People have always needed heroes and gods to look up to. Every peoples’ mythology is crawling with these – no matter if they are spiritual beings, or figures of amazing power born out of mortals thanks to divine intervention. Some of them are great warriors, others are simply gods, walking among humans, helping or punishing as any of them deserve. And one of them has made a surprising comeback in the early 1960s, and has stayed in our attention to this day: the ancient Norse god of thunder, Thor.
From god to comic book superhero
Thor – the comic book hero – is a surprisingly accurate rendition of the ancient Norse mythological figure. In the Edda, a collection of old Norse myths, Thor is Odin’s son, the god of thunder, storms, strengths and oak trees, the protector of oak trees and mankind. In the comic book, he is the same, only Asgard is not a mythical land, but an alien planet, and he can fly thanks to his hammer instead of a chariot pulled by goats.
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Godlike on the big screen
Fortunately, the Thor character managed to avoid one of the worst fates a mythological figure could suffer: to become trivial on the big screen. Of course, he falls for an Earth girl – but bigger names (including Zeus, the Greek god of thunder) have done so in the heroic past. He’s not a god in the comics and the movies, but he is godlike to the mere mortals of Earth: he lives for thousands of years, he wields a miraculous hammer that only the worthy can lift, and he can fly (and there are no goats involved – that would look a bit too funny for many viewers’ tastes). He is an alien, a godlike one, much like Superman. But he has flaws, and he drinks, which makes him much more relatable than any other superhero coming from another planet.
He returns at the end of the world
The next big screen appearance of the hammer-wielding alien god is scheduled for 2017, in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarök. He didn’t appear in Captain America: Civil War – which I personally think is sad. He would be a great addition to the lineup of the superheroes featured: Black Panther, The Vision, The Scarlet Witch, and – finally – Spider-Man.