Beware Avengers: Infinity War Spoilers Ahead
It’s been a week since the release of Avengers: Infinity War and Thanos is already being regarded as the best villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Some are even putting him in the top three villains in fantasy right beside Darth Vader and the Joker. And to be honest it is quite hard to disagree with any of their arguments. We all know the best villains are those who believe that they are the real heroes with an exception of the Joker. And Thanos is the best example. He believes that the universe is becoming over populated and the only way it can be saved is by bring it back to balance, and the way he chooses to do that is by making half the population of the universe cease to exist. And I know that this solution seems a bit much, however, if we really think about it, very minutely, the plan does have some merit to it.
Now before I talk further I think it is important for me to address the fact that I in no shape or form believe in genocide, or mass murder, but I do think Thanos had some very real concerns. We live in a world where we already have a major city (Cape Town) in it that now has not water available for consumption. There are more which are moving towards it. The resources are depleting rapidly and the population is out of control, especially in a country like India. We do need a measure that will help control the population; Thanos just choose a more extreme measure, which by the way I completely understand why. In the Infinity War there is a moment at Titan when he is talking to Doctor Strange right before his awesome battle with Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy, he tells the wizard that Titan once used to be a beautiful place yet due to overpopulation and the lack of sufficient resources it people faces extinction. He was the only survivor that we know of, and for a person who lost his people just because no one was willing to make the hard choices, he decided that he will not let anyone from any other planet face such event.
To him he is bringing balance to the universe, to him he is saving lives, to him he is making lives better. This is shown when he is talking to Gamora in his throne room, he tells her that before his arrival, the people from her home planet were starving and scraping from scraps, but ever since he murdered half the population, the children had just seen full bellies and clear skies, that it was a paradise, and that is what he believes.
So does that make him any less of a villain? No, it doesn’t because he is an evil dude from the very beginning, even before his planet faced extinction. He is a sadist who likes to see people in pain. In the trailers for the Avengers: Infinity War, he has a line “Fun isn’t something that one considers when trying to bring balance to the universe, but this does bring a smile to my face”, and even though the line is not in the movie, it does show how he really enjoys inflicting pain to people, not just physical but also psychological. We can see that in the movie at multiple moments: him waiting for Star Lord to shoot Gamora even though he turned the bullets or the blasts into bubbles, him letting Scarlet Witch kill Vision before he brings him back to life to kill him again, him killing Loki slowly by choking him before snapping his neck right in front of his brother, and these are just some of the moments that show his ruthlessness and villainy.
To me, Thanos is one of the best characters that MCU has presented to us, right behind Iron Man, Black Widow, Thor, and Captain America. I understand his motivations; I can even empathize with him and what he went through. But the solution that he has to offer is of murder on not just a global level but on a cosmic level. But the fact that this was a character that has made us, the audience, think about his motivations for so long and even seem genuine for a moment is an accomplishment for the writers of the movie Steven McFeely and Christopher Markus and the Directors Antony and Jay Russo.