(This article contains SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War)
Avengers: Infinity War begins with a devastating attack from Thanos and his Black Order who slay half the Asguaridian population, having only just lost their home world in Thor: Ragnarok, before leaving Thor himself to die. Of course, the fun-loving Guardians of the Galaxy bump into the God of Thunder (literally) shortly after the attack, rescuing him and hatching a plan to stop the Mad Titan from getting his hands on all six Infinity Stones. Thor takes Rockett Raccoon and Groot with him to Nidavellir in order to have a new, more powerful replacement weapon made, after loosing his hammer Mjolnir in Ragnarok.
Having just endured the Asguard-ending struggles of Raganrok, Thor’s grief is all the more evident having now lost his best friend (Heimdall) and his bother (Loki), along with half his people, and is driven mostly by revenge to craft his the new weapon, Stormbreaker, and cause Thanos as much pain as possible. However, when Thor finally gets his hands on Stormbreaker and comes into contact with Thanos, who has managed to acquire all of the Stones, The King of Asguard chooses to ram the hammer-axe into Thanos’ chest to which the Titan taunts Thor saying he should have gone for the head, before snapping his fingers and ending half of the life in the universe.
So, why didn’t Thor go for the head then? surely he would have known that it would be the quickest way to end Thanos’ life? It seems the answer is that Thor was out for revenge and wanted to see the Mad Titan die a lengthy and very painful death. In fact, you can even see Thor looking into Thanos’ eyes closely in that scene making him feel closure for avenging the Asguardrians. In a conversation with Comic Book, Infinity War co-director Joe Russo took the point even further by saying that fans should be just as angry at Thor for not cooling his jets and playing it smart as they are at Star-Lord who had acted in the same way minutes earlier:
“I would argue that the fan base could be equally upset with Thor, who chose to throw that axe into Thanos’ chest and not his head. Because he wanted to tell Thanos that he got his revenge. Had he gone for a kill shot, that snap would not have happened. These are choices that characters who are feeling immense pain make and hopefully, the audience can learn to empathize with those characters because they can grow through stories. Stories can teach us things and that we should try to see every choice from the perspective of the character that made the choice.”
Infinity War‘s biggest asset is its characters, of which Thanos and Thor are featured most prominently, and the film takes time to explore the decisions they make which in turn challenges the audience as to their understanding of right and wrong, love and hate. The Russo’s presented Thanos as somebody who in his own way is capable of loving, made most evident in Gamora’s final scene, but that scene also shows that Thanos’ love of balance (in the universe) is superior over that which he has for his daughter. He will, and does, go to the most extreme lengths to achieve that balance. Generally speaking, we tend to associate love with goodness, but it’s possible for human beings to genuinely love things that are in fact bad (and vice versa). This is a big part of the reason why Thanos is such a good villain in the movie because he passionately believes that what he’s doing is the right thing, and as we find out that is highly dangerous.
Thor, on the other hand, is just out for some good old fashioned revenge to make himself feel better about his loss. Regardless of however we might feel about that his decision is made and its effects have already been felt in the MCU world. As Joe pints out, though, the choices the characters made in this movie will have an impact on future Marvel films, and a this point it doesn’t necessarily sound as though Avengers 4 will see a complete reversal of what Thanos accomplished in Infinity War.
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Avengers: Infinity War is showing in cinemas now
Source: Comic Book