By the time Thanos made his proper debut as a villain in Avengers: Infinity War, he had some daunting expectations to meet. The entire MCU had been steadily building to the moment when our heroes would have to face off with the Mad Titan in what promised to be their most challenging battle yet. Luckily, Thanos did not disappoint. Though the MCU had struggled with their villain characters in the past, Thanos proved to be a threatening, complex, and interesting bad guy who rivals the best cinematic villains of all time.
While the filmmakers drew a lot from the source material, they made their own distinct version of the Mad Titan as compared to the comics. Here are the biggest difference in Thanos from the comics to the movie.
Even though Thanos was the main character of Infinity War, with so many characters to deal with in that film, only so much time could be dedicated to his backstory. Obviously, his origins from the comics were changed and simplified for the film.
In the film, Thanos comes from the planet Titan, where he was exiled after suggesting half the population be killed to save the other half. In the comics, Thanos' parents are Eternals who disown him due to his deformed appearance. In an act of revenge, it is Thanos himself who destroys his home-world.
9 The Black Order
Though Infinity War is very much its own story, it does take a lot from the Infinity Gauntlet storyline from the comics. In fact, some moments in the film are ripped straight from that story. However, when it comes to Thanos' Black Order, the filmmakers borrowed from the newer comics.
The Black Order was first introduced in 2013 as part of the Infinity storyline. The group serves as henchmen to Thanos and, while they are pretty faithful to the comics, there are noticeable differences. Ebony Maw takes a leadership role in the film where Corvus Glaive is the leader in the comics. Also, the member known as Cull Obsidian in the movie is actually called Black Dwarf in the comics.
8 His Strength
Very early on in Infinity War, we get a sense of just how big of a threat Thanos is when he man-handles Thor and easily beats Hulk in one-on-one combat. Clearly, he is one of the most powerful beings we've seen in the MCU to date, but he does have weaknesses. Iron Man is able to draw blood from the Mad Titan and Thor does real damage, taking off his arm and head with Stormbreaker.
In the comics, Thanos is quite indestructible. He has proven to withstand some insanely powerful attacks and continue fighting. He's broken Captain America's shield effortlessly and taken a blast from Black Bolt's scream. Hard to imagine that Thanos from the films is the weaker version.
7 High Opinion Of Himself
Thanos is a very interesting character in the movie. Though he is incredibly powerful and on a mission that will change the universe forever, he is surprisingly level-headed. He has confidence in himself that he will succeed and even calls himself "inevitable," but for someone who is going to kill half of all life, he's very low-key.
Thanos in the comics is certainly not as down-to-earth. He thinks he's the most powerful and important person in the universe and likes to tell everyone that whenever he has a chance. He also uses the Infinity Gauntlet to build monuments to himself and calls himself a god. Neither version is likable, per se, but the comics version of Thanos is a real jerk.
6 Getting The Stones
Infinity War was very cleverly set up to play out like a heist film. It followed Thanos across the universe as he attempted to collect all of the Infinity Stones and the Avengers tried to stop him. The premise gave the film and the heroes' efforts a sense of desperation that worked so well with the devastating conclusion.
Thanos went on a similar quest to collect the stones in the comics as well, and that proved to be even easier for him to achieve. Instead of battling Earth's Mightiest Heroes to acquire the Stones, Thanos visits several cosmic beings in the universe, including the Collector and The Grandmaster, and basically cons them out of the Stones.
5 The Snap
"The snap" has become a part of pop culture history thanks to the heartbreaking ending of Infinity War. After Thanos collects all of the Stones, he does exactly what he said he would do. He wipes out half the universe. It's a shocking moment seeing some of the MCU's biggest heroes fade away and to see the Avengers fail in such a big way.
In the comics, Thanos has all of the Stones before the heroes even know who he is. In fact, their battle against Thanos doesn't begin until he does "the snap" and wipes out half the universe. That's right—instead of ending the story in that devastating way, the Infinity Gauntlet story actually starts with "the snap."
4 Lady Death
We got our first glimpse of Thanos all the way back in the post-credit scene of The Avengers. In the scene, Thanos is warned that attacking Earth would be courting death, to which Thanos replies with an evil smile. This is a nod to the comics where Thanos is madly in love with Lady Death, the personification of death in the MCU.
The relationship between the two is a complicated one and would have made for a very different movie. However, Lady Death is so integral to the comics storyline, most fans were surprised she didn't appear at all in Infinity War or Endgame.
One aspect that makes Thanos such a compelling villain in the films is his unique and complex motivations. In his mind, the only way to save the universe is by wiping out half of its population. He sees himself as the universe's only true hero and those who stand in his way are preventing him from saving the day. It makes him a much more interesting threat.
Thanos' motivations in the comics might not be as selfless or complex, but they sure are unique. Due to his love for Lady Death, Thanos kills half of all life simply to impress her. It's not as interesting, but it certainly does make Thanos appear as more of a madman.
2 Thanos The Hero
Despite killing half the universe and generally being a major pain in the butt for the Avengers, Thanos does have a change of heart in the comics. After Nebula takes the Gauntlet from him, Thanos agrees that it is too powerful for one person to wield and helps the heroes undo what has been done.
Some fans thought we might see a similar reversal from Thanos in Endgame. However, he proved to only get worse. After Thanos from the past learns of his future victory and the Avengers' plans to undo it, he decides to wipe out all life in the universe and just start from scratch.
1 His End
Thanos is such an effective villain that he got two death scenes in the MCU. The first comes after he accomplishes his goal and settles into a quiet life on a farm. Then the remaining Avengers attack and, after learning Thanos destroyed the Stones, Thor beheads him. His second death comes when Thanos from the past faces off with the newly resurrected Avengers army. Iron Man takes the Stones himself and uses them to wipes out Thanos and his forces.
In the comics, Thanos actually gets the peaceful end he sought out in Infinity War. After losing the Infinity Gauntlet and having his actions reversed, Thanos fakes his own death and settles on a remote farm with a satisfied smile. This moment directly referenced in the film.