The discovery of what happened to Red Skull after he vanished at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger was one of the many unexpected and surprising scenes in Avengers: Infinity War, but why wasn’t Thanos punished for his misuse of an Infinity Stone? With Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Cinematic Universe achieved its pinnacle, with all of the active heroes at the time banding together to fight Thanos and return half of the universe back to life after Thanos vanished from them with a snap of his fingers.
Thanos finally obtained the Infinity Gauntlet and all the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Infinity War, after being hinted several times throughout the first three stages of the MCU, and completed his goals of wiping out half of life in the universe to bring everything back into balance. Some of the universe’s most popular characters perished in Infinity War, but there were also significant revelations in the plot that left many unanswered concerns, particularly about Vormir and the Soul Stone. Thanos and Gamora met the Storekeeper, who revealed out to be none other than the Red Skull, as they arrived in Vormir to get the Soul Stone.
Johann Schmidt, the antagonist in Captain America: The First Avenger, was obsessed with the Tesseract and the concept of using it to help him rule the world. Captain America shattered the Tessaract Cradle at the end of The First Avenger, so Red Skull snatched it, which reactivated and opened a wormhole into the cosmos while Red Skull burned and wailed in pain. Red Skull was thought to be dead until Infinity War revealed that he had been transferred to Vormir and cursed to become the guardian of the Soul Stone as a punishment for abusing the Space Stone’s power. Thanos should have been punished if there was a penalty for abusing an Infinity Stone’s power. but it’s possible that the Mad Titan was rescued by one key aspect of his usage of the stones, as well as how quickly he got rid of them.
Skull in Red Cube of the Universe Captain America by Hugo Weaving Thanos, the First Avenger, used the Infinity Stones in various ways in Avengers: Infinity War, and he didn’t wait until he had them all before doing so. However, unlike Red Skull, he didn’t manipulate the Stones with his bare hands; instead, he used the Infinity Gauntlet to mount them in and channel their power in a more secure manner. It’s possible that Thanos’ use of the Infinity Gauntlet protected him from being punished in the same way that Red Skull was. but there’s also the fact that three weeks after the snap, Thanos destroyed the Stones by reducing them to atomic level, destroying the Gauntlet as well.
Thanos had everything planned out and made a wise decision when he destroyed the Stones, as he not only freed himself from the temptation of continuing to use the Stones’ power, but also from a potential curse similar to Red Skull’s. However, many questions remain unanswered in Avengers: Infinity War, such as why Red Skull was teleported rather than killed by the power of the Space Stone, and why his punishment was guarding another Stone. This also raises the question of what would have happened if other characters had also abused the Stones’ powers, and what other punishments might have been imposed.