In honor of the new year, we at 812review found it fitting to start with a subject that is sure to dominate the landscape of entertainment media in 2019; THANOS. With the soon to be released movie Avengers: End Game (See the Trailer Here) we are taking a deep dive into Thanos, and why he is so determined to create the perfect balance between life and resource in the universe.
If your only experience with the Mad Titan is the recent Avengers movie, then buckle up! Our plan is to go back to the source material of the characters origin to better understand how the film adaption of Thanos is a little different then how dark this character really is. You should take the time to read THANOS RISING 1 – 5 published by Marvel, written by Jason Aaron and artist Simone Bianchi.
After audiences across the world watched Avengers: Infinity War, one thing was clear; Thanos was an incredibly likable villain. The main reason for this is due to the great performance of Josh Brolin, but it may also be contributed to the understandable mission Thanos is forging across the cosmos. His goal is to wipe out half of the population in the Universe, the reason is the Universe resources are unable to maintain this overpopulation. Ultimately the best story lines are often the simplest to understand, and Thanos is not complicated, or at least that is what you might think but you would be wrong. He is a very complicated villain and his backstory is as dark as they come.
In Thanos rising we get a glimpse of what his life was like, and how he turned into such a destructive force that we all know Thanos to be. Having a non-attentive father, a mother who wants you dead are both bad starting points, yet the real tipping point for Thanos is a mysterious friend he seems to always be running into throughout his life. As a baby his mother, Sui-San immediately realizes her baby is evil and tries to kill him. His father, A’LARS (also called Mentor) protects him, and has his mother is placed in a mental care facility. While growing up it first appears that Thanos is a normal kid. His Purple color and facical features are due to a genetic abromality, but in return he is gifted with an incredible intellect and physical prowess. We learn about moments of interaction between him and other peers where his main focus is to better explain why he is different so he can have a girlfriend and actually just be a normal popular kid. Yet, he is plagued by an inner voice that seems to be driving Thanos in a much darker direction. There is a chance meeting between him and a young girl who encourages him to pursue his desire to be a great scientist like his father, what is unknown at the time is this is a young version of Death who is pushing him to embrace his darker tendencies. An interesting beginning for Thanos is a reoccurring image of the Lizards found around his home Titan. Something about this animal is consistently in this thoughts. What is most likely the actual breaking moment for him is a day when he and his friends go to explore some caves around his home. Tragedy strikes as the kids are caved-in but Thanos is separated from the rest of the group. It takes him a few days to dig his way to them, and when he does he discovers his friends have been eaten by the lizards. Ultimately the young girl who is actually death convinces him to return back and eliminate those animals without mercy. This is a trigger moment for him that changes the course of his life forever.
As Thanos grows so does his intellect, and desire for knowledge. He once again meets a teenage version of Death whom he sees as a beautiful young lady. They are in high school now and he has been secretly doing science experiments on all types of animals to learn everything he can about his world, doing research to learn about the Universe around him, and still no answers to why he is. This escalation continues to him experimenting on live animals but it is still not enough, so with the behest of Lady Death he moves on to experimenting on people. Through it all, he still thinks of himself as a scientist and his murders are just experiments so he has done nothing wrong. Thanos has fallen in love with this beautiful girl who seems to always be with him, and is the only one who really understands him. When he requests more from this friend she turns him down, claiming he is not ready yet for her love. At this stage in his life Thanos still does not realize who this is, but he wants to be with her and is willing to do whatever is necessary to foster the relationship. Since she has told him to keep searching for his answers, in a pivotal no-turning -back moment of his life, he slices his own mother to pieces looking for answers to whom he is as it must be inside of her.
As Thanos stands over his mother, he recounts an image in his mind about the day he was born. Somehow he remembers everything, even the events of his mother trying to murder him. After finishing with his mother he decides to leave his home and go to the outer edges of the galaxy. In this place where no one knows who he is, for a time he settles down and forms his own family. Yet, with many years of living a basically normal life, including the birth of his first child, he just cannot settled down. His unhappiness causes him to pick up and leave everything behind to join a band of space Pirates. Traveling around the galaxy he continues a cycle of watching the crew murder, then he finds someone new to love and start a family, then abandons them. This continues, and continues, and never helps fulfil the pain with-in him. In the end he is searching for that one person again who makes him whole, he does not realize it, but he is constantly searching for his mistress Lady Death!
When you are running with a group as brutal as these Pirates, and you do not participate in the killing this will catch up to you. For Thanos this eventually does with the captain challenging him in front of everyone. During the fight, the captain has him badly hurt and the moment arrives for the final blow that will kill Thanos. As fate decides, in the next moment Thanos finds himself victorious and he is now in charge of the Pirates. It would seem Thanos is not willing to allow his own death, under any circumstances. There can be no doubt, this moment was the true acceptance by Thanos that he is not just a scientist, but a murder emerged to become one of the most hated individuals in the entire cosmos.
This change of fortune provides him the opportunity to revisit his home world of Titan. Finally, the moment Thanos has been searching for his entire life, he is re-united with Lady Death. For a brief moment the two open to each other about their mutual desire, but in typical fashion, Death has one more requirement for him to finish; he must murder all those he has been with and kill all his children. He does this without hesitation.
Thanos now in charge of the Pirates is on his mission to satisfy his mistress, Lady Death. In one particular episode he is rushed by a local who survived the onslaught of Thanos crew. The local survivor pushes Thanos for an answer as to why he has acted this genocide on his planet. Ultimately Thanos demands he go onto his ship and ask his mistress himself. Instead of finding the lady Thanos knows, he only finds a rotting corpse. Amazingly, Thanos still does not realize he is being courted by Death herself, he still believes his mistress and childhood friend is just not happy with him until he has taken more lives. While he argues with his mistress the reveal of who she is finally happens for Thanos. His mistress shows to him she is actually Lady death and the revelation rocks Thanos to his core. His entire life of running from who he is, just to realize how messed up his life really is, drives him to the brink of his own sanity. What he definitely knows is he is unwilling to take his own life, and nobody understands him as Death does.
There is no doubt Thanos had been tested many times by death through his life, but his greatest test remains. He now charges back to his home world of Titan to destroy everyone. Once the destruction is complete, only one witness remains, A’Lars, his father. In a final plea he attempts to explain to his son there is no mistress of Death, but Thanos is killing all for himself. Death attempts to show him her devotion by accepting him as her own, but it is to late. Thanos is so far gone at this point, even the affections of Death cannot sway him to her councel. Instead, we find out Thanos is on his own mission to cause death and destruction across the Universe. Leaving the Mad Titan to reject everything, including the one thing he always wanted; the affection of his mistress Death. This cold isolation sets him on the ultimate path to seek an action that will give him real acceptance by his mistress.
When you are considering the history of Thanos, it’s not a stretch to conclude he never had a chance to be anything other than what he is. If you think about it, this is really what makes him so relatable. He may be in the toughest of relationships ever, but all he is wanting is approval and acceptance by the one he loves. This is something we are all wanting, and we may not be murdering half the galaxy to get it, but people do some amazingly stupid things for love.
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