The arch-villain Thanos first appeared in Invincible Iron-Man #55, entitled The Gods of Titan. These included the ruler Mentor, his son Eros--later called Starfox--and his other son Thanos, who sought godlike power and served Death. In The Infinity Gauntlet #1 (July 1991), written by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim, and George Perez, a six-issue miniseries, the mad Titan Thanos fell in love with Death and collected the six Infinity Gems, set in a gauntlet, which gave him power over Soul, Mind, Power, Time, Reality, and Space. He sought to destroy everything to win Death’s hand. Superheroes began to disappear all over the world amid worldwide natural disasters. Adam Warlock, from Counter-Earth, with the help of Doctor Strange, collected an army of heroes which eventually gained control over the Gauntlet and restored the cosmos.

The movie, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, was shot along with its sequel Avengers: Endgame. It is one of the most expensive movies ever made and looks it. The film was praised for Josh Brolin’s performance as Thanos, the emotional story, and the usual Marvel expertise in visual effects and action sequences. It was criticized for “relying on previous MCU films for its story.” Sorry, it began the climax of a 23-film series. What did they expect?

Thanos (Josh Brolin) has acquired the Power Stone on the planet Xandar. He and his henchmen Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor), Cull Obsidian (Terry Notary), Proxima Midnight (Carrie Coon),and Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw) (These are excellent names for black cats, and the villains are wonderful) intercept the spaceship carrying the survivors of the Fall of Asgard, and extract the Space Stone from their Tesseract. Thanos defeats Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), then kills Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Heimdall (Idris Elba), and destroys the ship, after tossing Hulk to Earth like so much garbage. Hulk lands in the Sanctum Sanctorum of New York, and changes to Banner, tells Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) about Thanos’ plan to kill half the life in the universe, and they inform Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Maw and Obsidian arrive to seize the Time Stone, which is in Doctor Strange’s possession, but it’s enchanted, and they can’t get it away from him, so they kidnap him. They are tracked by Tony Stark and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) who sneak aboard their ship.

In Edinburgh, Midnight and Glaive ambush Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany) to get the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead. Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) rescue them and hide out with James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Banner at the Avengers headquarters. Vision asks the Witch to destroy him if necessary, to keep the Stone from Thanos, but she refuses. Cap suggests they go to Wakanda, where they may have the technology to remove the stone without killing Vision. Are you getting this?

The Guardians of the Galaxy answer a distress call from the Asgardian ship (voice of Kenneth Branagh) and rescue Thor. It is thought that Thanos will be going to Knowhere to seize the Reality Stone from the Collector (Benicio del Toro). Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) travel with Thor to Nidavellir, where the giant dwarf Eitri (Peter Dinklage) re-creates a powerful battle-axe called Stormbreaker, which may have the power to kill Thanos. On Nowhere, Peter Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) find Thanos already has the Reality Stone. Thanos kidnaps his adopted daughter Gamora, who reveals that the Soul Stone is on Vormir to save her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) from torture. On Vormir, the Stonekeeper (Ross Marquand), who is the hellbound Nazi madman Red Skull from Captain America’s past, tells Thanos he can only take possession of the stone with the sacrifice of something he loves, so he kills Gamora. Nebula escapes and asks the rest of the Guardians to meet her at Thanos’ ruined home world of Titan.

Iron-Man and Spider-Man kill Maw and rescue Doctor Strange. They join the Guardians on Titan. Strange uses the Time Stone to see millions of possible futures, but there is only one in which Thanos loses. They plan to seize the Infinity Gauntlet, mounted with the stones. Thanos appears and defends himself, saying that only by killing half the universe can he save the rest of it from terminal over-crowding. (Funny, I thought the Universe was infinite.) Nebula arrives and reports that Thanos has killed Gamora. Quill attacks Thanos as the rest of the team are trying to wrench the gauntlet from him, which allows him to break their hold. Stark is seriously wounded by Thanos but is spared after Strange (strangely) hands over the Time Stone to Thanos. Still with me?

In Wakanda, Cap reunites with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) his old friend, who has been cured. King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and the Wakandan forces help the Avengers defend the kingdom while Shuri (Letitia Wright) tries to extract the Mind Stone from Vision so it can be destroyed without killing him. Hulk, which you must remember has only the mind of a five-year-old, refuses to come out and fight Thanos again, so Banner fights in Stark’s giant Hulkbuster armor. Thor, Rocket, and Groot join in. Thanos’ lieutenants are killed and Thanos’ army is about to be defeated, when Thanos seizes Vision. The Scarlet Witch is forced to destroy the Mind Stone, killing Vision in the process, but Thanos uses the Time Stone to go back in time and stop her. Thor wounds Thanos with Stormbreaker, but Thanos now has all the stones in his gauntlet. He snaps his fingers and half the life in the universe is snuffed out. The following Avengers are dust: Barnes, T’Challa, Groot, Scarlet Witch, Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Quill, Strange, Parker, and on the streets of New York, Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), though Fury is able to send out a distress call as he crumbles into dust. Thanos retires to a peaceful planet to watch the sunrise.

This movie is made for the fans. If you walked into the theatre not knowing War Machine from Falcon (Who are the two black guys who fly?) or Gamora from Nebula (Is she the green one or the blue one?), you’d be completely lost. It’s basically a two and a half-hour battle, but it’s all about love: Thor and Loki, Scarlet Witch and Vision, Tony Stark and Peter Parker, Captain America and Bucky, Gamora and Nebula, and strangely, Thanos and Gamora. But love and death are not strangers in the movies, or in the literature they’re based on.