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Why Quantumania’s Kang is a better MCU villain than Thanos

Until 2019, Marvel was building toward one thing. The first Avengers movie in 2012 promised fans that Thanos was coming, and that’s exactly what happened when Infinity War finally hit theaters six years later. When we finally got to meet Thanos, it became pretty easy to appreciate why he posed such a unique threat to our heroes.

Now that he’s been defeated, though, a new hero is emerging who will define the next era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kang has arrived, and if the hype is to be believed, he’s going to be even worse than Thanos. Now that we’ve officially met the character in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, here are a few reasons Kang is a better villain than his MCU predecessor.

Kang is more powerful than Thanos

Thanos gets ready to battle in Avengers: Endgame.
Marvel Studios

Thanos certainly presented the Avengers with a challenge, and his power continued to grow as he amassed the various infinity stones. Kang, though, seems to have almost limitless power once he can access even one aspect of his hyperadvanced technology. Just allowing him to have his suit gives him the ability to shoot massive energy beams and move other people with his mind.

The version of Kang that we meet in Quantumania is severely limited by his exile, and even this version of Kang feels almost invincible. Kang has total control over all of time, and because he knows how to manipulate it, he can create and destroy almost at will. When he has reached his full power, he will prove to be almost impossible to stop.

He is not just one character, but many

Kang the Conqueror in "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."
Marvel Studios / Marvel Studios

One of the trickier things to grasp about Kang is that there are a million different versions of him. The one we meet in Quantumania is not the same one that Loki meets in Loki, and it’s not the same one we’ll get moving forward. Because Kang is not just one character, Jonathan Majors is going to get to do a whole lot of experimentation as he plays different variants of him.

Even more crucially, though, Kang is like an enemy who never stops coming. If you beat him once, it’s not as if he’s gone forever. Like a many-headed hydra, he just keeps battling. While fighting Thanos required a little bit of time travel, defeating Kang is going to require a much more elaborate plan, and even then, it seems like it might not work.

He is more human and relatable than the Mad God of Titan

Kang smiles in Loki.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Josh Brolin was able to give Thanos an almost shocking amount of humanity and vulnerability, but at the end of the day, he was still a giant purple alien who was superpowered even before he had a single infinity stone. Kang is, by contrast, just a really smart guy. He’s a guy so smart that he discovers technology that allow him to manipulate time in ways no one else has been able to.

The fact that Kang is just a man makes him, in some ways, even more terrifying. His powers don’t come from a freak accident, but from his own intelligence, and that’s going to make him nearly impossible to defeat. He’s not the kind of villain that you can just outsmart.

Kang’s motivation is easier to understand

Loki Thanos
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the things that’s so exciting about Kang is that, while we know he’s powerful, we don’t know exactly what he wants just yet other than to conquer. If you believe recent reports, though, it seems like Kang’s goal is to create a single universe where there are no superheroes, which is much easier to sympathize with than Thanos’ strange belief that half the life in the universe had to be destroyed.

Kang has seen the devastation that superheroes have caused, and he wants nothing more than to create a world where people can exist without them. It’s a smaller goal, and one that will also feel more personal for the heroes doing battle against him.

He brings the multiverse with him

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Anyone who has been following Disney’s acquisition of Fox knows that the Fantastic Four and X-Men are coming. Exactly when they arrive remains to be seen, but it seems likely that the threat of Kang could be intimately connected to the arrival of the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, which could possibly be from another universe.

Regardless of where the X-Men and Fantastic Four come from, though, the multiverse also opens a wide array of other possibilities. We get to meet multiple different Spider-Men, and see Hugh Jackman play Wolverine again. None of this is directly related to Kang, but it’s all possible because of the direction that Marvel has decided to take its universe in, and Kang is a bit part of that.

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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