There’s no doubt about it, Thanos is a scary guy. Having him appear at a post-credits stinger at the end of The Avengers signalled to the audience that this was someone that needed to be feared. Coupled with his mentions and small appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy, we get the sense that there are none like him. After years of sitting on his throne, Thanos finally did it himself in Avengers: Infinity War, where he challenged Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (and some from outside Earth) like no one ever did before. From the opening moments, it was clear that he was not to be messed with. Not only did he take out the strongest Avenger in a few hits, but he also defeated the first villain the Avengers faced together. He was always meant to be powerful and leave an impression on the audience.
In bringing him to life on the big screen, though, Marvel had to be careful with which elements they used from the source material and which they left out. They had to fit Thanos into the confines of the MCU, or the risk of him being too strong or too weak would run wild. As such, Avengers: Infinity War carefully selected what Thanos was capable of, making him the biggest threat to the Avengers while not being too powerful that it would feel impossible. The Mad Titan had several alterations for his appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, so here are 10 ways that MCU made him overpowered and 10 ways that it weakened him.
20. STRONGER – BEATING THE HULK
The first battle we see with Thanos is when he takes on the Hulk solo. The Hulk gets a few good jabs in before Thanos quickly turns the tide and subdues him entirely. What’s most impressive is that, despite having the Power Stone, there were no visual cues that suggested he used it to gain the upper hand.
Thanos was using nothing other than his fighting experience and strength to take down the strongest superhero in the MCU. He succeeded in little time, leaving the Hulk broken and feeling down on himself. Anyone that could do that was a force worth fearing.
19. WEAKER – EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT
When compared to his comic version, Thanos had a different motivation in Avengers: Infinity War. In the comics, he did have a romantic connection, being that he was motivated by his love for Death to assemble the Gauntlet. However, that only made him more desperate to do what needed to be done.
In the film, he had a deep connection to Gamora and was constantly vulnerable whenever she was concerned. Her loss caused him to be on edge when he fought the Avengers on Titan. She was also the one person that was able to stay his hand and she could tame his ferocity for a limited amount of time.
18. STRONGER – KNOWING THE STONES’ LOCATIONS
Thanos going on his hunt for the Infinity Stones wasn’t nearly as difficult as it might’ve seemed on paper. From the first moments, it’s clear that Thanos already has a knowledge of where they all are. He starts the film with the Power Stone, then begins his quest across the universe to collect the others.
Every move he makes is because he knows where a Stone is. There isn’t any explanation as to why he knows all the locations, but it’s something that makes the situation much more dire. Granted, there wouldn’t have been enough time to show him learning about where the Stones were.
17. WEAKER – INCAPACITATED BY MANTIS
When Thanos was on Titan, he was met there by a group of Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. While deciding on how they were going to fight him, Doctor Strange devised a plan that was “the only way” out of millions of outcomes. Part of the plan was having Mantis jump on the Mad Titan’s head and weaken his mind so that he wouldn’t be able to move.
This was a way of weakening Thanos because he was known to be immune to psychological attacks in the comics, resisting tricks from much more powerful heroes. Thanos also had no telepathic abilities, which was another thing he sported in the comics.
16. STRONGER – THE CHILDREN OF THANOS
When Thanos first appeared to hunt the Infinity Stones, he did it all himself. In Avengers: Infinity War, he was backed up by Cul Obsidian, Ebony Maw, Corvus Glaive, and Proxima Midnight — the Children of Thanos.
These “lackies” gave him a presence at just about every scene in the film. Not only did they have abilities on par with most of the Avengers, but they also were every bit as unrelenting as the Mad Titan. Two of them hunted Vision on the far side of the globe, two others came to New York to take Doctor Strange. It made the job much easier for Thanos.
15. WEAKER – NO ENERGY BLASTS
Thanos was an amazing force in the comics. On top of having super strength and near invulnerability, he could channel cosmic energy through his body and use it as a weapon. With or without the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos could shoot out energy blasts to subdue his foes in seconds. He didn’t have these abilities organically in the comics, instead, gaining them through the Power Stone.
Without the Stones, Thanos was just a really strong dude with a lot of strength and intelligence. He didn’t have nearly as many powers as he did in the comics, and that was one way of balancing him with the MCU heroes.
14. STRONGER – HAVING AN ARMY
On top of having the Children of Thanos at his disposal, the Mad Titan also had an army of Outriders that would answer his call. When Vision was being holed up in Wakanda, he sent a massive army of Outriders along with his remaining Children to defeat Black Panther’s forces and reclaim the Mind Stone.
An army was something that Thanos didn’t use in the “Infinity Gauntlet” storyline, especially on such a large scale. He previously had the Chitauri army, which he used to storm other planets and cleanse them from overpopulation. He didn’t need to do a lot of the work when he had massive armies to do it for him.
13. WEAKER – OVERPOWERED BY STORMBREAKER
Thor’s arc in Infinity War had everything to do with revenge. He created a new weapon, the Stormbreaker axe, specifically to take on Thanos. Returning to Wakanda, he helped the Avengers defeat the remaining Outriders. When Thanos finally arrived, most of the Avengers were cast aside in a matter of seconds.
Thor, on the other hand, was prepared. He hurled Stormbreaker with all his might and pierced Thanos’s chest, despite the Mad Titan using the power of all Infinity Stones to try and defend himself. In the comics, Thanos would’ve been able to easily destroy Thor’s hammer without the Gauntlet.
12. STRONGER – DEFEATING DOCTOR STRANGE’S MAGIC
Doctor Strange was one of the strongest characters in the MCU. Being the master of the mystic arts, there was no telling what types of spells he had at his disposal or what sorts of magical foes he had defeated up until that point. When he was battling Thanos on Titan, he was using just about every spell he could think of, trying to trap the Mad Titan in the Mirror Dimension and even holding him back with hundreds of copies of himself.
11. WEAKER – HELD BACK BY SCARLET WITCH
When Thanos came to Wakanda, there was only one more Infinity Stone he needed — the Mind Stone. Still attached to the Vision, he made a straight shot to the android while opposed by the Avengers. After throwing them all aside, the only person that stood in his way was Scarlet Witch.
While using one arm to destroy the Mind Stone, she used the other to attack Thanos. Despite having five Stones in the Gauntlet at the time, Thanos struggled to overpower Wanda’s attack, having to use a serious amount of strength to push through it. She was only created with one Infinity Stone, while he nearly completed the Gauntlet.
10. STRONGER – DESTROYING AN ENTIRE PLANET
During the opening moments of Avengers: Infinity War, we see that Thanos has already collected the Power Stone. It was later confirmed by Thor that he destroyed Xandar to get it — this is a testament to the raw power of Thanos. This is someone who would trivially be able to obliterate an entire planet where the Nova Corps reside without giving it a second thought.
9. WEAKER – SUBDUED BY A SMALL NUMBER OF HEROES
Avengers: Infinity War brought all of the MCU heroes together for a big battle against Thanos. It was surprising, then, to see that Thanos could’ve been properly subdued with only a handful of characters in the film. On Titan, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis, and Nebula devise a plan to beat the Mad Titan and get the Gauntlet off his hands.
8. STRONGER – USING THE INFINITY STONES
This seems like a stupid point, but allow us to explain. There was a concern that, despite the fact Thanos would have the Infinity Stones, he wouldn’t use them to their full potential, leading to moments where he could’ve won but didn’t. That wasn’t the case in Avengers: Infinity War.
As Thanos gained each Stone, he not only used them as much as possible but constantly gained the upper hand. He turned Drax into ribbons, reversed time to revive Vision, and teleported every moment he got the opportunity. He wasn’t above using the cheap Stones to always get the advantage.
7. WEAKER – SENDS ARMIES TO SACRIFICE THEMSELVES
While it’s impressive that Thanos has massive armies at his disposal, there is a problem with how he seems to use them. In The Avengers, he has his entire Chitauri army travel to New York to attack the Earth. However, the mothership was just in reach but once it was destroyed, so was his army.
Likewise, he throws his entire army of Outriders to Wakanda only to lose all of them by the time Thor, Rocket, and Groot show up to clean house. For being so strategic with how he was gaining the Infinity Stones, it seems counterproductive that he would mindlessly throw entire armies into battle without having more in reserve.
6. STRONGER – TELEPORTATION FROM THE START
There was a reason that the first Infinity Stone we see Thanos take is the Space Stone. This was so the Mad Titan could teleport anywhere in the universe at the start of the film. It would make his search for the rest of the Stones much faster, as well as give the heroes a sense of urgency.
However, it was one of the many ways in which Marvel made him overpowered. The moment he grabbed the Time Stone from Doctor Strange, he teleported to Wakanda, forcing an exhausted group of Avengers to keep fighting. After he grabbed the Space Stone, he immediately went to Knowhere to get the Reality Stone.
5. WEAKER – DOESN’T CARE ABOUT HIS CHILDREN
It seems that the only person Thanos cares about is Gamora. His armies and the rest of his Children don’t seem to matter to him. When Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Doctor Strange show up on Titan, Thanos assumed that Ebony Maw was gone and didn’t seem grieved about it whatsoever. It was a strange lack of sentiment from him, considering how faithful the Children of Thanos seemed to be.
Maw, for example, never failed him before Avengers: Infinity War. However, Thanos showed no remorse over losing his Children, which led to the end of the film, where all of his armies and his generals were destroyed.
4. STRONGER – THROWING A MOON
After Star-Lord screwed up the Avengers’ plan on Titan and Thanos gained the Gauntlet back, it resulted in a brutal fight between him and Tony Stark. Stark, using every ability baked into his Bleeding Edge armor, pulled out all the stops to try and defeat him. Ready to end the fight, Thanos activates the Power Stone to break a nearby moon apart and toss it at Stark.
This display of power is a testament to the capabilities of Thanos in the film. The look on Stark’s face says it all. There seems to be nothing the Mad Titan can’t do, no obstacle he can’t overcome to get what he wants.
3. WEAKER – NO HEALING FACTOR
Thanos had an impressive healing factor in the comics — just about every wound he took was healed just a few panels later. Couple with his insane durability, and it seemed that there was no being that could destroy him. This healing factor wasn’t present in the film.
While he could take a punch, he didn’t seem to have accelerated healing. This was apparent at the end of the film, when he was relaxing on his farm. He was limping to his front porch, still in pain after the damage that the Avengers did to him, particularly Thor and Iron Man.
2. STRONGER – SURVIVING ANY ATTACK
Thanos, for all of his strength, takes a lot of damage in Avengers: Infinity War. He takes a few punches from the Hulk, gets a Necrocraft rammed into him, gets assaulted by the full power of Tony Stark and Doctor Strange, and gets an Asgardian ax to the chest.
Taking all of these punches, though, he survives all of them, mostly with ease. After all of Stark’s equipment was nearly used up, all that Thanos sports is a cut on his face. The only time he took noticeable damage was when he fought Thor right before the finger snap. Even then, he lived to fight another day.
1. WEAKER – NO FLIGHT
One of Thanos’s more useful abilities in the comics was flight. Whether through some power of levitation or channeling cosmic energy, Thanos unlocked the ability of flight, unaffected by gravity. In Avengers: Infinity War, he didn’t have the luxury of this ability, probably because it would’ve looked ridiculous seeing a massive Josh Brolin fly around through the cosmos.
However, his lack of flight actually presents a hindrance. He didn’t have a lot of mobility as a result, taking several attacks because he couldn’t get out of the way quickly enough. He could teleport to other locations, but that was a poor substitute for him.
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