After being teased in The Avengers, sitting around in Guardians of the Galaxy, and finally deciding to "do it" himself at the end Age of Ultron, Thanos is going to change the course of the MCU for good. (Or for worse, as far as our heroes are concerned.)
Avengers: Infinity War marks the end of the three phases and will establish a new chapter in the MCU. That new chapter should introduce a new kind of storytelling. After nearly a decade of showcasing heroes, there's got to be a movie that showcases the dark side of the MCU by really giving us a villain's perspective. If Star Wars can do it, then Marvel can do it!
Thanos Is Marvel's Solution To Its Villain Problem
Infinity War likely represents a bleaker chapter of the usually fun MCU—fans are constantly debating which heroes will die—and it needs to stick that landing. That’s why the film should focus more (or at least equally) on Thanos.
If he is the solution to the villain problem, Thanos should be as important as the heroes.
In the short-lived comic book #ThanosRising, the story reveals the origin of Thanos and his troubling life as a kid. When Thanos was born, his own mother tried to kill him at first sight. A young Thanos struggled to fit in at school, but established himself as the smartest pupil. He was passive and quiet, like most shy kids. He made friends despite his ugly nature, and Death was already watching him.
After experiencing a terrible accident that killed his friends, Thanos was devastated. He reflects on this terrible experience as an adult — how he was labeled the scapegoat on Titan, being blamed for the death of his friends.
Marvel needs a tragic origin story that surrounds itself with death, and a character who succumbs to it. Not only would the focus on Thanos be a positive thing, but it can also strengthen the relationships between the heroes themselves. Tragedy has proven to unite unlikely heroes—like the Winter Soldier and Black Panther.
Showing this side in the MCU would prove to that Marvel isn’t afraid to have a terrifying villain share the spotlight with the heroes. Telling the origin of Thanos can have us relate to him. No villain has ever shown this in a Marvel movie, and it’s time to do it.
Can Thanos Be Sympathetic And Irredeemable?
From political thrillers to crime capers, Marvel likes to have light moments paint over its darker substance. It's not necessarily a bad thing, because adding comedy to pivotal moments is a great balance. The villains themselves, like Justin Hammer and the fake Mandarin, have been comically beneficial to our heroes.
On the other hand, Thanos is no joke. In Thanos Rising, death gave birth to Thanos’ true nature. The comic book also revealed his thirst for killing, which set him off on a bloody spree within the cosmos. Thanos believes killing is a scientific experiment, just like dissecting an animal in science class. For Thanos, the meaning of taking a life is to obtain knowledge.
Thanos needs to stop the trend of useless villains when he arrives. Instead of serving the heroes with plot devices and comedic moments, Thanos needs to kill lots and lots of people we care about. With such a large roster of characters confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War, that might not be a challenge.
After finding closure with his mother in Thanos Rising, the Mad Titan traveled the galaxy in search of meaning. He fell in love numerous times, but was unable to find true happiness. He soon realized that the only person he loves is Death, who was in the form of a longtime friend from school. After being convinced he can be Death's lover, Thanos transforms into the irreversible villain, killing his wife and child to impress her.
For this reason, unlike other villains who've died and been forgotten, Thanos’s inevitable death can be as memorable and impactful as David Tenant's Kilgrave. What Kilgrave did to Jessica Jones was irredeemable, and his death was justified. From his innocent origin to his irredeemable evil, Kilgrave's storyline (and the Thanos Rising comic) is a great example for how Thanos should be used in the upcoming movies.
After nine years, can the MCU continue its trend of safe bets and weak villains? Teased time and time again with the arrival of Thanos, he'll need to be one hell of a character.
Avengers: Infinity War premieres May 4, 2018.