Sympathy for the Villain: How Thanos Makes Avengers: Infinity War a Must-See

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Too often in comic book stories, the villain is motivated by greed or power. They not only are evil, but they know they are evil, and you will submit to them or fork over all your cash, depending on the depth of their megalomania.

The best villains, however, see themselves as the heroes of their own story, and act accordingly. Thus it is with Thanos, in a lifetime achievement role for actor JOSH BROLIN. All Thanos wants to do is eliminate poverty, make sure there are plenty of resources for people to live on, and see the universe at peace. And to do this, the only thing he needs to do is simply cut the existing population in half.

That's a lot of life to have to snuff out. But he can do it, if he acquires all six of the so-called Infinity Stones, gems of amazing power created at the moment of the Big Bang. We've seen these stones in different Marvel Cinematic Universe pictures, although they haven't always been called by those names. Thanos's quest to acquire these stones takes him the length and breadth of the Marvel Universe, and it is a credit to directors Anthony and Joe Russo that at no time in this tour-de-force does the viewer ever get lost.

Everyone who's ever appeared in the MCU is in this film, including some villains you thought you had seen the last of a long time ago. The plot threads of THOR: RAGNAROK, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY V2, BLACK PANTHER, and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR all come together, making clear how these different movies were all parallel chapters that were inexorably leading up to this point.

THANOS. Josh Brolin as the villain in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR 2.

For it's length, INFINITY WAR is incredibly fast paced, almost impossibly mixing action, drama, and comedy into a tapestry of pure superhero movie genius. The interactions between characters like Spider-man (TOM HOLLAND), Iron Man (TONY STARK), Doctor Strange (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) and Star-Lord (CHRIS PRATT) are fantastic. The reticence of Hulk (MARK RUFFALO) underscores just how deadly a foe Thanos is, and the arrival of Thor on the scene of one of the battles had the audience in our press screening clapping and cheering.

There's so much to talk about with INFINITY WAR -- seemingly infinity, appropriately enough. But the only way to really appreciate the scope, depth, and -- ultimately -- jaw-droppingly tragic film is to experience it for yourself. We look forward to a spirited conversation in the threads below!

5.0 / 5.0