While heroes come together to save the world in Avengers: Infinity War, the heart of the story centers on the dysfunctional relationship between a tyrant and his daughter.
Though it seems like Thanos doesn't care for anything but balancing the universe, the movie shows that he really does have affection for his adopted daughter Gamora. And though she hates him and would like to stop his threats to existence, she still has a soft spot for her genocidal dad.
The film's co-director Anthony Russo discussed this dynamic with writers Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, discussing the fine line between love and hate between these two characters. And the film establishes this theme very well in the scene where Gamora kills Thanos on Knowhere, only to find out its an illusion created by the Reality Stone.
"And here he uses this as a test to see if she still cares for him and that reaction tells him that she does," McFeely said.
"I mean, this is one of the most interesting things that Thanos does and you realize that he has an inner life, an emotional life that's important to him," added Russo.
"Twisted, but yes 100 percent, this is so manipulative," said McFeely.
"Well it's a taste of the relationship he's had with Gamora," added Markus. "It hasn't just been physical manipulation."
"But from his point of view he's trying to salvage his relationship with her. They have had a falling out," Anthony said. "He loves her. He's trying to find a way to help her realize that they have a bond between them, that they share love."
It is definitely a twisted kind of love, as evidenced from the moment in the film where Thanos comes to adopt Gamora. After arriving on her home planet, he kills half of her people and then decides to take on the young girl as his own child.
"It was also very important not for him to just grab her, stick her under his arm, and drag her off... There's something he sees in her and there is something she sees in him," Markus said. "He is a protector. Even if he created the danger, he is providing a way forward for her that does speak to her inherent nature."
Gamora finally rejects her father later in the film, a moment which hardens Thanos even more than he normally is, and puts him on the path toward wiping out the galaxy — but not before losing that which he loved most.
Avengers: Infinity War is now available on digital HD. It will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 14th.