BTB Investigates: Is Thanos the real Avengers movie bad guy?

The previews for The Avengers movie next year reveals the expected obliterated New York / Chicago / Seattle streets and the various Avengers charging into battle looking pouty and slightly impractically dressed and the suggested central bad guy, Thor’s half brother, Loki, flailing about in a cloak looking fairly imposing in a way an impish theatre actor might in a storm scene on stage. While we’re looking forward to the Avengers movie based on what we’ve seen – I can’t help but think that there’s an absent power behind the throne on this one. There’s a few reasons for this one:

  • Joss Whedon, assigned to direct this little number, is not one to work on a one threat script. Whether it’s Firefly or Buffy or Angel, it’s the initial threat, usually controlled by a shadowy puppet master and then often revealed to be a cosmic threat of unimaginable power. Not just that, he has a wry sense of humour and an acute understanding of what audiences like. He’s also a populist. Unafraid to do what is cool and follow expected narratives, he is a creature of loose habit. His plot structures have always incorporated big and very charismatic entrances of large scale bad guys. He’s also got a history of abstract and old school sci-fi and horror influences in everything he does, usually taking the source material and advancing it to be acceptable to TV/ Movie audiences.
  • Marvel has shown increasing bravery in bringing forward obscure characters from it’s ranks in it’s current spate of films and dealing with broad and fun themes rather than taking themselves too seriously. They also stick pretty close to source material and introduce figures that represent the proper threat for the development of the character.
  • The Avengers themselves have to be facing a threat on a scale that tests them well enough. Thor alone beat Loki. Loki is not a threat. The Hulk is clearly being held in reserve until the effects are finished but who is he going to face?
  • Mark Millar’s Ultimates is informing the Avengers. While there is an invasion of fantasy hordes in Ultimates 2 which may well fill the gap, it’s been well done and may still happen without undermining the theory that it’s Thanos that’ll step into the fray. An Alien invasion isn’t discounted either as appeared in Ultimates 1 and the Nazis might still be involved. Hard to say. Point is extra terrestrial or god attack, it doesn’t matter, Thanos is attached to both.
  • Rumours state that Thano’s glove from the Infinity Gauntlet series is visible on the Avengers set photos. Thanos brought the entire Marvel Universe to a standstill in the early ’90s as he took hold of the Infinity Gauntlet and threatened to destabilise the universe. A threat easily big enough to justify a call out at Avenger’s towers.

But why Thanos? 

Thanos is a being of credible bad that has sulked, skulked and schemed his way around the backwaters of Marvel’s cosmic universe, occasionally bringing the whole thing into doubt with his plans. Lover of the dubiously aged Death and as such effectively immortal, he is a corrupted Titan, a shrugging destroyer of time, space and any sentient being stupid enough to wander into his path. He’s Marvel’s Lobo. He has a death grin, incurable curiosity for how much chaos and death he can cause and how brilliantly he can destabilise the powers of the universe. For fun.

  • He’s a cosmic being and a god. Thor made it clear that Valhalla was a realm in space, responsible for galactic peace. Thanos is a deity on par with the Frost Giants. A corrupted and deformed child of gods. As the story goes according to Marvel.com – On Saturn’s moon of Titan lived a colony of Eternals, and Thanos was born as one of the last sons of the original colonists, Mentor and Sui-san. However, he was born misshapen and monstrous in comparison to the other Eternals, particularly his handsome and carefree brother, Starfox.
  • He is a collector of Cosmic Cubes. The one connecting link between all of the films (excluding Iron Man) is the Cosmic Cubes. The Red Skull was killed by it, underestimating it’s power in Captain America while the Cosmic Cube was cared for by Odin and stolen by Loki at the end of Thor. Thanos has long been associated with the cosmic cubes – which he aquires and uses regularly to keep causing trouble.
  • He’s just returned to the Marvel Universe in a plot involving a cosmic cube. Guardians of the Galaxy, while a lesser known title outside the industry is critically acclaimed and one of Marvel’s most consistent books. Returning wild and beserk, Starlord effectively punches him in the face with it to bring him down. But the fascination with the Cosmic Cube is obvious in the character and clearly a fundamental aspect of Thanos from the view of Marvel.
  • Abnett and Lanning aren’t writing him in the usual way. Thanos has never been hailed or fanfared like a galaxy spanning threat, narratively. Thanos is a tinkerer and walks in from the side lines to see what he can get away with. That wry curiosity and mischievousness was always the defining characteristic of Thanos. Even when associated with the destruction of butt loads of planets, Thanos is intellectually involved but never held up as a purveyor of all-hell-breaking-loose. But Thanos has been elevated this time. He’s not stronger, Thanos was always tough. He’s not more imposing, or larger. But the way he’s being written this time round suggests a greater awe, as if this character is just about to lift beyond his station in Marvel. It’s not uncommon, Iron Man, Thor, War Machine have all had massively increased status in the universe since seeing celluloid. Is Thanos gonna get the same treatment?

Thanos is a great bad guy and although the natural resistance has been removed now that Marvel is under the Lassetter banner of Disney and internally responsible for it’s own brand there would be sensible resistance at using an obscure, radiator chinned, purple god with a chip on his shoulder as the central pivot for a major blockbuster that’s never been tried before. Abnett and Lanning’s response is likely a reply to the existing rumours that Thanos almost got a big screen appearance.  The contrivance of plot that would be needed to introduce a second disgruntled child of the Gods when any sensible writer can apply the same emotional palette to the existing character without dropping a stocky, purple, alien gorilla face with 1980s shoulder pads into the action. But it’d Thanos. Against the Avengers. Directed by Whedon. Keep wishing guys but in all liklihood it’s just too cool to risk.

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WANK!! (Sound effect) Captain America shield battle

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyfoH1Z3KcQ

What’d you do when you’re surrounded by Nazi Supermen? BREAK OUT THE SHIELD WITH THE STAR IN THE MIDDLE! In your face third reich!!

Courtesy of IGN.

Best Captain America Trailer yet!

Another day, another new trailer, but this may well be the best Cap preview yet. We get to see a fair bit of pre-super-soldier Steve Rogers (I still have no idea how they managed to make Chris Evans look that small) as well as some previously unseen Tommy Lee Jones footage.

Ever since the first teaser appeared I’ve been totally on board with this film and this trailer has only increased that excitement. Along with Thor I have a feeling we may have two of the strongest Marvel movies yet on our hands here. It’s just a shame that Green Lantern doesn’t seem to be living up to these two. Still, it ain’t over until the credits roll, so let’s see how they pan out.

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Don’t pick it, it’ll never heal… Red Skull Revealed

Images have emerged of Hugo Weaving as Captain America’s nemesis the Red Skull as the PR gargantuan of the assembled Avengers movies begins to pick up some pace. Accompanying the shot on Entertainment Weekly’s website was an interview with Joe Johnston where the filmmaker talks largely about the character of Steve Rogers and what makes him a relatable, believable action hero. “The thing that appeals to me is he is everyman,” Johnston said. “He’s a 98-pound weakling. All he really wants to do is the right thing and serve his country and [at first] nobody wants him because he’s too weak. He’s been picked on all his life. But he’s a guy who never gives up. That’s his trademark.”

So a hero to dorks everywhere then. Only he isn’t a 98 pound weakling. If it tells us anything its that if you can grow a musculature of a greek god and super strength then it doesn’t matter how skinny you are (?!). But that is the fun of Captain America – he’s a geek given the power to do something about it.

The director also spoke to how his film would tie in with Marvel’s upcoming “The Avengers” saying, “Because this was a period film, because this was the origin story, I didn’t have to worry about the Avengers which was a present day story. We have present-day bookends and bring Cap back at the end and then I basically hand him off. And The Avengers is its own thing.”

So we now know that Cap is firmly set in the past and isn’t split unnecessarily between the second world war and modern day, filling a neat episode prequel to the history of the Avengers. But we’ll see. We also know through on set sources (that’s right) that we’ll be dealing with Nazi Super Zombies. Neat.

Cap Teaser is here! Assemble!

Ok, so it’s mostly Moon news today but that doesn’t mean we can’t bring you this little gem. The first trailer for Captain America hit television during the Superbowl last night and we have it right here for you to geek out over.

Ok, so it doesn’t show a whole craptonne of stuff but it’s still pant wettingly exciting on almost every level. The more I see of this movie the more I’m convinced that Chris Evans was the right man for the job. The full trailer shouldn’t be too far away now so keep an eye out for it and be sure to have a quick look at THIS!

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