Avengers: Infinity War is available on Blu-ray now, and the film's home media release has meant, among other things, a new round of analysis from its creators on exactly why everything went down the way it did. Today we got more of that from directors Joe and Anthony Russo, including their belief that the film's key heroic arc belongs, out of all of the Avengers packed into the story, to Thor.
In a new video for Wired that stretches to 19 minutes (because the movie is just that big), the Russo Brothers broke down each and every heroic character in the film, beginning appropriately with Iron Man and continuing right on through to Maria Hill, who popped up in the post-credits scene. Every character gets not only a description of how the Russos see them, but also a breakdown of their role and arc in the film, from the development of Vision's humanity to how the brothers carried Spider-Man over from their introduction of him in Captain America: Civil War to his heartbreaking journey in Infinity War. Early on, the discussion turns to Thor "Point Break" Odinson — one of the founding members of the Avengers — and it becomes pretty clear that the Russo Brothers placed quite a bit of emphasis on his story in the film.
Thor, as Joe Russo describes him, began as a character who went on "a complicated journey where he struggles with his ability to feel worthy and be worthy" after being expelled from Asgard, and by the time Thor: Ragnarok ended he'd lost much of what originally defined his parameters in the universe: Asgard, his parents, and by the opening minutes of Infinity War, his brother Loki and his best friend Heimdall. It was through that loss, which star Chris Hemsworth articulates beautifully in one key scene in the film, that they found the key to Thor, and discovered why his journey might just be the most important one that any Avenger in the movie takes.
“What we love about him in Infinity War is that he has been torn down to his essential parts, and he goes on a hero’s journey which is a very underdog journey for someone of his stature because he has lost everything in his life," Joe Russo said. "In a lot of ways, he has the driving hero’s arc of the movie, which stands in direct opposition to Thanos’ arc. I would argue that had Thor chopped his head off at the end of the movie that the movie would belong to Thor, but because he didn’t, it belongs to Thanos.”
So, that's basically Joe Russo quoting Thanos there: "You should have gone for the head."
In a film that is packed with characters, it can be a bit hard to distill the individual arcs down in terms of order of importance. Sure, we see a lot more of Iron Man than we do of Bucky Barnes, for example, but among the major players there are a lot of heavy arcs. We've got Tony Stark's fears and anxieties years after the Battle of New York coming to a head, the weight of Doctor Strange's responsibility to the universe, Gamora's complicated relationship with Thanos, Star-Lord's rage and massive mistake, and Vision and Scarlet Witch's journey to the ultimate sacrifice.
Among all of those, though, Thor does stand out, and not just because his journey bookends the film. He begins the movie completely broken down and emotionally spent, and by the end he's taken the full force of a dying star, gained a new weapon and become an absolute force of nature again, even if he did aim for the wrong body part at the very end. That's a story that's compelling already, but will be one of the most intriguing elements to pick back up as Avengers 4 gets underway.
What do you think? Does Thor have the key hero's journey in the film, or are the Russo Brothers overstating it a bit?