Tony Stark’s reaction to Thor becoming “Thor Fat” in Avengers: Endgame confirmed that it was never just a cheap joke at his expense.
The transformation of the God of Thunder after his failed attempt to kill Thanos with the Stormbreaker was the subject of a heated debate, centered around the concept of the social stigma of obesity, but a hint of intention may be in a conversation with Man of iron.
Thor’s complete change after the start of Avengers: Endgame is directly linked to his total loss of hope after Thanos’ death.
Each of the surviving Avengers reacts differently to the Snap, with each reaction talking about each character’s inherent weaknesses.
For Thor, his self-worth that had previously been defined by his near infallibility was so profoundly challenged by his failure to stop Thanos that he changed his body to reflect how he felt: imperfect, vulnerable and “unworthy”.
The key in Avengers: Ultimatum is that the public should not laugh at “Thor Gordo” because his fall is linked to a tragic change in his psychological state. Thor’s mental health crisis is no joke, and Tony Stark’s reaction to his teammate’s change confirms that.
Throughout the MCU, Iron Man’s sense of humor and often his comical disregard for authority manifests itself in him challenging his fellow heroes and villains with the intention of killing him.
His sense of humor is just as important in his arsenal as his weapons, and although it is often just part of the armor he wears to protect himself from his post-traumatic stress and apocalypse anxiety through jokes, the use of nicknames it is the key to how he sees other people.
He often uses names for villains who downplay his threat or tells jokes in the middle of battle, like asking Thor if his mother knows he stole his curtains.
But there is a difference in how he treats Thor after he sees what his sadness has done to him. While James Rhodes and Rocket Raccoon say painful things about their weight, Stark, the most daring member of the group, refuses.
Rhodey’s reaction can be attributed to the shock, Rocket’s to the fact that he is exactly that, but Tony’s says more. His first reaction to Thor is simply to call him “Lebowski”, an internal joke that references Thor’s name on the set, but also his resemblance to the main character in The Great Lebowski.
Instead of choosing to call it something totally focused on your weight, Stark refers more to your new look, even adding an affectionate touch.
Despite all concerns about Avengers: Ultimatum minimizing the experience of post-traumatic stress and mental health issues, Tony’s reaction speaks for an understanding of Thor’s psychological state.
He had also struggled with the fall of a major trauma, in Iron Man 3, after the Battle of New York, and he acknowledges what happened to Thor.
His refusal to accumulate any negativity is an indication that the film was taking Thor’s decline more seriously than the comical conversations around him.
If members of the public who furiously turned to social media to denounce the social stigma of obesity in the film had paid more attention to that little moment with Tony Stark, their fears could very well have allayed.
In Brazil, Marvel’s Avengers: Ultimatum is now available on Amazon Prime Video.