Let’s keep it real folks:
When we are “keeping-it-one-hunnid” we are going to share with you, our deep, dark, reviewing secrets. Those things we would never say in polite company, like at a movie debut or a polite but fair movie review, but those things you thought after the movie had cooled and your rose-colored glasses had time to defog. It’s still all love, but you just have to say this thing or it won’t be right between you. So. I’m gonna start right here.
As much as I enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War, as much as I squeed in all the right places, the story carrying all the right notes, highlighting and fan-servicing with every change of scene, at the end, I was left with a strange and sour aftertaste.
I know it’s because I have a classic education and had a bit of social theory from my time in college. When I thought about what he was planning to do, I realized the writers wanted to keep to the basic elements of the comic story, i.e. “killing half of all life in the Universe” but realizing they would have to keep the idea simple enough for its American movie-going audience.
Written so that American audiences could swallow it without having to think about it. They took an simple idea and made it sound cool by saying it would happen everywhere at once. Gasp. To everyone. No matter their species. No matter their means of reproduction or life cycle…
Once I put in more thought than the time it took to cheer as Thor saves the day and chops into Thanos like a tenderloin, I realized something I didn’t want to say out loud: Thanos’ plan sucked.
The MCU Thanos’ solution to Universal over-population was juvenile and simplistic. The writers were lazy and didn’t want to do the work to create a significant storyline rather than a lazy, Malthusian eco-terrorist who couldn’t be bothered to use his omniscience to realize his idea was daft and he was as crazy as Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining.’ No, I don’t see them offering me a seat at the premiere showing of the second act of this two-movie charade.
Quick, as an aside:
How does Thanos know the Universe is suffering from food shortages? Has he stopped on every hungry planet in the galaxy?
Did he take a survey on any planet he prepared to sack to reduce their surplus population? Was the reason he had Children who worked for him was so they could survey the planets before destroying them?
Thanos had the Infinity Gauntlet. You figure if you can see the entirety of the Universe, read every mind, be in every place, touch every soul, becoming totally omniscient, you figure there was someone out there who would have thought about this problem billions of years ago and had a working theory he could implement over time to the species who needed it most.
It was a stupid plan, a plan anyone could see was fraught with failure, and should be apparent to a person unable to lie to himself because he is All-seeing, all-knowing. All-keeping-it-one-hunnid.
He would have to deliver the cure or engineer it specifically with the Infinity Gauntlet but there was no reason it couldn’t be delivered or made available for any species representative who asked for The Panacea, tailored to their species.
It would be a whole lot slower, not nearly as cool, not filled with faux scenes of tension, scenes where you already know what’s going to happen; it would not be a movie as shallow as a paper plate, with lots of bright lights, CGI and sound effects. It wouldn’t be a movie at all. It would be a documentary.
What you got was a mindless action flick. And you loved it.
But Thanos’ motivation still sucked.
He grew up on a planet that starved to death because of political indecision. So sad for him. His way of coping is to find planets where people are already starving, probably engaged in wars, and bisects the population, killing an equal number of all the warring sides until the planet is stabilized.
Did he count? Or did he, after scorching a couple of continents, just look out the window of his starship and decide “That’ll do,” before heading out to the next planet with this Malthusian affliction?
If the writers were worth a damn they could have come up with a stronger motivation for their villain. Something that a high school economics or history course couldn’t disprove in an afternoon.
He had the Infinity Gauntlet, he was as smart as he could ever want to be. Omniscient. It don’t get no better than dat. I know he’s flawed. I know he believes he’s right. I know he lacks personal self awareness and believes he is a righteous warrior shedding blood for a worthy cause.
Idea still sucks.
See: Malthusianism — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusianism
Stay critical out there. We can talk about it because we love it.
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.