Avengers: Infinity War made approximately 1,000 million zillion kajillion dollars this weekend, shattering the record previously set in 2015 by Star Wars: The Wallet Opens. All the other theaters in your local multiplex are now covered in dust and cobwebs. Marvel owns Hollywood and, by extension, America. Stan Lee has won. Nuff said!
The villain of the piece, who’s been teased throughout the Marvel movies ever since the first Avengers flick in 2012, is a Big Purple Space Hitler named Thanos. But what I don’t get is… why does Hollywood consider Thanos a bad guy?
WARNING: HUGE, GIGANTIC SPOILERS AHEAD
SERIOUSLY, I’M ABOUT TO RUIN ANY SURPRISES IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET
OKAY, HAVE IT YOUR WAY, I WARNED YOU
Infinity War is a sequel to the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, but it’s also a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. Thanos is basically Al Gore with a better workout routine.
Thanos, who looks like a cross between Grimace and the Hulk, has one simple goal: Wiping out 50 percent of all life in the universe. He intends to do this by collecting six pieces of Magical Space Jewelry that will give him control over time and space itself so that he can wipe out half of all living things in existence with a snap of his fingers. And at the end of the movie, he does exactly that. After two and a half hours of fair-to-middling quips and CGI combat scenes, Thanos achieves his goal. The Avengers and their allies lose, and a whole bunch of highly lucrative comic book characters crumble into ash before our eyes. (Thanos even takes out Samuel L. Jackson!)
And why does Thanos do this? His explanation will sound familiar to anyone who has ever debated climate change or abortion with a liberal: A planet’s resources are finite, but life’s urge to propagate itself is not. If life is left unchecked, eventually there will be too many mouths to feed. Something must be done before it’s too late. Etc.
That’s why Thanos goes from one planet to the next, wiping out half the inhabitants before moving on. That’s why he saves himself a lot of travel time and finally seizes the power to achieve his ultimate goal in an instant. (Genocide by telecommute.) He doesn’t think he’s a villain. He calls it mercy. He sees himself as our savior. By downsizing the entire universe, he’s saving the remaining 50 percent of us.
This is reflected in the final pre-credits shot of the movie: Thanos sitting on his front step and looking out at an idyllic, pastoral dawn, gently smiling to himself at a job well done.
Now, much of the cast of the movie is made up of outspoken liberals. Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, et al. They believe that the biggest problem facing humanity is… humanity. They think there are too many of us already. They think Planned Parenthood is good.
Then… why is Thanos bad?
If you believe that mankind is a “virus with shoes,” in the words of the late Bill Hicks, then why do you even want a sequel to this movie? Why aren’t you celebrating Thanos and his big win? Why isn’t this a happy ending?
It’s a moot point, I suppose. The problem with a movie like this is that there are no real stakes. When an antagonist can do literally anything — whether it’s turning bullets into soap bubbles, or hitting rewind on the flow of time itself, or wiping out half of all life in the universe with a gesture — then nothing he does really matters. We all know that in the next Avengers movie the good guys are just going to retrieve all of that Magical Space Jewelry and undo everything Thanos did.
I mean, come on, Spider-Man’s not gonna stay dead. Nobody ever really dies in comic books. Not even Bucky.
A year from now, when Tony Stark and Steve Rogers finally get their hands on the Infinity Gauntlet and turn back time and bring back their dead friends, I hope they also bring back Erik Killmonger, the Black Panther’s archnemesis. Killmonger is another villain who, by Hollywood’s standards, isn’t really a villain at all.
#KillmongerWasRight. And #ThanosWasRight!