We are watching a lot of films during this pandemic.
Typically, I will sit down with my two daughters and watch a film most nights. We are going through the Marvel movies on Disney+. Last night we watched the first Thor movie.
Thor is a character from Norse mythology. This particular mythology has been very influential in the writings of C.S. Lewis (Out of the Silent Planet, The Narnia Chronicles, etc.) and J.R.R. Tolkien (Hobbit, Lord of the Rings).
Norse mythology has a God the Father figure (Odin), a son figure (Thor) and a devil figure (Loki).
C.S. Lewis and others like J.R.R. Tolkien often explore in their writings the connections between ancient legends and myths and a universal knowledge of God. They draw upon an understanding that His ways permeates all pagan and ancient societies as well as our current times. Their argument goes that there is something good to be found in all these legends.
Likewise with the Thor film. The major theme of the film is this: Training and redemption of a son of God. We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26) and because we are sons, God disciplines us (Heb. 12:5-11). In the movie, Thor is a son and heir of the Kingdom (of Asgard) and his father (Odin) wants to give him the authority and power to rule.
However, Thor disqualifies himself through arrogance, pride and being a hot head and is banished by his father to the wilderness of earth and stripped of his power. During his subsequent trials the father seems to be in a coma and apparently unconscious of his needs. To make matters worse his evil brother, Loki, who represents the devil, seems able to take the throne and run amok. Some of his friends try to help but are powerless. In the end a mechanical monster sent by Loki kills Thor and all seems over.
Through all this Thor is humbled and his character improves. His last act is to lay down his life for his love interest and the world.
But, of course, that is not the end. Thor is brought back to life by the power of the father which is invested in the hammer (which even has a triquetra inscribed on it). By the will of the father, the hammer would only give its power to one who was found worthy of it. Thor initially thinks that by using his own physical strength he could wield it but discovers that the hammer does not yield its power to that kind of persuasion.
If we consider the hammer as a simile for the Cross we can see the message more clearly. The Cross only has power because the One who loved the world enough to lay down His life for it, hung on it. Likewise the hammer in the film does not release its power until the one who wields it is found worthy.
Of course there are problems with the film’s depictions. It is not hard to find faults. But as Marvel movie’s go, this one seems to me to be one of the more profitable for a Christian to think about.