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Top 10 Reasons Thanos Is The Best MCU Villain

VO: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
He attac, but he also protec. Not really, but there are many things that make Thanos the Best MCU Villain. First, he's played by Josh Brolin! The Mad Titan loved Gamorra, he had a much better motive than any other villains, like that Dark Elf, or even Loki. Hey in fact, Loki worked for Thanos, didn't he? He also wasn't PURE evil like Red Skull. Anyways, here are our picks for Top 10 Reasons Thanos Is The Best MCU Villain. Do you disagree? Tell us why in the comments below!
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Make way for the Mad Titan! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reasons Thanos is The Best MCU Villain.

For this list, we’ll be getting up close and personal with the greatest threat that the Avengers have ever faced, Thanos, to see what it is that makes him such a remarkable character and villain.

#10: A Comic Book Accurate Appearance


Big and purple. Those are two of the first words that come to mind when you think of Thanos. Though perhaps a bit unrefined, this description is accurate; the thing is, it could equally be applied to Barney the Dinosaur. Add to that the wrinkly chin and you can imagine that people in the design department may have been a little nervous to stick to the source material while bringing Thanos to life for the big screen. But stick to the source material they did, and the end result was pitch perfect. Thanos is big - and yes, purple- but he’s also formidable, imposing, charismatic, and expressive. He looks ripped from the comic book page, and fans couldn't be happier with the results.

#9: He Effectively Commands his Armies


Thanos may be an intimidating physical force, but the thing that’s truly striking about the Mad Titan is how strategic he is. He leaves very little to chance and surrounds himself with He’s reminiscent of history’s mightiest military leaders like Hannibal Barca, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar and Sun Tzu. He knows how to delegate tasks, coordinate his forces and - if his track record throughout the galaxy is anything to go by- he’s unfamiliar with defeat.

#8: He Actually Won


At least as far as Avengers: Infinity War is concerned, that is. And really, that’s pretty much an unprecedented feat for a villain in the MCU. Come to think of it, there really aren’t many villains in the history of cinema, television, literature or video games who can say the same. Within the MCU, Hela is the closest thing to second place we can think of, and though she had Thor and company beat, the heroes still found a way to rob her of victory. You see, that’s part of what makes Thanos so special (and Infinity Wars so unique); he made a plan, executed it and achieved his desired goal. And having done so, he joins a very exclusive club.


#7: He Actually Spared His Enemies


Yes, Thanos wiped out half of all life in the universe with the snap of his fingers, and this included many of our beloved heroes. But consider the people he didn’t kill. All signs point to the selection process for “dusting” being arbitrary. But given how hard the Avengers and their allies fought him, you’d think that he would tweak that algorithm a bit to also eliminate all those who would oppose him. And yet he doesn’t! Call it vanity or hubris (as that’s surely a factor), but we think that it’s first and foremost a matter of principle. He was never interested in beating the Avengers, they were simply an obstacle. His task achieved, he has no qualms with them and thus lets them live.

#6: No Plans of Galactic Domination


Thanos is all about restoring balance. He sees disorder, chaos, and suffering in a universe inevitably headed towards self-destruction if something doesn’t change. He’s far from the first villain to think that he knows better than everyone else, but what makes him stand out from his peers is the way he approaches saving the universe from itself. Most like-minded villains take whole “benevolent but firm dictator” approach. Thanos is different in that he doesn’t want to have to rule over everyone to ensure their survival. He seems to genuinely want peace but has no interest in maintaining it with an iron fist (or gauntlet).

#5: Easily Beats Any Single Hero


Even without the power of the Infinity Stones, Thanos is a formidable foe. In terms of sheer strength, he easily trumps any individual Avenger. Viewers learned this the hard way alongside our heroes when he easily bested the Hulk, who is generally considered to be the team’s heaviest-hitter. At the same time, he chokes the life out of his one-time ally, Loki, proving that he’s more than willing to kill anyone who stands between him and his mission. On Titan, Thanos is only temporarily bested by a combination of restraints, including Spidey’s webbing, some of Quill’s tech, the immensely powerful Crimson Bands of Cyttorak and Mantis’ emotional/psychological influence. This dude is a straight up beast.

#4: Legitimate Love for Gamora


Of course, while Thanos is willing to kill anyone it takes to achieve his goal, he is not without a heart. In fact, he’s arguably one of the more considerate, compassionate villains in the MCU. His love for Gamora is real and deep, and the grief he feels when sacrificing her is palpable. Now, one might think that his willingness to sacrifice her flies in the face of this claim, but the reality is, he never could have gotten the soul stone if his feelings of affection for her weren’t genuine. Thanos is simply single-minded in his task, believing that there is no cost too steep for the greater good. This ability to love, paired with his sense of moral relativity, makes him an emotionally complex villain.

#3: He's Honorable


The ability to love isn’t Thanos’ only redeeming quality, he’s also quite respectful of his foes. As we’ve said before, he doesn’t have any malice or ill-will towards the Avengers and their allies. His issue with our heroes begins and ends with them standing in his way. Yes, he’s 100% confident that he can and will beat them, but in every action, even when fighting or killing them, he does so with a sense of respect; he even makes a point of telling Tony Stark that he respects him when they meet. The aforementioned point about him letting his foes live is further proof of his honorable ways. He takes no pleasure in what he does, and he makes that perfectly clear.

#2: His Cause is Noble Even if His Methods Are Horrific


That’s the thing. While a universe-wide genocide of every-second being is atrocious and unconscionable, his motivations for doing so are fundamentally good. Thanos wants a peaceful, comfortable universe for people to live in, and with his high level of intelligence and unique perspective, he’s determined that this is the only real way to achieve that goal. Though we fundamentally disagree with his utilitarian methods… he kinda has a point. This makes him an incredibly compelling villain. His goal isn’t self-serving, it actually hurts him to achieve it. He forces you to question your priorities and values, the individual versus the greater good and life’s major moral conundrums.

#1: Josh Brolin’s Performance


Yes, the screenwriters did a great job of translating Thanos’ character, motivations and personality from the page to the big screen, giving him depth and complexity. But as the history of cinema has taught us, a great character ultimately passes or fails based on the performance turned in by the actor chosen to play them. And it feels safe to say that Josh Brolin hit it out of the park as the Mad Titan. He was charismatic, he was engaging and he conveyed real emotion - which is no small feat when doing it all via motion capture. He took a giant purple extraterrestrial with lofty ambitions, chasing pretty stones, and managed to thoroughly humanize him.
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