Audiences Have Embraced Both Characters - But Thanos More
In terms of public reception, both roles have had its fair share of exposure. Thanos' has been dubbed as one of the best MCU villains. And, while some fans weren't initially keen on his new look - a lighter purple skin and no armor - when the movie came out, most were immediately captivated by the Mad Titan (partly because of the amazing CGI work on the character) - so much so that he has spawned countless online memes, becoming a pop culture icon in a matter of weeks. Somewhat surprisingly, a good chunk of the fandom even dubbed him "thicc" and a sex symbol.
Cable has also been positively received by the masses. Reviews have dubbed him (and Zazie Beetz' Domino) as new comic book movie favorites. Cable's measured expressions were a great contrast to Wade Wilson's over-the-top reactions and fans are already anticipating how their dynamic will evolve moving forward. Unlike Thanos who was purely CGI, Brolin really bulked up for his Deadpool role. The character's design looked intimidating with his short haircut, muscular figure and a slew of high-tech gadgets. However, there's no indication of how his popularity has gone beyond the comic book genre community yet.
Considering the broad reach of Thanos' popularity, the Mad Titan takes the point for this one. The latest Marvel bad guy is already one of the most iconic antagonists in cinema history, joining the ranks of Darth Vader and the Joker. After all, even those who aren't particularly interested in the MCU at least have an idea who he is given his presence online. Cable, on the other hand, is still waiting for the iconic moment that would endear him even to the general movie-going audience.
Conclusion: Thanos Wins (For Now)
Both Thanos and Cable are layered characters who are neither purely good or bad. Brolin did a tremendous job in both roles despite the stark difference in the process of bringing them to life (not to mention the crazy shooting schedule for Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2 which overlapped last year). However, at this point, Thanos gets the edge considering his introduction’s powerful impact to the whole MCU.
That said, this could change. Avengers 4 is presumably Brolin's last film, which doesn’t leave much time to develop his character considering that the movie will mostly focus on the heroes as they find a way to rectify the situation that Thanos dealt them with. Cable, on the other hand, still has multiple films still to come, meaning he’d be explored further allowing for his complex comic book background to factor in future Fox films. This could result in him possibly becoming the bridge between the ongoing X-Men series to Deadpool/X-Force, which could be huge in terms of establishing continuity in the Fox/Marvel franchise. Thanos wins, but only for now.
- New Mutants (2019) release date: Aug 02, 2019
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020