Throughout my years as a movie viewer I’ve seen my fair share of villains. The maniacal Joker in The Dark Knight, the iconic Darth Vader, the complex Kylo Ren, Kathy Bates’ unforgettable performance as Annie Wilkes in Misery, the world-ending Sauron, the list could go on and on and yet all of these villains, as menacing, formidable, or straight down cool as they have been they seem lackluster in comparison to Thanos and these are the reasons why.
Unlike most of the Marvel villains that have made an appearance in the MCU Thanos wasn’t out to get just the Avengers. In fact, he didn’t care about them at all, which was a refreshing change of narrative from the last two previous Avengers villains in revenge-crazed Loki and the delusional protector/genocidal robot, Ultron. His only mission was to obtain the six Infinity Stones and eliminate half the galaxy. Pure and simple. And that’s why he was so great.
There weren’t any elaborate plots or complex schemes. They didn’t try to make Thanos special or iconic and yet they succeeded in making him, in my opinion, one of the most memorable villains in recent memory.
I didn’t know who Thanos was because I don’t read the comics but now after Avengers: Infinity War I feel like have been completely caught up on who this character is. Villains in movies are usually defeated soundly by the end of a film in one way or another but Thanos had the exact opposite situation. He continued to beat the heroes over and over again in ways that could only make the viewer sigh with disappointment. And it was awesome! I have been waiting for this moment for six years and Marvel has constantly hinted at the imminent arrival of Thanos but I wasn’t practically jumping and down with excitement. I was just hoping that he would be worth the agonizing wait. Oh my goodness, he was.
Avengers: Infinity War was advertised as a movie about the heroes but in truth it was a film about Thanos. The writers treated him like the protagonist in the situation of things and made the heroes just annoying pests barring his way towards his ultimate goal. In fact, he was written with so much heart and care that they allowed us to see him at his most vulnerable and kind which was his brief times with his daughter, Gamora. When he was forced to kill Gamora in exchange for the Soul Stone Josh Brolin brought such raw emotion to that heartbreaking scene that I couldn’t help but feel a deep sadness for both Thanos and Gamora in that devastating situation. Thanos, unfortunately, is still a madman and so of course I was upset that he treasured the Infinity Stone more than Gamora but I still felt sympathy for him. And this is why he’s such a great villain.
Antagonists can’t be one-note and expect us to remember them. They have to have an emotional depth that one can relate with or a startling but calculated insanity (like the Joker) that just can’t be forgotten. Thanos has both of these dimensions and it made him a fascinating antagonist to behold.
I honestly can’t wait to see Avengers: Infinity War again to see Thanos more than anything. For so many years these heroes have won victory after victory with their heroic endeavors but to see them finally lose was a breath of fresh air. Every fantastic franchise makes the heroes face a resounding loss at least once but Marvel’s greatest leap towards defeat was having the Avengers split up after Civil War. The only thing that was destroyed in that movie were the bonds between these characters that had grown to being friends but bonds can be mended. Deaths cannot and that’s why Infinity War was such a great film. These heroes basically met the Grim Reaper in Thanos and it was quite a horrifying treat to observe.
Of course, it’s pretty obvious that by the end of Avengers 4 Thanos will undoubtedly be defeated and our heroes will be able to stand tall knowing they helped save the galaxy but Thanos’s contribution to this franchise will, for a while, be untouched in comparison because I don’t think there could be a Marvel villain more powerful than him for quite some time.
I can’t exactly say if Thanos is my favorite villain of all time yet but he is definitely knocking heavily on the door and all I can say is, “Thank you Marvel.” 🙂
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.