Major Avengers:Endgame Spoiler Alert! The tragic and comedic state of Thor's appearance may have more to it than you think.
To understand Avengers: Endgame completely one would first need to examine Avengers: Infinity War and note that, for perhaps the first time in ‘superhero history’, the good guys had lost. That for the first time in many of our heroes’ lives they had not solved the problem, they did not ‘win’ or even drew but they lost. And it resulted in the biggest loss of life ever known to mankind. So it seems that in a very humanizing move on the parts of the directors and writers it would be natural for our heroes to grieve. In real life, people deal with grief in many, maybe even innumerable ways and the creative team of the Endgame decided to play with this concept.
How did our heroes grieve? Shall we count the ways?
1) Steve Rogers begins running a group therapy session at night for people coping with the loss left by the destruction of half the population.
2) Natasha Romanoff begins to obsessively work. She works to micromanage any disaster the world experiences and getting her family back together.
3) Clint Barton begins to kill all the major criminals, leaving death and destruction in his wake.
Just to name a few examples.
The person whose grief seemed to captivate audiences the most was Thor’s. Three weeks after the decimation, the Avengers locate and decide to take on Thanos. They launch a full attack and think they have defeated Thanos, only to realize that he has destroyed the infinity stones and was living in a greatly weakened state because of it. Thor is the one who ultimately beheads Thanos and slips into a dark place in the wake of the finality of their failure.
Five years later, Thor is found in full Lebowski mode giving a nod, albeit, a dark nod, to the 98’ cult classic ‘The Big Lebowski’. For those who are unfamiliar with the film, Thor is found as a shut-in and overweight alcoholic giving us a look at how far people can fall when they are depressed. You can move from god to alcoholic and from one of the sexiest men alive to, per Rocket Raccoon, ‘a melting ice-cream cone’.
Director Joe Russo seemed to say it best in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
How is everyone processing their grief? We wanted them all to process it in very different ways. And Thor is an exceedingly tragic character who was built from the time he was a boy to be a king. What is the distance that a character like that can travel, a god? Somebody, especially, who looks like Chris Hemsworth?
This resulted in Thor being at his most relatable ever. Even though there is nothing funny about depression Thor and his weight gain is made to be the source of much comic relief throughout the movie. The other director Anthony Russo explained that this was for a very specific purpose:
Even though there's a lot of fun to be had in the movie with his physical condition, it's not a gag. It's a manifestation of where he is on a character level, and we think it's one of the most relatable aspects of him. I mean, it's a very common sort of response to depression and pain.
One thing that stood out for me personally during this movie was the fact that Thor never returned to his sexy god physique when he was saving the world nor after. Joe Russo actually responded to this in the interview saying, "No, he's broken and that's who he is moving forward," with Anthony Russo adding that Thor’s weight would stay with him in the movie because its an experience that stays with him, adding, "What would happen if that character became extremely angry and started to punish himself and didn't care anymore? What would happen to him? He's an alcoholic now, he doesn't care about anything. He doesn't care about himself."
The Russo brothers remain both frank and realistic when asked about the future of Thor in the new Guardians of the Galaxy with Anthony Russo stating:
He may have made some repair in this movie and made progress, but that experience that brought him to that physical condition is still with him, and it's a longer road beyond that. We don't know what that road beyond that is for him.