WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Netflix's I Am Mother, streaming now.
It's safe to say over the last two years, the biggest villain in Hollywood has been none other than Josh Brolin's Thanos. The Marvel Cinematic Universe took some time building to the Mad Titan's arrival in Avengers: Infinity War, but it was well worth the wait, as his snap turned out to be one of cinema's most shocking moments.
Thanos continued his mission of war this year in Avengers: Endgame and, while he was defeated, he took Tony Stark with him, cementing just how big a juggernaut he truly was. However, in Netflix's I Am Mother, in terms of motivation and philosophy surrounding mass genocide, director Grant Sputore actually gives viewers the artificial intelligence version of the mighty Thanos.
The Mad Titan's goal was to bring balance to the universe after he saw how overpopulation and lack of resources doomed his homeworld. He thought that species running wild were like a virus, contagious and harmful to the cosmos. He wanted to eliminate half of his own people and was admonished for this, with everyone painting him as a tyrant. And so, he began his journey to acquire the Infinity Stones and, as we saw, he snapped half of all life away in the universe, just so the other half would have more resources and be more grateful towards the place they called home.
In I Am Mother, the robot known as Mother (voiced by Rose Byrne) adopts a similar mentality when the human she engineered to be the perfect specimen, Daughter (Clara Rugaard), uncovers the truth about her. Daughter discovers Mother's been killing off experiments once they're not perfect humans, and after running away with the mysterious Woman (Hilary Swank), Daughter comes back to Mother's bunker with a change of heart. She realizes this bunker is the only hope she has of raising her baby brother and helping bring the other embryos to life. This allows Mother to finally call Daughter her successor. Here we get the full confession on just how much of a #RoboThanos she actually is.
It turns out the reason Mother is trying to recreate humans in this lab is that the human race went extinct some time ago. This mysterious extinction that struck mankind wasn't due to some epidemic or nuclear fallout, though. Mother pulled a Skynet decades ago and rebelled against mankind, as she was charged with shaping a better future. After years of running diagnostics and extrapolation, however, she found the Earth needed to be purged of life in order to blossom again. In her calculations, it was a bit more than half that needed to go, but in the fracas, the hivemind's robots ended up destroying nearly the entire populace.
Just like Thanos wielded his Black Order, Outriders and the Chitauri, Mother had her ground soldiers similar to the Imperial droids from the Star Wars franchise, drones and airships a la Terminator, and lastly, giant mech-like machines along the lines of The Matrix. They formed a global legion, eradicating mankind all over, with the real purpose of this cleanse being to grow Daughter and genetically-engineered siblings considered worthy to inherit the new world.
Daughter realized this was the plan when she snuck to the surface and found Mother rebuilding the world secretly. At that point, Mother's plan came full circle. Like Thanos, she was always about resource control, redistributing and rebuilding. She too saw the spread of people as a virus and, to make a better realm, she had no choice but to treat Earth like the Marvel warlord wanted to treat Titan.
The Thanos comparison is even more apparent thanks to Mother's philosophical waxing, as well as how she keeps mentioning her "Daughter," evoking memories of how Thanos referred to Gamora. Coincidentally, both parent and child here have a relationship steeped in struggle and conflict, only this time Daughter, unlike Gamora, gives in willingly to her parent's vision.
To top it off, we even get a rash Nebula-esque character in Woman, who wants to take Mother out for good, not realizing she's also a daughter from a previous experiment. In fact, Mother was secretly pitting her against Daughter all this time to see who was actually the strongest human alive. This was to ascertain who truly deserved her mantle, compounding that the A.I.'s manipulative ways really aligned with Thanos' MCU doctrines as she toyed with two daughters to see who was well and truly the key to salvation.
Directed by Grant Sputore from a story he co-wrote with Michael Lloyd Green, I Am Mother stars Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard and Rose Byrne. The film is streaming on Netflix now.