The Marvel Cinematic Universe is set to begin a new era. But let’s spend one last look at the villian that encapsulated the first Act of the MCU. II want to focus on the officially closed story line of Thanos. Love him or hate him, (I really hope you hate him) he was a phenomenal antagonist with complexity and depth. The only real flaw that many people continue to bring up is the massive divergence the silver screen had from the comic book version of the character.
They are unruly and therefore cannot be ruled
At the end of the first Avengers film, the audience is introduced to Thanos. The character simply smiles after The Other says “to challenge them is to court Death” in reference to the Avengers after they whooped the chitauri’s ass. Being a nerd before it was mainstream, I was one of the few people in the theater that got the reference. In the comics, Thanos is obsessed with Death, a female character who is the physical embodiment of the natural force (she’s basically the grim reaper.) Everything he does is for her; every conquered planet, every snapped spine, every life extinguished is for her. He loves Death, literally.
However the MCU quicky abandons that character arc. Which makes sense when you lay it all on paper, especially with the MCU being so new and grounded in it’s earlier age. In the comic book stories the Mad Titan doesn’t have much depth. Even though there has been great strides to give Thanos complexity, like Donny Cates run of ‘Thanos’, there still hasn’t been anything that reaches audiences the way the Russo Bros’ interpretation did. After watching all the MCU movies, specifically the appearances of Thanos, I feel that many people don’t realize that main difference [his motivations for killing being brought on by his love for Death] isn’t as wide as previously imagined. Don’t get me wrong, Josh Brolin’s version of the character is different in a lot of ways, but I want to focus on a major similarity that most of us might have missed. Everything he did was out of love.
Your demeanor is that of a pouty child
The next time we see Thanos is in Guardians of the Galaxy. This was an interesting inclusion for a number of reasons. In one sense, the Guardians of the Galaxy has the least to do with all previous films in the MCU, and in another, it has the most to do with the overall plot that has been developing with Thanos up to that point. This is also the first time we get to hear Thanos speak and see him with the Josh Brolin CG face. I want to show you evidence of this movie beginning the dynamic of the character shift. He refers to Ronan as “boy” and “child.” Thanos considers of all other creatures in the universe as children. In this scene he also refers to Gamora as “his favorite daughter.” Essentially we learn that anyone beneath him is immature in his eyes.
If you also take this attitude and apply it to the end credit scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, it continues to add to the theory. Thanos puts on the gauntlet and says “Fine, I’ll do it myself” with the same tone we’ve heard many people say “Don’t send a child to do a man’s job.” Now obviously there’s nothing in these two scenes [GotG and AoU] that specifically supports the ideology of love, or negates his motivations being linked to Death. But they do set up how the character views the world around him. They are children to him. All of their interconnecting storylines are equal to school yard quarles. He is the only adult that is thinking clearly.
Rejoice, for even in death, you are children of Thanos
Infinity War is Thanos’ story. In a specific viewing, we can see the avengers as the antagonists in this film, trying to stop him from achieving his goal. We see his character, not as an ominous 2D villian but as a full fledged individual. As I mentioned before, his motivations are based in love. The audience is shown a flash back to the moment Thanos ‘adopts’ Gamora. He appears as a psychopathic mass-murdering dictator, but he also appears as a caring father figure to a lost child. Later in the movie he mentions, when arguing with her, that her planet is now thriving and the children always go to bed with food in their bellies. In this same argument there is a specific line where Gamora yelled “you don’t know that [killing everyone will make the universe a better place]” and he replied “I’m the only one that knows that, at least I’m the only one with the will to act.” This defines the character for me and solidifies his role as the only adult in the room.
As a parent, you don’t give your child ice cream for dinner. Children do not know what is best for them. In fact they often do the complete opposite thing that is best. But as a parent, you make the hard call that will help your child, even if they end up hating you for it. In the throne room scene, Thanos is calm. He knows what he is doing is not easy, nor what his children want, but he is doing it because he needs to raise them to be better. I don’t feel that I need to bring up the scene of Thanos killing Gamora. It is obvious he loves her when kills her. She may be his favorite, but he has to think of all his children. We even see this mentality break through towards the end of the film in a brief interaction with Scarlet Witch. After she is forced to kill The Vision, Thanos refers to her as “little one” and takes pity on her. He respects those that are able to make the hard choices. In a way he can only see someone as growing up if they have been through hardship and killed the ones they love.
A grateful universe
Thanos loved his children. And that love extended to all. Every fight he had with the Avengers was out of annoyance. the way a grown man could easily kill a child but still doesn’t. His motivations weren’t out of malicious or villainy. He never killed anyone that he thought wouldn’t help the overall goal; which was saving the universe. In the beginning of Endgame, the audience sees a Thanos that is old and beaten down. He even shows compassion towards Nebula with his dying breath. He feels good knowing what he did was the right thing. the only reason he did anything was because he wanted to do what he thought needed to be done out of love.
The rest of Avengers: Endgame has a different Thanos. I believe this was intentional to give the comic audiences that Mad Titan. this isn’t an article about how ‘Thanos was right.’ He was a fucking psycho that killed his own daughter and countless others. He was the villain, but he was a good one. His motivations were ones we could relate to on some level, or at the very least could imagine. However it is capable to be a bad person, and do bad things out of love, I mean there’s plenty of parents out there that do it today.
Movies watched and definitely nothing internal leaking out in this article by: Troy Smith