Since the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has been one of the key heroes in the larger Avengers franchise. From his first film back in 2011, the world of Asgard has been one of many layers of the MCU that has only continued to expand through the various phases. Throughout his many movie appearances, the God of Thunder has had his ups and downs, in the Thor franchise as well as the Avengers films.
With the recent arrival of the fourth Avengers installment, the time has come to take a trip down memory lane featuring both Thor’s best as well as worst moments from his time in the MCU. As a warning, there will be spoilers regarding Thor in Avengers: Endgame if you haven’t seen it already.
In 2012’s The Avengers, in which Loki (Tom Hiddleston) serves as the main antagonist against Earth’s mightiest heroes, there is one moment that is incredibly frustrating for Thor. Loki manages to get Thor trapped inside his own cell onboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, through a trick that Thor should see coming at this point.
They did grow up together, after all, so surely Loki must have pulled illusions on his brother on multiple occasions? Either way, it gets worse as Thor is forced to witness Loki murdering Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), whose death becomes the motivation for the heroes to become The Avengers in the first place. We all know what happens with Coulson’s “death” as he was resurrected for ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this is definitely one of the weaker moments for Thor in the MCU. Coulson’s death could have easily been avoided if Thor hadn’t fallen for Loki’s tricks.
One of the standout moments for the thunder-ruling hero of Asgard came in his first outing, all the way back in 2011. Throughout his origin story, the reason Thor gets cast out of Asgard to begin with is because of his utter arrogance, which becomes, in its own way, a villain he has to overcome.
As he is banished to Earth, without his powers, it’s through characters like Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) that he begins to overcome that arrogance. Towards the later part of the film, after Loki unleashes the Destroyer on Thor and his friends, we see our hero sacrificing himself and thus proving that he is indeed worthy of Mjölnir. Not only does he save the day, but Thor makes it clear that he is a changed man in progress.
It's fair to say that the romance between Thor and Jane was one of the weaker aspects of the Thor franchise, as it didn't really stick the way the creative team had hoped. While we never see Natalie Portman reprise the role after Thor: The Dark World, the sequel does go ahead and address the status of their relationship and it's not good.
At one point in Thor: Ragnarok, a couple of Thor fans tell him they were sorry to hear that Jane had dumped him. Instantly, Thor claims that he dumped her or that it at least a "mutual dumping," and that's the last we hear of their relationship in these films, unfortunately. We do see Jane again in Avengers: Endgame, when Thor time travels back to 2013 (when he took her to Asgard for the first time).
While it's fair to say that Avengers: Infinity War does end very dramatically, one of the greatest Thor moments is when he finally arrives in Wakanda. Throughout the film, he is mostly with the Guardians of the Galaxy, after they saved him in outer space.
With the help of Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), they head to Nidavellir where they get Eitri (Peter Dinklage) to help Thor make the Strombreaker, a weapon that can kill Thanos. Once it's done, our trio makes a glorious entrance in Wakanda. It's definitely one of the film's final standout moments before you-know-what happens.
One of the surprises in Thor: Ragnarok occurred during Thor’s showdown with Hela (Cate Blanchett), when he loses his right eye. If you recall, his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) had lost his right eye during his early days. The idea of seeing Thor sporting an eye patch just like his old man felt like an honorable homage to Odin after his passing in Ragnarok.
However, this is all undone in one unnecessary scene during Avengers: Infinity War. Rocket hooks him up with a new eye, claiming that if he is going to battle Thanos, he will need more than “one stupid eyeball.” That's a fair point, but at the same time, it undoes the status quo change that Ragnarok delivered and removes that homage to Odin.
Thor: Ragnarok is, to many, considered the best of the three Thor movies. This is where we see how far Thor has truly come after his development in the previous two films (along with the first two Avengers movies). When his villainous sister Hela breaks out of Hel, things go immediately south for Thor at the beginning.
During their first encounter, Hela ends up destroying Mjölnir, leaving Thor weaponless for the second time in his franchise. Throughout this story, as he and his group of "Revengers" make it back to Asgard to face Hela, we witness one of the ultimate moments for Thor. Hela gets closer to defeating her little brother, while constantly asking “what were you the god of, again?” which is where Thor realizes that he was never the god of hammers, but the God of Thunder. At this moment, Thor unleashes his true power and you can’t help but stand up and applaud our hero coming full circle.
Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) wasn’t the only one acting like a hothead towards the later act in Avengers: Infinity War, as Thor pulls a very similar stunt. After he makes it to Wakanda, he joins his fellow Avengers in battling Thanos and his army. However, similarly to Peter Quill, Thor had the perfect opportunity to stop Thanos the right way, except that he doesn't.
With his new weapon Stormbreaker, Thor seriously hurts Thanos in the chest, which was ultimately their final chance to stop him. It's in this moment when Thanos, mockingly, tells Thor that he should have gone for the head and then snaps half of the universe away. We all know what happens next: the biggest tear-jerker of all time.
One of the biggest takeaways from Avengers: Endgame is the psychological effect the Snap had on Thor in the five-year time jump. When Hulk and Rocket seek out Thor to help them with their attempt to go back in time in order to undo Thanos’ action, we see our hero in a very different light. While The Big Lebowski version of Thor may have been hysterically funny, there is a deeper message behind this development.
The idea that even a God like Thor can be broken emotionally and comfort himself with an unhealthy lifestyle makes him one of the most human characters in the whole MCU. Many of us who go through depression and trauma can definitely relate to what Thor was going through in Endgame. What is even more respectable about this aspect is that it’s not undone by the end of the movie. Thor doesn’t suddenly lose all that extra hair and weight when he goes into battle mode, it sticks with him till the end and that’s admirable. Also, how dope was it when he was wielding both Mjölnir and Stormbreaker?
It's fair to say that Avengers: Endgame doesn't start out the best for our heroes, especially for Thor. As in Infinity War, he makes a rushed decision. As the remaining heroes team-up with Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) to go after Thanos, the team learns that the Infinity Stones are no more and the Snap can't be undone.
While we get that Thor was deeply regretting his first attempt to stop Thanos, decapitating him still didn't put him in a good light. If you looked around in that scene, it definitely seemed like the other Avengers weren't exactly prepared for Thor to execute Thanos that way.
One of the final moments in Avengers: Endgame is Thor’s big decision about his future. Thor has come to the realization that he can’t be who everyone has expected him to be all these years. Instead, Thor is going to focus on being who he feels he needs to be, and therefore passes the torch to Valkyrie as the Queen of New Asgard.
What is next for him? He is joining the Guardians of the Galaxy for some space adventures as a new chapter in his life, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for him. To see our hero finally at peace with himself after all these years of films is rewarding. Besides, who doesn’t want to see Hemsworth in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3? That film can’t get here soon enough.