The 4 snaps in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame became iconic moments in the history of Superhero films. The first of them was obviously performed by Thanos, who wanted to fulfill his ultimate goal of wiping out half the population of the entire Universe in order to prolong its existence. Thanos also snapped his fingers once again in order to destroy the stones. But then, it was Smart Hulk who did it to undo everything that Thanos had done five years prior to Endgame. And the last one to snap his fingers was Tony, who wiped Thanos & his entire army out of existence, sacrificing his own life in the process.
It has been quite clear that performing a snap with all the 6 Infinity Stones is heavily draining and permanently damaging for the one who does it. An individual doesn’t just require a great amount of physical strength, but he/she also requires a very strong will to go through with the snap. But have you ever stopped and asked as to why it was essential for Thanos, Hulk & Tony to snap their fingers in order to use the Infinity Stones to their full efficiency & effectiveness?
I mean, we’ve witnessed Thanos using the Infinity Stones by just clenching and closing his fist. He did that to basically use one stone or multiple stones at once on Titan, and elsewhere. In fact, Doctor Strange also told the cloak of levitation to stop Thanos from closing his fist. Furthermore, we saw firsthand as to how Thanos was going to obliterate Tony by using all 4 Infinity Stones at him by closing his fist. Right after collecting all the Infinity Stones, Thanos closed his fist and struck an insanely powerful energy beam at Thor. So clearly, closing his fist to use the Infinity Stones worked. In fact, he didn’t even need to close his fist when he used the Mind Stone. So, why exactly did Thanos, or the others had to take the time and the strength to perform a snap in order to use all the Infinity Stones according to their will? Why couldn’t they get the same results by just closing their fists?
Clearly, Thanos would’ve won in Endgame if he didn’t have to snap. And he would’ve ended Infinity War much more swiftly if he could have just closed his fist and accomplished his goal. So why didn’t he do that? Apparently, the answer to this question was explained by Thanos creator Jim Starlin (to Mashable). Here’s told us why he created the rule of snapping for the Infinity Gauntlet comic series:
“It seemed the most dismissive gesture that I could come up with at the time. I wanted something casual, but something that would have a hook to it. I never in a million years imagined it would become this pop culture moment that it has become.
But it was basically a contemptuous way of executing what he was planning on doing at the time. And it looked good with the gauntlet.”
Starlin created the snapping rule as a dismissive gesture. Not only did it look cool, but it also made sense because it also expressed that something had happened. In the eyes of Thanos, snapping would also be a gesture of granting mercy, as the deaths caused by it would be quick & painless. Ultimately, Tony gave him a taste of his own medicine. Using the Infinity Stones to their full extent required a lot of strength in the MCU. And that strength was truly expressed by someone who was able to snap, carrying the infinite energy of the Infinity Stones in his/her hands. It was a gesture that granted an ultimate reward, but needed a physical sacrifice.
We’re glad that Marvel used the comic book rules of the snap in the MCU, but also added consequences to it. Now that the Infinity Stones have been turned into atoms, how will the Universe continue to function without them? Did Hulk already bring the stones back with his snap? We will surely find out in Phase 4.