The year of 2019 was a big year for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, considering that we’ve lost some of our favorite heroes. While us fans want to remember the heroes, we should also never forget the villain that gave them the biggest fight of their lives, and that’s the Mad Titan himself, Thanos. About a year before the release of Infinity War, Joe and Anthony Russo spent a lot of time hyping up the villain, even making the bold claim that he would be like Darth Vader times ten. In an interview with Comicbook.com, Joe Russo stated that he was aiming to make Thanos “the Darth Vader of a new generation.” This was an incredibly bold claim, to say the least, and I admittedly chuckled a bit when I heard it, but within the first twenty minutes of Infinity War, there were no laughs coming out of me. As the movie progressed, I realized that Thanos was no push-over and the Avengers were in for the toughest fight of their lives. When the movie ended, I needed a few minutes to comprehend what the heck happened. Going into Endgame, I expected more from Thanos, and the Mad Titan exceeded my expectations yet again. To put it short, the Russo Brothers lived up to their claim and they did it perfectly. The iconic Darth Vader is one tough baddie to compete with, but their take on Thanos without a doubt puts him in the same league, if not higher. Here are five reasons why Thanos really is the Darth Vader of this generation.
5. He Defeated The Hulk Without Using The Stones
The Hulk is the strongest there is, right? Well, that was true for while, at least until Thanos came along. Within the first ten minutes of Infinity War, Thanos demonstrated right off the bat that he was not a villain to be taken lightly. When The Hulk got the drop on him and seemingly dominated the fight, Thanos bounced back in the most jaw-dropping manner. The Hulk’s immense strength did nothing to help him when Thanos used his own great strength and incredible hand-to-hand combat skills to swiftly defeat The Hulk, leaving the powerful hero completely knocked out. Although this wasn’t his official introduction into the MCU, his entry in Infinity War couldn’t have been more perfect. On top of that, he managed to beat the snot out of Thor, the big and powerful thunder god, and walk away without a scratch. How many villains in the MCU can say they easily defeated the two most powerful Avengers? Just one.
4. He Took On The Avengers Single-Handed
One of the most disappointing things about the MCU is their lack of a strong villain that can actually put up a fight against The Avengers. Sure, there was Loki, but he was a bit of a push-over and got thrown around like a rag doll by The Hulk. Then there was Ultron, a villain that had an unexpected witty swagger to him, but surprisingly lacked as a physical threat to The Avengers, preferring to let his lackey robots do most of the fighting for him. As the MCU moved forward, we always saw Thanos sitting in his chair, ordering his minions around, making it rather underwhelming when he finally decided to get up from his chair and put on the gauntlet in the mid-credits scene from Age of Ultron. Then Infinity War came along and Thanos put his fellow MCU villains to shame. On his former home planet of Titan, he took on some of The Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man in a new iron suit, defeated Doctor Strange one-on-one, and nearly killed Iron Man. He subsequently made his way to Earth and used five of the infinity stones to easily defeat most of The Avengers . We’re so used to seeing The Avengers beating the bad guys with ease, but Thanos proved that he was the strongest villain they ever faced.
3. He Had Understandable Motivations
Fans of the Infinity Gauntlet comic will know that Thanos’ sole motivation behind his heinous actions was to prove his twisted love for Mistress Death. This story arc was left out of the movie and gave Thanos a much more understandable reason for wanting to obtain the stones. Instead of basically trying to win over a woman, Thanos aspired to cleanse the universe. In his mind, that meant destroying half of all living things in order to bring balance to the universe. After seeing his home planet of Titan destroy itself due to overpopulation, Thanos vowed to never let any planet suffer the same fate. He then spent years invading planets, murdering half the population and leaving the rest to thrive. We see an example of this when he invades Gamora’s home planet when she was just a child, adopting her as his own daughter and slaughtering half her people. When the adult Gamora upbraids him for this, he responds that the planet became a paradise because of their “sacrifice.” Thanos is mad enough to believe that genocide is the best answer to correcting the universe, but although his beliefs are a pretty twisted, his desire to bring balance to the universe made him a more complex villain than his comic counterpart.
2. He Had a Soft Spot For Gamora
How many MCU villains had a loved one that they truly cared about? Killmonger had his dad, but that relationship pales in comparison to the father-daughter relationship between Thanos in Gamora. Thanos took Gamora away from her family and turned her into the deadliest assassin in the galaxy, and while he considered her as his favorite daughter, she secretly despised him. Thanos constantly attempts to mold Gamora into a ruthless killer like him, but she refuses to be more like him. Thanos’ love for Gamora seemed more manipulative than anything, but when he was required to make a sacrifice to obtain the soul stone, his tears said it all. Thanos claimed he was willing to sacrifice anything to achieve his goals, but he was unprepared for killing the only thing he may have ever truly loved. Sure, sacrificing his adopted daughter doesn’t sound like true love, but if his love for her truly wasn’t sincere, then he never would’ve obtained the soul stone. He’s a villain, but a villain with a heart. Now that’s rare.
1. He Actually Won
Out of all the villains in the MCU, Thanos actually won. Yes, he seriously did exactly what he wanted to do. Once he snapped his fingers, half of life in the universe turned to ashes. The last shot of Infinity War was him even sitting on his little farm and smiling as he gazed at the sun. Even when he was killed in Endgame, he made sure the stones were destroyed so they would never be used again. The Avengers had to live with their failure for five years as a result of the snap, only for the Thanos of the past to return. That Thanos was more brazen and even more determined to destroy The Avengers, but he was eventually defeated. His defeat came at a heavy price, with Iron Man sacrificing himself to destroy him and his entire army. Thanos turned into ashes, accepting his defeat. Thanos’ plan ultimately failed in the end, but unlike the villains before him, The Avengers never really recovered from his actions. Just the fact that he managed to kill half the universe is the ultimate victory for him and a beyond crushing defeat for The Avengers.
After all the doubts and fears, Thanos proved to be more than a one-dimensional villain, securing his place as a one of the few movie villains that rivals Darth Vader’s iconicity. Many of the most beloved MCU heroes are gone because of him and he will stand as the MCU’s most preeminent villain because of it. The Russo Brothers were true to their word and the MCU will never be the same because of it. Hats off to you, Russo Brothers.
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