Did Avengers: Infinity War Make Thanos The MCU’s Biggest Hero?


Hey, remember Thanos? You know, that big purple guy that murdered half of all sentient life in the universe? Well, would it blow your mind to know that, from a certain perspective, what might be the biggest mass murderer ever seen on the silver screen could actually be…a hero? That’s what they’re arguing over on MovieWeb, in an article that puts forth the idea that Thanos’ actions in Avengers: Infinity War simply don’t fit a traditionally villainous archetype, instead defining him as a tragic hero.

The argument makes a lot of sense, too, first pointing out that the Mad Titan’s motivations are very different from every villain we’ve seen in the MCU to date. Most of them are either fighting to enrich themselves, out of revenge for a real or imagined crime or simply to dominate and conquer.

Conversely, Thanos is motivated by seeing his home planet of Titan fall into apocalyptic ruin due to over-population and the exhaustion of natural resources. This motivation for his actions, in combination with the sacrifices he makes in order to realize it (eg: the Soul Stone), together with the fact that he sees his mission as a burden he alone can shoulder, arguably make him a hero. Albeit, one whose mission inevitably puts him in conflict with other heroes.

One of Infinity War‘s biggest strengths was the amount of time it devoted to Thanos’ characterization. Of the many individuals in the movie, it’s he who has the strongest narrative through-line, with the film being described by the directors and critics as belonging to the Mad Titan. Marvel clearly did a good job, too, as there’s a growing internet community out there that claim #ThanosDidNothingWrong, perhaps casting an eye at the environmental damage humans are inflicting upon the Earth and thinking that having half as many people about might not be such a bad idea.

Anyways, there you have it. Thanos is technically a hero. More specifically, he’s a heroic embodiment of Malthusianism, which teaches that population must be controlled in order to avoid famine and war. Despite all that, I still can’t bring myself to see him as in any way a good guy. I mean, the dude killed Spider-Man! There are some lines you simply don’t cross.