Thanos is notable for being the greatest MCU villain so far and one of the greatest villains in Marvel comics in general. There is a perfectly good reason why Thanos is so popular, especially after his inclusion in the MCU, as many people felt that his crusade was justifiable as Thanos tried to solve one realistic issue connected to all living beings in the Universe. Nevertheless, his approach to these issues was unhinged, and this is what we’re going to deal with today: Is Thanos truly evil, or was he right?
Thanos is, at the end of the day, evil. With Infinity Gauntlet, he could have solved the issues related to resources and overpopulation through other means, and he decided to take the most brutal (and arguably the easiest) option available to him, Thanos was wrong in his approach. His comic book history also testifies to Thanos’ evil, with only a few instances of him doing something good, mostly in alternative storylines and for some self-serving cause.
Now that we’ve covered, in short, our opinion on Thanos’ character and moral alignment, it’s time to analyze it in more detail. Thanos is often painted as the ultimate bad guy, and if you’re interested in whether that is correct, stay with us and keep reading!
Is Thanos a villain or an anti-hero?
No matter whether we talk about Thanos in the context of MCU or comics, the arguments for him actually being an anti-hero are slim at best. To recap Thanos’ story in short, he lost his homeworld at a relatively young age due to overpopulation and lack of resources. He proposed several solutions, one of them being to cull half of the population on Titan, and they laughed in his face.
Thanos got his bitter victory after his homeworld was truly decimated due to infighting, starvation, famine, and all the things that come with a place genuinely being overpopulated. Thanos was eventually exiled because of his proposed solution but, over time, proved to be right, as Titan fell, leaving almost no survivors.
Thanos was now convinced that he was right about everything, and he feared that the exact same destiny of Titan awaited the rest of the Universe. He started conquering planets, culling half of their population, and following this genocidal peace, he would leave them alone to their own devices.
Ultimately, Thanos figured out that culling beings manually would take too much of his time, so he sought Infinity Stones that would allow him to annihilate the entire population of the Universe in a single second.
If this doesn’t speak evil, I don’t know that it does. The problem wasn’t that Thanos had the wrong problem in mind. It was the fact that genocide was his solution to everything. The elders of Titan didn’t laugh in his face because of his prediction. They laughed because his answer to death was… death?
Thanos is supposed to be a genius, right? he had the Infinity Gauntlet that gives him control over reality, yet his solution was not that brilliant when you think about it. Instead of solving the problem at its core through the multiplication of resources, some supernatural means, or whatever, he instead delayed the inevitable.
Removing half of the population of an entire Universe doesn’t address the problem at its core and doesn’t change the (human or otherwise) nature of beings that caused the lack of resources and overpopulation in general.
Thanos’ solution was shortsighted, cruel, and wasn’t really a solution in the first place. I do realize that this is a charged question overall, so I need to state this is my opinion first and foremost.
But ultimately, in my opinion, Thanos was evil, as evil as a villain can be. Yes, he ultimately didn’t crave power, but he craved nihilism and destruction and control through thinly veiled “universal balance.”
Was Thanos ever a good guy?
Thanos’ story in the MCU was too short for any significant development, but there don’t seem to be that many scenarios that testify that Thanos is good. He adopted Gamora (after slaughtering her parents in the first place), he cried after he sacrificed her to acquire the Soul Stone on Vormir, and that’s pretty much the only scene where Thanos almost seems human.
Still, all of the above was caused by problems brought on by him and could easily be avoided.
The comics paint a different picture of Thanos, however. His goal in the comics isn’t as rational as in the MCU. He is all over the place, much more brutal, unhinged, and overall, a much more sociopathic personality.
He is fascinated with death, domination, and power, and over the years, he did some truly messed up things for no reason whatsoever. The best example of this we actually covered quite recently. Thanos started torturing a random man named David every year on his birthday, from killing his father to making him break up with his girlfriend to flooding his apartment. Why did Thanos do that? Because he is a nihilist and has no respect for the sanctity of life and existence in general. Thanos stated himself that there’s nothing sweeter than a death of hope.
And despite Thanos in the comics being much more brutal, there are instances in which he is “a good guy.” He wanted to save existence from Annihilus and opposed him – after he first wanted to join the villain in order to rule the Universe with him.
Thanos also frequently teamed up with Adam Warlock and, in a few instances, saved him from his evil self. Thanos and Warlock are sort of uneasy frenemies due to them basically being the embodiment of life and death in the Universe; they are supposed to keep each other in check.
As you can see, Thanos has a few redeemable qualities overall, and there’s no reason to consider him anything but pure evil.
What do you think? Is Thanos downright evil, or was his heart in the right place? Let us know in the comments!