Avengers: Infinity War, the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has a lot to live up to. It is what every MCU film released previously has been leading up to, and includes most of the characters that have appeared before. Since 2008, Marvel has painstakingly built up its film universe, carefully interlinking films, events, characters, and all the time dropping hints as to what is to come. For instance, Marvel has been teasing the arrival of Thanos from The Avengers itself. It is only now, six years later, that he is appearing as the full-fledged big bad of Marvel’s biggest movie yet.
But who is Thanos, this purple strongman? What does he want? Why are Thanos and Avengers at loggerheads? Why is he coming to earth?
Thanos was a ripoff of DC’s Darkseid, a Jack Kirby creation. And naturally, both are pretty similar to each other, except in one thing. Darkseid does not want to possess any object. He just wants to hunt for the anti-life equation so that he can turn the whole universe into a hellscape of brimstone and fire pits as big as continents.
Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, on the other hand, is pretty crazy about Infinity Stones – objects of unimaginable value in the Marvel universe. The owner of these stones can safely call himself the ruler of the universe. So this is whom the Avengers are up against.
Thanos is the Dark Lord of MCU. He is not just Sauron, he is Morgoth, if you excuse my LOTR reference. He is the son of Eternals, a race that was created by the Celestials – one of the oldest beings in the universe. He is a man who is a nihilist, obsessed with Death, not just as a concept or an event, but an actual entity that may appear in the upcoming film.
In MCU, Thanos wants to destroy half the cosmos. He calls it ‘balancing the universe’. He is coming to earth to possess all the six Infinity Stones: Space, Power, Reality, Time, Soul, and Mind Stone. Among these, only Soul Stone has not appeared yet. We know that Thanos will land on the earth with Power Stone already adorning his gauntlet. He will also have the Space Stone, which trailer indicates would be handed over to him by Loki (surely under a bit of, um, duress).
If he does get all the MacGuffins, Thanos would be unstoppable. Really. No power in the universe (not just earth) can defeat him. The reason for this is Infinity Stones are concentrated extracts of the whole universe. They contain all the power of… well, everything. It is like owning the One Ring, only multiplied by six.
So this is Thanos. This Mad Titan’s character is also expected to be fleshed out in Infinity War. We saw a glimpse of his past. Let us hope he is not just a generic bad guy, and has a solid motivation to do what he is doing (and not just balancing or courting Death or whatever).
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Avengers: Infinity War releases on April 27.