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All spoilers prior to the events of Avengers: Endgame are left unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

Thanos

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thanosendgame.png
"Little one, it's a simple calculus. This universe is finite, its resources finite. If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correcting."

Species: Titan (Deviant)

Portrayed By: Damion Poitier (The Avengers), Josh Brolin (all other appearances)

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Voiced By: Klaus-Dieter Klebsch (German dub), Juan Carlos Tinoco (Latin-American Spanish dub), Jorge García Insúa (European Spanish dub), Banjo Ginga (Japanese dub), Paul Borne (European French dub)

Appearances: The Avengers | Guardians of the Galaxy | Avengers: Age of Ultron | Avengers: Infinity War | Avengers: Endgame | What If...?

"I know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail nonetheless. It's frightening, turns the legs to jelly. But I ask you, to what end? Dread it, run from it...destiny arrives all the same. And now it's here. Or should I say, I am."

A Galactic Conqueror that rules over the Chitauri and several other races, and the Overarching Villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first twenty-two films. After losing his homeworld of Titan to an Overpopulation Crisis, he became obsessed with finding six Power Crystal representations of the Powers That Be, known as the Infinity Stones, that served as Plot Devices in multiple MCU films. For instance, he lent Loki his forces in exchange for Loki promising him the Tesseract in The Avengers, and later promises Ronan the Accuser that he will destroy the homeworld of the Nova Corps in exchange for the Orb in Guardians of the Galaxy.

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His ultimate goal is to use the godlike powers the Infinity Stones will grant him to "balance the universe", saving half of sentient life from the same eventual tragedy that destroyed his people by wiping out the other.


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    Tropes # to H 
  • 0% Approval Rating: Downplayed. The guy has Chronic Getting-Backstabbed Disorder, yet the Other and most of his "Children" express nothing but utter loyalty to him even as Ebony Maw is afraid of failing him.
    • Gamora and Nebula both hate Thanos and abandon him the moment they see a chance. Gamora technically betrays Thanos twice.
    • As soon as he gains the power to destroy planets, Ronan betrays and promises to kill Thanos.
    • In The Avengers, he keeps Loki in line with the promise of a world to rule if he succeeds... and a Fate Worse than Death if he fails. In Infinity War, Loki goes out trying to kill him.
    • In Endgame, after the Decimation is reversed, practically every superhero in the universe, along with several heroic forces (Kamar-Taj, New Asgard, Wakanda, and even the Ravagers) join the Final Battle to take his 2014 self down and end the threat he poses for good.
  • Above Good and Evil: He takes no pleasure in the killings but does not view them as vile either — they are just a means to an end:
    Thanos: I'm a survivor.
    Strange: Who wants to murder trillions.
    Thanos: With all six stones, I could simply snap my fingers, and they would all cease to exist. I call that... mercy.
  • Abusive Parents: He "adopted" both Nebula and Gamora after killing their respective families. He then surgically modified both with cybernetics to become his personal enforcers. Gamora calls her time with Thanos worse than any nightmare, and Nebula states that Thanos turned her into what she is now. Vol. 2 reveals that he didn't just randomly augment them: first, he forced them to fight and whichever one lost (always Nebula) he would replace one of her body parts with cybernetics.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • He needs to clench his fist to make the Infinity Gauntlet work. Unfortunately for those that catch on to this weakness, Thanos is still freakishly strong without it.
    • Like the Hulk, Thanos is extremely physically durable, but he has no inherent psychic defenses (though he is resistant). So Mantis can stun him, at least for a time.
  • Adapted Out:
    • His incredibly petty murder of the Douglas family is excised with the changes to Drax's backstory, with their deaths instead being handled by Ronan, who was working on his behalf at the time.
    • His romance with Death, as well as the reasons for his cruelty, are likewise removed and replaced to allow for a just as vile, yet potentially more sympathetic character.
    • His brother Starfox and father Mentor are nowhere to be seen in Infinity War, what with Thanos being the absolute Last of His Kind. This also serves to disentangle Thanos from Drax's backstory, since in the comics Mentor raised Drax's daughter Heather after Thanos killed her parents. However, A'Lars is namedropped by the Red Skull as a Mythology Gag, showing that he did exist in the past.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: In the comics, Thanos is madly in love with Death and it serves as the basis for a lot of his character and his motivations as almost everything is to satisfy her and do whatever he must to achieve it and saw everyone beneath him and his love for her. However, in the film, with him being panned as more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist and lacking his comic self's romance and motivation, he comes off as a far more conflicted character: his grinning mad Blood Knight tendencies shine through in battle, and he can be exceptionally and needlessly cruel in playing with his enemies, as well as take pleasure in people's suffering. But all the same, he genuinely feels his goals are well-founded, despite how horrific they are, never disrespects anyone for standing up to him, as well as comfort them when they do lose, and he does care about others, like his daughter Gamora. The one aspect that remains unchanged, his self-loathing, is only hinted on through his conversations with his daughter, as well as what he says after he decides to kill her.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: ZigZagging. In the comics Thanos did raise Gamora through Training from Hell to make her the Universe's Deadliest Woman, but he did occasionally Pet the Dog, and he saved her life when her entire species was wiped out. Meanwhile, in this continuity, Thanos violently abducted her from her family apparently just because he could. However, it is shown that he only killed half of Gamora's people, in line with his adaptational personal philosophy.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: ZigZagging. In the comics, Thanos has a Heel–Face Turn after the events The Infinity Gauntlet, realizing he isn't worthy of the godhood granted by the Infinity Gems. Years later he becomes a villain again, but is still sometimes depicted as a Noble Demon, Depending on the Writer. In the MCU, on the other hand, Thanos's motivations are more relatable, as his aim isn't to please Mistress Death, who doesn't exist in this setting. Instead, the movie version of Thanos is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who really thinks he's doing the right thing. He isn't above complimenting or even comforting his enemies, and sees his actions as Necessarily Evil to save the universe, and they should be grateful he's doing it. This is then thoroughly trampled on in Endgame, when it becomes apparent it's all a veneer of Faux Affably Evil. The Well-Intentioned Extremist justification is just an excuse for Thanos to satisfy his selfish need for power and validation, and he would contort space-time and resort to destroying the entire universe to do it. Needless to say, he doesn't have any sort of Heel–Face Turn before his eventual death.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, after the events of The Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos comes to realize he's not worthy of wielding the god-like powers of the Infinity Gems, so he eventually becomes an Anti-Villain who often fights on the side of the heroes. In Avengers: Endgame, there is no such Heel–Face Turn: the older version of Thanos remains convinced his actions were justified, while the 2014 version is even more omnicidal than in the previous films.
  • Adaptational Wimp: While he is just as strong and skilled, the film version of Thanos lacks the mystical, psychic, and cybernetic enhancements, as well as the cosmic-level energy and molecular manipulation, from his comics counterpart, and has to rely on the Infinity Gauntlet to fire off energy blasts, create shields, or teleport.
  • Affably Evil: He's always impeccably polite and articulate to whoever he's talking to, shows respect to several of his opponents for their valiant efforts, even to a degree compassion when they inevitably fall, and genuinely regrets killing his own beloved daughter. Even at his worst, Thanos is an honest man who is never above showing respect where he feels it's warranted.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Thanos does this to comfort both Tony and Wanda, as they have earned his respect and affection after being physically and emotionally broken in their courageous final stands against him.
  • Affectionate Nickname: In private Thanos refers to Gamora as "little one" which helps emphasize his favoritism of her over his other children. He also warmly refers to Wanda as "Child", comforting her as she wept in grief after destroying Vision.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: After his present day version is beheaded, Nebula carefully closes the eyes on his severed head. Despite all the abuse he made her suffer though, she still loved her father and feels sorry for him.
  • Alien Blood: He has purple blood.
  • All Are Equal in Death: Invoked when explaining his rationale for massacring his victims to Doctor Strange. The process would have been random and free of bias towards race (unfortunately, that also includes even non-sapient animals and the tiniest of insects), gender, wealth or position of power. It matters not who dies at the end, Thanos views his work as that of the Grim Reaper herself.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: He was ostracized by his own people for his abnormal appearance. While it wasn't stated in the films, his tragic upbringing certainly shaped Thanos's current personality.
  • All There in the Manual: According to interviews with his actor, he shares his comic counterpart's history of being excluded and scorned for being a mutant, the reason behind his distinctive appearance. This hasn't come up in the films at all so far.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • In previous films, the Hulk has always been portrayed as a nigh-unstoppable force of destruction in a direct brawl. Enter Thanos, who gave the big green guy the beating of his life. It was so bad that the Hulk refused to come out again later.
    • Both Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel end up being this to him in Endgame. Wanda effortlessly ruins his mighty sword and rips his armor to shreds while levitating him into the air to the point where he needs every cannon on his warship to fire at her to throw her off balance. He also ends up having to grab the Power Stone and sucker punch Carol just to keep her from beating the crap out of him.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Has purple skin.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In the opening of Avengers: Endgame, a retired and crippled Thanos is ambushed by the Avengers, with Thor cleaving off Thanos's left arm to get at the Infinity Gauntlet. Unfortunately, it's for naught; the Gauntlet is empty, Thanos having destroyed the Infinity Stones (he had no further need of them, he wanted to remove any temptation to use them again, and wanted to prevent anyone from undoing the work he'd carried out).
  • And Then What?: Thanos has a satisfactory answer to this question. In Avengers: Infinity War, he's asked by Doctor Strange what he intend to do once he achieved his goal of wiping out half of the population of the entire universe. He calmly replies that he will sit down to watch the sunset on a now balanced universe. He does so at the end of the movie, warping to a nice-looking planet with a beautiful sunset and having a content smile on his face. In Avengers: Endgame we see he's living contentedly as a subsistance farmer.
  • Anti-Villain: Thanos sees himself as a necessary evil, for the greater good of the universe. He does not take enjoyment in spreading terror and ending lives, merely seeing himself as the only one strong willed enough to bear the burden of the responsibility. He respects those he deems worthy, even though they oppose him. Once his job is complete he retires to a peaceful planet.
  • Arch-Enemy: For the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe during the Infinity Saga where he gets in the faces of multiple characters. As a multi-species genocidaire, he racks up so many people committing themselves to his death, it borders on But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • To the Guardians of the Galaxy; Drax transfers his grudge from Ronan to Thanos, since Thanos was commanding Ronan. Both Gamora and Nebula lost their families and half their planets to Thanos's genocide before he kidnapped them, claimed them as his "daughters", and spent the entirety of their childhoods torturing them: Nebula embarks on a personal one-woman crusade to kill him, while Gamora tries (and fails) to kill him with the first opportunity she gets and voices resentment towards him whether he's present or not. He earns Star Lord's hatred after goading him into shooting Gamora (although Thanos had no intention of actually seeing her die), and sacrificing her for the Soul Stone.
    • To Thor, after he massacred half of Asgardians on his ship, including Heimdall as well as his brother Loki. Of all superheroes in Infinity War, Thor is the one most devoted to kill him. None of the antagonists he faced before, not even Malekith or Hela, elicited so much hatred from him.
    • For Iron Man once Tony learns that Thanos was responsible for the Chitauri Invasion and as such the mastermind behind the living nightmare of PTSD, paranoia, and self-destruction that nearly drove him mad from the revelation of cosmic beings and forces beyond his comprehension, almost got him killed, drove away some of his friends, almost ended his relationship with Pepper across the events of Phase Two and Phase Three. Thanos for his part sees Tony as a like-minded character who is also "cursed with knowledge" and in the end, Tony is the one who kills Thanos but dies in the process:
      Bruce Banner: He sent Loki. The attack on New York, that's him.
      Tony Stark: (look of grim determination) This is it.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Gamora, one of his adopted daughters, fights against his forces in Guardians of the Galaxy. While his other daughter Nebula continues to serve him, she really hates Thanos and turns against him as soon as she gets the opportunity, joining Ronan. By the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, both of his "favorite daughters" are actively hunting him.
  • Armor Is Useless: Invoked in Infinity War — after being able to pull off The Worf Effect on the Hulk, he decides that he no longer needs to wear his warlord armor with the power of the Infinity Stones within his reach, and he takes it off. His past self, who doesn't have the Infinity Gauntlet or any of the Stones, wears it throughout Endgame.
  • Art Evolution: The design of the Mad Titan has changed slightly over the years.
  • Artifact of Doom: Each of the Infinity Stones already qualify for this trope because of their immense powers, and the Infinity Gauntlet is an item that can contain the powers of all six. Thanos wants to assemble them in order to take over the various aspects of the universe and "rebalance" it by performing a 50% population reduction. Everywhere.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In-Universe, his idea of Population Control doesn't take into account actual population dynamics, as mentioned under Insane Troll Logic. Naturally, Endgame shows that, even while the water might be cleaner and the resources freer to use, Earth's economy has basically been destroyed and its society devastated by the loss of half of its population literally overnight.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He gains a reputation as a fearsome Galactic Conqueror because not only does he have the universe's largest army, but also he himself is a fearsome warrior. He also practices this with his children as they are given command of his army because they are capable combatants on their own. The most blatant practice of this is reflected between Gamora and Nebula. He favors Gamora over Nebula simply because Gamora is the more capable warrior.
  • Ax-Crazy: While he hides it with a calm manner, underneath that is a violent being who is willing to kill half of the universe.
  • Back from the Dead: Thor decapitates Thanos, bringing an end to the Mad Titan... Until Thanos's past self travels forward in time to kill off the remaining Avengers.
  • Badass Boast:
    • His page quote, in summation, is basically him telling the Asgardians that he's destiny incarnate.
    • In Endgame, he delivers another, more straightforward boast twice in the film:
      I am inevitable.
  • Badass Fingersnap: Using the now-completed Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos proceeds to wipe out half the universe by snapping his fingers at the end of Infinity War. His 2014 self also tries the same thing in Endgame, except Tony ripped the Stones out of his Gauntlet to install them in his armor - and thus Thanos gets to be a victim to his own fingersnap.
  • Bad Boss:
    • He makes violent, inventive threats to both Loki (through the Other) and Ronan (in person).
    • He doesn't react at all when Ronan kills the Other in front of him. Nebula at least looks up, Thanos doesn't even bother to turn around until he's ready to talk to Ronan.
    • Everyone who works for him in Guardians of the Galaxy takes the earliest possible opportunity to betray him.
    • Even Ebony Maw, his most fanatical servant we've yet seen, and who outright mentions that he has a perfect track record of service, fears the consequences of failing him, which is why he tries to get the Time Stone off Doctor Strange before reaching Titan. Interestingly, Thanos does admit finding out Maw is dead is painful for him, suggesting he did care for his "son" despite being fully willing to punish him severely for failure.
    • Outmatched by Wanda in Endgame, Thanos orders the battlefield bombarded from above, overriding Corvus Glaive's objections, in order to break her grip on him. Much of Thanos's army is destroyed in the subsequent onslaught.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: He manages to accomplish his goal at the end of Infinity War, but it costs him his army, his lieutenants, and the only adopted child of his that he loved. This ironically sets his final defeat into motion. After being killed by Thor at the beginning of Endgame, his past self in 2014 discovers his eventual victory, but he also learns of the plan to reverse of the Decimation. He travels into the future with his army intending to claim the Infinity Stones, only to be defeated by the Avengers.
  • Bald of Evil: As seen in Avengers: Infinity War, he is completely bald under his armor.
  • Battle Boomerang: Though more than capable of murdering armies with his bare hands, Thanos's signature weapon is a double-bladed sword, wielded like a staff, that can be hurled like a shuriken towards his foes and return to his hand on command.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: His greatest ambition is to "balance" the universe by wiping out half of all life, genuinely believing that the universe will be grateful. His 2014-self in Endgame discovers that he achieves his goal but only because people are so not grateful that they're traveling through time to undo the Decimation. He takes this so poorly that he goes even farther off the deep end.
  • Believing Their Own Lies:
    • He genuinely believes his own Insane Troll Logic despite having the absurdity of it pointed out several times, often brushing off criticism from various heroes as just them being weak-willed.
    • He genuinely believes that he has always been impersonal and held no ill will to the countless victims he has slaughters, but his behavior reveals a sadist Blood Knight.
  • Big Bad: Serves as the main villain of Avengers: Infinity War, where he finally gets his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet, and with it, the power to bring the Universe back into balance. In Avengers: Endgame his present self is killed very early on, but then his 2014 self learns of the Avengers using time travel to undo what he did and ends up becoming the Big Bad for the rest of the movie.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Drax and Doctor Strange come at Thanos with knives and magical blades respectively when Spider Man webs his eyes. He still counters every single one of their strikes.
  • Bling of War: He wears a suit of golden armor, which looks both fancy and intimidating, but he discards it in Infinity War as a sign that he no longer needs armor, he just needs the Infinity Stones; for that matter the Infinity Gauntlet is also fancy and gold. His past self still wears the armor in Endgame, and keeps wearing it into the final battle.
  • Blood Knight: The only times Thanos is actively enjoying himself is when he gets to personally fight against someone who can provide a challenge. When the Hulk attacks him on the Statesman (the Asgardian refugee transport ship), Cull Obsidian makes a move to intervene, but Ebony Maw stops him, telling the brute to "let [Thanos] have his fun." Thanos proceeds to go to town on the Hulk. He also enjoyed Iron Man's Last Stand against him.
  • Body Horror: Using the Infinity Gauntlet's full power barbecues Thanos's left arm and severely damages the Gauntlet, and using it again to destroy the Stones inflicts even more damage (near-fatal, by Thanos's admission), fusing the Gauntlet to Thanos's arm and causing the burns to extend to his face.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Favors employing women as his agents and enforcers, adopting various "daughters" he conditions into living weapons.
  • Bond One-Liner: After killing Loki, he has only this to say:
    "No resurrections this time..."
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • His fighting style revolves around using simple yet practical punches. Getting the Infinity Stones does not change that, since he tends to favor using the Power Stone to overwhelm enemies and the Space Stone to make up for his lack of range, while forgoing the Reality Stone.
    • Notably, the only time he really deviates from this straight-forward approach is on Titan, where he is being assaulted by several co-ordinated heroes at once, in particular Dr Strange who is an unpredictable and powerful opponent. At that point Thanos has to use more creative attacks to keep them at bay, such as creating a flock of bat-like creatures, and to counteract Dr Strange, such as when he knocks Strange's soul out of his body.
  • Bring It: His reaction to learning that attacking Earth is tantamount to a Suicide Mission is to grin.
    • Shouts "Come on!" towards an incoming Iron Man at the beginning of their one-on-one fight.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The heroes think that they can beat him by taking away the Infinity Gauntlet. They forget he's still eight feet of pure muscle capable of beating the crap out of the Hulk in less than a minute.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Thanos has a fondness for young children (even if he does turn out to be a horrible father later on), and isn't afraid to be seen shedding sincere tears when it turns out he has to kill Gamora in order to obtain the Soul Stone.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    • Prior to coming to learning his 2018 counterpart's fate and the fallout of the plan in the five intervening years, Thanos's galactic conquering ways were impersonal. He was simply imparting the "blessing" of balance on any world he traveled to and the victims left in his wake are merely the steps necessary to correct a cosmic mistake. However given Earth's stubborn refusal and defiance in the face of such a "wonderful gift", he says that anything he brings upon them in particular will be taken with great personal delight.
    • A rather humorous example during the Battle of Earth in Endgame. This Thanos would have no idea where these massive armies teleporting in to oppose him came from but he's committed so much genocide on so many worlds that by this point he doesn't even look surprised.
    • Played with in the scene of 2014 Thanos meeting an infuriated Scarlet Witch plays off of this trope, with him not recognizing her, but that's because she thinks she's talking to the 2018 Thanos who actually killed the Vision, while his past counterpart never met her.
  • Call to Agriculture: As he states in Infinity War, he just wants to complete his universal winnowing and then retire to some quiet world to live out the rest of his days in peace. He's shown doing just that in the film's final pre-credits shot and at the beginning of Endgame. His simple life doesn't last long.
  • Can't Take Criticism: He brushes off any attempts by other characters to explain just how insane his plan for the universe is, and responds to the fallout of his present self's actions by planning to start the universe from scratch with himself as a beloved hero. It's revealed that this attitude stems from how his suggestion to cull the population of Titan was rejected. Thanos is fundamentally incapable of admitting that his ideas can fail, let alone that there are situations he can't solve himself, even with all his power.
  • Cassandra Truth: He warned the people of his planet they were heading for destruction due to overpopulation and suggested half the species be exterminated to let the other half survive. He was called mad. In the present, Titan is a lifeless ball of rock strewn with wreckage — and not because Thanos killed all his own people for not listening, either. He was correct.
  • Chair Reveal: We get our first full glimpse of Thanos when Ronan kills his enforcer and asks him to directly address him, cue a slow swivel and we see Thanos in the flesh.
  • Character Development: The key difference between the sympathetic, almost Tragic Hero Thanos that triumphs at the end of Avengers: Infinity War and the cold-blooded murderer in the finale of Endgame, hell-bent on wiping out an "ungrateful" universe and replacing it with a "grateful" one is learning the concepts of love and grief. In sacrificing Gamora to obtain the Soul Stone and losing most of his army and children to obtain the rest, Thanos has learned the finality and inconsolable pain of losing that which you love, so even when battling the heroes of the galaxy, he was sympathetic to them. On the other hand, the 2014 Thanos that appears in Endgame has never learned the concept of love and compassion through the pain of grief, and hence remains an egotistical, monomaniacal, deluded murderer and psychopath to his last breath.
  • The Chessmaster: Having closely monitored the Infinity Stones for over a decade and pinpointed each of their locations, Thanos has orchestrated numerous invasions to ensure they fall under his control. Come Infinity War, Thanos manages to locate and claim each of the Stones over the course of about a week, completing his goal in one fell swoop before any force significant enough to stop him can be mustered.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: After he performs the Snap, the half-melted Gauntlet fuses with his hand, and he can't remove it even to do mundane things like farming.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: As revealed in Guardians of the Galaxy, he subjected even his favorite daughter Gamora to it.note  As she notes in Avengers: Infinity War, he kills and tortures, and he calls it mercy. His on-screen victims include Thor whom he slowly burns with the Power Stone and Nebula whom he literally disassembles to extract an Infinity Stone or information about it from their siblings. He also has no qualms with the methods of Ebony Maw, one of his Children. Maw warns Doctor Strange that he'd only wish he were dead before piercing him with numerous sharp needles to make Strange give up the Time Stone.
  • Cold Equation: Thanos's personal philosophy applies this on a cosmic scale — half the life in the universe should be purged to let the other half live longer. Of course, Endgame shows that the "simple calculus" of his plan is actually complete madness driven by megalomaniacal lunacy and will result in nothing but a severely devastated Earth, not to mention the rest of the universe.
    Thanos: Little one, it’s a simple calculus. This universe is finite; its resources, finite... If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correcting.
  • Cold Ham: While there are moments that he lets a bit loose (such as when he threatens Ronan), overall, he is rather quiet and composed, even when delivering normally bombastic lines.
  • Colony Drop: He uses the Power and Space Infinity Stones in tandem to rip an entire moon out of orbit and drop its shattered remains on the good guys.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Thanos isn't one to treat all battles like games despite his already impressive capabilities. He doesn't prolong fights and makes sure that his opponent won't be getting up. He curb-stomped Hulk during his first onscreen fight by simply outfighting him and would've killed him if not for Heimdall's intervention.
    • He also used the power of the Infinity Gauntlet more as he acquired more of the stones. However, he tended to utilize the Power Stone most because it was simple to use and gives his already monstrous strength a massive boost.
    • When Wanda has him on the ropes during the final battle, he isn't shy to order orbital bombardment as a distraction, his own troops be damned.
    • Since Carol was holding his hand open like Steve did in Infinity War during the final battle of Endgame, preventing him from triggering anything with the gauntlet, he simply rips the Power Stone out of the gauntlet then punches her with it in his palm.
  • Composite Character: His motive of balancing the universe by wiping out half of its life is similar to how Mistress Death, who he was in love with in the comics, seeks a balance between life and death in the universe.
  • Conflict Killer: Downplayed. His presence renders the Sokovia Accords, as well as Zemo's actions, largely moot. The Avengers (and all the other Earth-based heroes) have no choice but to unite to avoid the destruction of half the universe regardless of their remaining personal differences. Downplayed because, had they been united from the start, they likely could have mounted a more effective defense.
  • Conqueror from the Future: Inverted. In Endgame his past self from 2014, at a time when he was still a conqueror with vast armies, discovers his fate and the reversal of the Decimation in the future. He leads his armies into the future intending to claim the Infinity Stones and to destroy Earth once and for all.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: As the final main villain of the Infinity Saga, he serves as a nice contrast to nearly every villain that came before him.
    • To Ultron from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Both are Dark Messiahs who believe their genocidal actions would lead to utopia, yet their methods and personalities are drastically different.
      • Ultron's vision is limited to Earth, whereas Thanos's ambitions extend across the entire universe.
      • While both are cynics, Ultron's cynicism stems from seeing the world on the internet just moments after being born and lacked the emotional maturity to find the positive aspects of humanity. Thanos's cynicism stems from years if not centuries of experiencing the downfall of civilisations, starting with his own homeworld.
      • While Ultron seeks to bring about humanity's extinction, Thanos is trying to prevent all life from going extinct, albeit through very twisted means.
      • Ultron takes a more hands-on approach in achieving his goals and battles the Avengers head-on, while Thanos primarily relies on his subordinates and allies to collect the Infinity Stones for him. It is only when they either fail or betray him that Thanos decides to take matters in his own hands.
      • Ultron was a relatively light-hearted and comedic villain with some dark and serious moments, while Thanos is a more serious villain with some darkly comedic moments. Ultron is prone to making humorous quips and one-liners before proceeding to do something horrible, such as going from snarking to Klaue to cutting his arm off in a flash. Thanos does the opposite, finding humour in situations that would dread or shock others, best seen in Troll below.
    • Compared to the two previous Avengers film antagonists, Thanos also stands out as a villain who doesn't use manipulation to tear the heroes apart. That already being accomplished in Captain America: Civil War.
    • Also one to Ego for the Guardians. They are both the last of their kind of a race of powerful beings, sought for infinite power and are willing to use their own children, and sacrifice the ones they loved most to get their objectives even if it pains them. But while Ego's goal was driven by his narcissism by assimilating himself with the universe, Thanos is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who sought the Infinity Stones to save the universe via Population Control. While Ego is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who conceals his monstrous personality behind a jovial facade, Thanos makes no reservations that he is absolutely ruthless in achieving his goals. Ego is hammy whereas Thanos is more reserved. Thanos for all of his faults does have a sense of honour and respect for his enemies if they truly impress him, whereas Ego saw all other lifeforms as beneath him, with even his own son Peter ultimately being nothing more than a means to an end. Unlike Ego, Thanos knows full well that what he's doing is morally questionable, but saw it as a Necessary Evil. Realizing that only eliminating half of sentient life in the universe leaves the other half vengeful and determined to bring them back, his 2014 self decides that the only real way to deal with this is to break down the current universe entirely and then fill it back up again with half as many beings, none of whom remember his action. In this way, he ends up sharing Ego's ultimate goal that civilization cannot exist as it is and needs a reset.
    • He even ends up being one to Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger from Iron Man. Both are powerhungry leaders with a Bald of Evil and a noteworthy feature on their chin (Obadiah has a beard, Thanos has skin markings), they both use other people as mere assets to their goals, and of course they both served as Iron Man's Arch-Enemy. However, their ways are also very different: Obadiah was just some Corrupt Corporate Executive who wanted to take over Stark Industries and utilize Tony's arc reactor and research to create a new generation of weapons, making him only a nation-scale villain. Thanos, on the other hand, is a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist who is an universal-scale villain, wanting to wipe out half of the entire universe to "correct" it. Thanos has also shown to have developed over the years, as his 2014 self in Endgame was a brutal, tyrannical, genocidal beast who plotted to destroy the entire universe when shown outright that his philosophy fails on every level, while in Infinity War he just sticks to his guns of just halving the universe, with Gamora's sacrifice giving him more perspective of his doings, thus mellowing him out much more and even allowing him to feel Sympathy for the Hero. Stane presumably did not, only having enjoyed the authority of being CEO of Stark Industries, and having gained that position through being a fake family friend.
    • He serves as one to himself in Endgame compared to his present incarnation in Infinity War. 2018 Thanos goes to great lengths to hold himself to his original goal: to "save" the universe and afterwards, disappear into relative obscurity. 2014 Thanos abandons his original good intentions, and vows to completely destroy the universe and fill it with new life in order to erase the memory of his genocide. In contrast to his 2018 self who still holds a degree of respect and even sympathy for his enemies, 2014 Thanos is more brutal and condescending. Even their fighting styles are different. Due to having the gauntlet and stones in hand, 2018 Thanos primarily relies on its power for creative ranged attacks such as a black hole vortex and crashing meteors. 2014 Thanos due to not having the gauntlet yet relies more on his close combat skills, showing deadly efficiency with his double-bladed sword.
      • Hell, in Infinity War, his past self, emulating a hero's determination, actively works hard by himself to achieve his goal of collecting all the stones in a gauntlet (whose creation he was involved in), while his past self in Endgame simply sits, waits and expects Nebula to hand a similar gauntlet (of someone else's design) on a silver platter, as if he was entitled to have it. Though one can argue that the past Thanos was simply opting for a simple, pragmatic path of least resistance by having his underling collect all the stones in one place for him, as opposed to his current self's willingness to tear through his enemies the hard way to the stones one by one via a direct, brute force approach as well.
  • Cool Chair: A hovering throne made of rock. Doesn't look like it'd be comfortable, but impressive nonetheless. He also has a very austere anchored one on the Sanctuary II.
  • Cool Starship: The Sanctuary II. It's absolutely gargantuan, completely dwarfing the already big escape ship carrying the Asgardian survivors.
  • Cool Sword: His past self wields one in Avengers: Endgame, as he doesn't have possession of any Infinity Stones at that point in time. He uses it to take on Captain America, Iron Man and Thor singlehandedly, even destroying Cap's unbreakable vibranium shield with it.
  • Crazy Sane: It is very clear that the fall of Titan, his home planet, drove him insane, leaving him obsessed with proving his ideology correct. Amazingly enough, he is able to rationalize his insanity into quite the efficient motivation for balancing the universe, coming across as an Officer and a Gentleman rather than the raving, foaming in the mouth Mad Titan one would expect when he discusses his way of thinking.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: His bright blue eyes glow slightly.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Thanos flat out calls his mass killings a "mercy" as the following generations will be free from the current one's resource shortages. Gamora remarks that in his twisted logic even his willingness to torture is a mercy.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: At the start of Infinity War, Thanos almost effortlessly puts down the Hulk, which really sets the tone for his fights moving forward. Once he arrives on Earth, he single-handedly takes down all the Avengers with little effort to obtain the Mind Stone from Vision.
    • He is on the receiving end, with all six Infinity stones from a Stormbreaker-wielding Thor. He only survives thanks to snapping his fingers.
    • His 2014 incarnation is also on the receiving end at the hands of a resurrected Scarlet Witch, who effortlessly wrecks his sword and nearly tears him apart.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: The combined might of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Star-Lord, Drax, Mantis and Nebula manage to land a number of good hits on him during their fight on Titan, and even manage to immobilize him and come within seconds of getting the Infinity Gauntlet off of him. Nevertheless, he comes out of that whole battle with nothing more than a small scratch that took a full-on assault from Iron Man to get, meaning it was unlikely they were ever going to win even if they had succeeded in separating him from the Gauntlet.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • A deliberate example, Played for Drama. As noted under the Artistic License – Biology and Insane Troll Logic, when he completes the Infinity Gauntlet, he can literally do anything; like making all resources infinite. However, his traumatic background as his species’ sole survivor gives him an extreme case of tunnel vision that blinds him from utilizing such power towards any constructive ends. This lack of imagination actually makes him seem more sympathetic then he would otherwise be, as if he’s forever trapped by his belief that his own inability to act is what truly doomed his people.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Endgame. As revealed by Word of God, his ship has resources for mass-production. That means that he was able to replicate the Pym Particles enough to send his entire army and ship to another universe without using a single Infinity Stone. That means he could have mass-produced resources on a global scale but being, well Thanos, he opts to use the far more unnecessary and conservative method of culling.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The destruction of Titan from overpopulation, and his subsequent exile in trying to save it are what have created Thanos's modus operandi and his endgame for the entire universe in the present.
  • Dark Messiah: An almighty crusader whose convictions are as absolute as he is powerful, setting forth to bring self-described "salvation" to the Universe through merciless bloodshed and cruelty.
  • Dead Alternate Counterpart: After the death of the Post-Snap Thanos, his counterpart from 2014 travels forward in time to finish the job.
  • Deader Than Dead: Not only has his prime timeline self been decapitated by Thor, but his past self has also been turned to ash by Iron Man's final snap.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Thanos shows some dry wit when dealing with Loki in Infinity War, taking a shot at Loki's failure to keep the Tesseract or conquer Earth when the God of Mischief claims to have "experience" with Earth.
      Thanos: If you consider failure "experience".
    • The skirmish on Knowhere features a few moments of snark from Thanos; during his illusory confrontation with the Collector, Thanos responds to Tivan's asking why he'd lie by quipping "I imagine it's like breathing for you", and when confronted by Gamora and Star-Lord, Thanos casually calls the latter "the boyfriend", acting as if he's a normal father being introduced to his daughter's new boyfriend.
  • Deal with the Devil:
    • He's the devil in his arrangement with Loki, a deal which is skewed in Thanos's favour; in return for help in conquering a planet that Thanos has no reason to care about (yet), Thanos gets an Infinity Stone. Besides which, as Loki would have used a Chitauri army to conquer Earth, Thanos (who provided the army) would still be in a position of power over him. Not to mention, the Mind Stone that Thanos gave Loki secretly influenced his mind.
    • In contrast, Ronan is the devil when Thanos makes a deal with him (Ronan gets him the Orb, and Thanos will destroy Xandar) as Ronan is short-tempered, impulsive, and egotistical. When Ronan realizes he can use the Orb to destroy Xandar, he calls it off and vows to kill Thanos for belittling him.
  • Deconstruction: Of the Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! vigilantism just about all the heroes also subscribe to. He's so certain due to losing his people and his The Needs of the Many philosophy that he's doing the right thing that he's become an Omnicidal Maniac. This, despite just about everyone else telling him he's not just wrong but gone completely insane.
  • Defiant to the End: When the Avengers finally corner him in his retirement house, he doesn't really fight back or beg for mercy. Instead, he told them bluntly that it's impossible to undo his work since he already destroyed the Infinity Stones, and proclaims "I am inevitable." He does soften his stance to give Nebula his gratitude at her corroborating his statement.
  • Dented Iron: At the close of Infinity War, Thanos, although victorious, is left with a severely burned arm and is visibly weakened by the near-fatal blow Thor landed with Stormbreaker. After using the Infinity Stones again, the damage extended to the left side of his body, and he could barely put up any resistance when the Avengers come knocking.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In Endgame, he has a rather redundant line meant to drive home the (seeming) finality of his actions in Infinity War:
    Thanos: I used the Stones to destroy the Stones.
  • Determinator: Thanos's unbreakable will is one of his greatest assets. Mantis, who was able to force Ego, a powerful Celestial, to sleep with her powers, struggles to do much more than immobilize Thanos, and even then, he's conscious enough to struggle against his enemies and even speak, albeit with difficulty. Even having Stormbreaker buried halfway through his chest didn't stop Thanos; though critically wounded and barely able to speak, he still managed to use the Infinity Gauntlet to fulfill his goal and escape to a safe place to heal himself.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Thanos believed that with the Infinity Stones gone, nothing could undo the Snap, and he died believing that his work was done and would always be done; Scott Lang's sojourn to the quantum realm and the subsequent discovery of time travel proved him wrong.
    • At the climax of Endgame, Iron Man being able to steal the Infinity Stones right out of the Nano Gauntlet clearly came out of left field for Thanos, and he's left staring in shock when Stark uses them for the Snap that destroys Thanos and his entire army.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Hits in Endgame. While Thanos did achieve his goal of wiping out half the life in the universe with his victims chosen at random, he thought he would be leaving the survivors A World Half Full. In practice he created a Crapsack World where people watched friends and loved ones die before their eyes without cause or reason, and government and infrastructure fell apart on a global scale. While the environment and wildlife may be recovering, humanity as a species is struggling to not fall over the Despair Event Horizon, and it's a losing battle. It's also implied Earth is relatively well-off compared to the rest of the universe, because Earth has the Avengers and other heroes left trying to keep order and inspire hope, other planets aren't so fortunate. Thanos may have done what he set out to do, but the survivors were certainly not grateful, the universe didn't suddenly become more prosperous for his "mercy", and his actions directly caused destruction and chaos on a scale he didn't intend.
  • Dies Wide Open: His present self has this when he is decapitated, eyes open and all. Subverted with his 2014 self, who bows his head and closes his eyes just when he's turning into dust, completely demoralized by his defeat.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The role his present day self plays to his 2014 self in Endgame. When the Avengers come to him, he is in no shape to put off any resistance due to having destroyed the Stones and it having almost killed him. When Thanos of 2014 learns of the Avengers using time travel to recover the Stones, he ends up as the Big Bad for the rest of the movie.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: Witnesses his own decapitation through Nebula's memory archives. He takes watching his demise incredibly well, all things considered. Realizing what the Avengers are up to, on the other hand... That's a different story.
  • Double Weapon: Thanos's most fearsome Weapon of Choice is his double-bladed sword-staff which allows him to single-handedly beat Tony Stark, Captain America and Thor while all three confronted him at once. It is a weapon fit for the Mad Titan, being heavy but expertly used (he can throw it like Captain America throws his shield), and being made of metal awesome enough to cut through vibranium, destroying Cap' shield. Thanos didn't make use of it during his quest for the Infinity Stones (not in any of the onscreen events seen in Infinity War anyway), but his time-transported 2014 self gleefully does against the Avengers when invading the post-snap Earth in Endgame.
  • The Dreaded: He didn't earn his title of "the Mad Titan" by kicking grass.
    • His minions are terrified of him. Just standing up caused The Other to hastily duck his head.
    • Loki was intimidated by the Other's threats of Thanos's wrath.
    • Korath briefly tried to talk Ronan out of betraying the Titan, warning "Thanos is the most powerful being in the universe".
    • Ronan himself, when face-to-face with Thanos, also recoils in fear when Thanos speaks down to him. But once he got the Power Stone, even Thanos can't intimidate him.
    • In the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket states he knows perfectly well who Gamora is — "the lackey of a genocidal maniac", and that the fame of Thanos and his Children is so widespread that "anyone who's anyone" knows that.
    • At the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Gamora flat-out states that she doesn't know if it's even possible to kill him.
    • After curb-stomping the Hulk, even the Hulk is afraid and doesn't want to come out and fight.
    • Ebony Maw is afraid of Thanos's "judgement" in case he doesn't retrieve the Time Stone from Doctor Strange.
    • After the normally stoic Nebula becomes trapped in the past with him and realizes that Thanos now knows what The Avengers are up to, she freaks the hell out and desperately tries to warn her team mates to no avail.
  • Duality Motif: Thanos' obsession with balancing the scales revolves around splitting things in twain and watching one prosper and the other fail. His ultimate goal in using the Infinity Gauntlet is to eradicate half of all the universe's life, but even before that, he was on a decades-long campaign involving the same kind of slaughter city by city, evenly dividing populations and killing one half. He subjects his two surrogate daughters to a microcosm of this design, playing the favorite with Gamora while constantly subjecting Nebula to torture and modification. Two Thanoses are shown in Endgame. Half of the body of his present self is severely scorched due to using the Gauntlet twice. His past self has a double-edged sword with the handle in the middle, signifying how he sees life as two sided; one side that must be exterminated, and the other to thrive.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Thanos's conversation with Gamora aboard the Sanctuary II implies that Thanos is more than a little annoyed that people don't appreciate the efforts he's gone to in order to save the universe from itself. He emphasizes that it was his actions that turned the Zehoberi homeworld from an overcrowded planet on the brink of collapse into a veritable paradise, sounding agitated at Gamora's lack of gratitude.
    • Confronted by the Avengers in the opening scene of Endgame, Thanos is angered that they don't appreciate his efforts to "correct" the universe, but consoles himself with the knowledge that the Infinity Stones are gone and there's nothing they can do about it.
      Banner: You murdered trillions!
      Thanos: You should be grateful!
    • His motivation in Endgame changes from wiping out half of the universe to completely remaking it with beings that would only be grateful to him because even if he succeeds with his original plan, beings like the Avengers will not feel grateful to him for their loss and will seek ways to undo his work.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: While he doesn't become a key player until Phase 3, he does appear in The Avengers in a cameo during The Stinger, and the same is also true for Avengers: Age of Ultron. He later has another appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy in a larger (but still fairly minor) role.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Thanos's design went through a few significant changes.
    • The Avengers: He was portrayed by an actor with prosthetics and makeup instead of being entirely CGI. As a result, he had smaller, skinnier hands and a much slimmer face than the comics version. He also had blue eyes with white sclera instead of red eyes with black sclera and pink skin instead of purple.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy, Age of Ultron: He is an entirely CGI creation portrayed by Josh Brolin through motion capture. Here, he is much closer to his comics design, having a bulkier build, purple skin, and black sclera instead of white sclera. He still keeps the blue eyes, though.
    • Infinity War, Endgame: His armor and body are more streamlined so that he looks more like a proportionally large human rather than something like the Hulk and his helmet has changed from being comics-accurate like the previous designs into more of a standard war helmet. His face looks more similar to Josh Brolin's face and his eyes are more human-looking, with white sclera and less brighter brown irises. In addition, his skin is pinker while still being a lighter shade of purple.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: His personality and motives weren't fully fleshed out and explained until Infinity War, so a few things about him given in earlier films don't quite line up with what we got there.
    • The Other's warning "to challenge [the humans] is to court death" is a Mythology Gag to the comics where Thanos is in love with the personification of Death, and he gathered the Infinity Gems and used the Gauntlet to kill half the life in the universe to prove himself to her. With her being Adapted Out of the MCU and Thanos's motivation for killing half the universe being entirely different, this line ends up out of place.
    • In Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos's seat of power is an asteroid field. In Infinity War his command center is a giant space battleship, and Gamora's dialogue about the throne in it implies this has always been his seat of power. Considering his status as an Evil Overlord, however, Thanos probably just owns more than one throne in several segments of his Empire, as many rulers do/did in Real Life.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy spoke of Thanos as a brutal and power-hungry Evil Overlord Galactic Conqueror. Infinity War expands his personality to the point that this description, while not inaccurate, is a gross oversimplification.
  • Empathic Weapon: The Infinity Gauntlet, which allows him to wield the Infinity Stones via thought alone, but a special mention goes to the Soul Stone, which appears to be sentient. It is the only stone that requires a ritual sacrifice to obtain and is powered by the individual sacrificed to obtain it... which in Thanos's case is his daughter, Gamora. He talks to her as a child after gaining the Soul Stone's power. As explained by one of the directors:
    Joe Russo: Thanos goes to the Soul Stone itself to speak to his dead daughter. Obviously it has the ability to resurrect and conjure the spiritual representation of people who are dead.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: By default Thanos serves as this since he is an Omnicidal Maniac whose M.O. is to indiscriminately murder half a planet’s population once he invades. By the end of Infinity War he fully embraces this role once he murders half of the entire universe to prevent an Overpopulation Crisis from the other half.
  • Energy Weapon: His Infinity Gauntlet fitted with the Power Stone. Aside from augmenting his punches, it allows him to make use of Hand Blast, create shockwaves strong enough to destroy a starship, manipulate energy like the fire from a bomb and then redirect it, or even destroy things from afar.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: His Children come from all species and creeds and are both male and female.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Thanos's first appearance in The Stinger of The Avengers serves as a prelude for the threat he poses; upon being informed of Loki's failure and the Other's belief that challenging Earth and the Avengers is tantamount to courting death, Thanos smiles at the prospect.
    • His first scene in Infinity War quickly demonstrates some of Thanos's most important qualities: having already decimated the Asgardians and curb-stomped Thor offscreen, he delivers a speech that is equal parts expressing sympathy for his victims and boasting of his own power. Before he proceeds to subdue the Hulk with ease and kill Heimdall, he forces Loki to surrender the Tesseract in exchange for sparing Thor's life, a promise that Thanos keeps, although he kills Loki and, after commanding his children to secure the Time and Mind Stones on Earth, destroys the Asgardian ship before departing. Also, the fact he already has the Power Stone by the beginning of the film, he has already wiped out the Nova Corps, which is later confirmed by Thor. In one scene (the opening scene, no less), Thanos is established as an incredibly powerful and ruthless Hero Killer, but also a man of his word who is not without a sense of compassion, even if it's inseparable from his cruelty.
  • Even Evil Can Be Loved: Despite all the horrible things he did on Gamora, she still cares about him and is greatly remorseful when she mistakenly thought she finally killed him. Likewise, Nebula sheds a tear and closes his eyes after Thanos gets his head chopped off by Thor.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Despite his ruthlessness, he cares for and loves Gamora in his own ways. He cries tears of remorse when he decides to sacrifice her for the Soul Stone. After losing her, he admits that the cost for universal balance is a painful one.
    • In Endgame, he realizes how much of an ass he’s been to Nebula after she reveals to everyone that for all the bad qualities he’s had, dishonesty was never one of them, and thanks her for it, before telling her he may have treated her too harshly. Thor beheads him before he can do anything else.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He strongly opposes unnecessary killing and insists that the deaths of his victims are for the greater good of the survivors. That being said, he hates Ronan for being a genocidal jerkass.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When he learns of the Avengers' plans to undo his original plan for wiping out half the universe, he dismisses them as ungrateful, failing to realize that half the universe constituted their friends and comrades. Furthermore, it occurs to neither of his present nor past selves that people would be anything but grateful for a less populated and more resource-rich universe when everyone's friends and family suddenly disappears into dust all at once.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • To Tony Stark/Iron Man. They are both visionaries that want what is best for their civilizations at large and used unorthodox methods in their own ways: Thanos became an Evil Overlord that thinks that mass-murder is the first, best and only solution to the problems he wants to solve, while Tony became a Science Hero who done his fair share of good deeds thanks to his super-heroics and philanthropy to improve society in anyway he can. Thanos realizes this similarity when he confronts Tony and shows some respect for him.
      Thanos: Stark.
      Tony: You know me?
      Thanos: I do. You're not the only one who's cursed with knowledge.
      Tony: My only curse is you.
    • To Doctor Strange. Both men want to bring stability to chaos and are willing to go through dangerous and extreme methods in order to accomplish this goal. But Doctor Strange is self-sacrificing, willing to trust others enough to hear their ideas, and use his powers as a guiding hand to find a peaceful solution. While Thanos has lost faith in everyone else, and therefore believes that only his Totalitarian Utilitarian mindset can bring balance to the universe.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: A mix of both types. The prospect of death and destruction is about the only thing that can make him crack a smile. When Thor nearly kills by impaling him on Stormbreaker, he grimly smiles and says "You should've gone for the head" before using the Infinity Gauntlet to wipe out half the universe.
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's about the same height as the tallest hero in the series, the Hulk. Star-Lord and Thor, played by two of the tallest actors in the MCU, can look him in the eye when he's down on one knee.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy:
    • Thanos makes it clear that while Ronan has his backing now, if he screws up too much, he's fired.
    • Thanos's own belief in this leads him to destroy the Infinity Stones, as he believes nobody, including himself, should be tempted by the omnipotence they offer.
  • Evil Is Petty: The main difference between 2018 Thanos and 2014 Thanos. 2018 Thanos is far more introspective and empathic, having been genuinely distraught at having to kill Gamora and losing all of his Children, in addition to realizing that the Avengers were warranted in wanting revenge and that he had treated Nebula horribly before being beheaded, remaining calm and composed until the very end. In contrast, 2014 Thanos has a pronounced streak of cruelty and open vindictiveness, as he reacts to the realization that the Avengers were going to try to stop him no matter what he did by expressing that he was going to enjoy razing Earth in a way that he had never enjoyed any other conquest.
  • Evil Overlord: Thanos has entire planet-conquering armies, a personal retinue of Bodyguard Babes, and scares the hell out of anyone who's ever worked for him.
  • Evil Plan: All of his schemes, conquest, murder, and torture has one goal in mind; a balanced universe. This plan drives the plot of Infinity War (and many other MCU movies as well).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Has a very deep, booming voice.
  • Evil Virtues: Compassion, courtesy, conviction, courage, diligence, honor, kindness, love, perseverance, respect, selflessness, truthfulness; had all these virtues not been drowned in an ocean of inconsolable cynicism, fatalism, grief, and guilt (plus a willingness to torture people at the drop of a hat), Thanos would have had the makings of a truly noble hero among heroes.
  • Exact Words:
    • If he says he's going to not kill you then he won't, at least not directly (he left Thor behind on a burning ship). On the other hand, never assume he is going to spare anyone without getting his word on it first, this was Eitri's mistake as he relates he "thought" Thanos would spare the dwarf workers.
    • He agrees with Dr. Strange to spare Tony's life. However, he leaves the man stranded on a desolate ruined planet with apparently no way off.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: During his time as a galactic warlord, Thanos wielded a massive, double-bladed sword longer than he is tall (which makes it twice as big as most humans) that was sharp, heavy, and durable enough to slice right through vibranium, the strongest metal on Earth.
  • The Extremist Was Right:
    • He warned his people that they were heading for their destruction through overpopulation and proposed his plan to genocide half their race to let the other half survive, only to be called mad and ignored. When his people promptly died out, just as he'd predicted, he took this as a validation of his extremist beliefs. No matter what criticisms or alternative solutions the heroes may give to him, Thanos only sees them as childish naivety repeating the same mistakes as his people.
    • Subverted in regards to Zen-Whoberi. Thanos claims that after he killed half the population, Gamora's homeworld went from The End of the World as We Know It where millions were starving to a near-Utopia where no-one ever has to worry about food. However, as Gamora, points out, killing half the population wasn't necessarily the only means to get there. Moreover, Word of Godinvoked confirms that Thanos's telling of the events that transpired might not be entirely accurate.
    • Played With in Endgame with the world 5 years after the snap. While far from the paradise that Thanos envisioned, the world is showing the basic results that Thanos predicted. The survivors have learned to adapt and show more acceptance, the world environment is improving, endangered species are beginning to recover. The only thing Thanos didn't count on was that people don't just forget death on the scale he caused, or get over the loss of loved ones, friends, and other near and dearest.
    • In either case, Tony Stark and the other Avengers, simply opt to bring back the dusted and fallen and not undo the Decimation itself and the five years worth of real-world consequences it unleashed across the cosmos. The fallout of that event for one thing did provide some positive consequences, such as Whales in the Hudson, and Tony finally starting a family and having a child, that the Avengers do no want to undo.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • In the opening of Endgame, he's defeated by the Avengers rather quickly. Since he no longer has the Infinity Stones and is greatly weakened from when he destroyed them, he knows that he's going to die, but remains calm. Since nothing they can do to him will undo the snap, he knows that even if he dies, he's already won. When 2014 Thanos views Nebula's memories, he likewise accepts it calmly upon seeing his older self beheaded, merely describing it as "destiny fulfilled" and content with the realization that his goal is accomplished in the future.
    • As 2014 Thanos's armies and loyal followers turn to ash before his eyes, Thanos simply sits down in defeated silence and awaits his fate.
  • Face-Revealing Turn: The Stinger of The Avengers reveals that he was the supplier of Loki's alien army when the Other tells him that attacking Earth would be like courting Death... All with the turn of his head and a Slasher Smile.
  • Facial Horror: Using the Infinity Gauntlet to destroy the Stones worsened the damage on Thanos inflicted by the Snap; the left side of his face is severely burned, and he can barely even move it anymore.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Thanos: Thank you, daughter. Perhaps I treated you too harshly.
    2014 Thanos: I am inevitable.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: He wears the Infinity Gauntlet on one hand and nothing on the other.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • A mixture between being unable to move on from the past, a desperate need to prove himself, and his inability to admit any wrongdoing. Thanos has all the makings of a great hero who has been shaped by tragedy and is ready to help others so no one else will suffer like he did; the only problem is that he came to the wrong conclusion. Even though almost everyone around him insists there's no need to murder trillions and there must be another way to solve overpopulation, all it does is remind him of his ideas being rejected by his people and then going extinct, which causes him to dig his heels in even further and continue insisting he's correct. Upon seeing proof that his plan won't lead to a grateful universe, 2014 Thanos refuses to admit he did anything wrong, it's everyone else that's screwing him over. Therefore, he needs to follow through and kill not just half, but everyone in the universe. This leads him to travel to 2023 in an ill fated attempt to snatch the already gathered Infinity Stones, where he meets his second end at the hands of an angry universe who has every reason to kill him.
    • His 2014 incarnation has another one: arrogance. Having never undergone the Character Development of his prime timeline counterpart, 2014 Thanos saw his enemies as beneath him, and his victory as "inevitable". As a result, he would underestimating his foes and nearly costs him the fight several times. This hubris ends up being his undoing when he apparently succeeds in pulling off the snap, failing to notice that Tony had stolen the stones at the last second.
  • The Fatalist: The reason he's so hell-bent on enacting universal Population Control is that he believes sentient life can't be trusted with preventing their own self-destruction, comparing it to destiny itself.
    Thanos: If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correcting.
    Gamora: You don't know that!
    Thanos: I'm the only one who knows that.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Endgame shows he wasn't always Affably Evil, his past self calmly states he is going to destroy the whole universe and rebuild it to his image. He also says he is going to enjoy wiping out the Earth for having the audacity of trying to restore his culling. Not only that, but since he never went through the loss and grief of losing Gamora, his sympathetic qualities were never strengthened and were instead outright crushed. It appears that Thanos is courteous only as long as he is still in control.
  • Final Boss: He is the main villain of the MCU and the final foe of the "Infinity Saga", and every film before Infinity War and Endgame leads up to the final battle with him.
  • Final Solution:
    • He and his army have done this to several planets, different races, and different species with Thanos only suspending or reducing his activities to focus on the Infinity Stones that allows him to do this in one fell swoop. Thanos claims that his genocides doesn't have a racial or ethnic dimension, he points out to Strange that it's "fair" but it still amounts to attacking people who did nothing to him for the sole purpose that Thanos feels that the universe isn't infinite enough to accommodate the existence of too many people.
    • He claims that it is indiscriminate, but by wiping out half of life in the universe to solve the problem of limited resources he still committed genocide "on a scale hitherto undreamt of". According to invokedWord of God from Kevin Feige, half of animals were killed too, including cattle raised for food, dogs, cats, and even ants.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The Thanos in the Final Battle of Endgame is from 2014 fighting heroes from either 2023 or 2018. He's unaware of some of the specific gripes that the heroes have against him. In particular, doesn't know what to make of the Scarlet Witch's Roaring Rampage of Revenge for murdering her boyfriend. His confusion, in addition to Wanda's sheer power, allow her to nearly Curb Stomp him.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: At the climax of Infinity War, Thanos, confronted by the Avengers and their allies, tosses them all aside with either the power of the Infinity Stones, or with his bare hands. The only ones who even slow him down are Black Panther (whom he effortlessly defeats after a brief grapple), Captain America (who is beaten down after a few moments' inconvenience), and Scarlet Witch, whose best efforts do delay Thanos, but ultimately prove for naught.
  • Foil: Thanos was born with both a genius level intellect like Tony Stark and a deformity like Steve Rogers. And like both men, he became a renegade who went against the traditional power structures of his world to do what he thought was right. But unlike them, the tragedy he faced wasn't the actions of bad people, but the failures of good ones.
  • Galactic Conqueror: He's the one who is responsible for slaughter of half the population of Gamora's and Drax's home worlds and who lent Loki a planet-conquering army. He also promises Ronan he will destroy Xandar, homeworld of the Nova Empire, in Guardians of the Galaxy. He does follow through off-screen in the run-up to Avengers: Infinity War. Earth on the other hand turns out to be a much tougher nut to crack, with small teams of forces mostly consistent of badass normals and low-level supers without heavy weaponry ultimately exterminating his entire army throughout Avengers and Infinity War. Well, them plus a nuke.
    Joe Russo: [Thanos] goes from planet to planet. As he destroys a planet, he can, if moved, collect a child from that planet and train them and turn them into a part of his cult.
  • Genius Bruiser: He looks like a giant mass of muscle that could give the Hulk a run for his money, but is also a highly intelligent Evil Overlord who acts like a Gentleman and a Scholar. His actor Josh Brolin even commented on this fact.
    Josh Brolin: There’s this constant contrasting thing about this Neanderthalic lughead who’s way more intelligent than anybody else in the movie, by far.
    • Case in point: He was able to outfight the Hulk with nothing but sheer skill alone, analyze Thor's skill with Stormbreaker and use it against him, use Iron Man as a shield to absorb Mjolnir's blow, throw his sword into the Pyms' van to prevent the Stones from escaping, and be flexible to rip out the Power Stone from the Infinity Gauntlet and punch Captain Marvel with it when she proved to be tougher than he was, pound for pound.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Thanos believes that he is the one responsible for balance in the universe, and his full battle gear has a fair amount of gold on it. The Gauntlet that allows him to wield the Infinity Stones is golden as well.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
    • The loss of his homeworld and people, and even moreso, the belief that he could have prevented the tragedy drove Thanos to the extreme measures he takes in his crusade, and this understanding has had a profoundly negative effect on Thanos's sanity. While fighting Iron Man, Thanos describes the both of them as "cursed with knowledge".
    • In Endgame this could best be described as going madder from the revelation. His 2014 counterpart discovers his eventual victory but also that the Avengers are traveling through time to undo the Decimation. The discovery that the universe is so "ungrateful" for his balancing of the universe causes him to snap and he vows to simply wipe out the entire universe instead.
  • A God Am I:
    • Despite his impersonal goals, Thanos considers himself synonymous with Destiny. Given that in both Classical Mythology (which has Ananke and the Moirai) and Norse Mythology (which has the Norns) Destiny was the force above the gods, his boast is blasphemy of the highest order. He describes his plan for the universe as "salvation", and allows Ebony Maw to describe his slaughter as a sort of religious liberation. Thanos feels he has a right to eliminate half the lives in the universe and identifies himself with the divine name revealed to Moses, "I am." He later states that not killing everyone is him showing mercy.
    • The past Thanos from 2014, upon seeing the future through the time-traveling Nebula's memories, fully embraces this trope as he decides to upgrade his plan of killing half of the universe to killing all of the universe and then remaking it in his own image. He goes as far as adopting the last few words of his deceased future counterpart: "I am inevitable."
  • A God I Am Not: While Thanos pursues the Infinity Stones to gain ultimate power, he doesn't do this for the sake of gaining control or immortality, but to carry out his mission to save the universe from itself. When Loki tells him that he will never be a god, Thanos has a distinct look of disgust on his face showing that he doesn't really care about godhood. Once he achieves his goal of wiping out half the universe, Thanos is content with retiring to a small hut on a distant planet to watch the sunset despite still having access to all of the Infinity Stones. To enforce that he doesn't change his stance on this, he destroys the Infinity Stones shortly afterwards.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: He wants to obtain all six Infinity Stones to kill off half the universe.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: While not directly involved in any of the early films he appears in, he's the galactic Evil Overlord driving events from behind the scenes. He is not the Big Bad that needs to be defeated to close the story, but he is still the greatest evil force out there.
    • In The Avengers, his mouthpiece tells Loki to get Thanos the Tesseract as promised, or suffer unimaginable pain. But even though Thanos is the leader of the Chitauri, Loki's the one leading the invasion on his own accord.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy, Thanos himself tells Ronan the Accuser he'll only honor their deal to destroy Ronan's enemies if Ronan brings him the Orb. If Ronan doesn't, Thanos promises he will bathe the stars in Ronan's blood instead. Thanos is prevented from taking the Big Bad position when Ronan betrays him halfway through.
    • He's indirectly responsible for most of the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron without participating in the plot of the film. He gave Loki the Scepter, which is taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and brought into HYDRA's possession. The Avengers then take the Scepter back to Stark Tower, where Tony and Bruce use it to finish Ultron, who then gains sentience and drives the conflict of the story. None of this would have happened if Thanos never gave Loki that weapon.
    • He's also one for the fifth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: while he and his army do not physically appear, the last few episodes of the season form a Simultaneous Arc with Infinity War, and the Confederacy was trying to extort humanity before he could arrive on Earth. The news of his imminent arrival leads that season's Big Bad, Graviton, to take over the Confederacy so he can use its resources for Earth's defense because he feels that Earth's defenders are incapable of stopping Thanos on their own.
    • Ant-Man and the Wasp has him as this without him appearing onscreen or being mentioned by name. With the movie being a midquel that catches up to Infinity War at the end, his snap that exterminates half of all life is what closes the plot of the movie, and leaves Scott Lang trapped in the Quantum Realm as a result of the people who can get him out (Hank, Janet, Hope) vanishing to dust.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, he manages to be this to himself. The present day Thanos is killed very early in the story, with the remainder of the movie being focused on the aftereffects of what he did in Infinity War and Avengers' efforts to undo the damage he inflicted. Another version of Thanos, from 2014, becomes aware of his future self's actions because of the Avengers' time travel shenanigans, and subsequently becomes the film's Big Bad, seeking to fulfill the destiny of his future self.
  • Green Aesop: His homeworld of Titan was destroyed by an Overpopulation Crisis.
  • Guttural Growler: Alternates between this and Badass Baritone, courtesy of Josh Brolin.
  • Hand Blast: The Power Stone which Thanos has stolen from the Nova Corps allows him to perform this, among others. The blast can take the form of huge fire, or sparks of electricity if he likes.
  • Have We Met?: When Wanda furiously attacks 2014 Thanos during the final battle in Endgame, trying to avenge Vision's death at the hands of his prime timeline counterpart, he tells her that he doesn't even know who she is.
  • Heartbroken Badass: He mourns Gamora after killing her to manifest the Soul Stone. When she touches him, Mantis confirms that he is full of anguish and sorrow.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: He symbolically sheds his menacing crown and most of his armor for his more vulnerable and nuanced odyssey in Infinity War.
  • Heroic Second Wind: In Infinity War, he has a Villainous Second Wind. When he arrives on Titan, he's overwhelmed by the combined forces of Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and the Guardians of the Galaxy. However, before they can remove the Infinity Gauntlet from his hand, it's revealed that he murdered Gamora for the Soul Stone. This causes Star-Lord to start hitting him in the head, allowing Thanos to break free and fight far more effectively than the start of the fight, and would have most likely killed Tony if Strange didn't surrender the Time Stone.
  • Hero Killer: He is the page image for a good reason. In Infinity War, he personally murders Heimdall, Loki, Gamora and Vision, and later erases all but the original Avengers, War Machine, Rocket, Nebula, Okoye, and M'Baku from existence, courtesy of his Badass Fingersnap. In Endgame, his final defeat comes at the price of the destruction of Avengers HQ, a lasting injury to the Hulk, Thor leaving Earth with the Guardians of the Galaxy, the retirement of Captain America and Hawkeye, and the deaths of Black Widow and Iron Man. The original Avengers were finished in the fight against him.
    • Not only that but an idea for Endgame that was left on the cutting room floor was to have to 2014 Thanos kill the Avengers while he waited for 2014 Nebula to bring him into 2023. 2014 Thanos was to give a badass one liner to Captain America before throwing the 2014 Captain's head to his 2023 self's feet.
  • Hidden Depths: Destroyed the Infinity Stones after completing his life's goal and settling down. The reasoning he gives before preventing anyone from undoing his work was to avoid temptation. This gives the implication that he doesn't trust himself with the absolute power he spent so long chasing after beyond the one moment of his Badass Finger Snap.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Very narrowly defied. His decision to not explicitly kill Thor and to leave King Eitri alive despite crippling the latter's hands allowed them to forge the Stormbreaker, the only weapon in Infinity War capable of killing Thanos even with all six Infinity Stones. Thanos himself lampshades that had Thor not made the fatal mistake of going for the chest instead of the head to draw Thanos's death out, Thanos may very well have been killed.
    • He gets stabbed in the heart and killed by Gamora, using the dagger he gave her during her youth, when he was looking for the Reality Stone in Knowhere. Subverted in that the Thanos that Gamora stabbed was a fake created by the real Thanos using the Reality Stone.
    • Played straight in Endgame. The time-traveling Thanos and his entire army from 2014 are dusted by Iron Man's makeshift Infinity Gauntlet snap, the thing his future self used to dust half of life in the universe.
  • Hoist Hero over Head: He finishes his fight with the Hulk with a Gorilla Press, shortly before slamming him into the ground.
  • Hope Crusher: Moreso horrifying than shattering worlds is Thanos's power to shatter hope itself. With a single gauntleted fist, he crushed all that is held dear and gave courage to the hearts of Bruce Banner, Thor Odinson, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, and Captain Steve Rogers; reducing them to hollow shells of terrified, hopeless resignation. This is apparent in Endgame, where his action and his steps to prevent it from undoing cripple and damage the Avengers emotionally for several years, unable to live with their failure to stop him, and only getting back in the groove when they find a way to bring back the dusted. The Thanos from 2014 sardonically notes how the Avengers couldn't allow themselves to live with their failure.
  • Horrifying the Horror: He delivered a Curb-Stomp Battle to The Hulk (complete with the requisite Oh, Crap! moment as The Hulk realized just what he's fighting).
  • Human Sacrifice: He sacrifices his daughter Gamora for the Soul Stone by throwing her off the cliff in a predetermined location on Vormir that resembles an altar.
  • Humble Pie: In Endgame, his 2014 self is forced to watch as his lieutenants, fleets and armies are all disintegrated before his eyes, his vast empire and years of conquest eliminated from existence in the blink of an eye. Then he joins them.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He halves Asgard's population mere hours after their home was destroyed which undoubtedly left many casualties, and later halves it again with the Infinity Gauntlet. For someone who prides himself on giving species a better chance to survive, he left them with significantly high odds of extinction.
    • Thanos's stated goal is to save all of life by cutting the population of each species in half at random, dispassionately instead of to drive any specific goal. Unless there are exactly as many Dwarves living off of Nidavellir as there were on it, Thanos is hypocritical on all four accounts: he has doomed a species to extinction, killed more than half of them, did so to further his own goal, and selected the remaining survivor based on personal preferences.
    • Thanos also claims that his Final Solution is one that's meant to provide ample resources to those who survive. However, his extermination of all sentient life includes animals as well, which only creates a greater scarcity of resources and would likely ramp up consumption rates by those that survive. If he had spared animals, then his plan theoretically would have been consistent with his warped morality, but that they were destroyed as well signifies that he's more interested in imposing his insane, dogmatic desire to "balance" everything upon actually making a better world for the survivors.
    • In Endgame Thanos casually refers the Avengers as arrogant. This is ignoring the fact that, as a result of his countless victories and seeing a vision of his alternate self's success, Thanos is incredibly arrogant himself. Case in point, just right after he calls the Avengers arrogant, instead of seeking the Stones himself, he dispatches Nebula to get them and just sits on his ass, waiting for her. This is perhaps best exemplified by his final words: "I am inevitable."
    • His new plan in Endgame is wiping out the whole universe and starting a new one to his liking that won't know about the past genocide, which shows he could have came up with more humane solution than mass murder, but he also doesn't really care about who or what survives, he just wants to prove that Murder Is the Best Solution.
    • When his 2014 self appears, he shows disdain for Ronan's indiscriminate carpet bombing methods. Yet when he starts losing to Wanda, he orders for his warship to do the same, disregarding the lives of his troops.

    Tropes I to P 
  • I Did What I Had to Do: In contrast to the gleeful sadistic Thanos of the comics, this Thanos takes no personal pride or joy in death and destruction, at least as depicted in Infinity War. He just views the horrible things he does as ugly, but necessary steps that need to be taken to achieve a greater good. Even with regard to Gamora's death, an act that it truly pained Thanos to carry out, he snarls that he had to do it when Quill calls him out. However, his alternate self from 2014 abandons this stance when he sees the Avengers trying to undo his success in the future, intending to take the pleasure of destroying the Earth for defying him.
  • I Have No Daughter!: In Infinity War he never refers to Nebula as his child, only as "your sister" when talking to Gamora. The one time he calls Nebula his daughter is in Endgame, and even then he's literally cut off before he can even begin to apologize or make up for everything he's done to her.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: As his genuine love and affection towards Gamora shows, moreso than having glorified generals and attack-dogs who can use his name as a badge of authority, Thanos wants to have a family; yet being the only Titan left in existence, any child he wishes to have has to be adopted from another species. Thanos knows that his bloodline and people will die with him (unless he can use the Infinity Stones to make himself immortal), and hopes at least his name may live on in "children" who love and hold him dear in return. This desire also extends to the rest of the universe, whom he expects to see his genocide as a blessing and worship him as a savior. But when his past self realizes that the survivors will never forgive him or move on from it, he decides to wipe out all life in the universe and then replenish it with new life that will be grateful to Thanos's work. Josh Brolin has compared Thanos to Quasimodo, so it's not a stretch to say that his crusade is, and always was, motivated by a need for people to love him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: As Thanos explains, he ultimately wants the fight to end. Once he balances the universe, his dream is to rest and retire to a peaceful farmer's life with his children.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    • His entire journey could be seen as this. Sacrificing Gamora left him heartbroken. Someone with a conscience would probably have realized that inflicting such a tragic fate on everyone indiscriminately is not right and he would seek out a new way to make use of the Infinity Stones that spares the rest of the universe but still accomplishes his goal. Instead he doubles down, thinking that now that he made the ultimate sacrifice in service of his goals, it must be seen through to the end because anyone willing to give up so much must have the best intentions and purpose. Come Endgame he is left to face the consequences of that path. Essentially he takes Gamora's sacrifice as the symbol of his resolve, not his wakeup call.
    • In Endgame, his 2014 self finally realizes that the universe will not be grateful for his culling. He takes precisely the wrong conclusion and decides to wipe out the universe entirely and remake it in his image instead.
  • Insane Troll Logic: He is called "The Mad Titan", after all, even if he denies it.
    • He wants to avert a universe-wide Overpopulation Crisis by cutting all populations in half. Except that's not how overpopulation works. Even if things are improved for current generations (big if, given that he killed half the animals, i.e. food source, too, as confirmed by Kevin Feige), any species he didn't kill would eventually repopulate, and further would likely over-consume in process of rebuilding the species, meaning in a few generations things could potentially be even worse than before. The resources he devoted to achieving his goals could have been put towards much more altruistic methods of helping struggling planets. And the nigh-omnipotence the Infinity Gauntlet grants would probably afford him many ways to solve the problem without killing half the universe. However, because his planet failed in its efforts to resolve its own crisis, he feel that justifies his actions and his belief that extinction is inevitable without massive intervention.
    • When his 2014 Alternate Self sees the future where he succeeds but the survivors are seeking to reverse his mass genocide, he comes to the conclusion that the reason why his plan didn't result in the paradise he envisioned is because the survivors remember the past and thus are unable to move on with their lives. Thus Thanos decides to destroy the entire universe and then recreate it in his own image, teeming with abundant resources and new life with no memories of the past, therefore removing the problem of everyone trying to undo his work. This is of course ignoring the fact that his new plan defeats the whole point of his original plan.
  • Insistent Terminology: To demean Ronan, he consistently refers to him as "boy". This is because he sees Ronan as a petulant child, using revenge as a pretense to act out his sadism and conquering planets to satisfy his ego, whereas Thanos treats galactic conquest as a Necessary Evil.
  • Instant Expert: Not only does he get the all six Infinity Stones, but he's better at using them on his first try than all other wielders who've held them for much longer.
  • In Their Own Image: After discovering that erasing half of existence didn't create the paradise he envisioned, Thanos declares he'll simply restart the entire universe with an abundance of resources.
  • Invincible Villain: Throughout Infinity War, none of the heroes can stop him and he gives a Curb-Stomp Battle to everyone in the movie. Every hit except getting impaled through the chest by Stormbreaker he takes little to no damage from. He's one of the few villains that won.
    Thanos: All that for a drop of blood...
  • Irony: Thanos is after the Infinity Stones, trinkets of near-limitless power and potential (hence their name), but he's a pessimist who only wants them because he fears how finite the resources of the universe are. Word of God even says he didn't just add more resources because he's determined to "prove" he was right about Titan by applying his final solution on a much larger scale, which means his own thinking is limited.
  • It Is Beyond Saving: Once Thanos learns that the Avengers have traveled to the past in order to retrieve the Stones and fix what he did, he "realizes" that people remembering and missing what was before the Snap will prevent them from being content and happy — and grateful to Thanos. So he decides the universe must be rebuilt from scratch.
  • It's All About Me: According to the commentary of the directors and writers, the real reason that Thanos wants to kill half the universe is not to save it from an Overpopulation Crisis (which he could easily use the Infinity Gauntlet to do), but out of a selfish desire to prove to himself that his idea to save Titan was right... Hence the massive amount of Insane Troll Logic and Artistic License – Biology it involves and why it ultimately doesn't work come Avengers: Endgame. Upon learning that the Avengers from the future are trying to undo the snap and aren't grateful for his "sacrifice", Past Thanos starts acting more like his comics counterpart and decides to kill everyone because he can't admit that he was wrong.
  • It's Personal: He claims that his many past slaughters and atrocities were never personal. However, learning that his future self will be killed by the Avengers, who proceed to formulate a plan to undo his great culling of the universe, Thanos from 2014 becomes incredibly pissed at the Avengers for daring to thwart his master plan and concedes that he will take pleasure in turning Earth to dust (calling Earthlings "ungrateful," among other things). Moreover, he decides to kill as many on Earth as he can with his army as punishment for their interference, despite planning to dust all life in the universe afterward anyway.
    Thanos: In all my years of conquest, violence, slaughter, it was never personal. But I'll tell you now, what I'm about to do to your stubborn, annoying little planet... I'm gonna enjoy it. Very, very much.
  • It's the Only Way: He is convinced that the only way to solve the problem of limited resources is to kill half of all life. Other solutions, such as doubling the resources, don't occur to him. According to both The Russo Brothers (in the DVD Commentary) and Josh Brolin (in an interview), it was possible for the Infinity Gauntlet to be used for that purpose, but Thanos was too callous and preoccupied with proving himself right to conceive of it.
  • Jerkass: In his few brief appearances before Infinity War, he quickly established himself as a bad boss and abusive parent. Come Infinity War, he tells Nebula the only reason he didn't kill her is that it would've been a waste of parts.
  • The Juggernaut: Even when he's not using the Infinity Stones, Thanos is a virtually unstoppable mass of muscle, standing up to a beating from the Hulk without a problem, then beating his opponent into submission without much effort. He only grows more unstoppable as he collects the Stones; by the time of the battle on Titan, the best efforts that the heroes can muster only manage to slow Thanos down. When he arrives on Earth, none of the heroes manage to do more than delay the inevitable as they are swatted aside by the Mad Titan. The only thing that even comes close to killing him is Thor landing a direct hit with Stormbreaker, but even this, despite critically wounding Thanos, fails to kill him quickly enough to stop him from using the Infinity Gauntlet to end half of all sentient life in the universe, and when he next appears after escaping, his external injury has healed though he is significantly weakened. In Endgame, wielding neither the Gauntlet nor the Stones, Thanos tears his way through every one of the heroes, with only Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel (both Persons of Mass Destruction empowered by the Stones) being able to get the better of him. Even when his whole faction is getting dusted, it took him longer for him to crumble to dust.
  • Just Toying with Them: Thanos is playing around with the heroes when he could just use the Infinity Stones' to beat them in creative ways such as warping them far away, swarming the battlefield with clones of himself while he stays invisible, stopping time, etc. It's best seen when he realizes how close the heroes came to taking away the Gauntlet and instantly knocks out Drax, Starlord, and Nebula before dropping a moon to nuke the area.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos wins and is thus never punished for his crimes. But that warranty expires in the follow-up Avengers: Endgame, in which the Avengers are able to quickly figure out where he went. He destroyed the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Stones, knowing that the Avengers would target those, but that leaves him vulnerable to attack. Thor finishes him off. This is also deconstructed regarding his 2014 counterpart. In 2014 Thanos had faced no consequences for his campaign of conquest and genocide across the universe only to finally meet his end when he travels to the future to claim the Infinity Stones. This version of Thanos essentially faced karma for what he would eventually do.
  • Karmic Death: In Avengers: Endgame, he has two. His prime timeline self loses his arm, and subsequently, his head, after he previously taunted Thor about not instantly killing him then and there. Then his self from the 2014 timeline has to watch as Tony turns his entire army to dust before disintegrating himself, just like he did to half the universe five years earlier.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • There is no reason why he forcibly made Thor, whom he just met, watch his brother die other than malice. Also, he certainly didn't have to draw out the strangulation and his grin while doing so proves that he enjoys it.
    • The massacre on half of the Asgardians. A good part of the population already died during Hela's tyranny and the Asgardian signaler reports that most of the passengers are just families, but nevertheless Thanos lets half of the people get executed instead of letting everyone but Loki and Thor go, even though they don't really pose a threat and he knows that their number would get halved again if he should succeed with his plan. And of course, it's not long before he wipes out half of the remaining survivors with his snap, heedless of how badly they'd just been decimated.
    • Thanos treats Nebula horribly, replacing most of her body with cybernetics when she proves unable to best Gamora in sparring matches, openly calling Gamora his "favourite daughter" right in front of her, cruelly tortures her to compel Gamora to do as Thanos wants, and outright says that the only reason he didn't kill her is because he would have considered it a "waste of parts".
    • The massacre of the dwarves barring Eitri, whom he crippled by rendering his hands useless, could be seen as this since it goes against his usual modus operandi. However, it could also be out of pragmatism to ensure that Eitri won't be able to forge another weapon to counter the Infinity Gauntlet. Given that Thor came very close to killing him with Stormbreaker, his caution is warranted.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: When faced with the option of killing his most beloved "daughter", the only character he has genuinely shown kindness toward, or giving up on his quest and sparing her, Thanos chooses to hurl her off of a cliff. Not that he's happy about the deed.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: When the Avengers corner Thanos at the beginning of Endgame, he thanks Nebula for vouching for his honesty regarding his destroying the Infinity Stones. He then begins to admit that he'd been too hard on her as a father, but Thor chops off his head before Thanos can fully reconcile with Nebula.
  • Killed Off for Real: Happens twice in Avengers: Endgame where both are intended to be "permanent" of sorts. Thanos of the present reality is found and decapitated by Thor. Thanos of an alternate reality from the year 2014 is disintegrated along with his army in the movie's ending, while the Infinity Gauntlet used to disintegrate him gets disassembled with the Infinity Stones returned to their proper timeline. Outside of writer intervention in the future, it is safe to conclude that Thanos is definitely gone for good by the end of the film.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: He learns that he has to kill someone he loves in order to retrieve the Soul Stone. Gamora believes that this means that Thanos is beaten by his own personal shortcomings, as she doesn't think he has anyone in his life that he cares about. Turns out she is mistaken, he genuinely sees and loves her as a daughter. Thanos, meanwhile, is pretty distraught by this discovery, but he goes through with it regardless.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Given he's an Omnicidal Maniac Implacable Man that no one can come close to stopping, when Thanos appears onscreen, things inevitably take on a darker tone. When Thanos's threat becomes really tangible, Gamora shuts up Peter's jokes, asking him to swear on his mother to give her a Mercy Kill if she's captured. Peter drops the buffoon act and takes the situation far more seriously.
    • His past self from Endgame takes this Up to Eleven, as he bears none of the redeeming qualities his present self showed and that his new goals are indeed that of an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Knight Templar: He honestly thinks he's doing the right thing, which is ultimately stopping sentient life from slowly eating itself. However, he's thinking of things on such a universal, Totalitarian Utilitarian scale, he has no qualms about being utterly sadistic and bloodthirsty when it comes to individuals and even entire worlds to achieve this. After all, he has to kill far, far more to achieve his true goal.
    Thanos: When I'm done, half of humanity will still exist. Perfectly balanced. As all things should be.
  • Lack of Empathy: Downplayed. He usually expresses no remorse when it comes to fulfilling his goals and is adamant in not comprehending the feelings of others. There are times, however, when the Mad Titan shows sympathy (still not empathy) for his soon-to-be-fallen foes. The closest he comes to genuine emotion is when he realizes he has to sacrifice Gamora for the Soul Stone. While he does shed a tear over the impending murder, he follows through without any real hesitation. For Thanos, achieving "perfect balance" is what matters, and everything else is merely a distraction.
    • Endgame shows that it's not as downplayed as one might think and is one of the few central traits that Thanos never lost, even with his Character Development in Infinity War. This is ultimately the reason why his initial goal was doomed to fail, as while he may sympathize with people, he has not enough empathy, if none at all, to understand that people will NOT be grateful as he thinks they would and then should be for culling half the universe. When ambushed in his hut by the surviving Avengers, he's actually offended they're not grateful to him. It never occurs to either his 2018 or 2014 selves that killing off half of the universe, therefore most people's friends and family, would instead bring mass emotional devastation, people barely clinging onto their sanity or outright snapping, meaning that prospering with less competition for resources would be the last thing on anyone's mind.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Inverted. He's a space tyrant Knight Templar, but he still features a well defined jawline that you'd see on the various heroes. Quill describes it as a "nutsack chin".
  • Large and in Charge: Thanos is massive, especially compared to his subordinates.note 
  • Large Ham: Inevitable for a Galactic Conquerer Evil Overlord, but Josh Brolin does enjoy himself a bit much.
    Thanos: The end is near.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Thanos ended Infinity War turning half the universe into dust, while everyone else was forced to watch helplessly as their friends and family died. Come Endgame, Tony snaps Thanos's entire empire, everything he holds dear, while it's Thanos who must now witness everything crumbling down — before he dies too.
  • Last Breath Bullet: He uses the last of his strength after being mortally gored by Stormbreaker to snap his fingers and end the lives of half of the universe's inhabitants. Following that, he uses the Space Stone again to warp him to "the Garden".
  • Last of His Kind: He's the last Titan left in all the universe, as the rest of his species was killed off in resource wars brought about by an Overpopulation Crisis. He's determined to never let anyone else go through this again, even if his "mercy" is perceived as cruelty by others.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Not that he wasn't serious before, but Thanos took off his armor in Infinity War out of a belief that he was so powerful that he didn't need it, something which nearly got him killed when Thor ran him through with Stormbreaker. This also applies to when he nearly loses the gauntlet to the heroes on Titan. After that, he decides to stop holding back and simply bombard the battlefield with falling chunks of Titan's moon.
  • Life's Work Ruined: In Endgame, his 2014 self's main motivation is to keep the Avengers from doing this by reversing the Snap. This causes him to become much more unhinged and arrogant, more in line with his characterization in the comics. Once he realizes that no one is going to forgive, much less thank him for murdering trillions, his Moral Myopia gets even worse than it already was; he revises his plan from genocide to omnicide and to create the universe again from scratch, then force that new reality to love him.
  • Lima Syndrome: In Infinity War, he shows a startling amount of affection for Gamora, his adoptive daughter whom he raised as a deadly warrior after slaughtering half the people of her homeworld, including her biological parents. Thanos's love for Gamora, even though it's abusive and possessive in nature, is real enough that he sheds tears when he realizes that sacrificing her is the only way he can obtain the Soul Stone.
  • Literal Disarming: Upon discovering the Infinity Gauntlet has fused to Thanos's hand, Thor promptly slices it off to prevent him from using it further.
  • Logical Weakness: To actually use the Infinity Gauntlet, he has to close his hand into a fist. Those of the heroes who figure this out use various methods to stop him from making a fist, from the Cloak of Levitation to Peter's webbing to one of Stark's numerous devices that he's got stashed in his suit. Or, in Steve's case, his bare hands.
  • Lonely at the Top: Sure, at the end of Infinity War he achieved everything he wanted... but has lost absolutely everything that mattered to him in the process.
  • Lottery of Doom: Thanos chooses the half of the population that dies at random — age, gender, wealth, and occupation are all irrelevant. On Gamora's and Drax'snote  homeworlds, this took the form of splitting a city's populace into two halves in a courtyard and gunning down one half.
  • Mad God: His title of "The Mad Titan" is well earned. He sincerely believes that he has to wipe out half of the population in the universe in order to prevent even more people from dying due to a lack of resources and overpopulation, even though that makes no sense. The "children" who stay faithful to him either have the blind loyalty of people indoctrinated in a cult, are insane, or both, and Thanos comes off as the leader of a bunch of delusional extremists. Even though he's committing mass genocide, he thinks of himself as a hero, and doesn’t even realize he’s evil.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • He's the master of the Chitauri, who promised Loki Earth in exchange for the Tesseract in The Avengers.
    • In Guardians of the Galaxy, he commands Ronan the Accuser to find the Orb in exchange for his help against Xandar, putting Ronan into conflict with the main characters. However, once Ronan turns against him, subordinates note that Thanos is no longer involved with Ronan's actions. The film implies that Ronan has been Thanos's henchman for some time; after Ronan is killed, Drax considers Thanos the man truly responsible for his family's deaths. According to commentary to Infinity War:
      Joe Russo: [Drax's] planet was treated the same way as Gamora's planet. Drax was put on one side, his family was put on the other.
  • Manly Tears: He sheds them upon learning that he has to sacrifice Gamora, who he loved more than anything else in the Universe, in order to gain the power of the Soul Stone.
  • Mask of Sanity: He's a smart and eloquent individual who can come across as more affable than a number of the MCU's actual heroes, but it doesn't take long for people who actually meet him to realize that he's completely out of his mind.
  • Master Swordsman: Is exceedingly skilled with his double-bladed sword, using it to fight Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man to a virtual standstill despite fighting them alone.
  • Megaton Punch: When Captain Marvel won't let him close his fist during the final battle in Endgame, he transfers the Power Stone to his other hand and punches her with the force of a freight train using it, knocking her out cold for the rest of the fight.
  • Mind Manipulation: He made the Mind Stone-powered scepter Loki uses to brainwash others into becoming his servants. Thanos himself never uses the Mind Stone for this in Infinity War because it's the last one he obtains. However, according to Marvel's official site, it was subtly influencing Loki in The Avengers, which explains why Thanos gave it to him in the first place.
  • Misery Builds Character: Him sacrificing Gamora, the person he loved the most, gave him a lot of perspective about just what he's doing and sympathy for those opposing his mission, giving him the willpower needed to succeed in the end. The same cannot said for his 2014 self.
  • Monster Sob Story: Due to the Overpopulation Crisis Titan faced and an unspecified Apocalypse How event, his biological family are dead, his people have been wiped out and his home planet is a ruin-filled wasteland. Thanos bears severe mental scars as a result, along with a dangerous obsession with the notion that he could have prevented this if his people had listened to his solution to their population problems. This, ultimately, is the main driving force for his present-day plans and personality. Unfilmed scenes would have shown that he was actually locked up in prison for his proposals somewhere offworld and watched his planet slowly die from behind bars.
  • Moral Myopia: Thanks to a combination of Believing Their Own Lies and a healthy dose of insanity, Thanos is prone to this.
    • Thanos genuinely loves Gamora but it doesn't stop him from being horrifically abusive. He killed her real family right in front of her, put her through hellish training and augmentation, and eventually throws her off a cliff for his own power, but as far as he was concerned it was for the greater good, so he's allowed to hurt her in the name of his goal.
    • Thanos believes that his actions, unquestionably righteous in his mind, will end with him "watching the sun rise over a grateful universe", completely blind to the utter devastation he's wrought on the people he's "saving". One need only look at the shattered remains of the Avengers to know how grateful the universe truly is for Thanos's efforts.
    • Thanos's response to realizing that someone would always seek to undo his efforts, and that the universe would never be grateful for his culling? Use the Infinity Stones to end the current universe, then start a new one more to his liking. In Thanos's mind, this is a good thing; after all, if the universe never knows what it used to be, then there's no problem.
  • Moral Sociopathy: Thanos genuinely believes that his ideas are for the Greater Good of both his world and the wider universe, but his problem is that he's sociopathic and his ideas are utterly ruthless, with Thanos himself believing that the only reason others don't implement his plan is because they are either too blind to the hard reality of the situation or that they simply lack the strength of will to do what is necessary. The Russos even referred to his mindset as "benevolent sociopathy".
  • Motive Decay: Upon traveling to 2023, 2014's Thanos devolves from his ugly but well-intentioned approach of wiping out half of the universe to killing everything and restarting the universe from scratch In Their Own Image. In his warped mind, people remembering and missing what was before the Snap will prevent them from being content and happy. Furthermore, the heroes' continued efforts to thwart him lead him to take their threat to an It's Personal level, deciding he will take particular pleasure in destroying Earth.
  • Motive Rant:
    • Thanos has his moment on Titan in the last quarter of Infinity War. He explains to Doctor Strange how overpopulation left his home world in ruins and he took it upon himself to wipe out half the universe to prevent such developments in future. Thanos also states that with all six Infinity Stones he could kill everybody with a snap of his fingers, so indiscriminately killing only half is something he considers mercy.
    • At the beginning of Endgame, Thanos explains just why he's content with killing half of the universe before revealing that he destroyed all of the Infinity Stones, explaining that he felt justified in doing so.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: For the most part averted; Thanos wears his trademark gold and blue costume, and variations of it through the whole MCU. Downplayed with his war armor in Infinity War and Endgame, which the gold is more prevalent while the blue accents seem to look more brown/black.
  • Mundane Utility: He can, and does at key points, use the Infinity Gauntlet to do just about anything, but he prefers to just use the Power Stone to blast his enemies when battles get too hectic. For example, he used the Reality Stone to briefly show Doctor Strange what Titan looked like before its demise during his Motive Rant.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: In the midst of Titan's Overpopulation Crisis, Thanos suggested that half its population should be purged so the other half could live in prosperity. The extinction of his race reinforced this mindset and prompted him to look for the Infinity Stones. When he tries to argue that it worked out for Gamora's planet at the end, she points out that there were other ways.
  • Mutant: When he uses the Reality Stone to recreate Titan when it was still thriving, none of the population look like him. In the comics, Thanos is a mutant and according to Word of God that's carried over to the movies — he is a Deviant.invoked
  • My Greatest Failure: He failed to save the people of Titan a long time ago and he's been taking it out on the rest of the universe ever since. When he finds out that in order to get the Soul Stone he needs to kill Gamora he sheds Manly Tears and apologizes to her but notes that he can't afford to make the same mistake twice even for his beloved daughter right before killing her.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the comic books, Thanos is in love with the personification of Death. His first onscreen appearance immediately plays off this.
      The Other: To challenge them... is closer to court death.
      Thanos: [smiles]
    • Likewise, in the comic, the original Infinity Gauntlet storyline ended with Thanos settling down as a farmer on an otherwise uninhabited lush world after he realized that even the Infinity Gauntlet couldn't give him what he wanted. In the MCU, Thanos states he wishes to retire to a peaceful life where he can just live out the rest of his days once he's completed his universal winnowing. And he proceeds to do just that.
    • On Vormir, the Red Skull calls him "Thanos, Son of A'Lars". Also known as Mentor, A'Lars was indeed Thanos's father in the comics and a member of the Eternals.
    • His line "If life is left unchecked, life will cease to exist. It needs correction" refers to The Thanos Imperative, a story about the main Marvel universe being invaded by the Cancerverse, a universe where Death herself was destroyed, causing life to grow out of control and become slaves to the Many-Angled Ones. Thanos was then recruited by the Guardians of the Galaxy to act as an Avatar of Death and correct the situation since he was the only one who could properly kill the otherwise undying Cancerverse inhabitants.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: He is named after Thanatos, an Anthropomorphic Personification of death in Classical Mythology. Thanatos also means "death" in modern Greek language. Jim Starlin originally conceived of the character during psychology classes where he learned that according to Sigmund Freud, humans have a life instinct and a death drive, Eros and Thanatos (named after Greek gods of love and death, respectively). Thanos lives up to his name in Infinity War.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In Endgame, 2014 Thanos comes within a heartbeat of victory twice in about a minute. The first time, Carol interrupts him the exact instant before he can snap his fingers. The second time, Tony swipes the Infinity Stones before he can do so.
  • Necessarily Evil: How he sees his goal — he wants to destroy so much life because he believes if he doesn't even more life will be lost.
  • Nerves of Steel: Thanos's response to being told that challenging Earth would be suicide is to smile, and when threatened by a psychotic Kree fanatic with an Infinity Stone, he simply tells the villain to think very carefully about what he's doing and continues to demean him.
  • Never Heard That One Before: One gets the impression he's gotten sick of being told You're Insane! each time he explains his Population Control plan, though he hides it pretty well most of the time. The closest he comes to showing annoyance is rolling his eyes in response to Gamora loudly joining the long list of naysayers.
  • Never My Fault: When Thanos gets a glimpse of the future from Nebula's memories, he realizes that his solution didn't result the paradise he thought would happen and is on the verge of being undone by the survivors. What does he conclude from this? The failure of his plan is the survivors' fault for being ungrateful and unable to move on from the past. And the solution to this failure? Destroy the other half of the universe and recreate it with new life who won't have memories of the past universe, therefore ensuring that no one will undo Thanos's success.
  • The Nicknamer: Thanos rarely calls anyone by their name when talking to them and instead makes up darkly affectionate monikers. Gamora and Nebula are "little one" and "my daughter", Peter Quill is "the boyfriend", Dr. Strange is "wizard" the list goes on. The notable exception is Gamora in a flashback and Tony Stark whom Thanos calls by his last name.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability:
    • Thanos barely takes any damage through Infinity War, and even takes some hard hits from Hulk which barely slow him down. The only thing in the movie that really gets to him is Thor using Stormbreaker to impale him through the heart, and even then, Thanos still has enough power to wipe out half the universe before teleporting away and healing himself.
    • In the final battle of Endgame, he's utterly stomped by several of the Avengers in rapid succession, including being electrocuted by lightning from Mjölnir, getting telekinetically crushed so hard by Scarlet Witch that his armour crumples, getting struck point-blank by energy attacks from Shuri, Wasp, and Rescue simultaneously, and surviving multiple hits to the face from Captain Marvel, who just destroyed his entire mile-long ship effortlessly in one blow, all with barely a scratch. In the end, it takes the omnipotent power of all the Infinity Stones to finally bring him down for good.
    • The real testament to how tough Thanos really is? He actually survived using all six Infinity Stones together at full power twice. The first time he was on the verge of death beforehand and he was still conscious enough afterwards to escape to safety, though the second time added enough damage to physically cripple him. By contrast, Hulk's survival after one snap was an uncertainty and he fainted afterwards from the sheer strain with his right arm permanantly crippled, while Tony Stark outright died in a few minutes after using the Stones.
  • Noble Demon: What makes Thanos so tragic is his absolute conviction that his Quest is one of Kindness and Righteousness. He takes no personal pleasure in commanding the slaughter of millions, and on an individual level is capable of love and kindness towards the weak and innocent, not unlike an actual hero. He is adamant in his conviction that with just the right amount of deaths, the rest can live in happiness and never have to suffer again for generations; and that makes him all the more frightening.
  • No Body Left Behind: Like his victims in Infinity War, Thanos and his army turn to dust when Stark uses a makeshift Infinity Gauntlet to steal the Stones from Thanos and turn the Mad Titan's own Badass Fingersnap trick against him.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: He maimed Eitri and murdered his fellow dwarves after they finished forging his Infinity Gauntlet in an effort to make it the sole means of handling the Infinity Stones safely. Too bad that Tony Stark could make his own Infinity Gauntlet, albeit less stable than the original, five years later.
  • No-Sell: Not to an attack on him, and in more than one way:
    • After his beat down of Hulk, Thor hits him in the head with a metal debris hard enough to shatter it. The only reaction Thanos has is to give a look as if to say "Are you kidding me?" before sending him flying with a kick.
    • When Wanda Maximoff is able to destroy the Mind Stone, it lets off a tremendous explosion of energy that leaves her collapsed and overcome, though part of that is due to her having to kill the being she loved. Thanos doesn't even look like he was touched by the resulting explosion of energy, and he isn't even remotely affected that the stone was destroyed, since he has the Time Stone. He just rewinds the moment and extracts the stone anyway.
  • Nothing Personal: The merciless beatdowns that Thanos dishes out over the course of Infinity War aren't done out of hatred or even anger towards the heroes; they're simply in the way of his goal. Come Endgame, however, 2014 Thanos, realizing that the Avengers would never stop trying to undo his efforts, decides to burn Earth to cinders, promising to enjoy it very, very much.
  • Not Afraid to Die: When 2014 Thanos witnesses his future self's demise in Endgame, a sight which horrifies Ebony Maw and Gamora, he simply remarks that it's "destiny fulfilling itself". At the moment of his actual death, Thanos is neither afraid nor angry, simply showing disappointment that all his efforts had come to nothing.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Does nothing but sit on a chair (even while he loses all three of the Infinity Stones that his forces gain control of) over the course of Phase 1 and Phase 2. In Phase 3, he starts personally taking action by devastating entire worlds, taking on all the MCU heroes, and even Colony Dropping a moon on them when he becomes slightly annoyed. He becomes the first MCU villain to end the film completely victorious.
  • Not So Invincible After All: For all of Thanos immense power, he's not completely invincible; in the melee on Titan, Iron Man manages to draw the Mad Titan's blood, and later, Thor successfully lands a blow that grievously injures Thanos. While this did fail to defeat Thanos, it proves that the heroes are not powerless against him.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: He claims that he wants to exterminate half of life in the universe to save the other half from extinction. In truth (as confirmed by Joe Russo in the DVD Commentary), he is just trying to prove himself right after his species rejected the solution he proposed many years ago and force it on the universe at large. Therefore, he ignores any other options, such as doubling the resources, and does not mind decimating three quarters of some species — according to The Russo Brothers, the Snap killed half of those he has already halved before, such as Asgardians or Drax's people. And that is not taking into account i.e. losses the Asgardians suffered from Hela before him. Endgame has him discard all pretensions of being well-intentioned, instead ranting that he would destroy the entire universe and rebuild a new one that would work the way he wanted it to, and would be forced to be grateful to him.invoked
  • Numbered Homeworld: Thanos's new planet in Endgame is labeled Planet 0269-S on a star chart and director, Joe Russo calls it Titan II in interviews.
  • Obliviously Evil: Gamora calls him out on it:
    Gamora: But now, you kill and torture and you call it mercy.
  • Offing the Offspring: Sacrifices Gamora to get the Soul Gem.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
    • He and his forces managed to kill half of Xandar and steal the Power Stone from them entirely offscreen. The sheer ferocity of the attack was so effective that the Guardians had no idea that he had even done this until after Thor told them.
    • By the time Infinity War opens, Thanos and his Children have already defeated both Thor and Heimdall, and massacred the Asgardian refugees.
  • Off with His Head!: How his Post-Snap counterpart dies. While he's restrained by the surviving Avengers, Thor chops his head off with Stormbreaker.
  • Oh, Crap!: Several:
    • During the brawl on Titan, Dr Strange latches the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak onto the Infinity Gauntlet and begins to actually pull it loose from Thanos's arm. Thanos's expression changes to panic for the first time as he realizes he is actually in danger of losing the Gauntlet and failing his mission.
    • When Stormbreaker flies toward him, cutting through the beam he is firing from all six Infinity Stones, his face shifts to one.
    • And again when the Infinity Gauntlet is damaged after his fingersnap and it appears that nothing has happened at first, Thor still being there.
    • In Endgame, he has one when he gets into a fistfight with Carol Danvers, who proceeds to beat him down and utterly No-Sell his attacks. He has to single out the Power Stone just to keep her from making his face cave in. There’s also a brief Freeze-Frame Bonus before when Carol returns to Earth and destroys the Sanctuary. As he watches his ship fall, it dawns on him that this is a fight he stands a very good chance of losing.
    • In Endgame, Thanos gets his final moment of distress as he sees Stark with the Infinity Stones ready to snap him out of existence.
  • Older and Wiser: This is not apparent until Endgame, but the present-day Thanos is much wiser and more sympathetic than his past self back in 2014. After seeing Ronan, Gamora and Nebula all betray him at one point, Thanos decides to collect the Infinity Stones himself, and he successfully does so in a matter of days compared to the years spent sending his minions to do it for him. He also expresses sympathy and respect to foes willingly to make the hard choices, comparing them to his own personal losses. And he destroys the Infinity Stones after completing his mission, knowing that it would be a temptation to do something worse if they remain intact. In contrast, 2014 Thanos is more arrogant and callous. He orders 2014 Nebula to get the Infinity Stones for him instead of doing it himself, which leads to her demise. And when given a glimpse into his future, Thanos goes full megalomania with a new plan of destroying the universe to erase the memory of his crimes; and he gives no sympathy to Earth's mightiest heroes, to whom he promises he will enjoy burning the Earth to cinders.
  • Old Superhero: Old supervillain but in any case he's old enough to have adult adopted children who were children when he got them, badass enough to be a threat to the entire universe. His design deliberately has signs of aging to invoke this.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Before Endgame, he's willing to destroy entire planets in return for an Infinity Stone, or just potential recruits like Gamora. His ultimate goal is to wipe out half of sentient life to ensure the survival of the other half.
    Gamora: He used to kill people planet by planet, massacre by massacre.
    Drax: Including my own.
    • In Endgame, he devolves even further. Seeing that the surviving half of the population could still ruin his master plan via time travel, Thanos now ambitions to destroy the entire universe with all life in it so that no one is in position to regret losing their loved ones and create it anew.
      Thanos: I will... Shred this universe, down to its last atom... And then, with the Stones you have collected for me, create a new one. Teeming with life, that knows not what it has lost, but what it has been given. A grateful universe.
      Captain America: Born out of blood.
      Thanos: They'll never know... Because you won't be alive to tell them.
  • The Omnipotent: His goal is to gain complete control over space, time, the mind, the soul, power and reality itself, so he can "balance the universe". When he actually does get all the stones, though, he's not quite omnipotent; he can do quite literally anything, but he needs a Magical Gesture to do so, and sufficiently large-scale acts can damage the Gauntlet.
  • One Last Job: After doing what he needs to do with the Infinity Gauntlet, he intends to retire from killing and conquering, which he does at the end of Infinity War.
  • Orcus on His Throne: He initially never leaves that throne, preferring to let others do the work for him, and this costs him three Infinity Stones in various ways. In The Stinger of Age of Ultron, he decides to get off the throne to take matters into his own hands, which he finally does in Infinity War. It proves to be a great decision.note 
    Thanos: Fine. I'll do it myself.
  • Order Versus Chaos: He believes that life is chaotic and unbalanced, which will inevitably result in extinction, so he puts it upon himself to bring order to the universe by destroying half of life and thus limiting it. One of his first victims in Infinity War is a self-proclaimed God of Mischief. Thanos also believes in destiny, i.e. predetermined and orderly course of events. By killing Gamora he rejects the chaos of emotions and submits himself to this course:
    Thanos: I ignored my destiny once. I cannot do that again. Even for you.
  • Orphanage of Fear: He's shown to occasionally take in alien orphans (oftentimes he's the one who killed their parents) and train them into his personal assassins. Needless to say, he isn't the most loving father.
  • Our Titans Are Different: It's the name of his race and home planet.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Aside from Nebula, all of Thanos's adopted children meet their end in Infinity War, with Thanos killing Gamora himself to claim the Soul Stone, and the Children of Thanos all losing their lives while trying to claim the Time and Mind stones for their adoptive father.
  • Out of Focus: In Infinity War, Thanos is the Villain Protagonist who gets the lion's share of screen time. This version of him is killed by Thor at the end of the first act of Endgame. Thanos doesn't reappear until nearly halfway through the movie, when the heroes run into the 2014 version of Thanos from Guardians of the Galaxy while traveling back in time.
  • Outside-Context Problem: To humans in Infinity War. Even Doctor Strange who has been monitoring potential magical threats to Earth has no idea who Thanos is until Banner arrives to warn him.
  • Overarching Villain: The main villain of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. He is the true mastermind behind Loki, the Chitauri, Ronan, and Ultron (inadvertently) and the main antagonist of Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.
  • Parental Favoritism: He refers to Gamora as his "favorite daughter." He does this right in front of his other daughter, Nebula, who he refers to as "spare parts". Even though both Nebula and Gamora betrayed him, Thanos is only wrathful toward Nebula, because she was the significantly weaker of the two. It shows how twisted his merit-based love truly is. When he kills Gamora to gain the Soul Stone, he is none-too-pleased. In contrast, he has no problems torturing and trying to kill Nebula.
  • Perma-Stubble: If you look closely, you'll notice he always has a bit of stubble on his face, like his motion capture actor Josh Brolin.
  • Perpetual Frowner: He'll happily accept the chance to fight a Worthy Opponent or will grin when he sees someone act for the greater good, but most of the time Thanos's disposition is very bleak. His mindset can never leave the loss of his planet and people, nor does he enjoy the grim task of slaughtering half the indigenous population on a planet he perceives as overpopulated. His favorite adopted child, Gamora, betraying him has only made him more hardened.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: With the Power and Space stones, he can blow up any world he wants with a mere thought. At one point, he shatters an entire moon so he can use the fragments as heavy artillery. Once he has all the stones, he can (and does) kill trillions and trillions of beings all across the universe, all at once.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When he was culling Gamora's home planet of half of its population, he spared her and even tried to keep her from watching her peers die as his soldiers did them in. He genuinely does love her as an adopted daughter.
    • After kidnapping Gamora, he brings her a bowl of soup in case she was hungry.
    • Despite torturing Nebula and holding her in great contempt, Thanos ordered that her body be reassembled once Gamora gave in and revealed the location of the Soul Stone.
    • While Tony's best effort is only enough to scratch him, Thanos respects the effort all the same. And he honors his end of the agreement when Doctor Strange gives him the Time Stone, sparing Stark's life.
    • After Wanda kills the Vision in a last ditch effort to stop Thanos from claiming the Mind Stone, Thanos gently consoles her for her loss, although his compassion is undermined when he uses the Time Stone to undo her efforts and rip the Mind Stone from the Vision's head, killing him right in front of Wanda.
    • His final words to his last child Nebula is to apologise for treating her so harshly. Considering Nebula knows he's not a liar, then yes, he does mean this sincerely.
    • After his 2014 counterpart sees Nebula's memories of his plan succeeding and how her future counterpart is working with the Avengers to undo it, he saves her from Ebony Maw, who immediately tries to kill her and calls her a traitor, giving her a chance to prove her loyalty to him. When Nebula successfully brings him and his army to 2023 he congratulates her on her success. Perhaps he took the dying words of his future counterpart to heart and decided to ease up on her as a parent a bit and not treat her as harshly as he has been.
  • Physical God: Thanos is the last of the Titans. Too bad he is the Mad one. Hulk's punches barely even stagger him, and the only one to near fatally injure him is Thor's Stormbreaker, which is the most powerful Asgardian weapon and the second most powerful weapon overall behind the Infinity Gauntlet. He also gives a Curb-Stomp Battle to almost everyone in the movie. His Children, especially Ebony Maw worship him like cult members would.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: He is much older than all the heroes opposing him.
  • Pitiful Worms: After Spider-Man lands enough hits on him to be annoying, he slams him into the ground while snarling "Insect!"
  • The Plan: The Avengers started his plan to obtain the Infinity Stones and become omnipotent. Infinity War itself revealed that his goal isn't to seek godhood, but to stop an Overpopulation Crisis by killing half of all life.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Thanos is Affably Evil throughout the events of Infinity War, showing a civilised demeanor to the heroes, who respond with snark, insults, and sheer (but more than justified) loathing. It's most telling when they track him down post-Snap in Endgame, and an enraged Thor beheads him just as Thanos is laying the groundwork for possibly reconciling with Nebula, his last living child.
  • Population Control: His Evil Plan is to enact a 50% reduction in the population on all civilized worlds, across the entire universe, so no one will have to suffer losing their entire world to an Overpopulation Crisis like he did for generations.
  • Properly Paranoid: In Endgame he destroys the Infinity Stones shortly after using them to prevent anyone from using them to reverse what he had already done with them, and to avoid the temptation of using them himself. He turns out to be correct on both counts, since the Avengers track him down to get the stones and bring everyone back, and his past self from 2014 decides to use the stones to wipe out the entire universe and rebuild it in his own image after he learns how the Avengers are trying to undo his victory instead of moving on and being grateful.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: MCU Thanos's goals being an extremist form of Population Control was a change made because the motivation of his comics self — a desperate attempt to win the love of the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death herself, an entity who may only exist in his own mind — might not have gone down well with film viewers, especially considering the MCU's past trouble with critiques of the films relying on Generic Doomsday Villains. With this in mind, he did once have a similar plan during an appearance in Silver Surfer, giving the reasoning that overpopulation and overconsumption of resources would kill off all life — possibly erasing Death as well. He insists that after the balance is corrected, Death will be assured a steady supply of souls.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: He believes that getting rid of half the beings in the universe is the only way to prevent the populations of various planets from one day killing each other over their limited resources, but he's grown weary of how bloody his extermination campaigns have become. He hopes to use the Infinity Gauntlet to make the execution as instantaneous, "fair", and painless as possible.
    • In a twisted inversion of this, the events of Endgame force him to employ a different form of pragmatism: Kill ’Em All. His original vision is what he wanted to do but in order to actually make it stick and not have civilization be hounded for the rest of eternity trying to find a way to undo what he wrought, he decides the only real measure is to eliminate all life and start over in balance. He probably would be okay with just doing the original plan if he knew that everyone he left behind would be satisfied and grateful to him but since the Avengers proved that moving on is impossible for sentient beings, the only way to make his plan work is to go the full distance.
  • Present Absence: In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Thanos's actions drive Nebula's character arc and remain an influence on Gamora as well, fueling the conflict between the sisters throughout the movie. Thanos himself, however, doesn't appear.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Thanos is quite fond of this expression. He wears that smirk in The Stinger of The Avengers and several times throughout Infinity War.
  • Purple Is Powerful: He has purple skin and has been described as the most powerful being in the universe. In addition, the Power Stone is the first Infinity Stone he captures and is also the one he makes the most use of in combat.
  • Put the "Laughter" in "Slaughter": Lampshaded in the trailers for Infinity War, where he admits that even though "balancing the universe" isn't something most would normally consider fun, it makes him smile anyway.
  • Put Them All Out of My Misery: His 2014 self changes his goal to this once he realizes that the people of the world will not take the destruction he has wrought lying down.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: At the end of Infinity War, Thanos accomplishes everything he desired by wiping out half of all life in the universe, and even retires to live a simple life as a farmer. Yet to do so, he lost his children, his armies, his ship, his gauntlet, and even his health, as a near-fatal injury from his Curb-Stomp Battle with Thor leaves him limping in his last scene. He goes from a wealthy Galactic Conqueror feared the galaxy over to a peasant living in a hut. However, unlike most depictions of this trope, he seems otherwise content with this. Endgame confirms that this was his outcome all along: eradicate half of the universal population then retire to "the garden" to live out his days. At best maybe he was hoping to share it with his "family".
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    Tropes R to Z 
  • Reality Warper: The Reality Stone Thanos takes on Knowhere makes him one. He can casually rewrite reality to create a large-scale illusion, based on his own memory, transform enemies into rocks or ribbons, attacks into bubbles, chunks of metal into a bat swarm, and so on. However, the alterations only function for as long as he's concentrating on them, so it's Too Awesome to Use, and would require the Time Stone to make these changes stick. The completed Gauntlet, though, makes him a much more classical example, allowing him to do literally anything he pleases with a hand gesture.
  • Red Baron: As revealed in Guardians of the Galaxy, he has his comic counterpart's epithet "The Mad Titan. When talking to Doctor Strange about his motivations in Infinity War, he implies that it came from his proposed solution to Titan's Overpopulation Crisis, rather than his rampage across the universe.
  • Replacement Flat Character: His 2014 self has none of the Character Development and redeeming/tragic qualities of his prime timeline self.
  • Restart the World: His last solution after discovering erasing half the population didn't work out the way he wanted. In a new universe with vast resources, nobody will be sad if no one from before exists to say what was lost.
  • Retired Monster: After killing half the universe, he teleports to a quiet, idyllic world to spend the rest of his days. In fact, he's pretty much lost the will to fight as well. He only gets three weeks' worth of it before the Avengers track him down and Thor kills him. Even then, he doesn't get the chance to enjoy it because everyone he'd consider sharing it with is dead, and he has severely wounded himself by using the Stones again to make the Snap irreversible.
  • Right Makes Might: Strangely enough, this actually applies due to Infinity War and Endgame, each featuring a different version of Thanos. The former, had him at being a Well-Intentioned Extremist who stood true to his overall benevolent goals, prevailing over every hero in the end and succeeding at his mission, while the latter showcased a completely insane and selfish mad man who was prepared to remake the universe to is liking, resulting in him receiving an complete and utter Laser-Guided Karma of his own making.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Thanos and the Black Order are able to locate five out of six Infinity Stones themselves, and get the information about the last one from Gamora.
  • Secretly Selfish: Despite his statements that he's doing everything for the good of the universe, it's implied in the films (and outright stated by the creative team involved with the films) that at the end of the day his true motive is not to save the universe, but to prove he was right out of selfish validation of his plan to save Titan that no one listened to. This shows when he destroys the Infinity Stones to ensure that no one can undo his work, and 2014 being enraged that people still won't admit he's right even after he won.
  • Serkis Folk: In Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Thanos was created with computer graphics over a motion-captured performance of Josh Brolin, who also provided his voice. This is in contrast with Thanos's previous appearances, where Poitier portrayed the character under heavy makeup, or Brolin only did the voice without visual reference for Thanos's animators.
  • Shipper on Deck: A dark example. Thanos gives his blessing to Gamora and Quill in Avengers: Infinity War, while he mockingly addresses Peter as "the boyfriend" when Peter proves he has guts (i.e being prepared to shot Gamora to save the universe), Thanos says he likes him.
  • Shoulders of Doom: As in the comics, Thanos's armor features broad pauldrons that add to his intimidating stature.
  • Shout-Out: Thanos's double bladed sword, which can be hurled like a giant shuriken/buzzsaw through his enemies and then returns to his hand on command, resembles and functions almost exactly like the similar sword wielded by Tessai the rock-monster from the 1993 Anime Classic Ninja Scroll.
  • Signature Move:
    • Using I Have Your Wife to get people to turn over the Stones. Which makes it rather ironic when he has to sacrifice Gamora to get the Soul Stone.
    • On a more humorous note, he has a tendency to neutralize deadly weaponry by making them shoot bubbles or turn them into bubbles themselves, using the Reality Stone.
    • Grabbing enemies by their neck. Hulk, Loki, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Vision all get a taste of it in Infinity War, some more thoroughly than others.
  • A Sinister Clue: He wears the Infinity Gauntlet on his left hand, which he uses to wipe out half of all life in the universe. Notably, when he tries to use Stark's Nano Gauntlet (which is right-handed) to wipe out the entirety of the universe in Endgame, he fails.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Thanos keeps an eye on happenings on Earth and Asgard. He knows that two Infinity Stones are on Earth, including the Time Stone kept by the Masters of Mystic Arts who didn't confront him before Infinity War and who were unknown to the Avengers. According to invokedWord of God, he knows Iron Man by name because he has investigated why his forces failed in New York. He also intercepts the Asgard refugee ship. And he knows a great deal about Peter Quill, calling him Gamora's boyfriend — he may have learned or inferred that from his torture of Nebula and extracting information from her.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Upon hearing attacking Earth would be tantamount to a Suicide Mission, he grins.
    • He similarly grins after telling Ronan he will bathe the stars in Ronan's blood if the Kree zealot comes back empty-handed again.
    • He bears a blood-curdling one as he's seconds away from killing Thor with Stormbreaker...until he's hit by Mjolnir.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: His more practical outfit he wears for Infinity War is sleeveless.
  • Smug Super: The reason he's pretty high and mighty? Because he really is that high and mighty.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: His soft-spoken, gentlemanly demeanor despite his Omnicidal Maniac motivations make him just that much more disturbing. His disturbingly casual threat to personally kill every single living being on Earth in Endgame, after the Avengers prove to be a thorn on his side for far too long, is outright chilling.
  • Soul Power: The Soul Stone makes him one. It is one of the least used Stones, and Thanos uses it to see a spiritual representation of the dead Gamora and damage the real Doctor Strange from his clones.
  • Space Master: Thanos acquires the Space Stone from the Tesseract and becomes one. His uses are usually on the Boring, but Practical side, since he mainly uses it to transport himself instantly at any location (which incidentally allows him to gather the remaining Stones before anyone can do something about it). However, he's been shown to freeze people, phase enemies out of space then dephase them in the middle of a wall, create a black hole to hurl it at Doctor Strange. The most impressive things he does with the Space Stone are hurling fragments of a nearby moon towards his enemiesnote  and pulling the entire landscape to decrease the distance between him and Doctor Strangenote  so he could grab him.
  • Starring Special Effects: He is a CGI creation and the chief villain of Infinity War.
  • The Stoic: He's not too phased by anything. The only time he ever really raises his voice is when Ronan takes the power of the Power Stone into him, and even then he's more upset over Ronan disrespecting him.
    Thanos: Boy... I would reconsider your current course!
  • Start X to Stop X: Basically, Thanos wants to save lives...by slaughtering billions of lives.
  • Story-Breaker Power:
    • Once Thanos gets the Reality Stone, he demonstrates he can create physical illusions including copies of himself, make himself invisible, turn his opponents' weapons into harmless bubbles, and instantly defeat someone by breaking them into little pieces. Its only real weakness is that these changes vanish once he stops actively maintaining them. Despite the Reality Stone's essentially unstoppable power though, he still prefers to use the more basic Power and Space Stones along with just beating people up the old fashioned way. This is presumably because he'd rather enjoy the fights instead of ending things so quickly every time.
    • Once Thanos gets the Space Stone- the first he gets in the movie, although he got the Power Stone offscreen- he is free to teleport anywhere he wants wherever he wants- but he opts to send his minions to Earth to retrieve the Time and Mind Stones while he pursues the Reality and Soul Stones, the latter somewhere only Gamora knows the location of. He could have used the Space Stone to travel to Earth himself and get the Stone much more quickly, and the Mind Stone in particular could have been used to force Gamora to tell him what he wanted to know anyway, and indeed the Space Stone in the end is what allows him to travel to Earth and defeat most of the heroes in quick succession after his other "children" are killed and fail him.
    • As of the end of Infinity War, the fully-assembled Infinity Gauntlet itself is rivaled in power only by Thor's Stormbreaker; every other weapon or power the heroes could possibly hope to counter it can't even come close to stopping the Infinity Gauntlet as long as Thanos is being serious. Hell, the gauntlet was already the most powerful weapon in the universe with just half of the Infinity Stones assembled.
  • Strong and Skilled: A contrast with the Hulk, whose ass he kicks. Thanos is no mindless brawler; he chops Hulk in the neck thrice, parries hits, uses clean boxing combinations, quickly clinches and then knees Hulk in the face, slams the back of Hulk's head into a metal pillar, punches weak spots like ears and base of the spine and finishes it off by carrying him over his head and tossing him away like this week's trash.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: His consistently presented level of strength is that he is casually able to overpower and beat people in the weight class of Hulk and Thor to near-death. For the sake of story however, he is later shown to struggle with the likes Spider-Man, Iron Man and even Captain America. On Titan, his "struggle" was being tag-teamed by 5-6 people. When he actually engages heroes such as Spider-Man and Iron Man 1v1, he wins handily. He also seems more entertained by Captain America's tenacity than anything else.
  • Stupid Evil: Zig-Zagged. When it comes to his planning and fighting tactics, The Mad Titan is as cunning as he is strong. However, his Evil Plan itself is pointlessly evil in light of his motivations. He wants to kill half the universe for fear that life will implode on itself after expending all of the universe's resources, yet it never occurs to him that the Infinity Stones—reality warping stones with the power to bend reality as they see fit—could be used to create an abundance of resources and, by extension, end thousands of conflicts around the universe that are motivated by resource shortages, all without taking a single life himself. However, from his perspective, more resources will just beget more "mouths to feed," making the whole effort pointless. He believes his culling will force a population bottleneck from which they might not recover. It's also implied that he ultimately cares more about proving he was right than actually saving the universe.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: His Prime timeline self doesn't even last half an hour into Endgame after having been the Big Bad for Infinity War.
  • Superpower Lottery: Each of the Infinity Stones grants him incredible powers. Together they grant nigh-unlimited control over all of reality.
  • Super Strength: He's strong enough to overpower Hulk in a contest of raw strength, and later breaks through Vision's Vibranium body with nothing more than a casual pinch... to say nothing of being able to cleave through Captain America's invincible shield with his Double-Bladed Sword.
  • Super Toughness: Thanos can take a lot to even make bleed. The Hulk, having a skyscraper-sized debris thrown into him, a barrage of missiles, none of the aforementioned do any lasting damage to him. Only Thor powered with Stormbreaker has managed to severely hurt him.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: In Endgame, Thor straight-up beheads him in the middle of a conversation after learning that he destroyed the Infinity Stones. After seeing the amount of abuse he took in Infinity War without so much as bleeding, the quickness of Thanos's death is shocking.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: All his underlings (save Ebony Maw, which he acknowledges for bringing the Stone alongside his bearer to Titan) have proven to be unreliable in delivering him the Infinity Stones. The final straw was Ronan's betrayal, after which he declares he will hunt them himself.
  • Sword Pointing: Points his double-bladed sword towards the good guys shortly before the Battle of Earth, signaling his army to charge.
  • Sympathy for the Hero:
    • He gives this lecture to Thor after decimating the Asgardian escape ship.
      Thanos: I know what it's like to lose. To feel so desperately that you're right, yet to fail nonetheless. It's frightening, turns the legs to jelly. But I ask you, to what end? Dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same.
    • In the film, he voices his respect for Tony Stark, just as Thanos is about to kill him.
      Thanos: You have my respect, Stark. When I'm done, half of humanity will still be alive. I hope they remember you.
    • He comforts Wanda after she kills Vision to prevent Thanos from getting the Mind Stone, softly telling her that he understands exactly how she feels (because he has just sacrificed Gamora, his adoptive daughter and the one person he truly loved, earlier)...before using the Time Stone to reverse Vision's Heroic Suicide and taking the Mind Stone from him anyway.
  • Taught by Experience: He prefers to learn from the mistakes of others (i.e. the other Titans who did not listen to him) and is dismissive of learning from one's own blunders, making it an Inverted Trope:
    Loki: If you're going to Earth, you might want a guide. I do have a bit of experience in that arena.
    Thanos: [Unimpressed] If you consider failure experience.
  • Tears of Remorse: He sheds these when he learns that in order to get the Soul Stone, he has to sacrifice the person he loves most. In spite of Gamora's belief, Thanos really does love her and it almost breaks him when he knows what he must do to complete his goal.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Thanos hates Ronan because he's everything the galaxy accuses Thanos of being. However, Thanos's very presence causes an Enemy Mine among the various Galactic forces, so he supports Ronan behind the scenes with the promise that Ronan will secure the Orb that secretly contains an Infinity Stone for him. However, when Ronan betrays him, Thanos realizes he has lost his key player and decides to field himself, becoming too cynical to trust any more proxies and worrying that too many people are learning of the stones' existence.
  • They Called Me Mad!: As Thanos himself says, when he presented his solution to the overpopulation crisis on Titan, his own people dismissed him as a madman. Although Thanos was eventually proven right, the comment stuck, and he is widely known and feared as "the Mad Titan". According to invokedDVD Commentary, his reason for focusing so heavily on using the Infinity Stones to apply that solution to the rest of the universe, despite the many other potential ways he could use them to make the universe better, is a subconscious desire to prove them wrong.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When he sees Carol Danvers trying to send the Nano Gauntlet (which has the Infinity Stones) through Pym's portable Quantum Tunnel, Thanos immediately throws his ruined double-edged sword into the machine, effectively destroying it (and the sword) before she can even make it.
  • Time Master: He becomes this after acquiring the Time Stone. He only uses it once, to rewind time on a dead Vision and steal his Mind Stone.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: By Endgame, after seeing that all the sacrifices and pain he endured to ensure universal salvation are not only unappreciated but actually close to being undone, he loses nearly all of his Adaptational Nice Guy and sympathetic traits, changing his plans from wanting to balance the universe to destroying the entire universe just so he can play God and build a more "grateful" one. Symbolically, this represents the removal of his Villain Protagonist status from Infinity War, as well as his ultimate undoing.
  • Tough Love: This is his idea of fatherly love for Gamora — he only wanted her stronger out of love, twisted as it may be.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Seeks to prevent Overpopulation Crises from slowly choking the universe like a cancer. However, he believes the best method to achieve this for the most people possible is by wiping out half of sentient life.
  • Tricked-Out Gloves: The Infinity Gauntlet, which in addition to looking cool, is also an artifact powerful enough to contain all six Infinity Stones (while one alone is already extremely difficult to contain). If the Gauntlet is assembled with the six Stones, it will turn the user into a god.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • In Infinity War, he doesn't get mad so much as slightly annoyed, but he never raises his voice and his expression rarely changes when it does happen... Which makes him even scarier. The only time that he raises his voice in anger is when speaking to Nebula.
    • In Endgame, his 2014 self never raises his voice at all. However, it's abundantly clear that he's absolutely seething with rage at having his life's work undone, which comes up when he notes how much he's going to enjoy destroying the Earth and obliterating reality in an outwardly-calm presentation.
  • Troll: He has a streak of it, enjoying getting people worked up and playing along at times, namely, the fact he lets Quill and Gamora have their moment as she begs Quill to kill her to prevent Thanos from taking her... For no other reason than to see their reaction when he turns Quill's blasts into bubbles.note 
  • Truer to the Text: His 2014 self in Endgame is more in line with his comics counterpart in terms of personality than that of the one we saw in Infinity War, that of a megalomaniacal and sadistic Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Tsundere: When it comes to Gamora. She's the only being in the universe who he genuinely has unconditional love for, and, while he knows he'll never have her approval, does seek her understanding and sympathy. This is best seen in Infinity War. He starts the movie as his previously-established card-carrying villain persona, then shifts to a much milder and even meeker version as soon as Gamora shows up, and generally acts like someone's dad. As she remains on his mind for the rest of the film, he spends most of the rest of his screen-time like this.
  • Two-Faced: At the start of Endgame his left-side face is shown horribly burned as a result of destroying the Infinity Stones.
  • The Unapologetic: With the exception of time he openly expressed regret for the fact he was going to kill Gamora, Thanos never apologizes for his actions, writing them off as necessary or an unavoidable consequence of his goals.
  • The Unfettered: Thanos is willing to conquer or even destroy entire planets just to get one Infinity Stone. When he gets all six, he plans to wipe out half the population of the universe to "save" the other half from self-destruction. He proves his unbreakable commitment to this goal when he sacrifices Gamora in order to claim the Soul Stone; he's reluctant and heartbroken, but he still carries out the deed.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Russo Brothers have implied that Thanos describing Zehoberei as "a paradise" after he murdered half the planet isn't accurate to what actually happened after he made his visit to the planet.
  • Unknown Rival: To the Avengers, right up until Infinity War. While they don't even know he exists, Thanos holds enough of a grudge against them to recognize them on sight when reviewing the memories of the future in Nebula's mind.
    Gamora: Terrans?
    Thanos: Avengers. Unruly wretches.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Thanos intends to kill half the universe to solve the problem of limited resources and overpopulation. He succeeds horribly.
    Thanos: Your planet was on the brink of collapse. I was the one who stopped that. You know what's happened since then? The children born have known nothing but full bellies and clear skies. It's a paradise.
    Gamora: Because you murdered half the planet!
    Thanos: A small price to pay for salvation.
  • Villainous BSoD: The instant Tony snaps his fingers in Endgame, he realizes what's coming — but he doesn't give in to rage or desperation. He simply stands there, watching his troops and loyal followers disintegrate, and then quietly sits down to breathe his last before he turns to dust. The look on his face is one of utter despair at what has happened, and sad resignation to his failure. One can almost feel sorry for him in this moment.
  • Villain Has a Point: As immensely dark and evil as it is, Thanos's conclusion in Endgame recognizes the fatal fault of his original goal, which was carried out in the events of Infinity War: you can't just wipe half the universe's sentient beings without accounting for how the other half will feel in the aftermath and their reaction to it. They will never be "grateful" that they now have more resources on which to live and instead only dwell on that which was taken from them. Those that survive will hunt ravenously for any sliver of hope that it can be undone, which the Avengers found and did. The only way to ensure a universe in balance gets to live as Thanos wants, resource-abundant and thankful that they live without fear of overpopulation, you need to eradicate all life and begin anew with no memory of what transpired.
  • Villain Protagonist: Of Avengers: Infinity War. Despite being billed as an Avengers movie, Infinity War is, at its core, Thanos's movie first and foremost. It documents his personal crusade to acquire the Infinity Stones on his own terms after growing tired of unsuccessful attempts to outsource his efforts. He is given the primary focus, a personal arc and the satisfaction of victory, but the movie does not shy away from reminding the audience what he is at every turn, even as he is presented with a certain level of respectfulness, sympathy and better nature. The film's final words affirm this:
    Thanos will return.
  • Villain Respect: Those who prove to have the willpower to stand up to him or to sacrifice their own desires for the greater good win his respect. Those who serve him for selfish reasons don't.
    • After Peter Quill tries to kill Gamora if it means keeping the universe safe, Thanos turns his blasts to bubbles instead with the Reality Stone, but takes a shine to Star-Lord for proving to be strong-willed enough to sacrifice what he loved most for his goal.
      Thanos: I like him.
    • During his battle with Tony Stark, he reveals that he already knows the latter's name (presumably from the Battle of New York). Furthermore, Tony's brazen attempt to fight Thanos impresses the tyrant so much that he warmly declares this to him and genuinely hopes the people of Earth "remember you"—cradling the inventor in his arms after almost mortally-wounding him with his own nanomachine sword.
    • He has enough respect for Doctor Strange to agree to spare Tony's life when he had no reason to.
    • When Wanda reluctantly destroys Vision and the Mind Stone, Thanos comforts her, shortly before he makes her efforts naught by rewinding time to kill Vision himself.
    • He is amused by Thor's nearly successful attempt to kill him, rather than spiteful. If anything, he is irritated that Thor didn't make a more efficient effort of it.
    • He is bewildered when Captain America manages to stop him in his tracks, and looks at him thoughtfully for a moment before taking him out.
  • Villains Never Lie: Thanos remains blunt and honest throughout Infinity War, to the degree that he chastises Gamora for lying to him, stating that he never taught her to do that. Crosses over with I Gave My Word as well, in that whenever someone bargains with him for the life of someone else, he always follows through. Loki pleads for Thor's life, Gamora pleads for Nebula's, and Strange pleads for Stark's. By the end of the film, Thor, Nebula, and Stark are all still alive, even through the Badass Fingersnap. The closest he comes to going back on his word is when he leaves Thor behind on the exploding ship and when he kills off the dwarves after he promised to spare their lives in exchange for making the Infinity Gauntlet (though Eitri's wording may indicate that Thanos promised no such thing, rather it was a hope that Eitri had that Thanos didn't bother to correct). While the Avengers think that Thanos was lying about destroying the Infinity Stones, his daughter Nebula explains to them that, while Thanos is many things, being a liar is not one of them.
  • Villain Teleportation: He acquires the Space Stone very early on in Infinity War, and it becomes the Infinity Stone he uses the most throughout the movie, often to teleport across the universe to greatly expedite his hunt for the rest of the Infinity Stones.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Love and compassion are not alien to him, but he believes that they make people weak and get in the way of the "simple calculus" of what needs to be done. He reprimands Gamora for losing her unwavering will after her Heel–Face Turn and shows disdain for both her and Loki as they give in after witnessing the torture of their siblings. By contrast, he praises Peter Quill and Wanda for being willing to Kill The Ones They Love. He conquers his own weakness by tossing Gamora off the cliff.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: In Endgame after Nebula, who he has frequently treated as The Unfavorite of all his children, speaks in his defense when he claims he has destroyed the Infinity Stones, saying that he is not a liar, he thanks her and admits that he was too hard on her as a father. Before he can fully reconcile with her though, Thor beheads him in rage.
  • We Wait: A big part of the reason he waited years to initiate his plan to find all the Infinity Stones was because he wanted to know where they all were before going after them, knowing that anyone who caught wind of what he was doing would try to stop him. Once he captures Nebula, who knew that Gamora knew where the Soul Stone was, he took action.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: His default solution to any problem is "kill a lot of people."
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Being the sole survivor of his people, who were lost in an Overpopulation Crisis that Thanos believes he could have solved, has had a distinctly negative impact on Thanos's worldview and sanity; he applies the logic that he intended to use to save Titan (that killing half the population would have allowed the other half to survive) on a universal scale, seeking out the Infinity Stones so that he can end half of all life in the universe to spare other races the fate that befell his own.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • After several movies of characters talking about how powerful Thanos is, he demonstrates it in his first scene where he handily defeats the Hulk in hand-to-hand combat. According to Ebony Maw, this was the equivalent of a moderate workout.
    • He's on the other side of this trope when Thor comes back with Stormbreaker. Thor nearly kills him after Thanos has obtained all six stones, and thus demonstrating that the new weapon was worth the peril needed to create it.
    • He was subjected to this at the start of Endgame, though Worf Had the Flu was in full effect. He was alone, wounded, and voluntarily depowered after he used the stones one last time to unmake them. The Avengers caught him off guard and had the advantages of Captain Marvel and Stormbreaker. He is quickly subdued, had his hand severed, briefly interrogated, then decapitated. His past self didn't have these disadvantages and proves to be as dangerous as he was in the previous movie.
    • He's also on the verging end of it against Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel in Endgame, two heroines powered by the Mind and Space Infinity Stones respectively. Thanos cannot even hurt Captain Marvel aside from using the Power Stone, and he has to resort to bombing the battlefield with his own armies present on it to keep Scarlet Witch's attacks at bay.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The only reason the Avengers manage to defeat and kill Thanos at the beginning of Endgame is because Thanos had just recently destroyed the Infinity Stones and was permanently crippled as a result. And because he values his work over his own life, he doesn't bother to defend himself since he knows that his death wouldn't accomplish anything beyond empty revenge and martyrdom.
  • World's Strongest Man: Ronan's second in command literally calls him "the most powerful being in the universe". Even the most powerful of "superhuman" races like the Asgardians and Kree are afraid to cross him; when Ronan takes an Infinity Stone for himself, his reaction is one of annoyance and little else. Infinity War finally lets him back up all this hype, as it starts with him crushing the two strongest Avengers with ease, and that is without using the Power Stone in his possession. In Endgame, his 2014 self doesn't even have the Gauntlet nor the Stones, yet he is able to take on three verified powerhouses (Iron Man, Mjolnir-wielding Captain America and Thor wielding both Stormbreaker and Mjolnir) at the same time. Only Captain Marvel and Scarlet Witch come close to overpowering him. In the end, he is defeated not by being physically overcome by his enemies, but outwitted by Tony who uses the Stones to snap him and his army out of existence.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • After their fight, he has this attitude towards Iron Man by declaring that Tony has earned his respect. Thanos then hopes that the remaining half of humanity will remember him for his courage and tenacity in their defense.
    • Thanos genuinely respects people who are willing to sacrifice what they love in pursuit of a greater goal, as that's what he himself does. When Peter Quill tries to shoot Gamora so Thanos can't take her hostage, the big guy turns the ammunition into bubbles with the Reality Stone and says "I like him."
    • He also respects Doctor Strange enough to at least hear him out as he's about to kill Tony, and agree to exchange the Time Stone for Stark's life. Strange being able to fight him personally, albeit very briefly, may have something to do with this.
    • Later on, he shows genuine sympathy and respect towards Wanda after she kills her lover Vision to prevent the Mind Stone from falling into Thanos's hands, although once again he makes the sacrifice pointless by rewinding time and killing Vision himself to take the Stone.
    • After claiming the Soul Stone he gains intimate knowledge about any person's inner character. So, when Steve Rogers — the man out of time, the soldier without a country, and the resident Ideal Hero of the MCU — manages to stop him in his tracks when all others have failed, he looks confused at first, then almost impressed.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Aside from how he ruthlessly turned Nebula into a cyborg and tortured her using the tech, he killed Gamora, who he loved as though she was his one true daughter, in order to acquire the Soul Stone. Then again, when his goal is to indiscriminately erase half the people in the universe, this comes as a given.
    • He also has no issues with swatting Wanda away, ironically after gently comforting her in the wake of Vision's death.
    • After failing to make any headway against Captain Marvel in the final battle of Endgame, he uses the Power Stone to give her a wallop that knocks her clean out of the fight. Granted, that one is in self-defense.
  • Would Hurt a Child: As Nebula will tell you. In graphic detail. During the battle on Titan, he attacks Spider-Man with as much ferocity as he does everyone else. To say nothing of the billions of children randomly vaporized by The Snap.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: He hits the Hulk with a Military Press Slam and choke-slams Spider-Man.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Is repeatedly blindsided by enemies and Starscreaming allies (e.g., Ronan) alike. However, he's still a Genius Bruiser who can masterfully subvert such setbacks.
  • You're Not My Father: She doesn't get to say it to his face until Infinity War, but by the first Guardians film Gamora has disowned the Mad Titan as her adoptive father. She goes out of her way to emphasize this dissociation, explicitly mentioning to Drax that she's no family to Thanos (no one has mentioned Thanos; Drax is trying to kill Gamora as an indirect method of getting revenge on Ronan), and sharply backtracks when she makes a Freudian Slip in a conversation with Quill.
    Gamora: My father didn't stress diplomacy.
    Peter: Thanos?
    Gamora: He's not my father.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Invoked to intimidate the heroes in Infinity War.
    Thanos: Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same.
  • You Don't Look Like You: Inevitable due to the actor switch, but Thanos is a darker shade of purple in The Avengers than he is in Guardians Of The Galaxy, and his facial structure is also different. His appearance then changes almost completely for Infinity War
  • You Have Failed Me: In The Avengers, the Other warns Loki that he'll be in for a Fate Worse than Death if he were to fail Thanos, who would find him and deal with him personally. Thanos and Loki don't meet again until Infinity War where, according to the commentary, Thanos ultimately kills Loki for "disobedience".
    Stephen McFeely: Remember, [Thanos] had a relationship with Loki, even if it was off-screen where he entrusted him with a duty in Avengers 1 and Loki failed.
    Joe Russo: [Thanos] is making him pay.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Not to a minion, or even a person, but to the Infinity Stones themselves; after the Snap, Thanos uses the Gauntlet one more time to destroy the Stones, having no further need for them and recognising that they could be used to undo his efforts.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: With the Space and Reality Stones in hand, he can drag anyone he wants into his grip whether they like it or not.

"I am... inevitable."

 
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Avengers Infinity War

Thanos getting the final infinity stone and feeling all the power of the universe.

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