We love you Thanos, but your master plan sucks

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.

One of the best things about the sprawling, flawed epic that is Avengers: Infinity War is its villain Thanos.

Josh Brolin dodged the curse of the CGI villain and brought sympathy, gravitas and – ironically – humanity to the purple alien warlord.

Ultimately though, we just can’t take Thanos seriously – because his motivation is just too stupid.

From the movie’s trailer, we learned that Thanos has been attempting to acquire the six Infinity Stones in order to wipe out half the population of the universe. The reason for this is that on his home planet Titan he long ago suggested that the solution to their overpopulation problems and lack of resources was to randomly kill every other person in his civilisation.

Understandably, the people of Titan weren’t entirely down with this plan. They ignored him, and later on the impending doom came and the planet was left a wasteland. From that day on, Thanos knew that the only thing to do was to kill half of every populated planet in existence.

What the hell, Thanos?

Firstly, that’s a pretty drastic one-size-fits-all policy. What about the planets that don’t have overpopulation problems? Or the ones that solved their issues with solutions that didn’t involve wholesale slaughter? The idea that these people (or anyone) would thank him for using the stones to kill half of them is utter bull.

And even on planets with overpopulation problems, it would at best be a temporary solution. If half of humanity were destroyed, for instance, that would only reduce our numbers to those of an earlier era. Give it a few centuries and we could easily be right back where we started with a population the same size as before. Following his victory, Thanos was shown having hung up his glove, chilling out after a job well done. We might be jumping to conclusions, but we don’t think he has any follow-up plans.

Given the ultimate power of the Infinity Gauntlet, are we supposed to believe that this tragic but ruthless genius couldn’t come up with a better, long-term solution? How about granting improved resources or more habitable planets to the people of the universe? Maybe educating them in how to build sustainable civilisations?

The post-credits scene shows a world in chaos, because when people randomly disappear, disaster strikes. Who could have seen that one coming? And out of the dead, who among them might have had a proper solution to their world’s problems? We’ll never know, because Thanos was too much of a dumbass to devise a plan with even an ounce of nuance.

The problem with Infinity War is that it wants to portray Thanos as a tragic figure that you can – in some ways – get behind. He’s supposed to be doing what he thinks is right. Brolin’s performance services that ideal beautifully, but his actions are so idiotic and short-sighted that they make a complete fool of him.

In the comics, Thanos committed the same act of mass murder in order to impress the personification of Death in the Marvel Universe, who he has a crush on. It’s utterly daft but internally consistent – he’s the Mad Titan, and how else would you go about wooing death?

The MCU’s Titan is supposed to be tragically sane, but we’re afraid he’s really not very bright.

Avengers: Infinity War is out now. Book tickets here.

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