When the dust settled at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor was one of the few original Avengers left standing. Iron Man and Black Widow sacrificed themselves, and Captain America faded into retirement. The Hulk was still around, as was Hawkeye, but one could argue Thor was in the worst place of them all.
Some Marvel Cinematic Universe fans consider that lamentable, considering how strong Thor is supposed to be. At the same time, Thor finds himself the original Avenger with the most promising future in the movies.
What was Thor’s arc?
Here is a very, very short version of what happened to Thor in the MCU. In his first movie, released in 2011, he comes to earth, having been banished by his father for his arrogance. He falls for scientist Jane Foster and foils a dastardly plot by his half-brother Loki.
Loki returns for more shenanigans in The Avengers, leading an alien invasion army. Of course, the Avengers are victorious, and Loki faces justice for his crime.
Thor ends up enlisting Loki’s help to fight a new menace in Thor: The Dark World, enabling the brothers to form a very uneasy truce, but later Thor and Jane Foster split up. In Ragnarok, Thor returns to Asgard again to deal with the threat of Hela, and while he is ultimately victorious, Asgard is destroyed, and Thor and his countrymen become refugees.
Thor returns to earth in grand style for Avengers: Infinity War and seems to gain the upper hand over Thanos, who is close to winning victory over the Avengers. Famously, Thor fails to go for Thanos’ head, and Thanos executes his snap. In Endgame, Thor blames himself for the defeat and falls apart emotionally, but pulls it together long enough for him and the other Avengers to defeat Thanos for good.
Meanwhile, Thor goes off with his new mates, the Guardians of the Galaxy, with whom he seems very well matched.
Why do fans not like what happened to Thor?
As dramatic as Thor’s story has often been, it has left some fans wanting. A fan on Reddit laments that Thor really only got his due for one movie, writing, “Who else found it sad that it was literally the ENDGAME and Thor wasn’t at his best at all for the final showdown of the last 22 or so movies? … (Endgame) showed us a Thor in endgame that grew weak, out of practice, fat and emotionally broken, so much to the point that he can’t beat a no gauntlet Thanos and even captain america who has no prior experience with Mjolnir put up a far better fight.”
Other fans disagreed, because it showed Thor had the maturity to name Valkyrie as the new leader of Asgard, and join the Guardians. Despite the final victory, he recognizes that he himself is not in the best place, but his very recognition of that fact shows maturity he might not have had in the past.
Another fan said, “Endgame Thor was his best … Throughout Endgame we see him reconcile. He accepts what needs to be done. He learns he can fix his mistakes. He has a proper farewell to his mother. He learns he’s still worthy of Mjolnir. He sees the sun will shine on him again. With clarity, focus, and sheer f****** will he becomes the God of Thunder at the end, fully powered up and ready to roll.”
At least Thor has future movies
Thor does have a leg up on some of his fellow Avengers, in that he’s the only one of the originals who is still alive and who has a movie coming up. Hawkeye is supposed to get a series on Disney, while Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk might appear in the upcoming She-Hulk series.
True, Black Widow will get her movie, but she had to die first. Thor is the only original Avenger with a clear future. He has a movie in the offing.
That would be Thor: Love and Thunder, in which he will grapple with passing on his hammer to a returning Jane Foster, so she can become a new Thor. That movie has the potential to grapple with some serious issues, because in the comics, Jane Foster became Thor after being diagnosed with cancer. Love and Thunder is due to hit theaters in February 2022.