2. Killmonger

Black Panther is about identity as it relates to culture, and Director Ryan Coogler pulls no punches in his exploration of this theme. What is it that determines a person’s “people”? T’Challa wrestles with this as it pertains to Wakandans, but it’s Killmonger who takes action, believing that all people are responsible for the choices of their ancestors. Since people of African descent have been victims of violence, he is justified in murdering others to even the score.

Michael B. Jordan brings great gravitas and viciousness to the role, and it’s a big reason that this throw down of the ideals of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. is a truly special one.

1. Thanos

Josh Brolin’s subtle but powerful portrayal of Thanos is one for the record books. What makes him most compelling is the code he lives by. He is wise. Consistent. True to his word. He exercises restraint, choosing not to kill the Avengers when he can because he knows they can’t win. In fact, he shows empathy and respect for them as they struggle in face of despair.

Most of all, he is selfless, willing to sacrifice everything he loves to accomplish his goal. Thanos is the hero of Avengers: Infinity War, both from his own perspective and in an archetypal story sense, bringing salvation to the universe as but its humble servant. In short, the dude is woke, and that’s all the more horrifying for the rest of us.

That’ll do it! Do you agree with these completely undisputable rankings? How does your list compare?