Marvel Studios has been nothing but meticulous in building up the major role of Thanos (Josh Brolin). With brief but memorable appearances in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, even audiences not too familiar with the comic book character have retained the iconic image of this massive purple intimidating armor-clad warlord in their heads. So it was slightly surprising when concept art and images of Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War displayed a minor difference in how this major adversary will be depicted.
Gone are the Mad Titan’s gold-plated armor, eschewing them for an almost casual look. Without his helmet or armor, his head and arms are exposed, perhaps leaving Thanos more susceptible to attacks from his enemies. Well, according to Infinity War co-director Joe Russo, his lack of armor is deliberate, telling IGN during Comic-Con:
[Thanos] has a more casual approach in this film, and it’s very philosophical for him. Again, it’s part of his character definition. You know, it’s a spiritual journey for him to collect the stones. And one with which he does not need armor to uh- once he starts acquiring stones, he doesn’t require armor the same way he did when he was a warlord, so it’s a very symbolic costume.
Seeing how Marvel Studios has always been criticized for underwritten villains, it is comforting to hear Russo refer to Thanos having a journey. Usually in MCU films, we think of the hero (or heroes) as the character going through an arc or journey, while most villains remain pretty static throughout. Of course, MCU fans will point out obvious exceptions, such as Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
Thanos lacking his armor can exude a number of different characteristics. It could be a display of increasing power, as Russo describes how Thanos acquires stones. It is a way to express confidence in battle against the Avengers – proving his might to the Avengers without any armor could prove to be a worthwhile intimidation tactic. With all of this talk of Thanos essentially being the main character of Infinity War, we’re expecting more than a stock blockbuster baddie, and a real character with depth.
What are your expectations for Thanos as the main villain? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!