Avengers: Infinity War – Women Talk, Men Talk More, & Everyone Fights (Women & Men in the Movies No. 7)

This week I’ll look at how women are portrayed, and interact with other characters, in the 2018 Marvel film Avengers: Infinity War.

(Find out more about 3 tests I’ll use to guide the conversation in Women, Men, and Movies or just read on.)

The Story

Superheroes the Avengers and their allies fight to defeat the seemingly all-powerful Thanos who is seeking out and stealing Infinity Stones. With these stones, he can alter life as we know it.

SPOILERS: The ending of the movie and major plot points are not included below, but some developments are revealed or hinted at.

Chasing Bechdel

(Does a (named) female character talk to another named female character about anything other than a man?)

Who’s Talking To Whom

Action sequences take up major parts of the film and are pretty entertaining. (Even for someone like me who loves some fights scenes but often finds them dull if there are too many.)

Because of the amount of action, a lot of the conversations revolve around the same topics. There also are tons of characters—over 25 avengers and allies against a group of villains.

For those reasons, below I’ve grouped together most of the conversations where three or more characters talk.

Women To Women:

Despite that there are seven female Avengers/allies and a female villain, there are few conversations among female characters and three of them consist of only two lines.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Proxima Midnight have two separate two-line conversations about:

  • Whether Black Widow will kill Proxima Midnight
  • The death of Proxima Midnight’s friend

Nebula and Gamora (sisters) talk via hologram about:

  • An infinity stone
  • Thanos

Shuri and Scarlett Witch have a two-line conversation about:

  • Whether Shuri can remove Vision’s stone without hurting him

Scarlett Witch, Black Widow, Okoye, and Proxima Midnight exchange four lines in total about:

  • Scarlett Witch entering battlefield
  • Threat that Scarlett Witch will die alone
  • The fight

Men To Men:

There are many occasions where men talk to other men in large groups, small groups, or one-on-one, mostly about the same topics. The twenty (or so) male Avengers and allies talk amongst themselves and/or with the male villains about:

  • The Tesseract
  • The infinity stones
  • Suffering v. salvation
  • Loki and his death(s)
  • Money
  • Thanos
  • Vision
  • Steve Rogers
  • The feud between Captain America and Ironman
  • The Avengers as a group
  • Fate
  • Thor
  • Weapons
  • The Hulk
  • The accord the Avengers signed
  • Old movies
  • Strategy
  • Hunger
  • Overpopulation
  • Thor’s family members being killed
  • Thor’s hammer
  • Fate
  • Vengeance
  • Thanos’ home planet
  • Thanos’ plan and reasoning for it

Women And Men:

Tony Stark and Pepper Potts talk one-on-one about:

  • Tony’s dream
  • Having a child
  • Their relationship
  • Tony being Ironman
  • The alien ship
  • Dinner reservations

Vision and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch talk one-on-one about:

  • Their relationship
  • An infinity stone
  • Travel plans
  • Thanos

Gamora and Thanos talk about:

  • Gamora’s mother
  • Fighting
  • Weapons
  • Balance
  • Thanos kidnapping her
  • Garmora’s feelings for Thanos
  • An infinity stone
  • Her sister
  • Her years growing up
  • Thanos’ plans
  • Her home planet
  • Universe’s resources

Gamora and Peter Quill talk about:

  • Thanos
  • What Gamora knows
  • Gamora wants Quill to kill her if Thanos gets her
  • Love

Okoye and Black Panther talk about:

  • Fighting
  • Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier
  • Progress
  • Death

Also, in a scene after the credits Maria Hill and Nick Fury talk about what’s happening all around them.

Men and women talk to one another in groups (direct woman-to-woman conversations are only those listed in the Women-To-Women section above) about:

  • Answering a distress signal
  • Rewards
  • Thor
  • Losing weight
  • Food
  • Thanos
  • Gamora’s relationship with Thanos
  • Thor’s half-sister
  • The Collector
  • The Avengers
  • The infinity stones
  • Weapons
  • Powers
  • Vision’s life
  • Removing Vision’s stone
  • Possible outcomes of conflict
  • Red Skull’s attempts to get the stones
  • Vision’s programming
  • Vision’s stone


Compared to other similar movies, female characters have more lines in Avengers: Infinity War and play key roles in the action scenes. The conversations among men far exceed those of women. They also talk about more topics, talk at length, and talk to other men exponentially more than women talk to other women.

Women talk at the greatest length and about the most diverse topics when speaking one-on-one with a male character. In a mixed group of men and women they talk as well, though not as much as the men. (That part's probably inevitable given that there are more than twice as many male characters as female.)

There are, however, four times when a female character exchanges two or more lines with another female character. Two of those brief exchanges are are not about a man.

For that reason, Avengers: Infinity War (barely) passes the Bechdel Test.

Women v. Sexy Lamps

(can a female character be replaced by a sexy lamp without affecting the plot?)

In her final scene, Gamora could be replaced with a sexy lamp in the sense that her key role is to be what Thanos “loves” and so sacrifices. But she does have a relationship with him from the time he adopts/kidnaps her that goes beyond him simply wanting to possess her or show her off, and she does help find a stone, so she affects the plot.

Likewise, the choices and fighting skills of other women characters, including the Scarlett Witch, affect the plot, though they don’t drive it as often as the men’s choices do.

In some ways, though, none of the Avengers or their allies really drives the plot. Throughout the movie they are mainly reacting to Thanos. While they do take some actions and choose approaches, in the end it’s Thanos who primarily drives the story.


Avengers: Infinity War passes the Sexy Lamp Test.

Mako Mori

(does a female character have her own narrative arc that does not support a man’s story line?)

I can’t think of any female character who has her own narrative arc. The closest might be Gamora as she faces her adoptive father, Thanos. But that story arc supports Thanos’ storyline.

Scarlett Witch has a narrative arc but it’s about her relationship with Vision.


Avengers: Infinity War fails the Mako Mori Test.

Quick Results

Bechdel: BP (Barely Passes)

Sexy Lamp: P

Mako Mori: F

Did I Like It

I enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War and found it entertaining.

Some of the suspense was ruined for me, as I heard about the ending not long after it came out. Also, because I haven’t seen all the movies, I spent a lot of time figuring out who was who. Had I known that, I think I would have enjoyed the movie far more. On second watch I found it pretty amazing how it pulled together so many different threads from the Marvel Universe.

Generally, the Avengers movies are my least favorite of the Marvel productions. To me, they have the least character development and the most action. While I sometimes find them fun, as I did Avengers: Infinity War, they rarely engross me.

Given the sheer number of characters, I was impressed that the film’s storyline and construction helped me keep track of most of them despite that I’m not a die hard Marvel fan. (I’ve watched some of the movies and am a huge Agents of Shield fan.) It helped that the movie grouped the characters and focused on them separately, making it easier to track the plot even if I wasn’t sure exactly who each person was.

Coming Soon

I’ll have to surprise you, as I haven’t decided yet. Some ideas are A Quiet Place, Black Panther, or The Martian.

You might also like:

Terminator 2: Sarah, Action Hero, But… (Women & Men in the Movies No. 6)


The Terminator: Men Talk, A Woman Fights (Women & Men in the Movies No. 5)


Annihilation: Five Women And The Unknown (Women & Men in the Movies No. 4)

Ex Machina: If An A.I. Were A Woman (Women & Men in the Movies No. 3)