It was hard not to be cynical when Thanos defeats Iron Man in the final battle of Avengers: Infinity War and tells him: “You’re not the only one cursed with knowledge.”
For someone who claims to be brimming with knowledge and smarts, Thanos’ radical plan to save the universe from overpopulation makes little sense. The mad titan claimed his plan to wipe out half the universe’s population brings him no joy and he has no choice.
Note: The following article contains no spoilers for Avengers: Endgame.
But in truth, it only takes a bit of research to realise Thanos is deluded beyond comprehension. Wiping out half the population doesn’t solve the universe of its scarce resources. And as honourable as he thinks it is, Thanos’ plan makes matters so much worse.
The purple giant may be Marvel’s most formidable villain ever, but far from Marvel’s best. It’s a real pity none of what he says makes any compelling sense.
Unlimited power to destroy – and create
Together, the six stones grant powers so immense that the films don’t seem to be willing to truly explore.
The Soul Stone gives one power over all life in the universe; the Time Stone lets them travel through time and change the past, present and future; the Space Stone lets the user exist anywhere and manipulate just about anything in space; the Mind Stone grants one control over others’ minds; the Reality Stone lets you create anything regardless of science; and finally the Power Stone gives one access to control all forms of energy.
This immense power begs the question: If Thanos can snap half of existence into dust, couldn’t he as easily create more resources instead?
If the rules of the stones count for anything, Thanos wouldn’t even have needed to gather all six stones to make this happen. The Reality Stone alone enables one to fulfil their wishes and alter reality on a universal scale – he could certainly “wish” for an abundance of resources to go around. He could bring resources from different worlds together or even program our minds to lives sustainable.
Yes it all sounds ridiculous, but bottom line is, with such power he’s only limited by his imagination. If we wasn’t the psychopath that he thinks he isn’t, death wouldn’t be the only way.
Thanos doesn’t know how to Google
In Infinity War, the Avengers simply weren’t up for the challenge. But Google could’ve been the hero we needed.
Thanos believes earth should have today’s population of 7.7 billion people cut in half, to around 3.8 billion people. According to Worldometers, that was the world population in the ‘70s, just over three decades years ago. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/#table-historical
Quick maths: It would take just 30 years for earth to repopulate andupset the “balance” of the universe all over again, in the mad titan’s own words.
Clearly a purging isn’t a sustainable way to go about restoring balance.
Thanos kills more than 50%
As the counterarguments pile up, Thanos seems more and more like the self-righteous sociopath he is. He boldly proclaims the purging brings him no joy but is a necessary move for the stability of the universe.
However, for a person convinced he has a duty to the universe, he certainly kills way more than half of the people.
After the Snap, we saw the immediate impact of half the population being reduced to dust: helicopters falling from the sky, crashing into buildings and killing far more – you can imagine the same with airplanes too. Thanos never took into consideration dependants, like children whose parents could’ve been reduced to dust and now have no one to look after them. Communities dependent on farming would’ve been harmed too, as would patients in need of medical attention.
None of this presents Thanos as the rational genius he thinks he is.
Why this matters
You’re probably wondering why all of these arguments against Thanos’ plans matter. He’s a mad titan right?
From this nerd’s perspective: It’s a real shame that Marvel’s big baddy had the brawn but not the brains to match our heroes. When you think of the best supervillains in town, each of them have compelling reasons for the chaos they cause.
Magneto fought for mutant supremacy; the Dark Knight’s Joker wanted to show Batman he was irrelevant because no one really cared about justice; and Loki simply wanted power.
As twisted as their ideologies are, they didn’t offer reasons that could be rebutted. You can correct Loki’s violent thirst for power, but you can’t contradict it.
It’s a real pity then, that Thanos – Marvel’s ultimate villain – enters the scene with an ideology far from logical. The nerd in me just can’t help but wish the Snap was for a greater cause.