Thor has really been put through the ringer in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He lost his home and everyone he cared about, then asked what more he could lose. Then, he lost even more – he failed for the first time in 1,500 years. The universe cost dearly, and as far as Thor was concerned, it was his fault, because he could’ve prevented it. Bear in mind that most of these moments (all but one, actually) will be from Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame, since they’ve been the only MCU movies so far to really understand Thor.
10 Frigga’s funeral
There’s not a lot of merit in Thor: The Dark World. It’s a prime example of the MCU at its worst, following a cookie-cutter formula and a house style without a dash of inspired material or genuine care for the characters. But Chris Hemsworth still did his best with what he was provided. Frigga was given hardly any personality or screen time in the first two Thor movies before being killed off to advance the plot (they should’ve called her “Fridged-a”), but at her funeral, when we see how much her death has affected Thor, there’s a moment of real earnestness.
9 Odin’s death
Taika Waititi was criticized by some reviewers and fans for bringing too much of a comedic bent to Thor: Ragnarok, putting it out of step with the first two movies (which, let’s face it, is not such a bad thing), but also lessening the impact of the dramatic beats. If the drama is undercut with a splash of humor, then it loses its emotional heft. And this is true of the destruction of Asgard and the arrival of Hela. However, in the hands of a trio of impeccably talented actors like Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Hiddleston, Odin’s ethereal death scene, as he vanishes from a clifftop in Norway, is a really powerful moment.
8 Losing his eye and finding himself outmatched by Hela
All throughout Thor: Ragnarok, the God of Thunder is waiting for a chance to leave Sakaar, head to Asgard, and end Hela’s reign. When he finally gets there, he marches up to Hela and engages her in hand-to-hand combat. However, he instantly discovers that he’s hopelessly outmatched. He can’t land a blow, and she tears out one of his eyes.
When Thor was first enslaved on Sakaar, he thought that he’d reached his lowest point. But when he found himself unable to reclaim his kingdom and powerless against his latest foe (not to mention, missing an eye!), he really had reached his lowest point.
7 “You’ll die for that!”
The opening scene of Avengers: Infinity War suitably establishes the threat of Thanos. Thanos and the Black Order take out the Asgardian mothership, which contains the only remaining Asgardians in the universe, in a matter of moments. The Mad Titan’s minion Ebony Maw manipulates a bunch of scrap metal from around the ship to tightly restrain Thor and leave him powerless and speechless. Then, he’s forced to watch as Thanos kills the Hulk, Loki, and Heimdall. Watching in horror, Thor cries out, “You’ll die for that!” He has no leverage in this situation and we actually feel sorry for a god.
6 “If I’m wrong, then what more could I lose?”
This is one of the most emotional scenes in Avengers: Infinity War, and it only has more impact on rewatches, because of its masterful use of foreshadowing. The way Thor sees it, he’s going after Thanos and he’s either going to kill him or die trying, because there’s nothing more that he could lose. He’s lost his father, his mother, his brother, his best friend, his home – and all he has left is his drive for revenge. Conversing with Rocket, Thor has a tendency to open up more than he normally would. When they talk about killing Thanos, Thor boils it down to what it’s really about: “What more could I lose?” In the end, Thanos wins, and Thor doesn’t die, but he does lose a lot more – his pride, his confidence, and his spotless track record.
5 Realizing Thanos won because of his error
In the third act of Avengers: Infinity War, as the forces of Wakanda and the Secret Avengers were struggling against Thanos and the Black Order, Thor marched into battle as their last hope. He’d just forged Stormbreaker, a weapon capable of destroying the Mad Titan, and he cried out, “Bring me Thanos!” He flew up into the sky, spotted Thanos, and launched his new axe at him, plunging it into his shoulder. And then Thanos told him, “You should’ve gone for the head.” After all of that, it came down to such a trivial mistake. Thanos snapped his fingers and Thor looked on at the charred Infinity Gauntlet, aware that an event of cosmic proportions was on the way, knowing that his error caused Thanos to win.
4 “I went for the head.”
There’s a really grim overtone to this scene. On the surface, it’s just a fun callback. Thanos had told Thor to go for his head, so when he had the chance, he went for his head. But killing Thanos after he had already succeeded in wiping out half of all life in the universe and therefore given up on even trying to prevent people from killing him didn’t feel like a true victory. Thanos had still won. Thor had still failed. There was an air of Shakespearean tragedy as Thor walked off into the distance, slowly going out of focus.
3 “Don’t say that name.”
Avengers: Endgame was accused of using Thor’s depression and weight gain for comic relief, but those critics have missed the point. Thor himself is using humor to mask some very real pain. There’s an underlying tragedy to every joke. When Rocket and the Hulk head to New Asgard to recruit the God of Thunder for the Time Heist, he initially jokes around about playing Fortnite and knocking back some beers and killing the Mad Titan. But then the Hulk mentions Thanos’ name – suggesting that maybe Thor is scared of Thanos – and the scene takes a dark turn. Thor grabs the Hulk and says, “Don’t say that name.”
2 His final conversation with Frigga
“I’m totally from the future.” As goofy as it was, the Time Heist sequence in Avengers: Endgame tied in very directly with the film’s theme of confronting the past. Steve Rogers encountered Peggy, Tony Stark encountered his father, and Thor encountered his mother. Steve learned that he couldn’t let go of the past, Tony learned that he could, and Thor learned that he didn’t need to put so much pressure on himself.
It took his final conversation with Frigga to finally drop his Lebowski-esque slacker facade and reveal the damaged human being (well, Asgardian deity, technically – but he’s very human) underneath it all.
1 “Let me do it. Let me do something good, something right.”
We find a broken Thor in Avengers: Endgame. Ever since he lost to Thanos, he’s pretty much given up on life. He’s given up on any standard he was holding himself to and considers himself to be a failure. All throughout the movie, he is desperate to redeem himself. When Tony Stark, the Hulk, and Rocket placed all their newly acquired Infinity Stones into the Iron Gauntlet, Thor immediately volunteered himself to be the one to bring everybody back. Tony tried to talk him down, telling him he wasn’t in the right mental state to do it, and with tears in his eyes, Thor said, “Let me do it. Let me do something good, something right.” But then, when the Hulk took up the Gauntlet, Thor was just rooting for him. He finally let go of his ego.