Empire (Australasia) - - 2018 Villians Preview - WORDS CHRIS HE­WITT

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.



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.


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.



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.

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