Infinity War’s Josh Brolin On Making Audiences Feel Sympathetic Towards Thanos

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With his hefty Infinity Gauntlet and plans for a universe-wide genocide, Thanos is a Marvel villain like no other.

He’s so intent on wiping out half the population that he’s willing to sacrifice his estranged daughter, the only person he’s ever truly loved, in order to acquire the Soul Stone, the sixth and final piece of a WMD so powerful, it leaves Earth’s Mightiest Heroes quaking in their boots.

It’s a credit to Josh Brolin and the Avengers: Infinity War writing team, then, that audiences still felt some sympathy toward Marvel’s Mad Titan, even as he left a trail of destruction and utter degradation in his wake.

That’s something Brolin himself addressed during a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (h/t ComicBook.com), where he noted the following:

That was what was fun about that movie. People saw the movie and they felt sympathetic toward him or not just sympathetic but they had a multitude of reactions and not just ‘He’s the worst guy in the universe’ kind of thing.

Colbert then asked the question on everyone’s minds: if Thanos had the power to eviscerate half the universe, why didn’t he just double the number of resources and watch as life prospered? Squashing that plot hole once and for all, Brolin stated that it doesn’t exactly align with his M.O.

He could but he didn’t think of it at the moment because he’s too callous. The manifestation is callous. If you look at Trump, yes, there’s border problems. Every border has problems. People coming over, overpopulation, limited resources and all that but how it’s manifested, especially when you bring children into it, is extremely callous.

Other tidbits revealed by Brolin include the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch’s CG turn in The Hobbit trilogy convinced him to pursue the role of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. And thank the heavens he did, as the Mad Titan is arguably the most compelling antagonist of all MCU villains…so far.

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