Avengers: Infinity War is finally here, so there’s a good chance you’ll have seen it by now.
Juuuust in case you haven’t, Thanos ordered us to stay silent, so we’re going to strap on our Infinity Gauntlet and hit you with a MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING.
All hail the mighty Thor.
Everyone who’s seen Avengers: Infinity War can attest that Chris Hemsworth’s lightning-wielding superhero completely steals the show.
Not only does Thor get the meatiest dramatic arc of all the characters involved, and the lion’s share of the funniest scenes too, but his third act arrival into the battle of Wakanda is a whoop-inducing moment of pure cinematic genius.
It’s an astonishing turn of events for the Norse god whose first two solo films are not remembered fondly even by the most hardcore of Marvel fans.
His second solo outing, the dreary Thor: The Dark World, regularly finishes in last place in online rankings of the MCU films, and he was basically the butt of the jokes in the first two Avengers films. But now, he’s the character that we think we’ll miss the most in the Phase 4 era which will see most of the OG Avengers crew retiring from the MCU.
How did this happen? A large part of Thor’s late resurgence comes down to Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, which wisely tore up the rule book of “How to make a Thor movie” firmly established by the first two films.
Out went the formal pomposity and grandiose mythology associated with the character so hilariously lampooned by Tony Stark in Avengers (“Uh, Shakespeare in The Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?”), and in came a tongue-in-cheek, flippant tone that could only have come from un film de Taika Waititi.
Ragnarok even begins with Thor breaking the fourth wall, something that the dour Dark World could only have dreamt of doing, and the person responsible for the character’s course correction was the actor who plays him.
“[Ragnarok] was Chris [Hemsworth’s] fifth time doing Thor,” Waititi told Yahoo Movies last year, “and a lot of these characters are doing the same thing again, and again, and he just really wanted to do something different, and make it feel fresh.”
“I looked at Chris’ strengths – he’s a very funny person, and naturally funny as well as having a great wit, and he’s charming. He is the kind of person you want to follow and hang out with – I do hang out with him – and I just thought ‘Shouldn’t we just make Thor that person?’”
It’s clear that Thor is a totally different person at the start of Infinity War. The destruction of Asgard has freed him from the trappings of the throne, but he remains responsible for his people. He’s also feels his family ties more strongly than ever – including to his adopted brother Loki – following the clash with his long-lost sister Hela.
All of this backstory plays beautifully into Thor’s Infinity War arc, which expands upon Waititi’s take on the character, revealing a much more human side in an achingly moving scene with Rocket.
Infinity War, therefore, acts almost as Ragnarok: Part 2. It’s the denouement of that film’s storyline that saw Thor deconstructed, his hair shorn, eye missing, Mjolnir and Asgard destroyed. Infinity War sees the god of thunder rediscovering his mojo, and it happens at the perfect moment, leading to his triumphant return to Earth that instantly makes you start humming Led Zeppelin’s ‘The Immigrant Song’.
Thor’s rise to the top of the MCU is also partly down to the diminished involvement of the OG Avengers, most notably Chris Evans’ Captain America whose role in Infinity War is surprisingly marginal. Iron Man also operates on the fringes of the story, spending a large part of the film as part of the Strange-Stark-Spider-Man trio, while Hulk never gets his moment to shine.
However, we shouldn’t overlook Hemsworth’s contributions either. His performances as Thor have grown more assured with each appearance in the MCU, culminating in his show-stealing turn in Infinity War.
All hail the mighty Thor, king of the MCU.
Long may he reign.
Avengers: Infinity War is in cinemas now. Watch our exclusive interview with the film’s directors below.