‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Asked the Ultimate Question: What if Vision is Actually a Wimp?
(Welcome to Great Moments in MCU History, where we fondly recall great little bits that made us fall in love with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)
It is hard to quantify power levels in the MCU. Everyone seems a little bit invincible and capable of handling whatever’s in front of them. Thor is a God, Tony Stark’s suits can do anything, Captain America is fond of telling us that he can fight all day. Yeah, they have it rough every once in a while, but usually not for long. Nevertheless, even with that high-level playing field across the board, some Avengers do seem higher-powered than others.
This is particularly true of Vision, an android with a perfect body originally designed for Ultron, who is powered by one of the Infinity Stones. Vision can fly, phase through objects, shoot a laser out of his head, and punch things very hard. The magnitude of his power was addressed soon after his birth when he casually picked up Mjolnir in Age of Ultron. Granted, you don’t have to be strong to lift the hammer, just worthy. Nevertheless, audiences hushed when he did the deed, as if he was automatically worth taking seriously.
And then Avengers: Infinity War comes along and grounds the guy almost immediately.
There’s a whole lot going on there, but the main issue happens early in the film. While Vision and Wanda have a romantic moment, discussing how to move forward with their relationship, Corvus Glaive stabs Vision from behind with some kind of space spear.
It’s shocking because of the way Glaive manages to sneak up on the lovers undetected, but also because you’re simply not supposed to be able to stab Vision. Space spears, along with everything else dangerous, should go right through him. But that’s why they are space spears: they do weird things.
Vision manages to survive until the end of the film, but it’s not totally incorrect to consider this a mortal wound. The character is pretty much all done being useful from this point forward. Instead he becomes a figure who requires constant aid. They have to drag him to Avengers HQ, decide whether to kill him or not, then drag him to Wakanda in a last-ditch effort to non-violently separate him from his infinity stone, a duty that takes Wanda off the battlefield for a vital amount of time and doesn’t work anyway. After that, Vision gets saved from Corvus Glaive a second time, now thanks to Captain America, and then he suffers the indignity of being killed not once, but two times thanks to the Time Stone. It is a very rough go for such a high-powered character.
But it all starts with that space spear. We all knew Vision would have a big confrontational moment going into Infinity War. How could he not? He has an infinity stone embedded into his noggin. I don’t think anyone would have predicted the film would hobble him so early though. It wasn’t exactly a disappointment because Infinity War is a blast and whatever it took to fit all these characters in the movie was worth it. But Vision is a heavy hitter, and putting him on the bench was certainly surprising.
Why It’s So Great
This scene does three jobs in one go, and it’s remarkable at each. First comes the already-discussed shock at taking out Vision so early. This plays into the second task: making the Children of Thanos scary.
The film begins with Thanos and his children already victorious over Thor, but with Thanos present (especially once we watch him take out Hulk just for exercise), that feels more like his doing than theirs. And while Ebony Ma and Cull Obsidian pose a formidable threat in New York, that sequence feels much more fun than scary.
Here, especially the first time you watch Infinity War, there is real dread at the sudden danger Vision and Wanda – two of the MCU’s strongest fighters – face. Hit early and hit hard, they spend the fight on the defensive. There’s no hope for victory, just escape. And even that feels out of reach.
Which brings us to the scene’s third big job: reintroducing Captain America. With a beard. It’s a rousing moment, so huge we don’t have time to slow things down and wonder how a super soldier, a spy, and a guy who flies can take out such horrific villains when a reality-altering witch and super-powered android could not. They nevertheless make short work of Thanos’ minions and win a reprieve. It is a tense sequence that accomplishes an impressive amount in under four minutes.
Well first and foremost, you have to wonder what would have happened if the space spear hadn’t worked. Not that Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight are total pushovers, but without that spear it would have been a much more even fight. So then the question is, does it make a difference? Thanos still shows up in Wakanda, regardless of how that fight goes. He still has all but one infinity stone. I think, even at full power, things still go more or less the same for Vision.
To be honest, “What If” scenarios for Infinity War really illustrate how well-crafted the film’s script is. You pull one little thread and everything falls apart and must be rebuilt from a new starting point. You can’t just substitute this or that element without setting off too drastic a chain of events. And hey, you never know. Maybe Vision will come back somehow. That WandaVision show is getting pretty strange, after all.
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