Avengers: Infinity War Theory Says Thanos Left Captain America Alive On Purpose


The various heroes all put up a good fight against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, but one of the most impressive moments came when Captain America managed to hold his own against the Mad Titan in a brawl. During the Battle of Wakanda, Steve Rogers was able to halt Thanos’s fist with his bare hands, causing the villain to display a certain amount of shock and awe on his face at his opponent’s surprising strength.

As impressive as Cap’s strength was in this scene, though, Thanos could’ve easily dealt with him. He had five of the Infinity Stones at this point so he could’ve turned him into string if he wanted to. Or, he could’ve just used his other hand to get the better of Steve and finish him off with good, old-fashioned brute force. But, curiously, Thanos did neither of these things and left Cap to fight another day.

So, why did the villain leave Captain America alive? Well, Reddit user Office_Zombie has extrapolated not so much a fan theory from this, but more of a possible reading of the villain’s character and code of ethics. The Redditor puts his treatment of Cap together with his encounters with other heroes to suggest that Thanos doesn’t actually wish to kill his enemies out right as he respects them and is willing to let the snap decide whether they live or die.

Here’s what the Reddit user had to say:

So Thanos doesn’t consider himself a bad guy. In his mind he is the hero of this story and everyone else is misguided. I say misguided because even though he sees himself as the good guy; it doesn’t mean he actually thinks everyone trying to stop him is a bad guy.

And because he is the good guy in his mind he doesn’t kill for any sort of pleasure, mostly only out of a misguided sense of duty. I think the only reason he killed Loki and Heimdall himself is because he saw they could seriously screw with his plans if allowed to live. Otherwise, much like Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, he leaves death up to a certain amount of chance instead of being his choice.

Finally, before I get to Captain America, I would like to point out that he sees admirable traits in others which he truly respects. He said he liked Starlord. He knew of and respected Tony. Which brings us to Cap.

Continuing on, they write:

When he was fighting in Wakanda, he himself only “killed” Vision. Everyone else he merely disabled.

How was Captain America able to catch his hand and hold it? Because Thanos was trying not to hurt him. He only looked at Captain for a minute like that because he found something interesting in Captain America; and maybe he was a bit surprised by how strong or determined Steve was. Rather like how an adult person can get surprised while playing with a kitten.

Why did he need to use his other hand to knock Captain out? He didn’t. He just didn’t want to hurt Steve more than necessary, and he didn’t want Steve to hurt himself trying to fight him. (Because we all know Steve would have fought until he was dead.)

If Steve died in the Snap, so be it. But he wasn’t going to chose to end Steve’s life because that wasn’t his purview.

Obviously, the actual reason Thanos doesn’t kill Cap, Iron Man or Thor is because they’re Marvel’s Big Three and we need at least some heroes alive to work against him in Avengers: Endgame, otherwise the studio wouldn’t have a franchise anymore. But the layered characterization of Thanos in IW does support this interpretation of his morality to some extent. The analogy that he’s playing with Cap like a person would with a kitten is an interesting way of looking at it, too. Thanos doesn’t kill him because he just doesn’t see him as a major threat.

In any case, the Mad Titan’s confidence may have been well-founded in Avengers: Infinity War, but he’s going to find that the fight isn’t over when Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26th.

Source: Reddit