Avengers: Endgame shows us the God of Thunder in a whole new way. And we see a lot of him.
Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has never been more isolated or hopeless, but he also provides some of the film’s funniest moments.
Thor got a heavy-duty role this time. Let’s explore…
There haven’t been many images of Thor from Endgame, and now you know why. He has been wasting away again in New Asgard-ville, and he knows it’s his own damn fault.
As Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) notes, his wallowing has turned him into the Dude from The Big Lebowski (which is meta in another way, since Jeff Bridges played the first villain of the MCU as Obediah Stain in 2008’s Iron Man.)
After the destruction of Asgard in Ragnarok and the decimation of the surviving refugees by Thanos (Josh Brolin), piled on with the loss off his mother, Frigga (Rene Russo), in The Dark World, and the loss of half the universe thanks to the Snap, Thor is in a bad place.
He had a chance to end Thanos, but didn’t “aim for the head.” Now he is ruminating on epic guilt, and making himself comfortably numb with god-level amounts of ale. As a result, Hemsworth’s enviable physique has gone as soft as “a melting ice cream cone,” as Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) not-so-delicately puts it.
Even more interesting, directors Joe and Anthony Russo leave him this way. There’s no He-Man and the Masters of the Universe moment where he raises his Stormbreaker hammer and channels powerful forces to make him cut again.
He’s a mess — and that’s who he stays moving forward.
The Fallen God
This was their way of showing how survivors are suffering and punishing themselves after the Snap. This was a physical way of manifesting the grief and regret Thor feels. But how do you punish a deity? How do you show that someone who looks like Chris Hemsworth has let everything go?
They made him a trainwreck.
There’s some joking about his heaviness, but for all the snarky comments, there are moments of real pathos.
Even though Thor agrees to get off his couch and help the other Avengers try to un-Snap the universe, he only finds true relief when he comes face to face with Frigga, who shares some vital guidance with her broken son.
The mystical is not unusual to Frigga, who was raised by witches to reign as queen of a celestial kingdom. She feels no surprise when she sees him, only pity. “The future has not been kind to you,” she says.
Thor breaks open, telling her regrets at failing to stop so much destruction, feeling he let down his friends, the innocent, the universe. And he feels he has no excuse. He failed to live up to what was expected of him.
“Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be, Thor. The measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are,” she tells him.
That fortifies the Thunder God enough to keep going. “I missed you, Mum,” he says.
Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios
Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios
Valkyrie Takes the Lead
By the end of the story, Thor has ceded the crown of the survivor colony New Asgard to Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who has been filling the role of leader anyway. “It’s time to be who I am rather than who I’m supposed to be,” he tells her, echoing his mother’s words. “But you — you’re a leader. That’s who you are.”
It’s an especially moving exchange given that she was the drunken wreck he is now when they first crossed paths in Ragnarok. This is essentially two sober buddies, helping each other up from the bottom in turn.
“You know, I’d make a lot of changes around here,” she tells him.
“I’m counting on it, Your Majesty.”
Asgardians of the Galaxy
Thor decides to become part of a new team — venturing off in the Benatar with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and chafing Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord by referring to the group as “The Asgardians of the Galaxy, back together again!”
For the first time in a thousand years, Thor doesn’t have a path. Still, you can sense a slight yearning to be in charge, which Star-Lord also hates. Maybe Thor will be a leader again someday. Maybe not.
As he said, even he has no idea where his path will lead. For the first time, Thor is free.