Thanos is Really Bad at Being a Supervillain
SPOILERS for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' ahead...
We first met the cinematic version of Thanos in 2012 -- his face smiling at us during a mid-credits sequence of ‘The Avengers,’ there to let us know that this guy is the mastermind behind the whole operation. OK then! Eventually we learn that Thanos is trying to collect the Infinity Stones, because if he has those, he will become a god. Fair enough. Though, now, after ten movies in the Marvel cinematic universe – ten! – Thanos has a grand total of zero Infinity Stones. So far, Thanos is terrible at being a supervillain.
I’m starting to feel bad for Thanos, to be honest. He has a nice smile, a neat-looking gold suit and a comfortable-looking space chair, but other than that, I don’t think he has a lot going for him. He’s not that handsome, smile aside, and everyone seems to hate him. Even when he pays to have people be friends with him, like Ronan the Accuser, those people wind up betraying him, too. All Thanos wants is love. (And maybe he should stop spending time with people known as “The Accuser,” who sound very judgmental.) Maybe it’s understandable why he wants those Infinity Stones so bad.
After ten movies, Thanos has become the Trix rabbit of supervillains. “Silly Thanos, Infinity Stones are for anyone other than you.” So far, we have been introduced to three (maybe four, depending on who you talk to) Infinity Stones and one is safely on Asgard, one is safely on Xandar, one is with The Collector, and another (maybe) is with Baron von Strucker. After ten movies, Thanos only has his space chair and a voice that sounds a lot like Brandon from ‘The Goonies.’ Perhaps this is why these are called Infinity Stones, because it will take an infinite amount of movies for Thanos to ever obtain one. Thanos seems like a really sad villain. I wish Holy Wayne from ‘The Leftovers’ could give Thanos a hug.
Watching Thanos fail at obtaining an Infinity Stone has become as common as watching the Duke boys once again thwart Boss Hogg. And the thing is, it’s fun to watch the good guys win – and win, and win, and win, and win, and win, and win, and win, and win, and win – but now I’ve started to feel a legitimate amount of sympathy for Thanos. Would it kill the universe just to let the guy have one Stone? I mean, it has been ten movies. What would one Stone hurt? Perhaps this is why Edgar Wright left ‘Ant-Man’? Maybe his grand idea was for poor Thanos to finally get himself a Stone. “Sorry, Edgar, that’s just never going to happen. We have to let you go now for even suggesting such a thing.”
In all seriousness, it is funny to take stock of where all of the Stones are at this point and realize that after 20 hours of movie time, Thanos has managed to collect zero of them. (And he may have had one, but he gave that one to Loki, which just makes this all the worse if true: That would mean he's actually down a Stone over the course of ten movies.) And, yes, I realize that by the time we see Thanos as the rumored marquee villain in ‘The Avengers 3: Please Let Me Have An Infinity Stone, Love Thanos,’ he’ll probably have all of the Stones. And, to be honest, by that point, I might be rooting for him. His determination should be celebrated.
But, for now, poor Thanos just sits on that space chair in his gold suit with his fancy new voice, completely stoneless. I wonder what he thinks about as he sits there. I suspect it’s some version of, I’m really making a fool of myself, aren’t I? It’s too bad there’s no Infinity Stone of Dignity, because Thanos desperately needs a Stone that can restore what he’s lost.
In the meantime, if someone started a “Let’s Get Thanos an Infinity Stone” Kickstarter, I’d contribute. At this point, I just want Thanos to be happy. I just really want to see Thanos smile again.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.