The One Ring, Indie’s leather whip, Luke’s lightsaber and now the Infinity Gauntlet. Cinema has seen its fair share of iconic weapons and props but I can say in full clarity that none has defined the 2010’s quite like Thanos’ universe ending glove. It journeyed across 21 films and 10 years to get to that singular moment in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War. The Battle of New York, the Battle of Xandar and the Battle of Wakanda, the wars fought and lives lost all for one solemn, solitary snap. A snap to kill half of all life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Needless to say, the Infinity Gauntlet is a bit of pop culture phenomenon at the moment and with Avengers: Endgame around the corner, that oversized glove is only going to grow in popularity. But here’s the thing though, as devastating and powerful as the Infinity Gauntlet is, it’s not exactly ALL-powerful. Is it one of hell of a MacGuffin? You bet your ass it is but the Infinity Gauntlet is not without a number of weaknesses that could give our folks in Endgame a fighting chance to take down the Mad Titan.
So without further ado, here are five major limitations to the Infinity Gauntlet and its users! We will be drawing from some notable examples from the gauntlet’s appearance from both Marvel’s films and comics. So there definitely be spoilers ahead for Infinity War and maybe, possible spoilers for Endgame.
Appeal To A Higher Authority
We’ve seen a lot of things in the MCU from talking alien racoons to living, breathing Norse gods to life-giving/ending Celestials but we have yet to see any true cosmic beings yet. Cosmic beings are eternal and powerful aspects of the Marvel universe that hold sway over reality itself. Characters like Infinity, Eternity, Mistress Death, Lord Order and Chaos are just some of the more popular ones in existence but none of them compares to the power of the Living Tribunal.
Even with their reality shaping abilities they are still tied to the order of the universe they inhabit and the Infinity Gauntlet can manipulate that order with a mere flick of the wrist. All of them are subject to the wielder’s whims. All except the Living Tribunal (and his boss The-One-Above-All) for you see he is a multiversal being, therefore he transcends the power of the gauntlet. In fact, he was even able to depower it in 1992’s The Infinity War comic run. Holy shit, that is one hell of a guy to have in your corner! That being said, he rarely ever intervene in the affairs of a universe unless he deems something a universe ending threat.
In 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet comics Eternity, the conscious manifestation of the multiverse itself appealed to the Living Tribunal to intervene. He declined. Simply deeming the matter as something not worth his time. It was only when a hero by the name of Adam Warlock got a hold of it did the Living Tribunal stepped in to intervene and restore balance. Technically, the MCU is in the multiverse (Earth-199999) so if the Living Tribunal wanted, he could just pop on by and render the gauntlet into a mere hand accessory. Will our version of Thanos make enough of a ruckus to warrant a visit from the Living Tribunal? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Location, Location, Location…
The Infinity Gauntlet when all six stones are gathered together truly is the most powerful thing in the universe. There’s just one small caveat…it only functions in the universe it was forged and created in. Which means for example, if one was to take the Infinity Gauntlet from the Earth-616 comic universe and place in another universe like the MCU, it wouldn’t do shit. It would literally just be a giant paper weight taking up space. You see the Infinity Stones are physical manifestations of six of the most vital aspects of a certain universe.
If you took them out of their native habitat and place in a universe with another bunch of stones, they are subject to the laws and powers of that universe and its stones. It should be noted that there is a difference between universes and dimensions. Places like Asgard, Hel, Earth and Titan are still under the control of the gauntlet. In spite of the fact that they are from different dimensions, they still exist in the same universe. This also means that other universes have their own versions of the aforementioned dimensions.
Now, a possible strategy that the Avengers may use in defeating Thanos is that they might try tricking him into visiting another universe. From there they could easily beat him down without having to worry about Thanos turning them into a pile of ashes. I mean we have seen people like Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne travel to different dimensions in Ant-Man and the Wasp, perhaps Stark could find a way to open a portal to another universe. Plus, it would be freaking awesome to see alternate versions of our favourite MCU heroes. Who knows, maybe we’ll see two Ironmans kicking Thanos’ butt at the same time.
The Infinity Stones Are Destructible
One question that’s been bugging me since the end of Infinity War is: Why didn’t they just destroy the other Infinity Stones like the Time Stone before Thanos could get to it? I mean, we saw Scarlet Witch destroy Vision’s Mind Stone near the end of the film, seemingly without any major repercussions. So if that’s the case, then why didn’t Doctor Strange just destroy the Time Stone from the beginning. He could have done this while Thanos was busy looking for the Soul Stone or other times he was preoccupied.
Even if he had the Reality Stone or the Power Stone, he couldn’t possibly have recreated something as powerful as another Infinity Stone. In fact, why are of them allowed to exist in the first place?! I mean I get that some of them were separated by time and distance but surely Dr Strange would have the most knowledge about the stones and therefore would have thought about destroying the Time and Mind Stones ahead of time.
I’ll give the good doctor the benefit of the doubt that he had thought of this while he was going through over 14 million possible future outcomes. I do get the feeling however that this has more to do with the Russos creating tension than it does Dr Strange playing 4D chess with Thanos. In any case, I certainly hope our heroes remember this neat little fact the next time they’re coming up against a foe trying to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet. That is if there is a next time for them.
An Unworthy Wielder
While the Infinity Gauntlet may be able to increase one’s knowledge and cosmic awareness, it does not necessarily make one wiser. Even with the power of God, you’re still technically you and that’s a good thing. The gauntlet does not take into account the fallible, if not foolish, nature of its wielder.
In the Infinity Gauntlet comics, we see Thanos being tempted by the demon Mephisto in limiting himself in an effort to impress Death. He falls for it and gives the heroes a fighting chance by opening himself to defeat, at the odds of a miserly 0.05% for success. Thanos managed to defeat the heroes but still! This shows that if the wielder is arrogant enough, insecure enough or stupid enough they can be overpowered by their enemies.
The Infinity Gauntlet can only do so much in terms of character but it cannot make you the perfect host. A reckless moron with omnipotence is still a reckless moron. I foresee that the heroes in Endgame may try to trick or persuade Thanos into fixing his mess by leveraging the death of his daughter, Gamora. They could make him sentimental or mad enough to do something careless. Maybe they’ll be able to help him see the error of his ways. Take away his desire for power and you essentially rob the object of its power. Alone, the gauntlet can do nothing.
It Takes Two Fingers To Snap
The final limitation of the Infinity Gauntlet, at least in the context of the MCU, is that well…you need to have limbs and fingers to use it. I mean it is a gauntlet after all. And though we have seen people like Malekith from Thor: The Dark World and Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy use the Reality and Power Stone without it, they still had trouble trying to contain its massive power.
The Infinity Gauntlet as of now seems to be the only vessel capable of containing all six Infinity Stones. Even so, the device still requires the user to be able to clench his or her fist and at least move one of its fingers to do anything. This has been confirmed by Infinity War writer Stephen McFeely who claims that Thanos would have to at least close his fist for the gauntlet to work.
Which is exactly why our heroes even stood a chance against Thanos when they fought him on the ruins of Titan. In the film, we can actually see Thanos struggle to use the gauntlet as the heroes prevent him from moving his gauntlet hand. Whether a telepath could use the gauntlet using telekinesis is still debatable but we’ve at least confirmed that physical movement is definitely a prerequisite. Both Thor and Thanos were wrong on this count. Thor shouldn’t have gone for the heart or the head, he should have gone for the HAND!
There you have it folks, five major weaknesses to the Infinity Gauntlet. Be sure to remember them if you ever run into a giant genocidal purple man with reality warping powers. Are there any other reasons why the Infinity Gauntlet isn’t so great? Let us know the comments below and be sure to stay tuned to your friendly neighbourhood film publication for all your Marvel news and reviews.