If you ask most people who the villain of Avengers: Infinity War is they will tell you, without hesitation, that it's Thanos. However, not everyone agrees and even Kevin Smith has an argument for why the Mad Titan is actually a hero.
During a recent episode of his Fatman on Batman podcast, Smith and co-host Marc Bernardin were asked by a fan to create their ultimate hero and villain teams -- five of each -- to do battle. While some of their choices for villains and heroes were pretty colorful, such as Jesus as a hero and Taxes as a villain, it was Smith's choice of Thanos for Team Hero that was interesting.
"Controversial choice, Thanos. From a certain perspective he's a hero," Smith said. "He could have literally wiped out everybody with one snap. I call that mercy."
The idea that Thanos is a hero, or at the very least had a "heroic" idea just executed badly is one that we've discussed before in the context that Thanos was trying to save the universe from the consequences of overpopulation. However, Smith's explanation doesn't appear to consider that at all. Instead, his argument is that Thanos could have killed everyone with the snap of his fingers. By killing only half, he was being merciful.
And Smith isn't alone in seeing something good in Thanos. Even Infinity War co-director Anthony Russo has admitted that there's a nobility to the character.
That's I think, one of the most unnerving things about Thanos, is that there is a nobility in him, you know?" Russo said on the director commentary for the home release of the film. "It's not ego, it's not power. He basically looks at himself as a servant and when he's finished with his service, he rests."
Of course, even with the various explanations for Thanos, he's still not exactly a good guy from the perspective of many fans which is why Bernardin also chose Thanos for his villain team, the two Mad Titans effectively cancelling each other out.
Maybe that's the approach the Avengers should have taken.
What do you think? Can you see anything heroic in Thanos? Let us know in the comments below.