This Video Thinks Through Thanos' Big Motivation Change in Avengers: Infinity War

Thanos, not lusting after Death.
Thanos, not lusting after Death.
Image: Marvel Studios

In the comics, Thanos is a menacing but almost tragic figure motivated by a deranged love for the personification of Death. In Infinity War, he’s a little different.


In the version of Thanos that’s now become a huge pop culture sensation, the Mad Titan is a Mad Environmentalist, taking the (arguably not actually very helpful) route of trying to murder half the galaxy for the sake of “balance.” In a new video, Wisecrack dives deep into the logic of that change, analyzing how it transforms the character and how those changes permeate the underying logic of Infinity War.

While I’m not sure I agree with the central point—that Thanos was changed to underline the thematic conflicts of the MCU—the argument that he does so anyway is pretty compelling. The story of the MCU, up until this point, has been about competing visions of what’s good for the world, how best to protect and save it, whether those visions come from Hydra or Tony Stark or Thanos. Thanos is, ultimately, an exaggeration of all those conflicts: the most radical of methods, married to power and perseverance that puts even our favorite superheroes to shame.


It’s an interesting conflict. But I’d love to see, after Thanos’s inevitable defeat, the MCU move on to some other interesting questions.

io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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Too bad they couldn’t figure out how to have Death in the movie, especially after the end of the first Avengers movie in the mid credits scene Thanos smirks when his lackey says something like “ to fight humans is to court death herself”.