From Dr Jane Foster to Mighty Thor and beyond

Mighty Thor feature

Movie Review

Act 3: About the transformation of Dr Jane Foster that leads to Mighty Thor

Mighty Thor Jane Foster Natalie PortmanThis article is Act 3 of the Thor Love and Thunder Movie Review. In Thor: Love and Thunder, Dr Jane Foster’s transformation is a complex journey that intertwines her personal struggles with a connection to the divine power of Thor. Jane Foster’s transformation in Thor: Love and Thunder” is more than just a physical change. It’s a story about resilience, courage, and the unwavering spirit that can rise above even the most daunting challenges. However, the movie does two things that work against showcasing the depth and complexity of dr Jane Foster’s journey. First, the movie condenses the narrative, passing over some important stages of the transformation (I would have gladly removed the Olympus scenes or the Korg stories for these). Secondly, while I do not mind it when the Thor movies systematically take some creative liberties, I do mind that these changes are superficial or not better integrated to the plot. Transforming the comics’ nurse then doctor into a movie astrophysicist should have mattered more than putting her in Thor’s way. There are too many interesting developments that could have come of that, and they definitely would have woven perfectly into the transformations that this astrophysicist has been undergoing since she first met Thor.

Dr Foster, accomplished astrophysicist

Dr Jane Foster pre-Agard In Thor: Love and Thunder, Dr Jane Foster is established as a brilliant scientist, passionate about astrophysics. This likely builds on her characterisation from previous Thor movies. However, the movie doesn’t delve into Jane Foster’s achievements in astrophysics especially since her encounters with Thor but rather focuses on her journey wielding Mjolnir and her connection to the godly powers. The movie does not mention anything that clearly connects her with any of the cosmic events that she has witnessed in the past. This is a mistake as showing this would have established a stronger connection with past movies, foreshadowed her heroic tendencies, showcased a solid ground to her passion for science and astrophysics and how it helped her to understand the world better in order to protect or save it.

Dr Jane Foster’s transformations

Dr Jane Foster post-Thor and post-Agard

The movie missed the fact that Jane Foster is coming from a transformation already. The Dr Jane Foster pre-Thor is different from the Dr Jane Foster post-Thor and pre-Asgard who is different from the Dr Jane Foster post-Asgard. Dr. Jane Foster pre-Thor is driven by scientific curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. She is grounded and skeptical, not readily accepting fantastical explanations for events. She is also independent and resourceful, using her intellect to solve problems and overcome obstacles. Dr. Jane Foster post-Thor and pre-Asgard is more open-minded as she meets Thor and her shared connection to and experience with him creates a deeper bond. Thor disappears for a while and she developed a sense of longing. However, for this independent, work-minded, busy woman, this is not simply about missing Thor, it is also about missing the excitement of their adventures and would have foreshadowed that thirst. Dr. Jane Foster post-Asgard becomes even more receptive to possibilities beyond traditional science, having witnessed Asgardian magic and technology firsthand and being a hostess to the Aether. The Aether, later revealed to be the reality stone, feeds on life force and the effects post removal could have been explored and linked to a likely inner transformation, mental, emotional and physical. For example, the Aether could have altered her perception of reality by e.g., heightening her senses which allowed her to hear the call of Mjornir. It might have also triggered a post-traumatic growth, leading her perhaps to develop a stronger sense of purpose or resilience and to even embrace the experience as a way to understand the universe on a deeper level.

Jane, cancer patient From Astrophysics to Illness:

The previous transformations highlight Jane’s growth as a character. She maintains her core intelligence and resourcefulness, but also evolves to embrace the fantastical elements introduced by Thor and Asgard. The illness that this movie introduced should have added another layer of depth not simply taken over.

Jane Foster in bed with cancerJane Foster cancer comicsJane’s world is turned upside down as she’s diagnosed with and battling Stage IV cancer. This is a pivotal point, that should have further showcased her strength and resilience. In the comics (presumably Marvel Comics’ The Mighty Thor vol. 2 #1 ) this is clearly shown: with the various treatments, she loses weight, colours, hair, energy but never her resolution to beat this adversary. And this is what the film should have shown and spent a little more time on. She has been fighting the different faces of ignorance all her life, acquiring knowledge that helps her understand the workings of the universe and potentially protect earth from cosmic risks. Cancer, even at stage IV, is just another adversary and she will not back down. The physical transformation coupled with the unwaivered resolve should be constant clue through the Jane Foster act and give a taste of her future transformations as Mighty Thor and a Valhalla resident. I would have also liked a kind of foreshadowing mention of how the cancer, its rapid progression and the agressive treatment (chemiotherapy etc.) have been consecutively devastating blows which would have better highlighted how resilient Dr Jane Foster remains in the face of adversity and explained why she reaches beyond human capacities for new possible solutions. But the weight of her illness is not as strongly shown and misses its goal to add that new layer of vulnerability. As a result, it also fails to convince me that she had tried everything scientific (e.g., no chemiotherapy) before embracing the possibility of a mystical solution, showcasing her courage and willingness to fight for her life.

The Call of Mjolnir and the transformation into Mighty Thor, the goddess

Before the call…

Her first state would have showcased Dr Foster, the brilliant and healthy astrophysicist passionate about the working of the universe and incorporating studies of her visit around and to Asgard, contact with (and sometimes hosting) advanced cosmic elements (such as the Aether) and understanding of the universe. Her second state would have presented the human Jane Foster in her battle with cancer and her tenacity before this challenge even at stage iv. Presenting these two stages in this way would have made for a more effective transition to understanding how Jane answers the call from Mjolnir.

The call of Mjolnir

Mighty ThorFacing the failure of medical interventions, Jane shifts her focus to mythology in her quest for a potential cure. Encountering a passage detailing the legendary powers of Thor’s mythical hammer, Mjolnir, she embarks on a journey to New Asgard, where the revered artifact is showcased as a tourist attraction bearing the inscription “Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” Jane finds herself inexplicably drawn to the reforged Mjolnir. When she lifts it, she transforms into the Mighty Thor, gaining immense strength, stamina, power, a new, muscular physique, and the ability to control lightning…  However, the Mighty Thor identity comes at a cost. While it grants her strength, it also interferes with her cancer treatment. Each time she wields Mjolnir, it purges toxins from her body, unfortunately including the chemotherapy drugs, essentially shortening her life. This creates a heartbreaking dilemma: embrace her newfound power or prioritise her health.

Ungrasped opportunity

Mighty Thor Natalie PortmanWhen Jane grasps Mjolnir, she becomes the Mighty Thor, gaining immense strength, superhuman abilities, and a new battle-worthy Asgardian armor. There is no real difference between her and Thor, except that she is a woman. This platitude of superficial female empowerment that surfs the current tide robs Mighty Thor from the real impact that she could have had and the real point of making Jane Foster an astrophysicist, coming full circle into herself. Physically, the transformation can be seen as a coping mechanism, a way to feel strong and powerful and have purpose amidst her physical vulnerability, offering a temporary reprieve from it. But the worthy Jane is more than muscles and so should Mighty Thor have been. As an astrophysicist, her deep understanding of the universe’s forces and phenomena could aid in recognising or understanding threats from cosmic origins. Her expertise could be helpful in deciphering alien technology or cosmic events. Her likely strong analytical and problem-solving skills would be valuable assets in strategising against cosmic threats or finding solutions during fantastical situations. Jane herself could have been a bridge between human scientific understanding and highlighted the place that science can play in the cosmic battles. In effect and most of all, the intelligence and curiosity that Dr Jane Foster brings to Mighty Thor should have creates a compelling contrast to Thor’s more impulsive nature. A Mighty Thor born of that understanding, that combination, would have been richer, more interesting and more subtle in that it is not necessarily muscles that maketh the hero.

Jane, From Goddess to Hero(in) to einheri

Dr Jane Foster Mighty Thor einheri in ValhallaDespite the personal cost, Jane embraces her role as the Mighty Thor, choosing to fight alongside Thor, again showcasing her bravery and unwavering spirit. In a climactic moment and despite the danger, Jane uses her power one last time to save countless lives. Tragically, her sacrifice in the final battle leads to her death. Thor witnesses this act of heroism, and Jane finds peace in her final moments. This selfless act embodies the spirit of a true hero.  The film doesn’t end on a purely tragic note. In a post-credits scene, Jane gets a hero’s reward. She is shown entering Valhalla, the Asgardian afterlife reserved for warriors. Wikipedia defines an einheri as “those who have died in battle and are brought to Valhalla by valkyries” and that is what Dr Jane Foster aka Mighty Thor is. This suggests an afterlife filled with honor and a potential future where Thor may even try to bring her back.

Thor Love and Thunder is streamed on Disney+