The Endgame of Thor
"A measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are."
Now that the Avengers: Endgame spoiler embargo has been lifted for awhile, it’s time for us to take a look at the “endgame” of each of the original six Avengers and see how they got to this point in their respective journeys. Thor’s journey in Avengers: Endgame was definitely the most unexpected and surprising, but did it wrap up his story nicely?
Well, okay, no it didn’t. But that wasn’t because it was bad, but because there’s clearly more of his story to come! Marvel Studios didn’t really find their groove with Thor until a couple movies ago, and it’d have been a shame to retire his character just as they were finally kicking things into high gear with him.
It was clear the writers didn’t know what to do with Thor at first, but he eventually settled into his role of being a source of optimism and humor – even in the darkest of situations – quite nicely. After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War, however, even he started to lose hope. And after the realization that killing Thanos at the beginning of Endgame didn’t solve anything, he gave up on it completely.
Some saw this shift as out of character, but out of all the Avengers, Thor was one of the best choices for this kind of reaction. This was the guy who manage to bounce back and soldier on with determination and an at least somewhat positive attitude fairly quickly after losing his mother, father, homeland, and bother – the latter on multiple occasions. So seeing him be the one to take losing the hardest showed just how hopeless things felt this time.
But there are also other reasons Thor’s downward spiral in Endgame has received some mixed reactions from fans. The MCU hasn’t shied away from discussing the trauma and mental health issues its characters have faced over the years (it’s not always at the forefront of the movies, but it’s been incorporated into quite a few of them to one degree or another) but this was the first time we got to see a hero deal with depression, and there was some concern that it was handled a little too…lightheartedly. It seemed like the filmmakers mainly saw Thor as comic relief even when he was at his lowest of lows, and some of the jokes surrounding him – most notably the “fat” ones – seemed to serve as kicking him when he was already down.
On the flip side, Thor’s depression and his difficulty dealing with losing everything finally catching up with him gave us one of Endgame‘s best scenes. The conversation he had with his mother was touching, funny, and had a great message: “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be. A measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are.” (It also gave importance to the relatively-maligned Thor: The Dark World, which was an awesome touch.)
But perhaps the most profound moment of that scene was at the end, when Thor discovered he was still able to summon Mjölnir and that even when you reach rock bottom, your worthiness – whether that manifests itself as your ability to wield a giant hammer or your value as a person – never diminishes. Unfortunately, this scene was quickly overshadowed by another scene involving said hammer, but I truly hope that when we look back on Endgame, this is the Mjölnir moment we’ll remember with the most fondness.
At the end of the film, Thor decides to stop trying to be the person he was “supposed” to be and hands over the leadership of New Asgard to Valkyrie and leaves to go one more adventures across the universe. A this point, it’s hard to say whether or not this will prove to be a good direction to take the character in going forward, but it’s certainly an intriguing one. Will Thor join his new space comrades, truly making them the “Asgardians of the Galaxy”? Will he go off on his own? Will he ever come back to rule New Asgard? All we know right now is it’s clear Thor’s story isn’t over yet. And we’re SO ready to see where it takes us next.