Note: If you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame and don’t want to be spoiled, TURN BACK NOW.
Avengers: Endgame was released last week, and like me, you’re probably one of the 100 million people who saw it on opening weekend. The film is the culmination of a 10 year, 22 movie story that introduces tons of characters and covers a lot of ground. In last year’s Infinity War, the heroes lost. This latest film shows us the fallout of that loss, how they cope with it, and what they do to, well, avenge everyone who was snapped away. One character dealing with the loss is Thor, who gains weight and loses confidence in himself.
When we see Thor for the first time in Endgame, he’s holed up in a house in New Asgard where he’s basically let himself go. He’s fat, messy, drunk and not interested in doing anything other than playing Fortnite with Korg. Since Thor: Ragnarok, the God of Thunder has lost his entire family, relationship, his home and failed to prevent Thanos from decimating half the living things in the universe. It’s been a rough couple of years and he’s dealing with a deep depression.
The film takes a few opportunities to let other characters make fat jokes. It’s the standard fare you expect when you see someone fat on screen. I expected the rest of the movie to be super fat phobic when it came to this character, but it wasn’t. What is most interesting here is how Thor takes the jokes and the way they ultimately affect the character. Thor brushes them off. He doesn’t care what they say; he’s Thor! He isn’t diminished by the things people say, and ultimately proves that he’s as awesome when he’s fat as he is when he’s thin. For me, as a fat person navigating this world, I can identify with a character dealing with people saying shitty things about his body and still moving forward, showing that his big body is an amazing machine.
We get to see a fat superhero in action, and he kicks ass.
THIS is what I love about Fat Thor. The vast majority of the media we consume in the world treats fat people as weak. At one point in Endgame, Thor gets his hammer back. He’s still worthy, and he comes to realize that again. He’s also still fat. He dual wields Mjolnir and Stormbreaker, going toe-to-toe against Thanos, while fat. We get to see a fat superhero in action and he kicks ass. Being fat doesn’t make him any less of a competent, capable hero.
Marvel could have portrayed Thor as weak and useless because he was fat. Instead, they gave him more dimensions and showed him grappling with depression and loss – working through issues that many of us have dealt with. None of which had to do with the fact he is fat.
There isn’t a point in the film where Thor himself talks negatively about himself because of his weight. He doesn’t magically get thin when he gets his hammer back – something I half expected to happen. At the end, when he’s leaving with the Guardians of the Galaxy, he’s still fat. He’s also the funny, powerful character we’ve grown to love.
For years, in articles on this website and through the Heavy Conversation podcast, I’ve been asking for a plus size superhero, and I finally got my wish in an unexpected and interesting way. At the end of the film, we get a Thor who is powerful, worthy, and fat. He doesn’t magically revert to thinness or think he’s less deserving of dignity because of his weight. While they should have skipped the mean-spirited fat jokes, I love where the character ended up.
I get why some people don’t like the way fat Thor was handled in Avengers: Endgame. It wasn’t perfect. I’ve followed the comics since I was a kid and there haven’t been very many positive representations of fat heroes. Seeing someone you can identify with reflected in media, even imperfectly, feels like a move in the right direction.
What did you think about Fat Thor? Tell us in comments or on your favorite social network.