Thor is one of the bravest Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the upcoming release of Thor: Love & Thunder on Disney+ Day will continue to showcase that key characteristic. However, the Asgardian has had his fair share of decisions that were driven by fear, or moments of cowardice.
It’s only natural, considering the incredible stakes that the God of Thunder has had to face. Often he’ll defuse his uneasiness through humor, and it’s rare that he completely runs away from a challenge. If anything he has been defined in quite the opposite fashion, stupidly running head first at any threat. These instances do suggest those second thoughts he might have once had.
Fighting The Frost Giants
In his youth Thor was reckless, usually acting upon raw emotions rather than thinking things through as a king would. After an attack from the Frost Giants on Asgard, Thor disobeyed orders and led his allies on an attack on Jotunheim. His actions were truly cowardly when presented at face value.
Thor was fearful of what the Frost Giants could do if they were to attack Asgard again, and rather than playing the diplomat, he instead attempted to push some of that fear onto them. It was a move that had him expelled from Asgard. It might seem brave to wage war from the front lines, but it was a move that was based on the horror of the potential consequences of not heading to battle.
Clashing With Quill
Thor hates to be anything but the leader. Whether it’s the King of Asgard or the Captain of a ship, the Odinson has never done well with the following authority. It’s based on the fear that he won’t be positioned how he needs to be. He likes to take destiny into his own hands.
It’s cowardly to put himself at the front of the team, allowing his ego to take hold to make up for the doubts he holds within himself. His clashes with Peter Quill as part of the Asguardians of the Galaxy, after his franchise was reinvented from fantasy to sci-fi, are a demonstration of that fear, brought into reality. He doesn’t want to find out what his place would be if he wasn’t at the head of the Milano.
Using Loki As Bait
Thor loves to be at the front of a battle, but only when it’s convenient for him. While he gives the illusion that he leads in this manner, when he feels uncomfortable in an unpredictable situation, he usually uses Loki as bait. Some of their team-up moves rely on that fact.
‘Get help’ is a great example, with Thor throwing Loki straight into the danger. He usually brushes this off as playful jesting with his brother, but even when facing the Dark Elves, Thor was happy to use his brother to draw out their enemies. It’s quite a cowardly move no matter who’s in the firing line, but especially family considering Thor’s unbelievable power.
Refusing To Face Civil War
Civil War was brewing among the superhero community on Earth. Captain America and Iron Man had drawn their respective lines and allies were moving around them, to fight for and against the notion of a superhuman registration act. Thor was nowhere to be found during this struggle.
While the likes of Hulk were off-world, Thor was aware of what was happening and supposedly claimed that no one wanted to choose him. In truth, he was too scared to pick a side. There’s no doubt that if he wanted to be involved he could have been, but it’s obvious he didn’t want to know the results of the war either way, as they would have dire consequences.
Never Stepping Up To His Duties
During Thor’s younger days, he never stepped up to the duties that were expected of him. He took far more glee in battle than he ever did with diplomacy. While his skirmish to fight the Frost Giants was one such example, there were plenty more that were key to his initial downfall.
Thor hasn’t acted as King of his people for very long. He is always claiming he has a sense of duty to Midgard, but that loyalty to his people has seemingly been lost. For someone who loves to play leader, he fears what the crown stands for.
Running From His People
With either the mighty Mjolnir or Stormbreaker, Thor can essentially use his great gifts to travel anywhere and do anything. He thus decides to leave Asgard behind, cowardly running away from their struggles to face off against some threats he can conquer.
After the destruction of Asgard and the creation of New Asgard, not only did Thor pass on the crown because of his fear of its duties, he left altogether. King Valkyrie was responsible for picking up the pieces. Thor wasn’t able to come to terms with the evolution that had to take place, now that his home was lost.
Ignoring His Vision
During the battle with Ultron, Thor fled supposedly to follow a vision he’d been having. That might have been a clever excuse to move away from an enemy he didn’t fully understand, considering the technology of Ultron was far out of his reach. The vision that he eventually learned of was projecting Thanos’ path to victory.
Once Thor had had this new clarification of what was to come, he didn’t act on the vision. He could have made moves to protect the Infinity Stones, or perhaps destroy them entirely. Instead, he cowered from what Thanos could do, acting as if the threat didn’t exist.
Hiding After Thanos
Thor ignoring his visions wasn’t the last time he would run scared of Thanos. After the snap he ran away once more, hiding with Korg and Miek, claiming he would never pick up Stormbreaker again. He’d finally given in to his impulses to turn the other way from the danger and live a quieter life.
He was of course drawn out eventually, with the notion of revenge and the probability that everything could be reversed. But even when there was perhaps more information to gain from the Mad Titan, Thor chopped off the head of Thanos, clearly out of fear of what he could still do while alive.
Refusing To Face Jane
Thor and Jane were two of the best-matched love interests in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They would grow distant from one another though, with the couple calling it quits. Thor wouldn’t just face up to her though when the time came, acting like a coward on two occasions.
The first was when the Avengers traveled back in time, and an Infinity Stone had to be extracted from Foster. Rocket ended up carrying out the task because Thor refused. The second was once the doctor had made her way back into Odinson’s life as the Mighty Thor. He eventually had no choice but to speak to his ex again despite his concerns.
Relying On Magical Weapons
Thor has always relied on Mjolnir to help him get out of a bind. Once the magical hammer was destroyed he felt lost and hopeless, but he would learn to accept that the power that he needed was inside him all along. That was until he was scared of Thanos, and then he looked for a bigger weapon to swing.
He would forge Stormbreaker and seemingly this was enough to settle his nerves. But after Gorr the God Butcher surfaced, Thor felt as if he needed yet another piece of equipment to take to war. He would seek out the lightning bolts of Zeus to defeat the enemy, demonstrating that he always had to hide behind bigger and bolder weapons.