Spoilers for ‘Infinity War’ follow.
‘Infinity War,’ as we all know by now, is one of the only superhero films bold enough to let the bad guy win. Sure, it’s a refreshing take that ensures anticipation for the follow-up, but it didn’t have to be that way. Thanos was beatable. Our heroes gave us a taste of this with the Iron Man team-up on Titan that almost brought the purple guy down. Doctor Strange knew what we did then: it wasn’t going to work. Which begs the question, what if someone smarter was calling the shots?
Although the Avengers are branded as “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” the character we think of when it comes to successful forethought isn’t on Marvel’s roster. I submit that Batman could best Thanos given complete knowledge of the Marvel Universe and S.H.I.E.L.D.-level resources. Maybe not the Batman of Affleck or Bale or even Clooney’s iconic portrayal, but the idealized Bruce Wayne of the comics would have Thanos-proof tactics that might sound a little something like this.
A Good Ole Fashioned Time Loop
Marvel has already introduced a villain that no team of Avengers could defeat traditionally: Dormammu. In ‘Doctor Strange’, our hero trapped him in a time loop reliving the same pointless battle over and over until the beast cried mercy and agreed to give up on his takeover of earth. Oddly, Strange never brought up this tactic with Thanos before or after using his powers to calculate all the ways they would lose the day. Maybe it was so hard on Strange that he was not willing to try it again. If so, I bet Batman would find a way to amend the plan. Maybe have Vision be the one to go into the loop with Thanos? Vision’s mind could be set to reboot and erase the memory of the last loop so he would have the mental endurance to remain looping forever. The irony of Thanos being trapped with two of the stones he so badly wants working against him is kind of perfect and it would be easy enough to make retrieving the Stones impossible with a sufficiently short loop.
Pym Particle Application
The scientist in Batman would know just what Ant-Man’s Pym Particles can do. The right application could enlarge the Gauntlet or shrink Thanos for easy unpairing. An enlarged Thor would be exponentially stronger and more than a match for the entire Black Order. Pym Particles could even make Thanos’ molecules unstable, reducing the Titan to a puddle of goo, or make him so dense that he collapses in the gravity well of planet Titan. These are subatomic particles working extra-dimensionally—if anyone, like Batman, ever truly weaponized them, the strength of the target would be irrelevant.
Leverage more God Tech
Thor had the right idea forging a weapon powerful enough to kill Thanos and it almost worked. Given enough time, Batman would make enough such weapons for all the Avengers to use. Let’s be honest, Batman would have enough time because he’d be forging God weapons way ahead of any threat and keep them in his cave for a rainy day. What Thor forgot was that Dark Elves were using black hole grenades on Asgardians back in ‘The Dark World.’ Chuck one of those at the Infinity Gauntlet and there’d be no need to pull it off Thanos’ arm. He’d have no arm.
Make Hulk Sufficiently Angry
Bruce Banner has had a time of it lately. Hulk has lost to Iron Man, Thor, and now Thanos, but it never seemed like the big guy was at his best like he was in the original Avengers. Batman would know that there’s more potential in Hulk’s power than Banner suspects and just how to access it: get him more angry than ever before. Bruce, Wayne not Banner, isn’t beyond some crappy means to justify his ends and that’s what he would do here. Imagine throwing Black Widow to the Wakandan front lines to take Thanos on directly within the view of Banner. She wouldn’t have a chance, but seeing Thanos about to plummet her would trigger a Hulk that might just overpower Thanos.
Preemptively Destroy An Infinity Stone
Speaking of Batman doing crappy things, he’s not adverse to breaking his no-kill policy when half the universe is on the line. Bats probably wouldn’t kill Vision right away. He’d allow for a chance for other plans to succeed. However, he would certainly set up an “all else fails” plan that involved Vision dying before Thanos could get the Time stone and undo it. In fact, Batman probably would have destroyed the Time Stone in act one, knowing what it could do.
Is it possible Doctor Strange ran through these scenarios in his magic trance to no avail? Yes, but he didn’t have Batman. Batman always wins. It’s a cliche for a reason.