As we look forward to the release of Marvel’s long-awaited Infinity Wars, we can’t help but be excited by the exuberant attitude of the big bad villain Thanos. In one of the earlier trailers, he flexes the Infinity Gauntlet and intones, “Fun isn’t something one considers when balancing the universe. But this . . . does put a smile on my face.” And, certainly, he does seem to smile a lot, even in some of his briefer appearances in earlier movies.
But he’s not alone. Many of Marvel’s villains seem to spend a lot of time smiling. True, there are some notoriously humorless villains (We’re looking at you, Ronan, and your utterly humorless response to the dance off challenge.) Smiles can mean a lot, and Marvel’s villains have many reasons to smile.
Spolier Warning: If you’re reading this article, we assume that you’ve seen all the Marvel movies leading up to Infinity War, so there may be spoilers for any and all of them. But we’re mum on anything from Infinity War not already revealed in the trailer.
One thing that makes us all happy is when we know we’ve done a good job. So is it any surprise that a villain will get that same self-satisfaction when they know they’re killing it out there (sometimes quite literally)? No, it’s not, and this is probably what brings smiles to the mouths of so many villains. Even the often-dour Adrian Toomes has a few smiles when his plans work as they’re supposed to.
Smiling makes you look more trustworthy, so what is the first thing people do when they’re trying to con you? They smile. Many villains put on these deceptive smiles when they’re trying to win support. That’s why Robert Redford was such a great choice for the character of Alexander Pierce in The Winter Soldier–he just smiles and you can’t help but trust him, even as the hints assemble that he might not be who he says he is. In contrast, Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2 is working his smile a lot harder both as a con and as an apology for his defective knockoffs on Tony Stark’s tech.
And, of course, there’s Loki, whose cons go far beyond a smile, although a smile is never far from his face. We also can’t neglect Kurt Russell’s Ego, whose con is nothing less than sacrifice your life so I can take over the universe. That’s a big ask, but Kurt Russell’s got a big grin, and he almost gets it.
Of course, this is why Loki is usually smiling. Everything he does is pretty much for his own personal amusement. Even when he’s scheming to take over the throne of Asgard, he’s also looking for a good time. And the situation is never so urgent that he can’t take a few good-mannered digs at his brother and the rest of the Avengers.
This is what makes the Grandmaster smile in Thor: Ragnarok. Jeff Goldblum plays him with such good-natured malevolence that he doesn’t seem to consider himself evil. But what else would you call someone who buys slaves to fight them to the death for his own amusement and enrichment?
Many of the villains know or feel that they’ve been wronged. Not necessarily by the heroes they fight, but often by the universe or system that endorses those heroes. When things turn around and the downtrodden finally get their turn at the top, it’s enough to make even the most dour villain smile–such as Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger, whose motives and manner are generally grim. There’s a hint of a smile there, but it’s bitter until he gets the chance to face off with Black Panther for the throne. Then he allows himself a bit of true joy. And, of course, Loki has a bit of this, too.
Shakespeare definitely had it right when he said that “One may smile and smile and be a villain.” In fact, it’s almost a prerequisite for all the best villains. And Thanos smiles perhaps more than any of them.
Why? Probably for most of the reasons above. After over a decade of leaving his plans in the hand of minions and mercenaries, he’s finally getting up to do the job himself, and doing it right. And he does seem to love his role as evil distributor of death to half the universe. And, of course, he is (finally) getting the Infinity Stones, though how many he gets and how well he can keep them remains to be seen.
All of that is enough to make anybody smile.
But what if you’ve got plenty to smile about, but you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile? We can help. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Scott Young, Purveyor of Fine Dentistry in The Woodlands can give you a smile makeover that can give you a superhero (or supervillain) smile. Please call 832-610-3123 today for an appointment.