Avengers: Infinity War - The New Standard for Superhero Movies
As I was preparing to go see Avengers Infinity War one question kept popping in my head?, Was Thanos going to be worth it? After, 10 years and 18 movies, was the The Mad Titan’s big movie debut going to be worth the decade long wait and was Josh Brolin going to deliver an award winning performance worthy of Thanos’ reputation in the Marvel Universe (movies, animated series and comic books)? In the simplest of answers HELL F—KIN YES. From the moment this guy stepped out of the shadows holding Thor’s head ready to crush it, every appearance he made was awe inspiring.
Immediately, minutes after the conclusion of Thor: Ragnarok and the first five minutes of Avengers: Infinity War, we are introduced to the man himself, The Dark Lord; Marvel’s answer to DC’s Darkseid; the Mad Titan THANOS, which was played beautifully by Josh Brolin. Now before I go into Brolin’s performance in Infinity War it’s important to establish where Thanos stood prior to Infinity War. Thanos had already appeared in several Marvel movies including The Avengers (2012), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). Even then, he established himself as the most powerful being in the universe and in those movies, Thanos already had Gamora as her adoptive daughter, killed Drax’s family and mentally scarred his other adoptive daughter Nebula, by replacing most of her body with machinery to the point where she is barely sentient. Thanos also formed partnerships with both Loki and Ronan in order to further his own goals and was a driving force for the storyline in The Avengers.
Thanos is powerful both physically and mentally even before the events of Infinity War. In Guardians of the Galaxy he is already established by several characters as someone who strikes fear and ill content to any and all he comes across. His reputation is so vast that other notable villains like Loki and Ronan came to him in forming a partnership with him with the hopes of furthering their own personal goals (conquering Earth and destroying Xandar). Thanos quickly demonstrates his physicality by dominating the Incredible Hulk to the point where he becomes too afraid to show up for the rest of the film. His beating was so bad that during the battle in Wakanda, Bruce Banner is pleading with the Hulk to join in the fight only for the Hulk to let out a screaming NO! Not only did Thanos, single handedly, fight and beat 20+ heroes in the movie both on Titan and Wakanda, he also came out unscathed. His vast intelligence rivals other super geniuses such as Tony Stark (Iron Man) as he is always several moves ahead of his foes by waiting carefully and patiently binding his time to strike. In addition to his mental superiority he also broke Star Load mentally to the point where he let his anger get the better of him and ruin the ‘only one' plan out of a ‘few million’ that would’ve stopped Thanos' as stated by Dr. Strange. Also, to add insult to injury, Dr. Strange was forced to give up the Time Stone just to save Tony Stark’s life.
To describe Thanos’ dialogue is to relate that of Shakespeare:
“In time, you will know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail all the same. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives”.
Thanos is the kind of antagonist that despite his plan to kill half the universe’s population you can’t help but still like him to some degree because his reasoning for his actions actually makes sense. Aside from him being a serious individual he’s also not above deception and trickery. For example, he made both Gamora and Thor believe they actually killed him only for him to reappear in front of them in perfect health and watch as their faces lose hope completely. “You should… you… you should have gone for the head!!” was a great response to how Thor blundered the final strike and lose hope before Thanos snapped his fingers and wiped out half the universe. Despite murdering countless individuals and using others to do his bidding (as shown with Loki and Ronan) Thanos is still a loving and sad individual.
Thanos believes by gathering all the Infinity Stones he is bringing balance to the universe and preventing overpopulation within it. Thanos' justification comes from his own personal experience (His homeworld, Titan, and its people were wiped out entirely due to resources dwindling from his planet’s large population, and he doesn’t want it to happen again to other worlds and organisms. Despite this simple objective, it is one of apocalyptic results for our heroes and each action Thanos did in the movie brought him closer to that objective.
Despite the large cast in Infinity War, Thanos really is the main protagonist in this film and he undoubtedly proves this by taking center stage as he literally destroys Xandar, the Nova Core (by killing millions in the process) to get the Power Stone, the floating ship of Asgard (when retrieving the Tesseract which contains the Space Stone, he murdered a number of Asgardians, Heimdall and Loki); even Earth and Wakanda (with his crew the Dark Path/Hand holding that down). He would’ve and could’ve killed Thor too, but I guess Thanos was feeling merciful since he got the Space Stone after Loki agreed to give it to him in exchange for Thor’s life. Although he didn’t kill Thor directly, he still used the Power Stone to blow up the ship when Thor and his people were on it. His savagery is unlike any character in the MCU as he killed the Collector and destroyed his planet to get the Reality Stone, tortured his daughter Nebula to get her to tell him the location of the Soul Stone, killed Gamora to get the Soul Stone (although he did truly love her and did show genuine tears for her), used the Time Stone to reverse time and undo Vision’s death just to kill him him again to get the Mind Stone and finally used the Infinity Stones to commit universal genocide.
Thanos is unlike any other Marvel Cinematic Universe villain we’ve ever seen. This is the first time we’ve actually seen the villain win and with this victory, Thanos didn’t become a minimal part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he became the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All that is left to say is that I feel sorry for the next big Marvel Studios movie that will try to surpass Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos is going to be a tough act to follow.
As I conclude this article, I couldn’t end it without giving credit where credit is due and give huge props to Marvel Studios for being able to keep myself and fans interested and invested in this entire movie enterprise. It's not easy to keep people’s interest on anything and if any one Marvel movie before Infinity War failed at the box office, this movie may not have been as successful or even make it to the theaters, but it did and I’m grateful for it. Starring almost every major superhero with the expectation of a few and one extremely powerful antagonist, Avengers: Infinity War is the new movie standard to which all superhero movies will be measured in the foreseeable future.