Thanos: Savior or Savage?

For the few who haven’t seen

Avengers: Infinity War yet,

SPOILER ALERT!! You’ve been warned…..

Superhero movies have transcended their tropes and evolved into darker and grittier versions of their predecessors with themes relating to real world problems being reflected in these cinematic universes. As has been the norm, a superhero movie is only as good as its main antagonist, as evidenced by the popularity of Killmonger and Heath Ledger’s legendary Joker, for these characters are what define our favorite heroes. Infinity War gives us one such villain in the form of the Mad Titan, Thanos. Driven by the motive to wipe out half the Universe, Thanos neither possesses a lust for power nor has vengeances fueling his quest but a seemingly “selfless” motive: to ensure that other planets in the universe do not suffer the same fate as his home of Titan – wiped out due to lack of resources to support the rapidly growing population. Sound familiar?

The Kind Killer!

Thanos’s reply to Gamora that the universe’s resource are finite and that he is offering a painless and unprejudiced solution to the masses he seeks to obliterate, although a bit maniacal, is extremely ‘thoughtful’ for a villain or, as some would say an antihero. Moreover, the scene where Thanos uses the reality stone to show Doctor Strange Titan in its prime and comparing that to the pathetic condition it is in now is a pivotal moment as it shows the logic behind the Mad Titan as his ‘prophecy’ of numbers clogging resources and the ultimate destruction actually materialized.

Did Thanos just Plagiarize?

Thanos’s theory, by the way, is not an original one.

Back on earth, in the 1700’s, economist Thomas Malthus had similar ideas and he had posited, “By nature, human food increases in a slow arithmetical ratio; human population increases in a quick geometrical ratio unless want and vice stop him. The increase in numbers is necessarily limited by the means of subsistence. Population invariably increases when the means of subsistence increase, unless prevented by powerful and obvious checks.”

Essentially what Malthus means is that we would run out of food to feed the growing numbers and the end results would be catastrophic (Malthusian catastrophe). The Malthusian theory is crude and archaic as his parameters are limited and he fails to take into account a very crucial factor – technology. Taking a live example of the current worldwide scenario, overpopulation and rising population density is a real cause for worry with its negative repercussions visible in many parts of the world, Manila in the Philippines being a prime example. Also, Malthusian theory failed to notice the human factors like crime and wars.

Crime is on the rise and the point is driven home by the drastic rise in corporate and government spending on security. This trend in the frequency of crimes and social unrest is a side-effect of high populations as it is quite simply not possible to maintain an ‘honest’ living in the current competitive scenario. On the other hand, Scandinavian countries are considered the best places to live in and is home to the happiest population as per recent surveys (They have low population).

Thanos ain’t so bad…

In short, Thanos is not all that bad and it could be safe to say that he has probably saved the world in the longer run and is thus a hero in the same mantle as that of the Avengers. It is also poignant that he himself has faced terrible loses in his quest. An important point to be noted is the fact that Thanos hold no bias while eliminating half the living beings over the worlds. He uses random elimination which would anyway be the result of a catastrophic calamity. So essentially, he causes the result of a catastrophe to avoid the catastrophe. Which is a lot to think about.

But all the serious repercussions and our resembling real-life problems aside, let’s focus more on the stories of our villains and the genius behind them for a change. Was Thanos a Savior or a Savage? Wait, shouldn’t Thanos have his own MCU movie? We leave you with that parting thought wink wink



This article has been written in collaboration by two of our Authors: Anil Vinayak and Ananya Bal. You can read more of their individual work by clicking on the hyperlink.

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Anil Vinayak
A voracious reader, poet, aspiring writer, phone photographer and student of engineering. Author of the poetry collection "Shadows and Silhouettes". Social Media handle: VIN's Scribbles

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