Usually when a character walks through a river of blood after obliterating half the universe’s population, including your precious puppies and cuddly kitties, he’s not a “good guy.” But Kevin Smith would argue that Thanos, the Big Purple Bad at the center of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, is more hero than villain.
In a recent episode of his Fatman on Batman podcast, the newly-skinny Clerks director and co-host Marc Bernardin were asked to assemble teams of five heroes and five villains. Some of the choices were tongue-in-cheek — Jesus as a hero; the concept of taxes as a villain — but Smith was serious when it came to the Mad Titan. “Controversial choice, Thanos. From a certain perspective he’s a hero,” he said. “He could have literally wiped out everybody with one snap. I call that mercy.” This is, at best, faulty logic (“Mark David Chapman isn’t that bad; he could have killed Paul McCartney, too, but didn’t!”), but Team Give Thanos a Chance has another ally in Infinity War co-director Anthony Russo.
“One of the most unnerving things about Thanos is that there is a nobility in him… It’s not ego, it’s not power,” he explained. “He basically looks at himself as a servant and when he’s finished with his service, he rests.” (According to the “actually…” of professions, a researcher, actually… Thanos was wrong.)
This isn’t the first time Smith has spoken out about Infinity War. He also got screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Chris Markus to explain how they would fix the DC Extended Universe, and revealed that there’s one death in the film that he doesn’t buy. But that death wasn’t Thanos’ fault: he’s the good guy!