Thor is unequivocally not only of the strongest Avengers in both the MCU and the comics, but his world is leagues more colorful than our own. Yet despite his immense power, the thunder god has never received the opportunity to become an A-list hero. Rather, Thor has remained on the sidelines as something of a B-list character. The general public wasn’t terribly aware of him until Marvel Studios’ Thor. Since then, Thor’s popularity is such that he’s immediately recognizable. With Thor: Ragnarok weeks away, it’s clear Thor isn’t leaving the MCU anytime soon.
That said the MCU doesn’t seem to fully understand everything that makes Thor Odinson tick. The Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a startling departure from his comic book counterpart. On some level, it’s easy to understand why certain changes were made; there’s the need to make the character accessible to mainstream audiences. On the other hand, refusing to celebrate the zaniness that defines Thor and his stories shows an unwillingness to take bold cinematic chances. Here’s hoping the next Thor movie is unafraid to show the full power of Thor and the madcap world he inhabits. Here at CBR we’re looking at fifteen things the MCU gets wrong about Thor, the God of Thunder.
15. HIS STRENGTH
One of the strongest beings in the Marvel Universe, Thor’s power is legendary not only on Earth, but also in all the Nine Realms and throughout the cosmos. Boasting Superman-level strength, invulnerability, and a kinship with the elements themselves, Thor has taken on and defeated everyone from the Silver Surfer to Thanos. Capable going for a dip in the sun and coming out unscathed, surviving direct hits from Galactus, time-travelling, and, even mustering enough force to destroy planets and moons, few can equal the God of Thunder’s might.
Unfortunately, the movies do a pretty awful job at demonstrating his power. Sure, they make it clear that he’s strong enough to go toe-to-toe with Iron Man and even hold his own against the Hulk, but MCU Thor’s strength is terribly inconsistent. One second he’s on top of the world, the next he’s struggling against lowly henchmen.
14. THE DONALD BLAKE IDENTITY
Every superhero has an alter ego for when it’s time to hang up their cape and go for a night on the town. Spider-Man has Peter Parker; Superman has Clark Kent, etc. In the comics, Thor had Donald Blake. Granted, Donald was more of a false identity given to him by Odin, but Blake became very real and adopted a life of his own. While Thor got all the attention, Donald Blake lived a life as a humble doctor whose mission was to help people. The juxtaposition between the characters was brilliant and one the MCU still fails to acknowledge.
You can’t have one without the other; either gives their counterpart depth and allows for introspection. It was because of Donald Blake that Thor grew to love humanity. In the MCU, Donald Blake is a punchline and Thor only needs a weekend in a small town to learn humility.
13. JANE FOSTER
Jane Foster always played a large role in the Thor mythos. The nursing assistant to Dr. Donald Blake, Blake had a soft spot for her, while she had a soft spot for his thunder god alter ego. Like many female characters in comics, she eventually grew into her own. Going on adventures and getting involved in Thor’s general shenanigans turned her into a formidable woman; nowadays, she’s replaced Thor Odinson as the God of Thunder.
The MCU doesn’t seem to understand Jane terribly well. For starters, she’s neither a nurse nor is her background related to medicine in any way. It’s excusable perhaps, but Jane never meets Donald Blake, a crucial relationship for her in the comics. Add on a small army of annoying sidekicks and we’re left scratching our heads. To the MCU’s credit, Jane is as annoying in the movies as she was in the early Thor tales.
12. ODIN’S EYE
In the first Thor, there’s no official explanation for how Odin, the All-Father, lost his eye, but it’s more than implied that he lost it in an epic battle with the Frost Giants. In the comics, the loss of his eye was a far more dramatic ordeal.
Up until Odin and Thor, Asgard went through a cycle called Ragnarok every few thousand years. In it, everyone would be killed and then born again only to repeat the cycle over and over. It was traumatic ordeal to experience, but once Odin became ruler of Asgard, he thought to put an end to Ragnarok. To that end, he quested for knowledge on how to stop the event, which resulted in him tearing out his own eye and sacrificing it to the Well of Mimir. Not only did he receive the knowledge he sought, but the eye became sentient. Yes, comics are weird.
There are numerous problems scattered about in Thor: The Dark World, but none more so than the villain Malekith. As the villain of the story, Malekith turned out to have a lack of depth. With a plan that involved destroying everything in creation, you’d think he’d be more than just another one-dimensional villain of the week. The MCU Malekith had the potential to be an interesting baddie, one we could have sympathized with, but he only came off as a one-note character. His comic book counterpart shows how the filmmakers simply didn’t understand the supervillain.
If anything, the comic book Malekith is more like the MCU Loki and the comic book Loki and more like the MCU Malekith. Cackling like a madman in the comics, Malekith is cold, calculating, and downright sinister; killing with a devil’s abandon and mad smile spread across his face.
10. HIS PERSONALITY
If all you know of Thor is his MCU iteration then it’s easy to see him as something of a practical joker, or rather a super fratboy who happens to have an English accent and occasionally speaks in Shakespearean tongues. MCU Thor is exceptionally light-hearted, fun, and enjoys making jokes whenever the situation calls for it. Some of it may stem from his arrogance, but even after he’s learned his lesson and become a proper hero, Thor has become an Asgardian funny man.
This is a complete departure from his comic book self. In pretty much every Thor comic, Thor isn’t particularly known for cracking wise. Rather, he’s one of the more serious superheroes out there. He takes his battles seriously and his relationships with the Avengers and his Asgardian relatives even more so. It’s the equivalent of turning Mickey Mouse into a dark, brooding antihero.
9. HIS ORIGIN
Where comics are concerned, Thor’s origin is incredibly unique and awesome. When we first met Thor in Journey Into Mystery #83, he was first Dr. Donald Blake. After an encounter with rock-based aliens, which resulted in Blake getting sealed in a cave, the crippled surgeon found a staff lying beside him. When he hit on the ground, he turned into the mighty Thor!
Later, readers learned that Odin wanted to teach his son humility and placed Thor, without his memories, into the body of the partially disabled Blake. It was an interesting paradigm and one that had never really been seen before. There’s no reason the MCU couldn’t feature a similar origin. It’s not overly complicated and if anything, it would make viewers even more sympathetic to Thor.
8. THE AETHER
The Aether was introduced early on in Thor: The Dark World as an ancient weapon with ridiculous power that could bring darkness to the universe and blah, blah, blah. Yet, it turned out that its powers were rather unclear. Towards the end of the movie, Malekith took control of the Aether and made it work as a weapon that could take the form of swirling constructs that were neither liquid nor solid. In the movie’s mid-credits scene, it was revealed that the Aether was in fact the Reality Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones. Apparently it is also the strongest and most dangerous in the universe. Wait, what?
Little of that makes any actual sense. In the comics, there is no Aether, rather there’s the Reality Stone. There’s no subterfuge about its identity or confusion of its abilities. It shouldn’t be difficult to explain the Reality Stone properly.
7. LOKI’S SMARMY PERSONALITY
Before Loki was dubbed as a trickster god, many issues of Journey Into Mystery titled him as the God of Evil. And evil Loki definitely was. He didn’t have time for jokes, nor was he on a quest for redemption. His goal was plain and simple: to rule. Boasting great power, not only could he battle his half-brother Thor on a regular basis, but he didn’t make smarmy remarks whenever the two shared scenes, as nearly everyone does in the MCU.
The MCU Loki is quite charming, albeit prone to occasionally trying to take over the world. He doesn’t come across as overly terrible, just someone who’s had a bad day and maybe can be redeemed. It’s a complete shift from his comic book origins and personality as Marvel Studios clearly tried to make their lead villain relatable to audiences.
6. THE WARRIORS THREE MINIMAL ROLES
Thor did a rather good job at showing the infamous Warriors Three. A crucial part in the Thor comics, both new and old, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg were always there to back up the God of Thunder. Additionally, there was also Balder the Brave, who, for reasons unknown, has remained strangely absent from the MCU. So while the first Thor was successful in this regard, every other movie failed to give these characters their due.
With Thor: The Dark World, Sif was relegated to harboring feelings of jealousy towards Jane. Then, Volstagg, Fandral and she only played a small part in helping with little missions rather than in big battles. It was nice to see them in action, but their roles were all too short. Again, these are great characters; the MCU doesn’t fully realize their potential. Come on; give us Balder the Brave already!
When he spends time on Earth, Thor is a man of focus. While he might have a fondness for humanity, he’s not one to have an entourage follow him. Perhaps in his more youthful days when he was a drunken braggart of a teenage god, he would come down to Earth to be worshipped and revered, but not so much these days, especially in the comics.
According to the MCU however, the missing ingredient in Thor’s life is sidekicks; lots and lots of sidekicks. The Dark World brought back everyone from the first movie, but then added more! Darcy served as the comic relief in the first Thor, but then became part of the action. To make matters worse, she got her own intern to try and cajole more laughs. And so the comic relief character now had her own comic relief character.
4. HIS HAMMER
Thor’s hammer Mjolnir was created at the behest of the All-Father Odin by the dwarven blacksmiths. To create the weapon, the three dwarves used a magical forge located in the heart of a star. The process was so intense that the star itself exploded, the Earth was nearly destroyed, and the dinosaurs were wiped out.
Capable of annihilating worlds, Mjolnir can warp reality, control storms, let him to fly at light speed, teleport, control the earth, and unleash his strongest attack, the God Blast. Ridiculously powerful, the God Blast has staggered Celestials, defeated the Juggernaut, and almost put Surtur the Fire Demon in the ground permanently. The MCU Mjolnir on the other hand is pretty useful in hitting people up close, but that’s about it. Granted, it’s summoned lightning a couple times, and even a tornado, but that’s it. Hopefully we’ll see Mjolnir shine in upcoming films.
3. LOKI’S POWER
The half-brother of Thor, Loki Laufeyson, began his career as one of the most powerful villains in Marvel Comics. For a hero like Thor, who wielded an unstoppable hammer and insanely impressive strength, there needed to be someone who could match him in not just strength, but wits. That person, or god, was Loki. Loki, at least his comic book counterpart, was strong, capable of destroying a building with a single punch, but it was his magic that made him incredibly deadly.
The MCU Loki mostly uses illusions as his primary means of attack, but his comic book self had telekinesis, he could teleport, time travel, hypnotize, shapeshift, bring inanimate objects to life, and generate powerful blasts of magic that could do everything from harm the Silver Surfer to turning someone’s own power against them. Loki was a beast. This MCU version, not so much, and that’s a shame.
To begin with, Thor was born from the union of Odin and Gaea, the goddess of Earth. The idea was to create the ultimate warrior to be the strongest of all the other gods in Asgard and their world’s protector. Odin later married Frigga, and she became Thor and Loki’s adopted mother. More notably, she also gave birth to the awesome Asgardian Balder the Brave, someone we never see in the movies. Truth be told, Frigga is not to be taken lightly, especially after she became the All-Mother and created a new Asgard called Asgardia.
The MCU, just like they did with Thor, watered her down to the point where she became a shadow of herself. In the first Thor, after killing one Front Giant, she’s easily slapped aside. In Thor: The Dark World, she puts up a little fight against Malekith, but then dies rather pitifully.
1. THE LACK OF STAKES
In nearly every form of fiction there is a sense of stakes. In Thor comics you were dealing with godly beings; each foe seemed stronger than the last. During Walter Simonson’s run on Thor, the writer brought Surtur the Fire Demon into the fold and wrote one of the most impressive Thor-related story arcs to date. Odin “died,” Asgard was on the verge of shambles, and the Earth was under siege. It was a heck of an arc.
However, we know Marvel, and in this case with Thor, won’t kill its lead character. In an age of publicized movie contracts and films split into phases, we know the end game. Everything’s building to Infinity War; all the existing MCU material is practically filler. Thor movies should be epic and leave one to doubt whether he’ll live, but it’s hard to care when everything is announced so far in advance.
Which of these is the most shocking? Let us know in the comments!
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