Brow Beat

Here’s How Critics Are Describing Thanos In Avengers: Infinity War

Josh Brolin as Thanos.
Thanos and his unfortunate chin. Marvel Studios

It’s been six years since Marvel Studios’ Big Bad Thanos first appeared in the credits of The Avengers, but this week’s Avengers: Infinity War marks the first time audiences—and critics—get to spend real time with the giant, blueberry-colored villain. This means the entire critical establishment is facing an Avengers-sized problem: How do you describe a character who is, essentially, Josh Brolin reimagined as a purple-headed warrior without getting too vulgar about it? Here’s how America’s top film critics responded to Marvel’s most unfortunate writing prompt yet.


Sam Adams, Slate: “… the movie’s mauve madman has a point about overpopulation.”

Justin Chang, the Los Angeles Times: “ … a genocidal megalomaniac who likes to visit different planets and wipe out half the native population.”


Jake Coyle, Associated Press: “Thanos, the indestructible Titan warlord, who rules over much of space but would like all of it.”

David Edelstein, New York: “The menace behind the massacre is Thanos, a giant with a gruff voice … sporting a chin like a giant ball sack.”

Owen Gleiberman, Variety: “ … a towering armored walking-statue demon with a chin sculpted like Abraham Lincoln’s beard, and a demeanor of soft-spoken Nietzschean intelligence. … like Hellboy, the Hulk, Darth Vader, and Oliver Stone rolled into one eloquent sociopath.”


Eric Kohn, Indiewire: “… a hulkish monstrosity buried under wrinkly purple CGI.”

Todd McCarthy, the Hollywood Reporter: “… a brooding tree trunk of a man whose stated goal is to achieve universal dominance by acquiring all six Infinity Stones.”

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: “…. a CG Josh Brolin, kind of recognizable behind an oversized granite chin, Hulkian muscles, and Booberry-hued skin.”

Michael O’Sullivan, the Washington Post: “ … a purple alien (voiced by Josh Brolin), created from CGI motion-capture technology, with skin that looks like a cantaloupe.”

Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice: “ … a tyrant whose chin might be lumps of grape mashed potatoes scored with a fork to resemble Devils Tower.”

A.O. Scott, the New York Times: “ … a large purple fellow named Thanos” with “vague Malthusian principles.”

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: “ … an intergalactic tyrant with a purple face and a chin the Star Lord insists looks like a nutsack. (He’s not wrong.)”

Stephanie Zacharek, Time: “Josh Brolin, in the form of a giant dude with a pronounced, corrugated chin, like the cow catcher on an old railway engine.”

The critical consensus is clear: Whether you love or hate the newest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can’t deny that Thanos is really, really weird-looking, especially around the chin area. Avengers beware!