Thanos is a character that has had a lot of time put in him to make sure that is a good character, but he is not really a villain even if Marvel’s audience paints him as one. Thanos never intended to destroy the universe. He only wanted to help save it. Thanos says, “The hardest choices require the strongest wills,” which represents Thanos well because his will to do anything for what is right is almost incredible. He sacrifices the one person he loved to get closer to accomplishing his goal of saving the universe, which is possible as show with Gamora’s home planet that is now paradise. Thanos also intends to save the world not for his sake but for others.
In the Marvel cinematic universe up to Infinity War, Thanos is obviously show as a hero. He is currently the only character to have gone through the entire hero’s journey in the time frame of Infinity War, and post credit scenes. Even though it may have not gone in order, he goes through all stages:ordinary world, call to adventure, refusal of the call, meeting the mentor, crossing the threshold, test allies and enemies, approach to the innermost cave, ordeal, reward, the road back, resurrection, and return with elixir. Thanos’s ordinary world was that of Titan after he saw its fall and his adventure to save the universe from destruction was brought up. He refused to start it off and sent Loki do it for him. Even though Ebony Maw may not be exactly be a mentor, they tell him that Loki failed, which is what sparks the change of mind that he “will do it himself” as shown at the end of Age of Ultron. He builds his army and fights the Avengers as he collects the infinity stones. He meets his ordeal when he has to sacrifice Gamora to accomplish his goal. Thanos actually gets two inner most caves: the Battle for Wakanda and the Battle on Titan, where he has to fight many Avengers. Thanos is then rewarded with the infinity stones but is then immediately faces his resurrection scene when Thor almost kills him and the famous “ You should have gone for the head” scene plays and makes his final move, the snap. Thanos then returns to a planet, expected to be Gamora’s home planet, as his returning from his two major battles, which is a combination of the road back and return with elixir, to rest and “watch the sun set on a grateful universe” while half the population strives better than before.
Even though Thanos’s methods to saving the universe might be questionable, his character and story has the build of a hero. He also leaves the audience with a sense of respect for all the hard work he has gone through to achieve his goal. Either way by the end of the movie, Thanos had paid his price for the salvation of others, not much for himself.