Ten years ago, there was an idea. To bring together a remarkable group of people who can fight the battles we never could — and in the process, make billions and billions of dollars. On April 27, Marvel will unleash Avengers: Infinity War, the first of a two-part climax to the Marvel film franchise that began with Iron Man back in 2008.
In Avengers: Infinity War, the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will unite to stop Thanos, an alien being hellbent on wiping out half of Earth in order to bring “balance” to the universe. The story is partially inspired by 1992’s The Infinity Gauntlet, a six-issue series writtten by Jim Starlin in which Thanos gathered all of the Infinity Gems to wield total control over the universe.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Infinity War is gathering pretty much every important superhero ever introduced in this universe. (Except for the Defenders from the Netflix series, all of whom would be way outclassed in this fight. Bummer.)
Because there are a lot of characters being jam-packed into this thing, here’s a quick rundown of who’s who, and who can do what. Just in case it gets confusing trying to tell all of those Chrises apart. Here are all the important heroes in Avengers: Infinity War, broken down by what they can do.
Played by Robert Downey, Jr. Tony Stark is a billionaire, genius, playboy philanthropist with a lot of lingering daddy issues and narcissism. Though he’s initially a libertarian fantasy — “I’ve successfully privatized world peace,” he bragged in Iron Man 2 — his arc has turned him into a severely responsible yet paranoid individual who anticipates a dark end to all these aliens and gods showing up.
It’s a good thing he’s got a genius brain that can turn any bucket of bolts into a fully-weaponized gizmo that can kill you and cook breakfast. Though he’s nothing but a tinkerer, his Iron Man suits are fully loaded, like a mobile armory capable of flight and energy blasts. But it might not be enough to shield him from a right hook from Thanos.
Played by Mark Ruffalo. Another genius whose specialty lies in particle science and biotechnology, Bruce Banner can become a hulking green rage monster when he’s having a bad day. Luckily, he’s always having a bad day.
Played by Chris Hemsworth. Originally the spoiled son of Odin, Thor has evolved into a self-deprecating leader of a migrant people who were nothing but fairy tales here on Earth. Though the Asgardians are powerful, they aren’t immortal. But being the God of Thunder, Thor is one of the biggest bruisers the good guys will have at their disposal. Shout out to Groot, who will help Thor build his new magical hammer. (We’ll get to Groot in a bit.)
Played by Chris Evans. Though skinny Steve Rogers became the perfect soldier thanks to an experimental serum engineered in secret during World War, the real hero lies in Steve’s heart — and he’s always been there. It’s just that, now, Steve is beefy as hell, can run and sprint without breaking a sweat, and can kick your ass eight ways to Sunday thanks to specialized training in like a dozen different martial arts. Oh, and he knows how to use an indestructible shield, though he’s not currently in possession of it.
Played by Scarlett Johansson. I could say that Natasha Romanov’s greatest asset is her rigorous training as a spy and cold-blooded assassin who can get anywhere, and be anywhere, at any time. But as the Black Widow, her greatest superpower is always being the coolest one in the room.
Played by Jeremy Renner. Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, is the best marksman who ever lived. He wields an ancient weapon — a bow and arrow — and still he survived an onslaught of aliens and sentient robots and oversized Paul Rudds. Homeboy also fought Black Panther and still walked away without a scratch. In fact, the Avengers can use a sneaky, long-ranged guy like Hawkeye right now. But, has anyone seen him lately?
Played by Don Cheadle. While “Rhodey” isn’t a genius like his best friend Tony Stark, as a proud U.S. Air Force officer, Lieutenant Colonel James Rhodes makes up for his lack of sheer genius with equal parts bravery, wit, and military strategy. As the “War Machine,” Rhodey is basically in his his own “Iron” suit — he just has butt-loads more guns.
The Winter Soldier
Played by Sebastian Stan. Steve’s best buddy from Brooklyn became a tormented soul when Sgt. James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes was rescued from the brink of death to become a near inhuman Soviet weapon of sabotage. Having regained his memory, Bucky can use his lethal training as a soldier, saboteur, and stone cold killer to save the world. Better than destabilizing it.
Played by Anthony Mackie. Watch your left: It’s Sam Wilson, a former U.S. airman who know flies high as the Falcon. Basically a soldier with an array of gadgets and a sweet “winged” jet-pack, Sam Wilson controls the skies so his buddy Cap can take care of the ground. Just don’t call him a pilot.
Played by Elizabeth Olsen. In the comics Wanda Maximoff was a mutant — the daughter of X-Men villain Magneto, in fact — who can alter probability and chaos magic. That’s not the case in the movie, though, where Wanda is a non-mutant who gained powers from experiments with the Mind Stone. She can harness energy and fuck with people’s minds.
A hybrid of freak science and unbelievable magic, Vision’s body is made of Vibranium steel but his sentience is powered by Stark tech and the awesome powers of an Infinity Stone. Given consciousness by the Mind Stone, Vision can fly, phase through objects, and shoot cool blasts from his forehead. He also knows how to pull off a Brooks Brothers wardrobe.
Played by Chris Pratt. A human named Peter Quill who was abducted at the age of 12 by aliens, the outlaw called “Star-Lord” was nothing but a glorified junker who discovered his heritage as basically “half-god” in the worst way possible. To smite his shitty dad, Star-Lord erased his Celestial DNA — which is a bummer. Pure immortality would have been really helpful right about now. Still, at least he can fight like no one’s business.
Played by Zoe Saldana. Her ruthless upbringing with her sister Nebula turned Gamora into one of the deadliest fighters in the entire galaxy. She doesn’t have any actual superpowers like super speed or flight, but she’s hella strong and quick, and could rip you to shreds. And, with her foster father being none other than Thanos, needless to say she doesn’t need any fancy powers to kick his ass.
Played by Karen Gillan. Whatever her sister Gamora succeeded at, Nebula failed, which made Thanos turn her into a freaky Frankenstein’s monster of a living thing. While Gamora is tough by nature, Nebula is tough by design. She can heal in an instant and she’s definitely got some toys on her self that she’s just waiting to show off. And like Gamora, she too isn’t pleased with daddy.
Drax the Destroyer
Played by Dave Bautista. I could mention that Bautista is a former WWE Champion who has wrestled everyone from John Cena to the Undertaker. But as Drax, well — he’s just a tough SOB. See him laugh with glee while being scratched up by trees in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Voiced by Vin Diesel. He’s a giant tree of very few words. Or at least he was. He’s had to do some growing up (again) since the end of the first Guardians of the Galaxy. But he might want to hurry up if he hopes to stand any chance at defeating Thanos.
Voiced by Bradley Cooper. A freak science experiment gone wrong (or horribly right), the brash, braggadocios Rocket is like any raccoon. But instead of digging through trash to eat, Rocket likes digging through trash to build nuclear weapons at the blink of an eye. Having him against Stark in a “build-off” would be quite a sight to behold.
Played by Pom Klementieff. An alien who can feel people’s emotions, and also make them feel, by touch. It’s not clear how Mantis could stand her ground against Thanos. Maybe she’ll make him laugh himself to death.
Played by Paul Rudd. Without the suit, Scott Lang is a master thief and brilliant electrical engineer. With the suit, Scott Lang can shrink to the size of an ant and even mentally control thousands, if not millions of them at once. He can be so small, he might be missing for the entire movie.
Played by Chadwick Boseman. As the king of Wakanda, T’Challa commands the world’s most technologically advanced society. But as the Black Panther, T’Challa can heal faster, fight faster, and dust off bullets and harness kinetic energy to unleash it later. In essence, the Black Panther is a walking bomb who can roll away without a cat scratch.
Played by Danai Gurira of The Walking Dead fame. In trading her zombie katana for Dora Milaje spears, Okoye is the proud general of the Wakanda royal guard sworn to protect the Black Panther, even though he could take care of himself just fine. Though Okoye doesn’t have the same quick healing as her king, she does have one thing T’Challa doesn’t: She doesn’t freeze.
Played by Letita Wright. Maybe even smarter than Tony Stark, Shuri’s brilliant young mind molds Wakanda’s vast deposits of Vibranium like putty in her hands. In Black Panther, Shuri engineered two panther gauntlets that allowed her to target vibrational waves.
Played by Benedict Cumberbatch. As Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, this former brilliant surgeon is now a master of the mystic arts. Unlike Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange handles real magic that would make Tolkein wild with inspiration. With his knowledge of the Infinity Stones, Strange will be invaluable to the war effort. Hopefully, he’s loosened up on his other major superpower of being a colossal dick.
Doctor Strange has a buddy, Wong (played by Benedict Wong), who also is a master of the mystic arts.
Played by Tom Holland. Um, he’s Spider-Man, he does whatever a spider can.
Avengers: Infinity War will be released on April 27.