The Hidden Philosophy of Death Behind Avengers Infinity War

by | May 4, 2018

I am sure everyone knows what Avengers Infinity War is. For the benefit of that possible 0.1% who could have been oblivion to what Avengers Infinity War is about despite all the raging promotional materials, toys, collaterals or trailers blasting over all your timeline feed – it is the latest blockbuster movie by Disney’s Marvels Studio production. With its massive star power and a storyline that is ten years in the making, this is one awesome film with Earth’s mightiest heroes fighting a desperate battle against Thanos, the main adversary in the film.

Spoilers alert! If you haven’t caught the film and has plans to watch it (which I highly recommend that you do), I suggest that you do not read any further because I will reveal some important plots in the film. So if you don’t want to lose any of that natural surprise, just save this read somewhere and come back again once you are done with the show.

Avengers Infinity War
Photo by Raj Eiamworakul on Unsplash

You have been warned. Lol.

I watched the movie twice (Ok don’t judge me) and I can vouch that it is an awesome show, especially for fans of Marvels Cinematic Universe (MCU). However, beneath all that ferocious fighting and intense plot, there is also an overarching philosophy about loss embedded within the film. I will discuss the elements below and how these deathlossophy manifest offline in our real world.

Fans who have been following MCU knows that Infinity War is the turning point for Earth’s mightiest superheroes, since Thanos is the biggest most powerful villain they have to confront till date.

‘One way or another, the path that we’re on, leads to Thanos,’ said Gamora in the movie.

It is also fascinating to note that the etymology of ‘Thanos’ probably came from ‘Thanatos’, the personification of death based on ancient Greek religion and mythology. Hence philosophical, what Gamora was really saying is that all paths (of life) leads to death ultimately.

In Infinity War, Thanos is not your usual typical villain bends on ruling over the world, universe or what you have not. In fact, Thanos’s motivation in Infinity War is ideologically interesting. The basic idea is that resources are finite and nature cannot sustain uncontrolled growth without the paradox of being self-annihilating. Hence some kind of universal balance is needed. His realization came from the destruction of his own planet (Titan), which contained some of the craziest fight scene between Thanos against Iron Man, Spider Man, Dr Strange, Drax, Mantis, Star Lord and Nebula combined.

You may think this concept is unique to Thanos alone, but Jane Gooddall, a British primatologist, anthropologist and one of the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, once said that if she had the magic power to do so, she would use that power to reduce the total number of human population without causing suffering and pain.

Her reasoning is strikingly similar: this world cannot sustain such large number of human beings without causing tremendous irreversible destruction to nature and our shared environment. If you extrapolate this ideology to the Universe (plus some dosage of extremism), you basically get Thanos.

And the defeat of the Black Order (consisting of the Corvus Glaive, Ebony Maw, Proxima Midnight and Cull Obsidian) by the Avengers honestly mirror our reality. Life may allow us to gain moments of triumphant over the minions of death, but we could never really win the end game, at least in the absolute sense. Just like how the Avengers have failed to stop Thanos in Infinity War (at least within the context of that movie alone).

Avengers Infinity War
Iron Man in Avengers: Infinity War 

Poignantly, there is this scene in the movie where Iron Man battled Thanos singlehandedly, unleashing all his state-of-the-art nanotech toys that only dealt him a minor gash and shedding a drop blood. Then a visibly annoyed Thanos proceeded to bash the hell out of Iron Man and would have killed him outrageously if not for Dr Strange’s intervention.

Iron Man’s Bleeding Edge Armor used in that fight with Thanos reminded me of those funky medical experimental treatment costing exorbitant prices. I remembered I was told that Kimberley was given a treatment option that would cost her 21,000 SGD per month with no guarantee of cure since standard treatment wasn’t working for her anymore.

Honestly, that is insanely expensive. And all that cost in exchange for a couple more days… possibly weeks (or hopefully months) of lifespan.

Would you pay to keep Thanos away for that little while more?

Avengers Infinity War
Thanos in Avengers Infinity War

Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives

Featured Photo: Avengers: Infinity War Poster