Josh Brolin Is Great As Thanos & Cable - But The Infinity War Villain Was Better


Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2


Josh Brolin has played iconic characters in the two biggest superhero movies of the Summer - Avengers: Infinity War's Thanos and Deadpool 2's Cable - but which is better?

Brolin has been attached to play the Mad Titan in the MCU since 2014, while it wasn't until 2017 when Fox announced that the actor will also bring the time-traveling mutant Nathan Summers to the big screen. At first, it caused confusion, but as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explained, since Brolin isn't contractually obligated to turn down any other comic book gig aside from Thanos, they don't have any problem with him stepping on the shoes of Cable.

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While Thanos and Cable are very different characters, the actor - and their sympathetic-yet-antagonistic part in the plot - means comparisons are unavoidable. Today we'll look at which of the two roles was better.

Thanos Was Infinity War's Main Character - And Got The Better Arc

Thanos’ and Cable’s motivations couldn't be any more different - they fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. The Mad Titan, who has been trying to acquire all six Infinity Gems so he can fulfill his supposed life’s purpose, was willing to sacrifice everything to save the universe from total doom. This was perfectly exemplified in his experience in Vormir, where he reluctantly murdered his adoptive daughter, Gamora, - the only thing he’s loved in his life - to get ahold of the Soul Stone.

Evidently, it was a difficult move for the intergalactic villain. His internal struggle made him more compelling than the usual one-dimensional MCU bad guy. It also made it clear that accomplishing his mission was his top priority. While his extremist logic and actions are questionable, Thanos’ determination is commendable. No wonder that, at the end of Avengers: Infinity War all, he’s able to defeat the Avengers.

Cable’s motivation, on the other hand, is purely self-serving. He travels back in time to prevent the tragic death of his wife and daughter at the hands of Russell Collins aka Firefist. This led him to cross paths with Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, who already had contact with Russell at present time. It's straightforward and easily understandable.

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Yet, despite Cable’s intention rooted on personal reasons, Thanos' arc was more emotional. Throughout Infinity War, audiences saw his anguish and internal struggle, to the point that some even feel for him. It’s especially ironic thinking that a purple CGI character is more compelling than a human-looking one like Summers. Chalk it up to Marvel Studios’ ability to create relatable characters regardless of how ridiculous their character design or origins is (i.e. Rocket Raccoon and Groot).

Cable Was Realized More Effortlessly In One Movie Than Thanos Was In Four

Deadpool 2 admittedly didn't dwell much time on Cable because he's not the headlining character of the movie. In fact, it's almost the second act when he first made his appearance. Despite that, Fox was able to introduce the character efficiently; once his motivations have been laid out, it was easy for people to understand where he's coming from. Not that he lacked the depth or substance - his Cable's comic book convoluted backstory shows otherwise - but compared to Thanos, it was easier to follow this on-screen iteration of Cable's trajectory.

Meanwhile, the Mad Titan ended up taking a majority of the screentime in Avengers: Infinity War - a packed movie with almost two dozen key players. Indeed, although Thanos had years of setup, it was mostly short appearances, vaguely ominous lines (which in hindsight don't make any sense now) and the promise that he'll eventually square off with Earth's Mightiest Heroes, with his backstory mostly crammed into Infinity War.

In terms of storytelling, Fox has done a better job conveying Cable's story than Marvel did with Thanos. Deadpool 2 cleverly streamlined Cable in a way that he can easily fit in the film's story without taking away from Wade's personal journey. Infinity War, on the other hand, had to craft the whole movie around the Mad Titan, which wasn't necessarily a mistake but revealed strain.

Page 2 of 2: Which Brolin Character Had A Bigger Cultural Impact?

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Key Release Dates
  • New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
  • Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020
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