Thor, or the God of Thunder, has seen one of the more prominent characters arcs in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With three standalone movies, and an upcoming fourth, we have watched him go from an immature member of Asgardian royalty to a leader willing to sacrifice, and now a character searching for his place.
Here’s how to watch the Thor movies in order, including his appearances in other MCU films and post-credit scenes as they are key to his character growth now that we are in Phase Four.
Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman (Dr. Jane Foster), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Stellan Skarsgård (Dr. Erik Selvig), Colm Feore (King Laufey – Frost Giant), Ray Stevenson (Volstagg), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis), Rene Russo (Frigga), and Anthony Hopkins (Odin).
Runtime: 114 Minutes
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writers: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, and Don Payne
End Credit Scenes: Tesseract Scene
Where to Stream: Disney+
Our first introduction to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and the world of Asgard. Thor sets the stage for a variety of characters we will come to enjoy in the MCU, including Thor’s adopted brother, Loki. You get introduced to Odin, along with Thor’s companions in his adventures, the Lady Sif and the Warriors Three – Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg.
Trailers have improved drastically over the past 11 years.
As Thor prepares to ascend to the throne of Asgard, he travels to Jutenheim, where he ends up breaking the peace with the Frost Giants. After Odin arrives to rescue the group, he is stripped of his power and banished to Earth. Odin deems only those who are worth can wield Mjolnir.
On Earth, he befriends other MCU characters, Dr. Erik Selving, Dr. Jane Foster, and their intern Darcy Lewis. Back on Asgard, Loki schemes to seize power after Odin enters ‘Odinsleep’ to preserve his power and sends the Destroyer to kill Thor. The Warriors Three and Lady Sif attempt to fight it off but are defeated, leading Thor to offer to sacrifice himself to save his friends. The enchantment on Mjolnir deems Thor to be worthy, and we see our first MCU spectacle fight.
Impact on the MCU: Thor (2011) has one of the more outsized impacts on the MCU. It forces Earth to militarize against threats outside our world using technologies we don’t fully understand.
The Avengers – Appearance
Thor appears in the first Avengers movie as he works to capture Loki, who is trying to invade and conquer Earth. He learns Earth has been using the Tesseract, an infinity stone, to develop weapons. He eventually joins with Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and the Hulk to defeat Loki and the Chuitauri.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson (Volstagg), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Jaime Alexander (Lady Sif), Rene Russo (Frigga), and Anthony Hopkins (Odin).
Runtime: 112 Minutes
Director: Alan Taylor
Writers: Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, and Stephen McFeely
End Credit Scenes: The Collector
Where to Stream: Disney+
Thor: The Dark World is a direct continuation of the first film. The film kicks off with a flashback to the battle between the Asgardians and the Dark Elves. Odin’s father, Bor, believes he has defeated them, but their leader and some of his most loyal followers survive in suspended animation.
Thor is back on Asgard after his exile, and he is leading Lady Sif and the Warriors Three on a quest to pacify the Nine Realms with the reconstruction of the Bifrost. Meanwhile, Loki has been imprisoned for his crimes against Earth. The group learns that the Convergence is imminent, which is the alignment of the Nine Realms. It leads to portals to other worlds appearing at random. It’s here we see the characters from Earth again when Dr. Jane Foster is teleported to another world where she absorbs the Aether.
Alerted by Heimdall, Thor finds Foster and brings her to Asgard, where the planet is attacked by the Dark Elves, who the release of the Aether has awakened. Enlisting the help of Loki, Thor travels to Dark Elf homeworld. They eventually use the Convergence of the Nine Realms to battle Malekith moving between portals until they ultimately defeat him and secure the Aether.
Impact on the MCU: The movie is universally thought of as one of the worst MCU movies, so its impact on other movies hasn’t been felt. That will change with the upcoming release of Thor: Love and Thunder. We will get to see the payoff of Dr. Jane Foster among the Asgardians.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron – Appearance
The second Avengers movie sees Thor participating in a raid to recover Loki’s scepter used in the first Avengers film. Once recovered, he attends a party where it is revealed his relationship with Jane Foster has ended. At the end of the party, Ultron attacks and steals the scepter. During the next battle with Ultron, he has an apocalyptic vision thanks to Wanda Maximoff, and he leaves to investigate the meaning. He returns to help charge the sentient Vision, who has one of the infinity stones embedded in his forehead. At the end of the movie, he again leaves Earth to investigate what he believes are other forces at play in recent events.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchet (Hela), Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum (The Grandmaster), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Karl Urban (Skurge), Taika Waititi (Korg), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner / Hulk), and Anthony Hopkins.
Runtime: 130 Minutes
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost
End Credit Scenes: Thanos encounter
Where to Stream: Disney+
Thor: Ragnarok is everyone’s favorite Thor film. It returns the character to form and positions the MCU for the end of Phase Three. Stylistically, it’s a gorgeous film with a great score. Thor finds himself ‘imprisoned’ by Surtur, who promises to bring about the end of Asgard through the prophecy known as Ragnarok. After defeating him, Thor returns to Asgard to find Loki impersonating Odin. The two travel to Earth and seek the help of Dr. Strange to find their father in Norway.
After informing them Ragnarok is imminent, Odin dies, and their sister, Hela, returns from her imprisonment. She had led Odin’s armies to conquer the Nine Realms, but he imprisoned her due to her cruelty and fear of her ambition. The ensuing fight leads Loki and Thor to land on Sakaar, where Thor is forced to be a gladiator. Here, he finds the Hulk who ended up on the planet after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Eventually, Thor convinces Valkryie to help him return to Asgard to defeat Hela.
Impact on the MCU: Easily one of the more outsized impacts on the MCU as a whole. Stylistically, you can see Taika’s influence on recent films. Thor comes into his true power and the limitations of that power. The infinity stones become easier for Thanos to secure. Definitely a must-watch.
The Avengers: Infinity War – Appearance
On a destroyed Statesman, Thor is held hostage by Thanos with the Power Stone forcing Loki to give up another infinity stone. Despite having the Hulk on board, the crew is overpowered, with Heimdall and Loki killed and the ship destroyed. Later, the Guardians of the Galaxy find the wreckage and rescue Thor.
From here, he teams up with Rocket and Groot to travel to Nidavellir to forge Stormbreaker. He arrives on Earth in time to turn the tide of the battle but fails to kill Thanos before the snap kills half of all life.
The Avengers: Endgame – Appearance
When Iron Man and Nebula arrive back on Earth, they decide to take the ship to the planet Thanos has retired to, but discover the infinity stones have been destroyed. In a fit of rage, Thor finally goes for the head. A time skip occurs with five years having passed since the snap. Thor has retired to New Asgard and sunk into depression over the loss of his friends and perceived failure. He eventually agrees to help the team pull off the time heist in which he meets his mother again, who helps show him his true purpose. The team returns with all the stones and eventually defeat Thanos and repair most of the damage done during the snap.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchet (Hela), Jeff Goldblum (The Grandmaster), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Taika Waititi (Korg), Natalie Portman (Dr. Jane Foster / Mighty Thor), Christian Bale (Gorr the God Butcher) Chris Pratt (Starlord), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Dave Bautista (Draxx), and Vin Diesel (Groot).
Director: Taika Waititi
Writers: Taika Waititi and Jennifer Robinson
End Credit Scenes: Unknown
Release Date: July 8, 2022
The upcoming fourth Thor movie is set to really shake up the MCU. We already have confirmation Natalie Portman’s character will become the Mighty Thor, and the Guardians of the Galaxy will have a significant role in the film. The antagonist for the film will be played by Christian Bale, who will be Gorr the God Butcher. Valkyrie will be the leader of New Asgard.
As of publication, there has yet to be a trailer for the film slated for a summer release. That’s unusual, but the success of Thor: Ragnarok should give fans solace in knowing the film is in good hands with Taika Waititi at the helm.
Impact on the MCU: A big unknown as we are getting major crossovers with the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jane Foster becoming the Mighty Thor.
Image Credits: Disney / Marvel Studios