.