Why Thor’s MCU Character Arc Is Secretly The Most Tragic

Thor’s character arc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is secretly the most tragic. The God of Thunder has been through a lot since he first came on the scene in 2011’s Thor. While his character development has been one of the most emotionally satisfying and thorough of all the Avengers, Thor has also been the one superhero to be put through the wringer on a constant basis.  

Thor began his MCU journey as an incredibly spoiled and entitled prince of Asgard. He didn’t have much responsibility and took advantage of his royal status at every turn. In short, the God of Thunder figured that he didn’t have to earn anything and that his ascension to the throne would simply be handed to him. However, after being stripped of his mighty hammer, Mjolnir, and banished to Earth, Thor started down a long and painful road. In Thor, the superhero discovered that his mischievous brother Loki was not actually his biological sibling. Not only did this revelation rupture their bond, but Thor effectively lost Loki as the brother he had always known and worked with because of the Trickster God’s villainous turn. There’s also the fact that he lost Mjolnir, a weapon which gave Thor strength and power. 

Things didn’t get any better for him in Thor: The Dark World, which saw Thor’s mother Frigga die protecting Jane Foster, who herself nearly died after absorbing the Aether, a mysterious and powerful force. By the end of the film, Thor also believed Loki to have died (it was a trick), having witnessed his sacrifice in the fight against the villain Malekith, the ruler of the Dark Elves. It was a lot to absorb. What’s more, Thor suffered an insurmountable amount of loss in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War: his father Odin, Loki (for real this time), Jane, the entirety of Asgard, and most of its population. First, at the hands of his sister Hela and later by way of Thanos. 

Thor is generally an easygoing, funny, and cheerful guy, so it’s easy to dismiss and ignore his pain. However, he’s experienced a lot of tragedy and his arc in Avengers: Endgame is the culmination of the grief and suffering that he’s been through since he was first introduced to the MCU. By that point, he felt guilt for failing to kill Thanos before he snapped half of the world’s population out of existence, an event that occurred only shortly after Thor had lost Asgard and most of his people. In addition, Thor lost Jane in the snap and, as was obvious by his seclusion, excessive drinking, and sadness, the God of Thunder wasn’t doing so well. 

One can argue that Endgame allowed him the time to at least sit with and process his grief, something he never actually had time to do before. Of course, all of this is not to say that the other Avengers haven’t also suffered tremendous loss — Captain America lost Peggy Carter and missed out on his life in general, Hawkeye lost his entire family to Thanos, and so on. However, the tragedies Thor has faced and had to overcome throughout his MCU arc have been ongoing since the beginning. Here’s hoping that Thor: Love and Thunder offers him a reprieve.  

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