We just rewatched Avengers: Infinity War, and I gotta say that I like Thanos quite a bit. It’s a real feat to make a genocidal maniac relateable, and the writers have done so here. A good villain is one we can understand, and even empathize with. That only works when we have insight into what’s driving them.
On Twitter I saw someone joke that if Thanos gets his way, there will be a lot less traffic on the roads. Overpopulation is real and so is environmental collapse. In reality, many of us agree with Thanos’s concerns. But his solution is terrible, isn’t it?
That’s a good model for creating a villain: Find a real problem, one that we agree is serious, and offer up a charismatic person with an effective but horrifying solution.
Yeah, he’s a monster… But he has a point, right?
That’s a good takeaway, when it comes to crafting a good villain. But don’t get me started on the inconsistencies in the movie. I mean, if Thanos can shape reality, why not create a reality with enough resources for everyone? If they can turn back time, why not go smite the guy when he was less powerful?
No matter! I choose to enjoy what the story has to offer and ignore the irritating little plot holes. Suspension of disbelief makes fiction a lot more fun, and I’d rather be a fan than a critic.