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Avengers: Infinity War: Explaining Thor's inconsistent power levels

As Thor, Chris Hemsworth is one of the musclier and more powerful characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanks to director Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, he's also a far cooler and more comedic hero than he was just a few years ago. But rippling abs and a newfound ability to rip jokes weren't enough to distract viewers from the fact that the adored Norse god was kind of all over the place in Avengers: Infinity War.

If Thor: Ragnarok promised that Thor would soon eclipse his late father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) in power, why did the opening scene of Infinity War, which followed immediately after the events of Ragnarok, show him as essentially useless against Thanos (Josh Brolin) while his fellow Asgardians were being slaughtered?

Well, we've got an answer from Avengers: Infinity War co-writer Christopher Markus. Speaking with Collider, Markus and his Infinity War screenwriting partner Stephen McFeely Markus addressed some burning questions about the bigger-than-big superhero film — particularly the one about Thor's wildly unpredictable, and sometimes downright confusing, power levels. 

Though the creative pair had no trouble admitting that they didn't specifically think about the God of Thunder's abilities while they were writing Infinity War, Markus did provide a careful explanation as to why Thor was weak when going up against the Mad Titan but was later able to withstand the full power of a star to forge his new weapon, Stormbreaker

"I think he's very durable. Like I think, literally, his flesh is very hard to break. That's why he can survive in space, that's why he can take that thing in the star," Markus explained. "But you can still drain him of energy, you can still knock him out, you can still hurt him. So I think it would be very hard to wreck his body, but I think, you know, he has stamina and his stamina goes up and his stamina goes down depending on what he's been through."

Dissecting Markus' words a bit, it appears that Thor and Thanos may have swung a few punches at one another before Infinity War opened. Thor, having only moments before wrapped up the sibling fight to end all sibling fights when battling his evil sister Hela (Cate Blanchett), likely didn't have much energy to begin with when initially facing off against the purple-faced baddie; he was already at a disadvantage, running at half power. Once he (literally) jumped ship, wound up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, and headed to the realm of Nidavellir to find Eitri (Peter Dinklage), Thor had plenty of gas in his tank to reactivate a dying star, withstand its strength, and walk away with a sweet new hammer-axe. 

Some Marvel fans may not be totally satisfied by Markus' answer, but the fact that viewers now know an actual god like Thor can grow weary humanizes him. Superheroes: they're just like us, right?