Opening weekend, I saw Avengers: End Game with my son, Avery.
THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.
READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN AVENGERS: END GAME.
A few days after seeing the film, I saw the following meme courtesy of someone named ‘kaz.’ , and loved it, and immediately reposted it on my Facebook page (above).
Above the meme, I said something about how much I loved this message in the movie… but how “Fat Thor” is just WRONG. (Because…. ABS.) Then, a young friend of mine responded with something like this:
"I don't mind Fat Thor. I mind them (Marvel) making his weight a joke."
I felt in my bones that seeing Thor as the butt of a "fat joke” was wrong, but I didn't have time or energy to get into it with her... but, now, I do!
Look, Marvel didn’t make Thor’s weight a joke.
They gave us THE FACTS:
Thor is now fat.
He drinks too much.
He plays video games all day.
Thor is depressed…
…because Thor has been through a gigantic, life-altering tragedy.
And he feels responsible.
In the audience I was in, sure, some people were laughing. But initially, the audience was in shock, and the laughter was reflective of this. I was in shock, too; I couldn’t believe they’d done it. They took that Greek God and made him into a fat drunk? How could they? How dare they! How bold. This is crazy, CRAZY, but also, GIVE ME BACK MY THOR!!
Some of the laughter was uncomfortable laughter. Why so uncomfortable, everyone? Does Thor, God of Thunder, suddenly remind you of someone you know, maybe? An uncle, a dad, an older brother... me? you?
Quickly, though, the audience (my son and I included) felt for Thor. My son is 11, and a number of times he leaned over and said, “Poor Thor!!” He’s so sad!!” and then I let the tears come. Because for me, as a parent, it’s really important that my son cares about other people’s feelings. So we felt this huge sadness for Thor, and then in the very next moment, we were laughing again... because that's life. It is sad, and sublime, and absurd, all at once.
Look, Marvel did get some cheap laughs at Thor's expense, because that's what those particular characters (Tony Stark, Rocket Racoon) would do. Honestly, are those two characters NOT gonna say something, with Thor in that shape? They're jerks, they're gonna say something.
But Marvel's aim was not to laugh at fat folks... no. It was to show us someone who's gone through something extremely painful, and come out the other side changed. And I’m here to tell you, this is a harsh truth of life.
Sometimes we need a laugh in order to interrupt the eerie feeling ...that maybe life is going to change us, too. Or, that it already has.
Those of us who’ve been through a thing or two, like Thor, laughed because… yep, that’s life! Whatcha gonna do? That’s me. That’s my spouse. That’s my dad, my sister or brother, my best friend. That’s us.
OH, and quick PSA about seeing a film:
We go into a theater for one reason, and one reason only:
to be shown a MIRROR.
WHEN YOU GO INTO A THEATER
AND THE STORY MAKES YOU LAUGH
YOU ARE NOT LAUGHING “AT” SOMEONE’S EXPENSE, BECAUSE THAT “PERSON” IS IMAGINARY!
TO LAUGH “AT” SOMEONE ON THE SCREEN OR ON THE STAGE
IS TO LAUGH AT ONE’S SELF.
I kinda can’t believe I have to explain this - that Thor isn’t real? But… yeah. Sorry, movie fans, he’s not. When we laugh at Thor, we’re not laughing at a real, live fat person!
To laugh at Thor is to laugh at ourselves.
And not for nothing, his body did not automatically go back to being perfect when he got his ‘mojo’ back! Because life isn’t like that, either! Someone over at Marvel should get a metal for this idea, quite honestly. Because sometimes, yes, you’re just rockin’ an extra 50 pounds, for a while. One the greatest takeaways, as the meme suggested, is that being depressed and in pain does not make Thor (you) any less worthy. In the end, he still had the stuff! Because he still had his gigantic, god-like HEART.
AGAIN: we sit inside a theater to be shown a mirror.
Thor isn't real.
To laugh at Thor is to laugh at myself.
To feel bad for Thor is to feel bad for myself.
To love Thor - no matter what - is to love myself.
As someone who's been through tremendous pain, myself, and changed in many ways (physically, emotionally, spiritually, and all the rest)... I was relieved. I am someone who, despite any changes to my appearance, is still worthy of love. And so are you.
For those of you non-storyteller people reading this, here's a secret:
are taking ya'll to CHURCH!
LOVE THYSELF, we keep whispering to you, YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE MAGIC. YOU ARE GODS.
Depressed, anxious, and in pain…it’s OK.
You are still worthy, because you’re made of stardust, and Love is your birthright.
Storytellers don’t make jokes.
If an audience laughs, it's because you need to laugh, and the storyteller has somehow earned that laugh.
What we're really doing, whenever possible, is telling the truth.
How you interpret that… is up to you.