AVENGERS: ENDGAME SPOILERS AHEAD
Besides Bruce and Hulk merging into one, it was probably Thor’s physical transformation during the second half of the movie was the most surprising. There’s no question that Chris Hemsworth is in great shape and we’ve see Thor as this powerhouse throughout the MCU, so to see him out of shape is a shock to the senses, but while this “fat Thor” may have been a good laugh when first appearing on screen, you have to remember why the God of Thunder stopped caring for himself. We see him clearly experiencing trauma in the beginning of the film, so much that his reaction initially is to chop off Thanos’s head, simply focusing on “I went for the head.” And within the five years since the snap, he’s become reclusive, drinks constantly, and only leaves his domain (where he plays Fortnite excessively) for supplies aka more beer.
These are the signs of someone depressed and who is experiencing trauma. Even when the name Thanos is mentioned, Thor immediately stops being the jolly person he’s pretending to be and tells Bruce to not say that name, as it brings up too many hurt feelings. Director Joe Russo commented on this stark change:
“How is everyone processing their grief? We wanted them all to process it in very different ways. And Thor is an exceedingly tragic character who was built from the time he was a boy to be a king. What is the distance that a character like that can travel, a god? Somebody, especially, who looks like Chris Hemsworth?”
Anthony Russo, then commented on the initial laughs the moments probably elicited and the jokes made within the movie itself:
“Even though there’s a lot of fun to be had in the movie with his physical condition, it’s not a gag. It’s a manifestation of where he is on a character level, and we think it’s one of the most relatable aspects of him. I mean, it’s a very common sort of response to depression and pain.”
“What would happen if that character became extremely angry and started to punish himself and didn’t care anymore? What would happen to him? He’s an alcoholic now, he doesn’t care about anything. He doesn’t care about himself.”
As for why we didn’t see Thor return to his normally fit physique, Anthony commented:
“That’s the reason why we didn’t end up turning him back. It’s an experience that stays with him.”
Thor’s weight gain still elicits comments from social media and critics, but if we remember, Tony Stark was frail and weak at the beginning of the movie and no one would laugh at this display. It is a comment that as a society we feel one physical transformation represents trauma and another doesn’t. Thor’s sweatpants and unruly beard may have caused a lot of humor throughout the movie, but the idea that he’s remaining inebriated and clearly experiencing panic attacks is meant to show how much Thanos’s attack on the world stayed with him.
It isn’t until his time travel back to The Dark World days that his mother gives him sound advice:
“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.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, we see Thor giving New Asgard over to Valkyrie and joining the Guardians of the Galaxy. With his new journey ahead of him, hopefully, we will see Thor taking better care of himself and learning to move on from the trauma that he has felt for five years.
A girl with too many fandoms to count.