The Avengers (2012) – The 6th Marvel Cinematic Universe Film – Directed by Joss Whedon – Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Stellan Skarsgård, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Bettany, Alexis Denisof, Stan Lee, Powers Boothe, Lou Ferrigno, and Harry Dean Stanton.
Welcome to the seventh character-specific reaction to Joss Whedon’s THE AVENGERS. I’ve already written a 4,200+ word review of the film, but that wasn’t nearly enough to cover everything I wanted to talk about, so I’m going to write character-specific reactions to delve a bit deeper into the film. You can find all of the relevant AVENGERS links at the bottom of this post.
This one’s a bit short, but I’ll add to it as we go if something interesting comes up.
Let me be clear about what’s coming: SPOILERS. Lots and lots of SPOILERS. Read ahead only if you’re cool with that. If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want things ruined, come on back when you do.
Also, please note that these reactions are evolving as we go. If you see some line I got wrong or a detail I overlooked, by all means let me know. I’ve seen the movie twice, but it’s a long movie and the audience reacts wildly in parts, so some things get lost or forgotten or misinterpreted. And I’m sure some of the quotes are wrong, but I will correct the mistakes as I become aware of them.
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“To challenge the humans is to court death.”
I’ve been holding off writing this reaction because I didn’t want to accidentally spoil this scene for anyone, but I’m pretty sure the rules state that once a film clears a billion dollars at the international box office, you can talk about anything. (Sorry, Japan!) I’m sure this will ruin the film for at least one person out there, and for that I’m truly sorry, but, you know, ONE BILLION DOLLARS. Plus, I totally hid his name in the title.
Thanos is not exactly well-known outside of comic circles, but inside the Marvel community, Thanos has a place in the pantheon of Marvel baddies. For the uninitiated, this is a guy who killed millions of his own people to impress Death.
Yeah, this purple-skinned dude who goes by “the Mad Titan” keeps killing people in the hopes of impressing the Lady Death, because he’s in wuuuuuuuuuuuv with her.
After Thanos failed to impress her with committing genocide on his own people, he gathered up the Infinity Gems, created the Infinity Gauntlet, and set out trying to wipe out half of all life in the universe. So, thinking small is not a problem.
The decision to include Thanos in AVENGERS is a bit curious because most people don’t know who the heck he is, and if they don’t know who he is, then why the heck should they care about this non-speaking, blue-eyed, purple-faced dude who smiles menacingly at the end of the movie? I’ll tell you why – as Derrick Ferguson so rightly points out down in the comments, it gets non-comic fans talking with comic fans, which helps to build excitement and brand loyalty, as outsiders take those first steps into becoming insiders.
Thanos’ inclusion does serve as a kind of easter eggs to fans of the comic, and it is definitely a way for people in the know to identify each other. When I saw AVENGERS on opening day, the sudden appearance of Thanos made people clap and holla at one another. You could hear the sense of shocked awesomeness that went through the crowd. While Thanos isn’t a classic Avengers villain on the level of Loki, Ultron, or Kang, he’s every bit as big a deal to the whole of the Marvel Universe.
The decision to include Thanos as the mastermind behind the Chitauri/Loki (Tom Hiddleston) alliance is exciting because it pushes the boundaries of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to include the cosmic characters. Almost immediately, fans started speculating about how Thanos would be deployed over the next batch of movies, and what new characters would need to be introduced to make him work. I don’t want to spend too much time speculating here because the possibilities are so wide open and the clues so limited that they can really do anything they want with the character.
What should be kept in mind is that the Infinity Gauntlet was seen in Odin’s weapon room back in THOR, so if they want to go that route, the door is already open.
My version of how this plays out? Thanos sends cosmic villains after the Infinity Gems while he goes to Asgard to steal away the gauntlet (which I believe was shown to have all the gems, but whatever). This happens during the next round of solo movies, percolating as a background plot, and then when AVENGERS 2 comes around, we get a full-blown throwdown between the Avengers and the Gauntlet-wielding Thanos.
In AVENGERS, Thanos is the power behind the curtain, commanding the Chitauri (who are nothing more than faceless drones to kill and be killed) to serve as the army for Loki. In exchange for his help in conquering Earth, Loki agrees to turn the Tesseract over to Thanos. Loki gets the planet and Thanos gets the universe. Thanos only appears briefly in AVENGERS, allowing his surrogate, The Other (Alexis Denisof), to handle Loki. That Thanos is not only making Loki work for him, but also leaves it up to an assistant to handle hows that this is a man who loves being who he is.
Thanos’ appearance at the end signifies bigger things to come.
THE AVENGERS REVIEW INDEX
THE AVENGERS: THE MOVIE REVIEW
THE AVENGERS: THE HAWKEYE REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE AGENT COULSON REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE BLACK WIDOW REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE NICK FURY REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE MARIA HILL REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE CAPTAIN AMERICA REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE CHITAURI/THANOS REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE HULK REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE THOR REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE LOKI REACTION
THE AVENGERS: THE IRON MAN REACTION
THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REVIEW INDEX