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The upcoming Marvel movies draw Thanos as some kind of demigod, with all the heroes of the universe unable to beat him. But why is he so fearsome? His powers seem to be mostly physical, at least their representation, not sure of the origin.

Still, we have violet cosmic Hulk. He can't fly, has no healing abilities. Why he cannot be shot/blown up? Just left on some moon in a middle of nowhere?

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    “The upcoming Marvel movies draw Thanos as some kind of demigod, with all the heroes of the universe unable to beat him.” Do they? Have you seen them then? – Paul D. Waite Feb 16 '16 at 17:50
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He is scary because he is a immortal cosmic level threat that worships the abstract entity of Death.

Thanos is not only a brawler, he's also capable of generating cosmic energy (think Silver Surfer), telekinesis, telepathy and matter manipulation. He also has access to extremely advanced tech. This all without the infinity gauntlet.

He is one of a small number of beings in canon capable of using the infinity gauntlet, and that gives him universal control of Mind, Power, Space, Time and Reality.

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    None of this, though, is apparent solely from his portrayal in the MCU. It's all based on the comics and other materials that portray the character. – vynsane Feb 16 '16 at 19:35
  • The question was asking about Thanos and his threat level according to us an audience, not specifically why he is scary in-universe. As an audience we know very little other than Ronan, The Collector, The Other and Loki are all terrified of him. Considering what we have seen Loki and Ronan do that should act as a clue as to his threat level. In universe, The Avengers are not scared of him specifically as they know very little about him, but they are wary of his forces due to events in New York. – Pooli Feb 24 '16 at 14:01
  • Right, that's why my answer touches upon the "implied badassedness" stature of the character in the MCU based solely on his direct interactions with other characters, or reactions of other characters in reference to him within the context of the MCU, without any outside information. At this point we don't know how similar or different Thanos will be in the MCU from his comic incarnation. – vynsane Feb 25 '16 at 17:49
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I don't think MCU has revealed how scary Thanos really is yet. We only see him a few times and these are limited scenes. In Guardians of the Galaxy, you actually see his features and etc but again, there is no actual reason to feel scared (OK, maybe a little). Because he is just a big guy who sits on his space-throne. But there are other things to consider...

  1. He literally courts Death. Understand as you wish.
  2. He has The Infinity Gauntlet which makes him the manipulator of reality, time, matter and other important things that is necessary for human sanity.
  3. He doesn't care about little beings' problems. He can destroy worlds for a little accomplishment. He is reckless that way. He manipulated Prince Loki to destroy/conquer Earth (stopped at New York) in The Avengers.

The list can go on. The movies show very little, but I think you might want to dig into online sources or comics for more.

  • Not only does he court death; his name is clearly also meant to be some kind of derivation of Greek θάνατος thánatos, which simply means ‘death’. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 16 '16 at 19:35
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Well, you see the Marvel logic. Creates a character named "Death" and makes it court the Death. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ – apollo Feb 16 '16 at 19:39
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At this point in the MCU, we don't really have any frame of reference for truly how powerful Thanos is. He hasn't been involved in any of the action, but we know he has been the master manipulator behind all of the happenings surrounding at least the Tesseract (from Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers), the Power Stone (from Guardians of the Galaxy) and the Mind Stone (the gem in the scepter that was granted to Loki by Thanos in The Avengers and had its true power unleashed in Age of Ultron).

As it stands, his stature is simply "implied badassedness" since both Loki and Ronan (the only two villains from the MCU to have direct contact with him) both appear to fear him.

That said, his machinations are thus far ultimately thwarted - he sacrificed the only Infinity Stone actually in his possession (the yellow Mind Stone, contained in the scepter) in a fruitless effort to procure another one (the Tesseract, which contains the blue Space Stone), then drafted Ronan to retrieve the Power Stone (purple, contained in the Orb), which also failed. This is why we see Thanos in one of the 'stinger' scenes at the end of Age of Ultron begrudgingly reach for a gold glove (the Gauntlet) and state "Fine. I'll do it myself."

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Thanos is pretty scary on his own. But with the Infinity gauntlet that has all of the Infinity gems in is, he is more powerfull that anybody in the universe. For an in depth of why take a look at the explanation on youtube by a comic guy that explains it step by step.

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