Sunday, May 13, 2012

Could Thanos be meant for something BIGGER than Avengers 2?

Thanos The Titan
Okay, spoiler alert for anyone who has been hiding under a rock. The big reveal at the end of the Avengers movie was that mega-baddie Thanos was a bad guy lurking in the shadows. This isn't cool because of the hype machine, Thanos is actually a really great character who came out of the cosmic titles that Jim Starlin worked on in the 1970s, which really took traditional Marvel comics to another level. To say that I'm a fan of those stories in an understatement. I'm a picky comic guy. But that old material is prime-cut and I sought it all out long before there was any buzz about it.

I'm making a prediction, I don't think Thanos is going to be the villain of Avengers 2. Follow my logic here. At the end of Iron Man we first got a cameo by Nick Fury. That gave us the first clue that there was something bigger here. That there was going to be a larger Marvel Universe. And the Avengers was bigger. But is it the endgame? Is it as big as it will get? I don't think so. Avengers 2 will be a big movie, but to top the first one in energy it's going to have to be something bigger. And why not, the Marvel Universe is bigger than The Avengers. Why would we assume that the movie Marvel Universe won't be as well?

Cover to the Infinity Gauntlet
Trade Paperback, 1st Printing
Thanos isn't really an Avengers villain. You could make the argument that he's a Captain Marvel villain or an Adam Warlock villain, but the truth be told if you look at Jim Starlin's Marvel Cosmic Saga, Thanos is the one constant. He's a more complex villain which is why he isn't just the antagonist of the series he was the star of, he also evolved into the protagonist. He wins. He sees the futility in winning it all. He loses. He starts to see the balance. This is a character, that to do it justice, a story has to focus around him.

My guess is that The Avengers 2 will feature another threat, most likely a more traditional Avengers adversary and something that will allow viewers to focus on the characters of The Avengers. And that it will be the set up for something bigger, something like an Infinity Gauntlet movie.

Wait a minute, you say, from a marketing standpoint, why would anyone name a movie something that doesn't even have a superhero name in it? Things have changed. We had a movie called Batman Begins but then we had a sequel called The Dark Knight. No studio would have not used the name of the iconic main character before that. Ten years ago no one was even reading Avengers comics. And the Avengers comics of the last decade has had almost nothing to do with the more traditional Avengers that were focused on in the movie. Iron Man was a smash hit because it took what was cool about Iron Man and did it right. And that movie was a marketing machine about what was to come. The success of the Avengers movie was part of a marketing campaign that was in the movies themselves. If there is going to be an Infinity Guantlet movie, it's not just going to be comic fans that have the inside track going into it, it's going to be everyone who watches Iron Man 3, Captain America 2, Thor 2, and The Avengers 2. And it's going to be all the buzz generated by those movies.

Now personally, I don't think The Infinity Gauntlet was the high point of Jim Starlin's cosmic epic. In my opinion the best Thanos material came even earlier in the Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock titles as well as the Avengers and Marvel Two In One annuals that featured the character. And after that it's the more recent stuff from The Infinity Abyss, Marvel Universe The End, and the Thanos series that I prefer to the 1990s material. But there is no doubt that The Infinity Gauntlet was a big and popular story and was the peak of the Thanos saga. And it was solid enough and the concept and the roots that made it up were fantastic. And an Infinity Gauntlet movie would just be a rip off of an early 1990s crossover event.

Avengers 2? Come on, what kind of build up would that be? Marvel Studios thinks bigger than those kind of two dimensional ideas. I think something bigger is coming...