Infinity and the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Later this month The Avengers: Infinity War will hit cinema screens (25 April to be exact). Ten years ago Iron Man was the first episode in what has become an ongoing, multi-layered series know as the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU). Infinity War represents the coming together of many of these interwoven strands. Hints of what or who would be involved in Infinity War were being dropped as early as Iron Man 2 and Thor, but various powerful Infinity Stones, the Infinity Gauntlet (which can wield the power of these stones), and the character of Thanos (who very much intends to do the wielding) have featured throughout the series.

With such a long timeframe and so many films, it can be easy to lose track of these appearances, so some re-watching might be in order before the release of Infinity War. Or you could just crib from the list below.

Due warning – SPOILERS FOLLOW:

  • Iron Man (2008)
  • The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010) – A drawing of a cube-like artefact is shown in one of Howard Stark’s old notebooks. This is the first appearance of an Infinity Stone, specifically the Tesseract.
  • Thor (2011) – A right-handed Infinity Gauntlet is shown in Odin’s trophy room. Post-credit scenes hint that Loki is up to no good with the Tesseract (also known as the Space Stone)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – The Tesseract’s earthbound history is revealed and its ability to be used as a weapon.
  • Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) – Loki really was up to no good with the Tesseract (aided and abetted by Giant Purple Bad Ass, Thanos). Both Loki and the Tesseract end up in Asgard for safe keeping. Loki’s Chitauri sceptre, which holds the Mind Stone is acquired by S.H.I.E.L.D.

  • Iron Man 3 (2013)
  • Thor: The Dark World (2013) – The Aether (or the Reality Stone) wreaks havoc with Astrophysicist Jane Foster and at the end of the film is transferred by Asgardian warriors Sif and Volstagg to the care of The Collector.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – The Mind Stone in Loki’s sceptre falls into Hydra’s hands and is used to create enhanced individuals Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – The Orb (that contains the Power Stone) is the thing that everyone, including Thanos, wants. Originally in the archives of The Collector, it ends up on the planet of Xandar in the care of Nova Corps. The Collector provides a brief explanation to the Guardians of what the Infinity Stones are.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – Thor has a vision that includes several of the Infinity Stones and the Infinity Gauntlet. The Avengers capture Loki’s sceptre and the Mind Stone which is then used to power a synthetic body with an AI mind, called Vision. The stone sits in his forehead. It is revealed that Thanos has a left-handed Infinity Gauntlet.
  • Ant-Man (2015)

  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • Doctor Strange (2016) – The Time Stone is contained within a relic known as the Eye of Agamotto which resides in the mystical compound of Kamar-Taj in Nepal.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – The Tesseract is shown in Asgard where Loki makes eyes at it, so there is a suggestion he may have it. Hela reveals that the Infinity Gauntlet held in the same vault is a fake. Thanos makes an ominous appearance.
  • Black Panther (2018)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – This is where the locations of the stones in relation to Thanos and his gauntlet will start to be Very Important.

If you’re planning on seeing Infinity War soon, my suggestion IS THAT YOU WATCH ALL THE MOVIES AGAIN WITH NO BREAKS. No, but seriously don’t do that. That’s just not wise from a health and safety perspective.

But if you do want to do a bit of catch up I’d recommend watching:

To Infinity and beyond!

Five cool things about The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

The Woman in the Window is a stone cold blockbuster. Even Mr Sir Stephen King has been singing its praises. In Library Land, holds/reserves are a good indicator of how popular a book is. 164 people are waiting to read the book, and 27 are waiting for the eBook. That is POPULAR.

I don’t read many thrillers or crime books, but this had me glued to the couch with nowt but copious cups of teas and Easter eggs to sustain me. Here are five things that make it cool.

It is Classic Noir

The story of The Woman in the Window is classic film noir.  Anna is a child psychologist suffering from agoraphobia, and she takes photos of her neighbours and noseys at them. So far, so Hitchcock. But it isn’t just the premise that is noir-ish. Old movies are part of the story, and Anna is often watching one, remembering previous viewings, or encouraging other people to enjoy them.

Incidentally, there is a 1944 movie called The Woman in the Window, directed by Fritz Lang.

It has a believable female lead

A recent thread on Twitter asked women to ‘Describe yourself like a male author would’. I doubt you will see A.J. Finn quoted in this thread, because he has managed that rare thing – made a convincing female lead character. Anna Fox is a compelling, nuanced character. You don’t hear much about her looks, because women don’t tend to go around thinking about how big their boobs are, or lustrous their locks. Oh, and she is a woman. Not a girl.

The Woman in the Window

It has oodles of atmosphere

Anna Fox’s world is a lonely one. She is stuck in her apartment, dosed up on medication, and drinks a lot of wine. This creates a sense of woozy uncertainty which plays with your mind, like it does with Anna’s.

It’s Twisty

So many. So good. This is the Nürburgring of thrillers! More twists than you find in a pack of Twisties!

There is a New Zealand Connection!

Daniel Mallory is a book editor and he has written his first novel under the nom de plume A.J. Finn. In NZ interviews, he has revealed as a big Ngaio Marsh fan!

“I absolutely love Ngaio Marsh!” he says. “She’s probably my favourite golden age doyenne, which is taking nothing away from Agatha Christie.

Ngaio Marsh photographed during the 1940s : "Ngaio in the spotlight" [194-] CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0038
Ngaio Marsh photographed during the 1940s : “Ngaio in the spotlight” [194-] CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0038

More about A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window
By A.J. Finn
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9780008234164

New Titles, tweeted: Chris picks some top new books

Our selectors spot plenty of new and interesting titles as part of their work. Here are some titles that took the fancy of tweeting selector Chris: