What our villains can learn from Thanos
The writer lists the qualities that Kollywood villains can take a cue from The Avengers supervillain
The Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of a decade full of superhero films. The Russo brothers, the directors, had a rather unenviable task of living up to the mad hype around this unprecedented union of superheroes. And somehow, somehow, they seem to have pulled it off. A big reason for the success is the characterisation of the villain, Thanos. The success of this film was always going to rest on his strapping shoulders. He turned out to be a character we didn’t just fear but also respected and even empathised on a level. There’s much that our own villains can learn from him.
Have a plan
Too often, our villains are reactive, and not proactive. All instinct, little strategy. As Thanos shows though, it pays to wait… to wait till you gain enough potency. Oh, and while on the topic, it also helps to have a purpose. Too often, our villains have no lofty ambition, and even if they do, it’s not particularly novel anyway.
Keep your mouth shut
Motormouths hardly intimidate. In cognisance of that rule of life, Thanos hardly talks, and when he does talk, it rings all the more important. He’s all about the action and through the film, is never found to be indulging in insignificant conversations. Our villains, who often sit around discussing casual nothings with henchmen, could learn a lesson or two in intimidation.
Keep calm and… keep calm
Maintaining cool is a sign of great inner strength. Towards the end of Avengers: Infinity War, a fully equipped Thanos, while unleashing havoc, finds Captain America to be the only one standing up to him… to a certain extent. Our villains would typically unleash a torrent of abusive threats, or perhaps let out loud, empty laughter. Thanos, however, betrays surprise, and almost what looks to be respect for his opponent. It’s the sort of respect that made us like Thani Oruvan’s Siddharth Abhimanyu so much. Give us adversaries who acknowledge a hero’s strength, for, doing so, is sign of great maturity and self-assurance.
How many times have we seen a hero be at the villain’s mercy, only for the latter to not pull the trigger? Instead, he takes the time to engage in pointless trash-talking, allowing the hero to recover and of course, emerge the winner. Thanos, however, makes no such rudimentary mistakes. Having put himself in a position of strength, he stops engaging with the villains, and with an unglamorous flick of his finger, ends up achieving his ambition.
It’s okay to show weakness
The most memorable Thanos scene in the film is the one that humanises him. I’m talking of course of the soul-stone quest. It’s a scene that shows that Thanos is capable of love, that he’s capable of tears. It makes you empathise with him. Too often, we don’t really care about our villains, who are shown to be evil in almost every aspect of their life. They are bad husbands, bad fathers, bad friends… bad, bad, bad. A man can be a villain without having to be evil across the board, and Thanos stands testament to this.