How else does one deal with gravity/downforce? You need more lift. To get it, you need more thrust to generate it, less induced drag, and/or more wing area.
The other way is to have less "gravity" by lowering weight.
Alas, you're right. Most of this is in the powerplant. At some point, there will be diminishing returns as these fans can only get so big.
There is such a love affair for this 380