THE FILTHY FIVE
Avengers: Infinity War ’s Thanos kicks off our look at this year’s most hotly anticipated baddies AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (25 APRIL)
HERE’S WHAT WE know about Thanos. He’s purple. He’s played by Josh Brolin. He wants the Infinity Stones, the multicoloured Macguffins that drive the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And when he comes to Earth to get them, he’ll pose so great a threat that it’ll take the combined might of the Avengers, the Guardians Of The Galaxy, and the Warrawidgee Branch branch of the CWA to stop him.
Or, at least, that’s what we’ve been told. When it comes to showing just what it is that makes him the Big Bad of the MCU, he’s been a bit of a let-down. First teased with a sinister smile at the end of The Avengers in 2012, he’s shown up just twice more: in Guardians Of The Galaxy, where he remained glued to his floating space throne/portable loo, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance at the end of Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
So, when he finally arrives for a showdown with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: Infinity War, the character will have to do a lot of heavy lifting. “Darth Vader was the pre-eminent villain of my childhood, and we’re hoping to make a Darth Vader for a new generation,” says director Joe Russo. “We’re hoping he has that complexity to him, and that he strikes fear into the heart of the audience, but at the same time they go on a journey with him. Frankly, Avengers 3 is his movie.”
There are pitfalls galore with Thanos. The last time we saw a giant CG alien come to Earth and battle a bunch of superheroes while trying to gather up a bunch of intergalactic doohickeys that will imbue him with unlimited power, it was Steppenwolf in Justice League, and that didn’t turn out too well. There’s also the danger that, even with an actor as good as Josh Brolin in the mo-cap onesie, Thanos might end up playing second fiddle to heroes as charismatic as Tony Stark.
Like many MCU villains, he could end up as a character with no character.
But the Russos, writers Christopher Mcfeely and Stephen Markus, and über-producer Kevin Feige are smart enough to avoid those pitfalls. Making him look good — getting that CGI just so — is just the start. “It’s very important
to us that Thanos has a level of photorealism that makes the audience believe him,” adds Russo. The film’s first teaser suggests they’re on the right track.
But when it comes to villainy, Thanos’ greatest strength is, well, his strength. He is easily the most powerful character in the MCU to date, and that’s even before he starts adding Infinity Stones to his golden gauntlet. In footage screened at last year’s Comic-con (but not featured in the film’s teaser trailer), Thanos uses the Infinity Gauntlet to pull down a nearby moon, convert it into pure energy, and fling it at attackers. Darth Vader couldn’t do that. “That’s one of many things Thanos does in this film,” laughs Russo. “He’s an incredible threat.” That sound you can hear is Iron Man filling his metal britches.
2. THE NUN
THE NUN (12 JULY)
Not content with popping up and scaring the bejesus out of everyone in
The Conjuring 2, now Bonnie Aarons’ spooky spirit will be doing it full-time in this prequel. With talented director Corin Hardy at the helm, the question is, how black will it be? The answer is nun. Nun more black.
3. NOLAN SORRENTO
READY PLAYER ONE (29 MARCH) Hollywood has noted that Ben Mendelsohn gives good scowl. The Aussie actor has bad-guy turns coming up in Robin Hood later this year and Captain Marvel in 2019, but we’re most excited about his unctuous bureaucrat in Steven Spielberg’s Vr-based blockbuster. Maximum sleaze ahoy.
4. SOLOMON LANE
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 6 (2 AUGUST)
Last seen being boxed up by Ethan Hunt, ‘Whispering’ Sean Harris’ bottleblond baddie returns in Christopher Mcquarrie’s Mission: Impossible 6 — the first villain to recur in the franchise. We’re not sure what he has in store, but it’ll probably involve some serious out-of-the-box thinking.
THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING (27 SEPTEMBER) The threat in Joe Cornish’s first film since Attack The Block doesn’t come from space, but from the past. Morgana, a sorcerer and enemy of King Arthur, is reawakened when a 12-year-old boy (Louis Ashbourne Serkis’ Alex) discovers the long-lost Excalibur. Rebecca
Ferguson should be deliciously devilish in her first out-and-out villain role since Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation put her on the A-list.
Josh Brolin returns as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War — and he’s after those Infinity Stones.