It’s all anyone’s talking about. Avengers Endgame is the ultimate superhero movie to end all superhero movies. From Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark to Brie Larson’s newcomer, Captain Marvel — this movie teams them all together, to conclude Marvel’s ten-years of storytelling.
I gotta say, though — while most of the characters had time to shine, directors Anthony and Joe Russo worked pretty damn hard to keep one in the dark.
SPOILERS AHEAD !
Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth, is one of my favourite characters. And his storyline thus far has been heartbreaking.
After losing everyone he loved, and unable to stop the Snap in Infinity War, we’re reunited with the God of Thunder in Endgame, caught in a chasm of depression, emptiness, and isolation.
Sounds terrible, right? Well, not according to the Russos — who represented this mental struggle as comic relief throughout the movie. Thor had a flabby gut and spent most of his post-Snap time lounging on the couch, playing Playstation games and only moving to drink until he couldn’t walk.
It was ridiculously uncharacteristic, and left me feeling more-than-a-little uncomfortable. As a Desi, I’m just saying — mental health is already laughable in many cultures, in MY culture, where one opinion rings louder than most:
If it isn’t a visible condition, it isn’t a real condition.
This was Endgame’s chance, their shining opportunity, to cast light on the negative connotations that surround mental health. This was where the Russos’ should have grabbed a narrative that was inspiring and relatable and important for our current society — you know. A society where millennial depression is on the rise, that sorta thing. This was their chance to create a movie that discarded stereotypes and acted as a springboard, leading us neatly into Mental Health Awareness Week, and Mental Health Awareness Month.
But instead we got comic relief, at the expense of a well-written, well-developed character. Such a shame.
And that got me thinking about Taika Waititi.
The director of Thor: Ragnarok, which still remains one of my favourite Marvel movies to date, worked exceptionally hard to reinvent Thor and showcase a side of him we’d never seen before. Long hair? Gone. God of Hammers? No way. Clean, crisp look? Nah. A big, dumb brute? Not on Taika’s watch!
We got a gritty, scarred, funny, intelligent God of Thunder, and it was truly a blessed day.
But then the Russos got a hold of that action … and in Infinity War, set out to undo Taika’s doing. Thor was gifted another eye. Thor got a new hammer — which I thought the audiences, Taika and Odin himself agreed, was not necessary.
It didn’t end there! The undoing was two-fold. Endgame gave us further changes; Thor grew out his hair again, donned the bushy beard once more. And as I’ve just vented, you can see, he became an all-important mechanism for the movie’s comedy. Big and dumb and funny, but everyone’s laughing at him now, instead of with him.
My question is — why?
What’s going on, here? Why is everything from Ragnarok being discredited? Why do the Avengers movies feel like a blatant 180° on everything Taika strived towards? And if it’s so easy to go against an established canon, what can we expect from Thor in any upcoming movies?
I wish I had answers. But the end of this post only creates a dozen more questions — kinda like Endgame.