I want to say upfront that I really liked Disney Marvel's The Avengers: Infinity War. It's good. It's bombastic and crazy and dumb and feels like 6 flawlessly melodramatic episodes of a TV series I've been watching for 10 years. The batshit, hilariously zero-stakes downer ending made me laugh out loud. I really had a great time watching this stupid thing.
But I also keep thinking about how weird and dumb and shitty it is that Disney Marvel Burger King's The Avengers: Fallen Kingdom straight-up told me to sympathize and identify with Thanos, Strong Father dickwipe, over and over again for hours and hours.
I can't shake that feeling. I liked it, but I can't shake that line of thinking. So I saw the movie again – like I sat through all 3 hours of this fucking movie again – just to make sure I wasn't overthinking it, and I wasn't. This movie expects me to identify with Thanos. He's the fuckin protagonist of this movie. The emotional narrative is his – he's the only character the movie has any real interest in.
That fuckin’ sucks. Why is this movie written like this?
What is this scene where he takes a child as a prisoner of war and teaches her his murderous sociopath ideology while the genocide of her people happens in rack focus background? What the fuck are we supposed to be feeling during this sequence? You're literally framing Thanos' bland, boring, predictable dad feelings front and center while an actual genocide of his own design happens behind him.
All I can think is: why are we focusing on the thing that doesn't matter? Why are we focusing on Thanos' fuckin feelings?
I can't think of a crappier way to frame genocide. I really can't. The narratives that dictators and murderers write for themselves are all framed this way, man – my stupid basic-ass sheltered feelings and my paranoid privilege and my dumbshit narcissim are all that matters, and maybe people have to die to prove it.
Really, when you think about it, it’s me that matters most. My feelings, my needs.
You see what I’m saying, right? Masculine clichés like balance, will and strength. You understand. My capacity for basic emotion means we’re even more alike than you’d want to admit.
Infinity War takes all this garbage one step further and makes us watch Thanos challenge the World's Dumbest Fuckin' Security System, an enormous rock monolith that claims to know what Love really is, guarded over by an actual Nazi from the 40s. Thanos has to “sacrifice” something so the universe itself will know how much he’s sacrificing. This is a murderous sociopath, hell-bent on remaking reality to his own whim, and these folks decided to set up a plot device where the universe itself – reality as we know it – basically has to agree that Thanos is worthy.
So he has to cry, I guess. The movie expects me to cry with him. I mean, what if I had to sacrifice my own sexy alien daughter in order to further my horseshit purity crusade? My ideals, they're so important that I'd be willing to also murder a lady I kidnapped. The disingenuous, self-serving garbage I'm selling myself about a woman I abused for 20 years is enough to convince Pride Rock that I'm worthy of the Love Stone or whatever the yellow one is. Did Thanos himself set this test up? Pretty dumb security system if it fell for this, right?
But that isn’t what we’re supposed to think, that isn’t how any of this is framed. We're supposed to think Thanos' love is real. It's supposed to be this big moment, that he really does have feelings too.
I got angrier at this stuff the second time I saw it. You might be able to tell. The movie frames this shit like I'm definitely supposed to sympathize with him. He's framed from these awestruck low angles, weeping in perpetual magic hour, Josh Brolin's CG eyes staring soulfully right into the camera. Brolin gives him this syrupy low dad voice, patriarch, father.
Wants the best for you. Only ever wanted the best for you.
Fuck that. Don’t sell me this.
Part of the reason I take this so personally is that I'm pretty certain I'm frighteningly close to the exact target demographic for this movie - a mediocre white self-important male nothing who grew up in the 1980s. If I had children capable of forcing me to buy things I'd be right in the center of the marketing bullseye for this. So I feel like I understand the implications when a marketing orgy like Avengers: Marvel Disney Infinity War tries to sell me an authoritarian genocidal sociopath as “complicated” and nuanced, ultimately a family man.
Especially in 2018 when I should know better than to sit here and fall for this story again, where a sad, angry, entitled asshole feels like he just HAS to murder his “inferiors” or things won’t be as they’re supposed to be in his dumb poisoned brain. Insisting that I sit here and consider this dude’s perspective seems wildly fucked up to me.
They don’t have to write these movies this way. I really wish they wouldn’t. I don't need this shit. Just let me clap for Thor.