After Avengers Endgame came out back in 2019 one of the most common problems, I’ve heard about it is that the characterisation of the main villain, Thanos, just seems off. This is comparing the character from Endgame to the previous Avengers instalment, Infinity War.
Thanos goes from acting understanding and within a certain degree compassionate in Infinity War to telling the heroes he’ll “tear the universe down to it’s last atom” in Endgame, funnily enough, something we will most likely see in the upcoming Avengers: Secret Wars movie if they follow the 2015 storyline.
So, why is Thanos so different, truth is he isn’t. The main difference between Thanos in Infinity War & Endgame is quite simple, he’s angry.
When we first saw Thanos in Infinity War we see him obtain a second infinity stone, the Space Stone, from Thor & Loki. This is after he “decimated” Xandar off-screen. This is a Thanos that has finally started enacting his plan to balance the universe, and with him obtaining a second infinity stone this is a Thanos that believes he’s already won, he believes his actions are inevitable.
This is the mindset that drives him throughout the film, he knew there would be some to oppose him but already believed it was too late to make any difference because in his mind there was nothing that could stop him from bringing the universe to balance. He shows this by continually letting his opponents live, for example letting the Guardians Of The Galaxy survive after they attempt to stop him from acquiring the reality stone. He personally only really kills if he feels he has to for example Gamora & Vision.
Within a certain degree, Infinity War is Thanos’ movie, he’s essentially the protagonist. He believes that he is saving the universe and that anyone who opposes him simply fails to see the big picture. In the movie he uses Gamora’s home world as evidence of that, saying that her world is now a “paradise” after killing half the population years earlier. It’s said this is what he has been doing all this time, going from world to world killing half the population. Infinity War is Thanos doing the exact same thing but on a much larger scale.
But then we move to Endgame.
When present-day Nebula is captured during the time-heist Thanos from 2014 watches through her memories to uncover that not only did he enact his plan, but he won, and now he sees that there are some that are trying to undo his victory, to but wrong what he believes he set right. This is an insult to the mad titan. As he states later on the heroes “couldn’t live with their failure”.
This is a Thanos that seemingly believes he now has to enact his plan a second time in order to stop the Avengers from undoing his victory, to stop them from undoing what he believes is his destiny, to stop them from attempting to undo something that was already “inevitable” as he likes to put it.
This is why Thanos seems so different, less compassionate, more brutal. Therefore, he intends to destroy earth, because this is the planet that spawned this insult. This is why he intends to completely remake the universe this time round, because if he doesn’t, he believes there will always be some that stand against him, unless no one remembers what once was.
Thanos believes this right up until Iron Man snaps his fingers and he sees his army begin to turn to dust. In his failure he sits down and accepts his fate, accepts that he was wrong before he too turns to dust.
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