Is Thanos the Greatest MCU Villain?



Avenger’s Infinity War proved to be the box office monster it was hyped for and has continued to dominate. In its opening weekend it grossed $641 million worldwide and $258 million in the United States and Canada, setting the records for the highest-grossing openings for both. The story brings in all of the major players that have been introduced in the last decade of the established Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not really a surprise that it’s doing so well, it’s got a stellar cast of talented actors, seemingly endless action and special effects and an emotional punch to the gut that you haven’t experienced in any other MCU film. I argue another factor in it’s success, its villain.


Infinity War finally gives us the Mad Titan we’ve been teased for several films, Thanos. Thanos is played by Josh Brolin, soon to be a repeat Marvel Film Alum in Deadpool 2. In my opinion, Thanos is probably the best MCU villain we’ve seen so far.  Marvel has been dishing out increasingly enjoyable villains, previous one being Killmonger in Black Panther. Brolin has the acting chops to pull off a deep character and pay the respects Thanos deserves. Although his primary contribution is his voice, it comes with a gravitas and grit that makes the character seem very real and a tangible threat.

Thanos is probably the greatest character because of how the audience is able to form a bond with the character and somewhat understand his motivations. The MCU Thanos differs slightly than in the comics of course. Unlike other movie villains, Thanos is emotionally driven by doing what he feels is the right thing and the best for the universe. He has no allusions that what he’s doing is good, but the ends justify the means. He feels to save billions, billions must be removed from the equation, half of the universal population to be exact. In the past he would have savagely slaughtered those that he wished to balance the universe with, but he seemingly discovered a new method that he felt was more merciful. He sought out the Infinity Stones so that he would have the power to make half of the universe’s population cease to exist. Furthermore, nothing builds emotional attachment for the audience like tragedy, and this incarnation of the character is filled with it. Although we don’t get much of Thanos’ back story, he didn’t have a pleasant life early on. Thanos was born with the “deviant” gene, making him a mutant on his native moon Titan. It gave him his trade mark purple appearance and was also the cause of him to be shunned. Thanos tried to tell the leaders of Titan that the moon was becoming over populated and would ultimately lead to it’s demise. They rejected his theory and he was and now he has to live with the fact he was right. He vowed to never let it happen again and thus started his journey of twisted mercy.  In Infinity War, in order to obtain his second last Infinity Stone, he must do something that will shock the audience, not because of the action itself, but because of the emotional attachment we didn’t expect to see. In order to obtain the Soul Stone, the Red Skull tells Thanos “What you seek lies in front of you.  As does what you fear. The price. Soul holds a special place among the Infinity Stones. You might say, it is a certain wisdom. To ensure that whoever possesses it, understands its power. The stone demands a sacrifice. In order to take the stone, you must lose that which you love. A soul for a soul.” Luckily Thanos came with Gamora, his favoured daughter that unexpectedly has an emotional moment with knowing that she’s the only thing he really loves and that he must die to further his mission. He tells her that it hurts him to do so, but he had missed his opportunity to collect the stones before and he was not going to fail his mission again. He throws Gamora from the cliff on which they stood and received his stone. Gamora’s death seems to have a lasting effect on Thanos in the film and comes with a potentially haunting burden. Another interesting aspect to his mission, he has no intention to rule, doesn’t want any glory, once accomplished he wants to essentially retire and live out his life in the balanced and peaceful universe he created. Ultimately, Thanos achieves his goal. Once all of the stones are neatly attached to the gauntlet, and after a pretty intense scrap with the Avengers, Thor misses his chance of ending things with a headshot and Thanos snaps his fingers and wills away half of the universe along with a large chunk of the MCU hero roster. Infinity War could arguably be Thanos’ hero arc and he’s the protagonist of his own story.

Now it seems unlikely Marvel went and broke all of their toys, especially after just starting the Black Panther and Dr Strange story arcs. Everyone expects everything to be undone and heroes returned to the land of the living, but Kevin Feige at Marvel has said that “deaths” will be permanent, and really the only actual deaths were Loki, Heimdall and Gamora. The rest were mystically removed from existence. As we know, the next film is slated for release in May 2019 and this was meant to be a 2 part story from the hop. So until then we have just our fan theories to keep us awake at night until we see the conclusion. Will the ghost of Gamora haunt Thanos until he rights his wrongs? Is there more to what happened than what we saw? Is Captain Marvel strong enough to undo everying? If Dr Strange saw 14 million possible outcomes with only 1 Avenger’s win, and he swore he would protect the gauntlet over Tony’s life, why did he give it up so freely? Does his comment of them being in the endgame mean their still in it? Is the team moving on from the play offs and going to the cup? Feel free to share your thoughts with us! Hit us up on social media, leave a comment here or drop us an email…your options are infinite…see what I did there? Yes, I’m ashamed of myself.

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