In a recent episode of Kevin Smith’s pop culture podcast ‘Fatman on Batman’, he and co-host Marc Bernardin picked lineups of hero and villain teams to do battle. Some of the choices were not limited to genre characters, like Jesus being picked as a hero, while others were not characters at all, like “taxes” chosen as a villain, but perhaps the most notable was Kevin Smith’s pick of Thanos as a hero.
It’s easy to say that Smith was just trying to catch a headline, (which he did, we’re talking about him) but one could argue that Thanos’ heart was in the right place in ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ Smith makes note that Thanos could have used the Infinity Gauntlet to end all life in the universe, but opted to kill only half. Realistically, this makes Thanos not a hero, just less of a villain, but it’s a valid point. Someone like Ultron or Hela or the Red Skull probably would have used the power of the Infinity stones to become the ruler of the universe. Thanos had no such ambitions. He, like Vulture or Killmonger, thought he was acting on behalf of others. He was a man performing a service that would, in his mind, benefit the survivors. After his service was complete, Thanos leaves the now bountiful universe in peace.
Tell that to those who died, right? Well, no one can because they are dead. From Thanos’ perspective, the dead are of no concern. They can no longer suffer under the conditions of an overpopulated universe that he saw firsthand create misery. Everyone dies eventually, and most of us would count ourselves lucky going unexpectedly and relatively painlessly. We only see Peter Parker with the time to deal with what was happening and feel discomfort. The real suffering, ironically, is for the half that was spared, morning their losses. Thanos sees this as an unfortunate side effect, and a sacrifice he takes on himself in killing his daughter, Gamora. Thanos knows people will get over the loss because they have to…and the universe will be better than before.
Only, the Avengers aren’t going to get over it. They are a stubborn bunch and we’ll see what happens next when Thanos returns.