Now that both AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and DEADPOOL 2 have both been out for a sufficient amount of time, let’s try to answer the big question: which Josh Brolin was better?

Was it Thanos, the Mad Titan, and Balancer of the Universe? Or was it Cable, the cyborg from the future on a personal vendetta hindered by a certain Merc With a Mouth?

Criteria To Decide The Better Brolin

The better Brolin will be determined on specific criteria: character development, adaptation accuracy, and overall performance. Each character will be analyzed under each category with the victor being determined for each one. Finally, the character with the most category wins will be the better Brolin.

Thanos’ Character Development

In AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, we finally get to see Thanos as a premier villain. The third AVENGERS film’s focus falls primarily on Thanos, to a great effect. We get to see his motive: balance the universe so that it might be saved. Getting the Infinity Gauntlet and the accompanying Stones provide him with the means to eliminate half of all life in the universe at once. He doesn’t see himself as the bad guy. Instead, he sees himself as the universe’s savior.

“The hardest choices require the strongest wills.”

Thanos believes he’s the only one with the will strong enough to enact what he believes must be done. While his methodology is wrong; his solution to solving overpopulation could work. It’s just not a very ethical or socially acceptable one. When you have a bad guy who sees himself as good, and the audiences are hard-pressed to remember his goals are sinister; you’ve got yourself some pretty good character development.

Why AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR is Absolutely Insane — A No-Spoiler Review

Cable’s Character Development

In DEADPOOL 2, we get our first film version of Cable. Coming from the future to prevent a tragic personal loss, Cable comes to the present to kill a kid. Deadpool decides to protect him, which initially puts him right in Cable’s crosshairs. After their first couple encounters, Cable comes to Deadpool and explains his situation. Deadpool and Cable come to an agreement: Wade gets thirty seconds to change the kid’s heart before he makes his first kill, which would set him on a murderous path forever.

Deadpool ends up sacrificing himself for the kid, dies, and changes the kid’s heart in the process. Cable sees this and decides that there might still be hope for the world’s future. He decides to use the device that would return him home and uses it to prevent Wade from dying. Cable then says that he’s going to stick around the present to make sure it doesn’t get to messed up, presumedly joining Deadpool and Domino as X-Force.

While this is a great introduction to Cable’s character on the big screen, it doesn’t really go beyond that: an introduction. There’s potential for future films for further development, but the development for Cable we get in DEADPOOL remains at a basic character introductory arc.

Winner: Thanos Has the Strongest Will.

A DEADPOOL 2 Mild-Spoiler Review: A Surprisingly Strong Plot Focused on Wade Wilson

Adaptation Accuracy for Thanos

While the Thanos we see in INFINITY WAR is incredible and has some great character development, the adaption from comic page to screen is drastically different.

The comics version of Thanos seeks the Stones and to eliminate half of all life in order to impress Death. Yes, Death with a capital D: The physical and female embodiment of Death. Thanos loves Lady Death and will do whatever she wants, killing whoever and however many in order to gain her love and favor. He gleefully takes life, reveling in his murderous acts.

Josh Brolin
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The film version of Thanos actually cherishes life. It is because of that value that he desires to take half of it. In his eyes, getting rid of half of all life will solve the problem of overpopulation. He only wants to balance life, so that it can thrive. While this definitely seems like a better character motivation, it doesn’t accurately reflect the motivations of the Thanos from the comics.

Adaptation Accuracy for Cable

The comics version of Cable depicts a cyborg from the future who comes to the present to hopefully make the future a better place. He the son of Scott Summers and a clone of Jean Grey. He’s battle-hardened, focused, a master weapons expert, and has the barest amount of tolerance for Deadpool’s antics. He’s a leader and member of X-Force, and the protector of a young mutant girl named Hope.

Josh Brolin
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The film version of Cable is very similar, albeit a little more basic. He’s still cyborg from the future. It’s unclear whether or not he’s the son of Scott Summers, but maybe that could be a factor in future films. His initial motive for coming to the present is initially personal: to prevent/avenge the deaths of his wife and daughter.

He’s battle-hardened, focused, and a master weapons expert, just like in the comics. He also barely has a tolerance for Deadpool. At the film’s end, he joins X-Force, staying in the present to make his future better, just as he attempts to do in the comics. He also mentions his daughter’s name is Hope.

For all of these reasons, Cable has the more accurate adaptation.

Winner: Cable Effortlessly Jumps from Page to Screen.

Overall Performance For Thanos

Thanos has the benefit of getting the basics of his character built in the MCU films prior to INFINITY WAR. So, when we do see him in INFINITY WAR, we get to see the deeper motives and methods behind the Mad Titan. Despite being a completely CGI character, Josh Brolin’s performance and emotions shine through perfectly.

We get to see him just what he’s doing to Gamora, his adopted daughter. We get to see the pain he endures when he must sacrifice everything to achieve what he wants. When he succeeds, you can see the satisfaction on his face, believing that he has saved the universe despite its occupants currently enduring terrible tragic losses of friends and loved ones.

Josh Brolin
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

There’s also plenty of strong scenes where you can see how ruthless Thanos is willing to be in order to get the Stones. Choking the life out of Loki, daring Star-Lord to kill Gamora, stabbing Iron Man while still telling him that he respects and hopes others remember him. All in all, Josh Brolin’s performance as Thanos is one of the best for an MCU villain, providing a dynamic character that carries dynamic emotion with hugely misguided goals.

Overall Performance For Cable

Cable, unfortunately, has the disadvantage of having DEADPOOL 2 as his first foray into film. While he serves as the main antagonist, there aren’t many scenes where we get to see Cable alone with the opportunity to see a dynamic performance. However, the scenes we do get are pretty good, and Josh Brolin does a great job of bringing Cable to life.

Josh Brolin
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

For example, Cable shares why he’s in the present: to prevent his family’s deaths. You see the loss and pain he carries, not sharing the hope that Wade has to change the killer’s future. That hope returns when Cable decides to save Wade’s life. Deciding to stay in the present to make the future better requires Cable to rekindle that hope.

Brolin does a pretty good job of depicting this, however, it’s more of lead in for any further X-Force films. So, at least for now, Brolin’s best performance lies with Thanos. But you have to admit, seeing a grumpy Cable deal with an annoying Deadpool was pretty dang perfect.

Winner: Thanos is More Dynamic… For Now.

Thanos: 2, Cable: 1, Josh Brolin: 3

Thanos is the victor, having better character development and an overall more dynamic performance than that of Cable. However, Cable did win with the more accurate adaptation. Cable is only just beginning. Hopefully, there will be more films featuring Cable in the future where Brolin can flesh him out more.

Josh Brolin
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

When all is said and done, Josh Brolin is the true winner; getting two great comics roles and essentially rocking them both respectively. He nailed it for both of them. Both are very different characters, having very different origins, motives, methods, and backgrounds.

Even so, Brolin does an incredible job depicting them both. If you haven’t had a chance to see either film, go see them both and enjoy the current Era of Brolin we’re happily living in.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and DEADPOOL 2 are both in theaters now! Starring Josh Brolin and Josh Brolin

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