Warning: full spoilers ahead for Thor: Love and Thunder!
With Thor: Love and Thunder hitting theaters, we finally know the answer to one of the biggest burning questions about the movie: how exactly does Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) become the Mighty Thor? The only problem is, the film makes a big departure from the comic books for her superhero origin, and it’s debatable if it was for the better. So we’re going to break down the key differences between her story in the movie and the comics, and explain why it threatens to undermine the worthiness of the Mighty Thor.
How Jane Foster Becomes Thor in Love and Thunder
The main issue with Jane Foster becoming Thor in the movie is how she becomes Thor. We catch up with Jane Foster and learn she’s battling Stage 4 cancer, with her chemotherapy treatment having little effect. She eventually gets the idea from a book on Norse mythology to find a cure using Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, which is said to grant good health to whoever wields it.
Jane books a trip to New Asgard and lingers by the tourist attraction displaying the fragments of Thor’s broken hammer, and as she gets closer a storm suddenly brews overhead and the pieces spring to life with crackling lightning. And then next thing you know, she’s the Mighty Thor, bashing in the faces of Gorr’s shadow monsters right alongside the Odinson (Chris Hemsworth).
Later in the film, a flashback to when Jane and Thor were still a couple shows exactly how she was able to wield Mjolnir. In a moment of wistful affection for his girlfriend, Thor asked his trusty hammer to always protect Jane, and in doing so unwittingly enchanted Mjolnir to do just that. Just like Thor’s father Odin once enchanted the hammer to only be lifted by someone who is worthy, Thor cast a spell that let Jane use its powers.
A Matter of Worthiness
The big problem with this little twist is it implies that Jane’s worthiness has nothing to do with her ability to use the hammer. She didn’t earn it with her strength of character. Thor made a special exception for her. As we all well know, a character being worthy enough to lift Mjolnir is an incredibly rare and special thing in the world of Marvel. It’s an acknowledgment of their virtue and bravery and puts them in a special class of hero. If Captain America only got to pick up the hammer in Endgame because Thor allowed it, then it wouldn’t have made for one of the most rousing moments in blockbuster history. So creating a loophole that allows Jane to pick it up, regardless of her worthiness, robs her of what makes the Mighty Thor so special.
Now, there is a defense of sorts for this twist, and it lies in the film’s title: Love and Thunder. The writers clearly wanted to make the movie a romantic comedy, so to play up the romance aspect they made it so Thor’s profession of his love for Jane is the magic spell that later turns her into a superhero. It connects them in a profound and intimate way, and it puts them on equal footing so Jane doesn’t need to be the cliched damsel in distress yet again. Then again, only allowing Jane to become the Mighty Thor because her boyfriend said so saps her character of the autonomy that made her comic book counterpart such a success.
This is all in stark contrast to the comics where Jane was able to lift the hammer of her own accord without any caveats. Many characters in the Marvel Comics universe were skeptical of the Mighty Thor, Odionson included, yet Jane proved them all wrong by continuing to be a self-sacrificing superhero despite the cancer ravaging her human form.
The Cast of Thor: Love and Thunder