Avengers: Infinity War is arguably one of the best movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Revolutionizing the entire cinematic universe, Avengers: Infinity War ticked a few boxes which fans had been expecting for a long time. For starters, Infinity War set the tone in just five minutes by killing the God of Mischief, Loki, and the Protector of the Bifrost, Heimdall.
Most movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been plagued by the curse of generic, one-dimensional villains. From Thor: The Dark World to Ant-Man, Marvel Studios just could not introduce a villain who was truly terrifying. Apart from Loki, Helmut Zemo, and Erik Kilmonger, there hasn’t been a truly memorable villain. But with the arrival of Thanos, viewers were introduced to an antagonist who meant business.
Marking the end of the bad villain plague, the Mad Titan shocked the audience within minutes of his arrival. Raising the stakes to an unprecedented level, Thanos was the first existential threat for the Avengers. Unbreakable conviction, iron will, and the strength to take on the mightiest heroes single-handedly, Thanos was a freak of nature who almost convinced the viewers that his philosophy was the only viable option to explore for all life-form.
In the post-credit scene of Thor: Ragnarok, Thanos arrived with his spaceship to intercept The Statesman, a passenger spaceship carrying Thor, Loki, Heimdall, Bruce Banner, Valkyrie, and the remaining Asgardians. As Thanos laid waste to the spaceship, he met a feeble resistance from Thor, Hulk, and Loki.
As Thor was subdued by Ebony Maw, Loki unleashed the Hulk to fight Thanos. However, the uncontrollable raging hero was no match for the Mad Titan. Thanos’ superior martial arts prowess and incredible strength knocked the living daylights out of Hulk. As the Hulk laid unconscious, Heimdall used his last ounce of energy to tap the dark magic and send Hulk to Earth. As a result, he was promptly killed by Thanos. With only Loki remaining, the God of Mischief tried to use his cunning and deceptive ways to kill Thanos. Unfortunately, his plan was anticipated by the Mad Titan, resulting in a painful and horrific death by choking.
An unsung hero, Heimdall’s decision to send Hulk to Midgard instead of sending Thor or Loki has been quite puzzling. Having known Bruce Banner/Hulk for a few days at best, Heimdall chose him over the two whom he knew for more than a thousand years. Now, we know why Heimdall’s gamble was actually a calculated risk that paid off in the end.
Loki, The God of Mischief
As one of the most diabolical characters in the MCU, Loki made his first appearance in Thor. The son of Laufey, Loki was originally a Frost Giant who was adopted by Odin as his son. Growing alongside Thor, Loki was also a prince of Asgard. However, he challenged Thor’s rightful ascension to the throne, putting him at odds against both Odin and the God of Thunder.
Heimdall was well versed with his cunning and fiendish personality. From sending a Destroyer to kill a powerless Thor to launching a Chitauri attack on New York, Loki’s tainted reputation was known across the nine realms. Even though Loki did redeem himself in the end, it was never a wise option to rely upon the God of Mischief. As a result, it was quite obvious that Loki was never going to be the first choice of Heimdall to travel to Earth through the Bifrost created by Dark Magic.
Thor, The God of Thunder
Heimdall’s closest friend and one of the strongest heroes in the MCU, Thor Odinson is the rightful ruler of Asgard, succeeding Odin in the wake of his death(?) in Thor: Ragnarok. As the God of Thunder, Thor can summon catastrophic bolts of lightning to defeat literal gods.
In Thor, the God of Thunder destroyed the Bifrost to stop Loki from destroying Jotunheim. With the Bifrost gone, there was no way for Thor to return to Earth in Avengers (2012). However, he did arrive on Earth and battled the Chitauri and the God of Mischief in the Battle of New York. So, how did he travel across realms? The answer lies in the prelude comic for Thor: The Dark World.
In the panel, Odin sent Thor to Midgard to stop Loki from stealing the Tesseract. It was then revealed that instantaneous travel was possible across realms without the Bifrost too. Using dark magic, Odin sent Thor to Earth. But, using dark magic does come with a price that the father-son duo revealed in the comic strip.
Asgardians use ancient magic as a form of power. Whenever Odin uses an extraordinary amount of power, he goes into ‘Odinsleep’ to recharge his powerful Odinforce. Similarly, using dark magic takes its toll on the person who siphons it from the source as well as the person who travels through it.
In the prelude comics, Lady Sif became worried when Thor traveled to Midgard using dark magic. However, in Avengers: Infinity War, things might have been quite different if Heimdall would have chosen Thor instead of Hulk.
Already battered by Thanos, Thor was barely able to move a muscle in the ravaged spaceship. In his weakened condition, traveling across the vast space using dark magic could have been fatal for the God of Thunder. With Thor gone, there was no way the Avengers could have beaten Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War.
The Incredible Hulk
Many comic book fans would agree that the Hulk was severely nerfed down in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For a guy who can punch an adamantium-laced Wolverine into submission, MCU’s Hulk is ridiculously weakened in the movies.
However, he still possesses one ability which truly makes him dangerous; the ability to not die. When Bruce Banner was exposed to gamma rays, he turned into a raging, green monster who was able to heal rapidly and didn’t slow down even after prolonged battles. Unless taken by surprise, it is practically impossible to kill Bruce Banner. Any attempt on his life will instantly turn into the Hulk, making him technically invincible.
Even after taking a brutal beatdown from Thanos, Hulk’s capabilities made him the most suitable to travel using dark magic without succumbing to his death. However, one theory does suggest that dark magic did affect Bruce Banner, as a result, he failed to turn into the Hulk even in the direst situations.
After all, Heimdall did save the universe in the most cryptic way imaginable. But unfortunately, the MCU never really explored the character, wasting away the talents of Idris Elba.