Why Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Thanos Role Backfired Badly
Guardians of the Galaxy has Thanos (Josh Brolin) making brief appearances. This is a backfire for Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), the main villain. Ronan, the Accuser, is a religious zealot that strictly adheres to the Kree religion. He is often a minor villain in the MCU, despite his role in the Guardians’ film entry to the Marvel movie franchise.
Guardians of the Galaxy marked the MCU’s first major venture into the larger Marvel universe. Only the opening scene took place on Earth, or Terra as the film refers. It introduces viewers to the larger struggles that occur off-world and the driving forces behind them. The 1,000-year-old war between the Kree Empire (Xandar Nova-Corps) is one example of this struggle. The two warring sides sign a peace agreement shortly before the film begins. This angers Ronan and leads him to seek Thanos’ help to destroy the Xandarian people.
Thanos’ appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy backfires Ronan and takes away his role as the main antagonist. He feels more like an errant child than a villain. Many felt that the result was a poor portrayal of Ronan the accuser as the main antagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Nebula (Karen Gillan), Thanos’ adopted daughters, are sent to help Ronan retrieve the orb. They also supervise and ensure he succeeds, suggesting that the villain should be cared for somehow. Thanos mockingly refers to Ronan as a ” boy” and ” pissed child.” As frustrated Ronan kills Thanos in front of Thanos, it undermines his intimidation factor. Ronan can be fun with and not to be afraid of. Even though Thanos doesn’t show his strength or skills, the few lines he says degrade Ronan. These make him look more like a pawn for Thanos’ search to find the Infinity Stones rather than a true villain.
Even though Ronan tells Thanos that he doesn’t need his help to destroy Xandar because he discovered the orb contained an Infinity Stone after Ronan, the main focus of the scene is still on establishing Thanos’ threat level. Ronan is warned by Korath (Djimon Hounsou) that he cannot properly use an Infinity Stone. He also mentions that Thanos is the ” most powerful being” and that Ronan can no longer withstand the stone’s power on his own. This moment is meant to prove that Ronan doesn’t need Thanos to achieve his goals. However, it only shows that Ronan is weaker than Thanos. It makes audiences want to know more about Thanos and not invest in Ronan the Accuser.
At the film’s end, Drax (Dave Bautista) is perhaps the most obvious example of Thanos overshadowing Ronan. Gamora informs Gamora that his wife, and child, will be well-rested knowing that he has avenged them both’s deaths at the hands of Ronan. Drax is leaving with her. Drax replies: “Yes. Ronan was a puppet, of course. It’s Thanos that I need to kill them>. Drax’s main focus throughout the film is on killing Ronan to exact revenge for his wife’s and child’s deaths. This is the reason he joined the Guardians. The film’s final line removes Drax’s killing of Ronan, which robs both actor and character of the satisfaction of a resolution to what initiated Drax’s character story. This is especially true considering that Drax does not play a significant role in Thanos’s eventual death.
Thanos’s role in Guardians of the Galaxy is detrimental to the movie’s main antagonist Ronan. It does not provide context or depth to Ronan’s story, but it distracts from his antagonist role. It feels like the film is trying to establish Thanos’ future in the MCU by not focusing on Ronan. As the audience got instead, Ronan was a strong villain and not Thanos’ errand boy.