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Thor: Even the god of thunder isn't cool enough to lead the Avengers

By Bert Ehrmann

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Fort Wayne Reader


The Marvel character of Thor is pretty interesting. He’s quite literally the Norse “God of Thunder” with all the supernatural powers of controlling lighting, being immortal and all the other fun stuff that comes from being a god. In fact, with his mystical hammer that gives him even more powers like flight and being an all-around tougher guy than the normal dude, he’s practically unbeatable by the regular Marvel comic villains.

Which is why I find it interesting that while Thor might be one of the most powerful Marvel heroes ever, he’s not the leader of the super-powered super-friends force of The Avengers.

In the movies at least, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a heavy hitter, called in when the right people need to be punched really hard or when his brother Loki somehow finds his way to the Earth to cause trouble.

Otherwise, he’s off on his own doing things in other parts of the galaxy/reality plains. His first movie Thor (2011) was mostly about him becoming a responsible adult and leader, with his younger self being apt to fly off the handle at the smallest slight or attack great armies on his own armed with not much more than his fists, a few of his friends and bravado. The next movie Thor: The Dark World (2013) had him fighting the Dark Elves who wanted to take over Thor’s home of Asgard and the Earth too.

In these movies Thor grows as an individual as he’s next in line for the throne of Asgard, turning from self-centered party-boy to a real leader who thinks of others first over his own safety. And while Thor doesn’t ever quite become that leader of Asgard — his brother Loki tricks everyone into him taking the reigns — it’s obvious that if he were ever called Thor would be a great leader.
So why is it if he’s ready to lead Asgard he’s not ready to lead The Avengers?

First of all, in the The Avengers (2012) there really wasn’t an The Avengers per se, as much as the movie was about the formation of that super-group. And even with the next Avengers 2: Age of Ultron you really get the feeling that Thor’s got other things on his mind — like the people of Asgard. And it’s hard to beat the leadership qualities of someone like Captain America who’s quite literally a “super soldier” and is a natural great leader of men and women in the times of crisis the Avengers always seem to find themselves in.

Still, if Thor’s not the leader of The Avengers he does play a very important role in the team. Okay, two roles, next to someone like The Incredible Hulk he’s the best at punching the baddies really, really hard.

His main role is to tie the entire Marvel film universe together. Much of the modern Marvel movie mythos is centered around things like “Cosmic Cubes” and the “Infinity Gems.” All these mystical things grant the possessor different powers like unlimited energy sources for super-weapons to the ability to control minds to name a few. So in the movies the bad guys want these things while the good guys are trying to keep them out of the wrong hands.

And the one guy who has actual knowledge of what these things are and what they can do, and is therefore really interested in keeping them away from the bad guys, is Thor. In fact, many of the most dangerous items are collected and housed in a vault on Asgard, though even these tend to fall into the wrong hands from time to time.

Now comes another Thor movie, Thor: Ragnarok out now. This time a beaten Thor is cast to the planet Sakaar after Asgard is invaded and overthrown by the evil Hela (Cate Blanchett) who, I would assume, would want to get at whatever’s in those vaults. Directed by Taika Waititi who also had a hand in the oh-so-brilliant What We Do in the Shadows, Thor: Ragnarok looks to be a lot of fun, with Thor alternatively having to fight gladiator-style with likes of The Incredible Hulk while at the same time teaming up with them to try and defeat Hela.

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