In Avengers: Endgame, why did they not

use the Gauntlet earlier in the final battle to kill Thanos and his army?

Hawkeye had it, Spider-Man had it, Black Panther had it, and Captain Marvel had it. Any one of them could have used the it to end the battle much as Tony did.

By delaying, many more people died in the battle that could have been saved by ending the battle sooner. Is there a reason for this?

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    We don't trade lives. – gowenfawr May 13 '19 at 3:28
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    Its possible Captain Marvel could have done it without dying – chessprogrammer May 13 '19 at 3:29
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    There are many plot holes... Like why didn't Captain Marvel just fly off into space with it as soon as possible? – user May 13 '19 at 10:52
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    @user That is not a plot hole, it might be poor writing or an odd in universe decision by the characters but it most certainly is not a plot hole. And in either case it is easily explained by that they were trying to get the Gauntlet to the quantum tunnel in the van. – TheLethalCarrot May 13 '19 at 13:00
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    @TheLethalCarrot but why did it have to go to the quantum tunnel right then? Take it off into space, finish off Thanos and then build another quantum tunnel if that one gets trashed. – user May 13 '19 at 13:29

It didn't fit

The Gauntlet altered its size to fit the Hulk's hand. It's possible that it was designed to resize itself for whomever tried to wear it, but it's more likely that Tony was directing the shift using his mental control over his nano-machine suits. If that's the case, then there's no way for anyone who isn't Hulk sized to put the gauntlet on until Tony can get there to resize it.

It's also possible that the power surge from the Stones shorted out the Gauntlet's reshaping capabilities. We never see it do anything other than mechanical movement until after Tony comes into contact with it at the very end (and even then it's not clear whether he was interfacing with it directly or using parts of his current suit to steal from the Gauntlet).

It didn't occur to them

It's very easy to get tunnel vision during high stress situations. Nobody who had their hands on the gauntlet had much time to think critically - they were too busy fighting for their lives. Once it was established that it was vital to return the Stones to their own times, it simply didn't occur to them that the Stones could be used for a different purpose.

They didn't know that they could

Thanos snapped his fingers and killed half the universe. Does that mean that you can snap your fingers and kill a specific group of people? Is there like a dial you have to turn from the "kill half of everything" setting to the "kill the bad guys, but nobody else" setting? Tony has a much better idea about how to control the Gauntlet and use it for his own purposes than most of the heroes who were trying to transport it.

Also, Spider-Man at least (and probably a few of the others) didn't have the stomach to murder an entire army with a finger-snap, even if it would save lives. This isn't universal though, so it doesn't get a header.

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    Good points. Also, Plan A at that point was to get the Infinity Stones back into the past using the quantum tunnel in Scott Lang's van. Only after Thanos destroyed the van did it become necessary to use the gauntlet to destroy Thanos in order to prevent him from using it. – Nathan K. May 13 '19 at 4:45
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    I have a theory that Tony had the idea to remove the stones by seeing Thanos removing the power stone to punch Captain Marvel. There wasn't enough time to explain to anyone, so that's why he did it, knowing he would die (Because of the 1 signal Dr. Strange did). – Moacir May 13 '19 at 16:39

Because that was never the plan

The plan was actually to get the Gauntlet and the Infinity Stones to the quantum tunnel in the van and use that to put the Stones back into their respective timelines. The plan only changed for the Tony snap when Thanos destroyed the van and Tony had to improvise.

HAWKEYE: Cap, what do you want me to do with this damn thing?

CAPTAIN AMERICA: Get those stones as far away as possible!

HULK: No! We need to get them back where they came from.

IRON MAN: No way to get them back. Thanos destroyed the quantum tunnel.

ANT-MAN: Hold on! That wasn't our only time machine. Anyone see an ugly brown van up there?

VALKYRIE: Yes! But you're not gonna like where it's parked.

IRON MAN: Scott, how long you need to get that thing working?

ANT-MAN: Maybe ten minutes.

IRON MAN: Get it started. We'll get the stones to you.

Avengers: Endgame

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    Remembering that Doctor Strange saw all this happening, you have to wonder if he saw any future in which another character such as Star-Lord or Captain Marvel tried and failed. – Matthieu M. May 13 '19 at 12:44
  • While true, this arguably a tautological answer, as the question essentially asks "why didn't it become the plan?" As the question notes, the plan was altered; the question asks why it wasn't altered sooner. (Presumably they did not expect returning the stones to wipe away the intrusion of Thanos and his forces, as that would not be consistent with how the film treated causality.) – Jacob C. says Reinstate Monica May 13 '19 at 22:35
  • @JacobC. Considering they thought the alternate reality where the enemies we’re from would cease to exist they actually probably thought exactly that. – TheLethalCarrot May 14 '19 at 6:16

Let's see who all had the gauntlet:

  • Hawkeye: He had personally seen what the Gauntlet did to Hulk. He was definitely not going to survive using the Gauntlet, and he knew it.

  • T'Challa: He had barely seen the Gauntlet just once. He had no clue as to what it was.

  • Spider-Man: He was a kid, just back from the dead, and teleported to that location. He was in no condition to make the decision.

  • Marvel: While she could have wielded it, she too had no clue what it was. From her perspective it was merely a Gauntlet to be returned to the van.

What Tony did in the end, was out of desperation. They were losing. Unable to contain Thanos and his forces. He saw Thor and Cap try and fail. He saw Marvel try and fail.

He knew he had to do something big. That desperation, combined with the fact that he designed the Gauntlet at least in part gave him the confidence to at least try using it.

Extended speculation: Outside of all this, I think the Iron Gauntlet was completely fried from its first use, and lost its ability to shrink back to normal size. No human-sized hand could have fit in it, much less be able to use it.

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    I'm disagree on Marvel, there's no way they went 5 years without discussing what an infinity gauntlet was. – GordonBennett May 13 '19 at 7:38
  • I believe that she was the only one of the lot who hadn't faced it directly. Besides, the mission was to get it to Scott, and she was following it. – Stark07 May 13 '19 at 8:23
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    Hawkeye seemed willing to sacrifice himself earlier to get one of the stones, so I'm not sure risking using the gauntlet to stop the battle would have been a stretch for him. Also there was a good chance any of them would have died anyway had it not been used. – user May 13 '19 at 10:47
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    @user: It's possible that after the loss of Natasha, Hawkeye's attitude about that took a radical shift. – Daniel R. Collins May 13 '19 at 13:58
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    You forget that Captain Marvel was there when they killed the Thanos that did the snap, including when Thor cut off his arm w/the gauntlet. She definitely knew what was going on. – Derek May 15 '19 at 3:44

Any one of them could have used the Gauntlet to end the battle much as Tony did.

Actually, no... As I wrote in my answer to Why didn't other heroes use the Gauntlet while they were playing catch with it? on Movies.SE, there's an interview confirming that basically, only Hulk (and Tony) could do it. You have to remember that the Gauntlet is equipped with all six Stones at that point, which is a whole lot to handle. Even Captain Marvel might not have been able too, and she's easily in the top 3 of overpowered people in the MCU.

Sure, that interview only talks about the "final" snap, but it's probably valid for partial actions as well - in the heat of the battlefield, you won't stop to take a Stone off (to "ease" the manipulation for instance), fire part of a power, reslot the Stone... Sounds like a nice way to lose one, which would jeopardize the overall plan of "in the end, use all six and unsnap".

Q: Why Iron Man has to be the one to do the final snap, couldn’t the people like Thor, Star-Lord or Captain Marvel whom all previously have handled the power of Infinity Stones done it instead?

A: Thor in this movie couldn’t do it, only Hulk was strong enough to do the snap without dying. We are still not sure whether Captain Marvel can also withstand all the power of Infinity Stones at once. The reason we choose to let Iron Man do it in the end was because he was the closest one to Thanos at the time. In all the futures Doctor Strange foresee, Iron Man was the only one who could get close to Thanos and do the snap.

'Avengers: Endgame’ directors just explained some of the movie’s biggest mysteries, BGR, April 30th, 2019

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    "you won't stop to take a Stone off (to "ease" the manipulation for instance), fire part of a power, reslot the Stone" someone should have told Thanos that when he smacked Carol in the face with the full force of the Power Stone. – TheLethalCarrot May 13 '19 at 14:32
  • @TheLethalCarrot disagreed. Thanos can sustain the Power Stone, even if briefly, but I doubt Hawkeye could – Jenayah May 13 '19 at 15:05
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    Why does this mean no other character was capable of snapping? The quote establishes they'd die, but the question is why they couldn't do the same thing Tony did, which includes dying. – Nolimon May 13 '19 at 20:18
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    @Nolimon the way I read it, it means they'd die before even snapping. – Jenayah May 13 '19 at 20:21
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    The quote says "do the snap without dying", not wear the Gauntlet. If it would kill Captain Marvel before she could complete it, why can Iron Man go through with it? The quote doesn't give any reason he's more resistant than anyone else. – Nolimon May 13 '19 at 20:29

Setting aside the physical resilience required to use the gauntlet, magic in the MCU has always been a matter of intelligence, focus, and willpower - see Doctor Strange. Even if you follow the theory that the stones are able to read the intent of the user, it's likely that only a very small number of people on that battlefield could summon the presence of mind to command the gauntlet, especially while their body is being ravaged by its raw power.

Edit - the Gauntlet's magic being directly akin to sorcery is only my conjecture, based off of similar requirements for hand gestures (clicks, clenches, waves) and the Time Stone's integration into the Eye of Agamotto as either a source of dimensional energy or harnessed for its powers directly.

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  • Can you provide reference for that claim that the Infinity Stones are a result of magic? – Derek May 15 '19 at 3:46
  • The stones were created from six singularities by the Cosmic Entities, which you can see a relief of in Guardians of the Galaxy and as explained by "The Art of Guardians of the Galaxy". To my knowledge, there is no official word that explains the source of their powers; their likeness to sorcery is only my conjecture, based on the Time Stone's integration into the Eye of Agamotto and the gestures required to use the Gauntlets. I'll update my answer to stress that. – Christopher Vella May 16 '19 at 13:49

Because it would kill them

This is the entire theme of the Infinity War story. The good guys don't want to make sacrifices. They will not make plans that would send someone to their death. They say as much I think in Infinity War. When someone has to be sacrificed for the soul stone they have to fight each other because neither is willing to lose the other one. They are not ready to give up their lives to win. They are not ready to put survivor guilt on their friends.

Thanos does not have this problem. He, without any thought, sacrifices Gamora. This is why Thanos wins, and the Avengers lose the first time. In the final moment Tony sees this. He realizes that sacrifices must be made, and he gives up his life. This completes the narrative tragedy of the Avengers.

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