Avengers: Infinity War Mocks Your Perception of Love

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As villains go, Thanos is the best Marvel villain to date. Unfortunately, because the bar is so low, that's still not saying much.

I had originally planned on writing "5 Things That Ruined Avengers: Infinity War" but as I started with my first point, it morphed into its own article. So I may hit on my other four points at a later date. For now, though, I present to you the biggest moment that ruined the movie.

***SPOILER WARNING***

One thing Marvel has lacked over its ten-year run is a good villain. For INFINITY WAR, Thanos was supposed to be the villain that audiences would be conflicted over, as he attempts to save the universe by destroying half of it and paying the ultimate sacrifice in doing so.

In order to acquire the soul stone, Thanos had to sacrifice someone he loved. A soul for a soul. 

The entire movie we were shown how conflicted someone became when it came to sacrificing someone they love to stop Thanos. Scarlet Witch refused to kill Vision in order to stop Thanos because she loved him. She insisted they would find another way. It wasn't until Thanos was on top of her that she realized she must honor Vision's request out of love. It was what he wanted.

Starlord refused to kill Gamora because he loved her too much, and while he did pull the trigger (only to have bubbles come out) it wasn't until AFTER Gamora's tear-filled begging. She screamed at Peter to do the deed. He continued to hesitate. He pulled the trigger BECAUSE he loved Gamora and respected her wishes. It was what she wanted.

Wanda and Peter did not put anyone or anything over that which they loved. They fought relentlessly to find another way, rather than sacrifice the very people they held dear to their hearts.

The movie contradicts its own message by forcing Thanos into what should have been a paradoxical scenario to acquire the soul stone.

When he arrives with Gamora to find Red Skull as the soul stone's guardian, he learns that he must sacrifice something he loves. He turned to Gamora who is laughing in his face because she believes exactly what everyone else believes. Thanos is incapable of love.

His crocodile tears didn't convince me one bit. He shrugged his shoulders, grabbed Gamora and tossed her over the cliff because the Universe was more important to him. There was no struggle. There was no internal conflict. Not once did he consider backing out. She begged him not to do it, she pleaded for her life. The look of horror on her face as he reached for her and tossed her to her death was everything we needed to know.

At that moment, the soul stone should have realized that Thanos didn't truly love Gamora. The paradox of the soul stone is that you shouldn't be willing to kill someone you love, unless THEY are willing to make the sacrifice. Which, as we saw, Gamora wanted no part of it.

So because he killed Gamora, against her will, Thanos couldn't have truly loved her. And therefore the soul stone should have denied his offering.

After TEN years of hearing how awful Thanos is, hearing how he's murdered billions across the galaxy, tortured his daughters, turned them into weapons, how he "courted death," Marvel tries to convince audiences that he's a sympathetic villain because he's trying to help the universe and pays the ultimate sacrifice. They even insert a flashback of the moment Thanos finds Gamora. But let's not be fooled into thinking he loved that little girl. No. He loved her fighting spirit. He loved the idea that he could turn her into a weapon.

He made Gamora watch as he tortured her sister in order to break her will; giving up the location of the soul stone. And when it came down to it, she meant nothing to him in the grand scheme of things. And we're supposed to believe Thanos is capable of love?

In so many words: Marvel thinks we're stupid.

Gamora SHOULD have been right. At that moment we should have learned that Thanos is incapable of love and he CANNOT acquire the soul stone. Unfortunately, this would have made the movie end very differently. Marvel wanted so badly to kill everyone with a planned sequel, meaning anyone who is paying attention already knows those deaths mean nothing.

What they SHOULD have done, if they TRULY wanted Thanos to be a villain that we feel for, was have him REFUSE to sacrifice Gamora. After Gamora laughs in his face at his tears, Thanos says "No, I can't do it. I need to save the universe, but not at that cost. I will find another way, though it will take far longer." The look of shock on Gamora's face after hearing that would inject so much more emotion into that scene.

Then the Red Skull says, "The soul stone accepts your offering". Confusion would consume Thanos' face as Gamora slowly fades away, her body turning into particulates blowing in the breeze. Thanos desperately reaches for her only to find dust in his hands. He then acquires the soul stone.

But at what cost?

The way it ACTUALLY happened made no sense because I was never convinced he gave a damn about Gamora. He may have THOUGHT he loved her, but it wasn't real love and the soul stone should have sensed that. The writers backed themselves into what should have been a paradox. They didn't care because they're counting on you to have a misguided perception of what love is, even though they show two examples of true love. Turn to the one you love most and ask yourself, what purpose would be great enough for you to kill him/her? Think you can do it? Cool. Now say it out loud to that person and see how the rest of your night goes.

Thanos was handled very poorly in this movie and the message they tried delivering about love was contradicted for the sake of the plot.

However because that's the awful story they decided to tell, in spite of the problems it presents, I can't show any sympathy for Thanos. I don't empathize with him. If he weeps for the loss of his greatest weapon, then I say good. It's what he deserves. I'm offended that this movie attempts to trick people into feeling bad for him.

As a character, Thanos remains a heartless, cruel, loveless, creature who sees death as a solution to his problems. As a movie, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR mocks your perception of love with a poorly written villain.