Natalie Portman isn’t the first actress to play The Mighty Thor
Natalie Portman is about to portray The Mighty Thor in forthcoming Marvel sequel Thor: Love and Thunder. Portman’s character Jane Foster wields Mjölnir, and becomes bigger and taller so she’s more of a match for Chris Hemsworth’s God of Thunder. But Portman isn’t the first actress to (kind-of) play The Mighty Thor onscreen, as Adventures in Babysitting got there first.
Adventures in Babysitting is a teen comedy from 1986, in which Elizabeth Shue plays a babysitter who has the night from hell when she takes the kids into the city to rescue a friend.
The youngest of those children is Sara, played by Maia Brewton. And Sara is obsessed with Thor. There are Thor posters all over her wall, as well as drawings of him all over her floor.
Sara also wears a Thor helmet, while she carries a mini-Mjölnir throughout. When her brother looks at Sara’s art, she explains, “Thor’s my hero.” And when he mocks the God of Thunder, she loses her temper, and gets revenge by embarrassing her big bro in front of his crush.
When Sara meets Thor
Towards the end of the movie, the babysitting crew head to Dawson’s Garage to collect their car. Dawson himself emerges, and he’s played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who would later bring another Marvel character to life – Kingpin – in the Daredevil series.
But here D’Onofrio is a simple mechanic. Or is he? Wearing a blue vest and red cap, with long flowing blond locks, and holding a huge hammer, he does look like Thor. So Sara kneels before him, hits her own hammer into the ground, and cries out “Oh Thor, Mighty God of Thunder.”
When Dawson seems confused, Sara believes him to be using his secret identity, and asks if he’s been fighting the forces of darkness. Dawson/Thor responds by breaking her heart, demanding more money when they come up short for the car repairs, and telling her to get lost.
“I thought you always helped people in trouble!” Sara exclaims. But then she realizes the rouse. “I know why you’re not acting like yourself – you don’t have your special helmet!” Sara hands her hat over, which in turns melts his heart.
Dawson/Thor duly hands over the car, and gives back the helmet, stating “I got one of these at home.” Emboldening Sara to be as brave as Thor during the film’s climax.
So with her helmet back on, Sara is soon climbing up the side of a skyscraper to evade the film’s villains., in the process becoming as mighty as her hero Thor.
How Ms. Marvel Pays Homage to Adventures in Babysitting
In the same way that Adventures in Babysitting pays homage to Thor, Disney+ show Ms. Marvel pays tribute to Adventures in Babysitting.
The moment happens early in Episode 2, when Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) has fallen for new kid Kamran (Rish Shah). She gets home, and still smitten, Kamala dances around her bedroom to ‘Be My Baby’ by The Ronettes.
This is a direct lift from Adventures, where the film opens with Elizabeth’s Shue’s character dancing around her bedroom to ‘Then He Kissed Me’ by The Crystals. Kamala even uses a lot of the same moves.
All of which makes sense, as Kamala’s love for Captain Marvel in the series mirrors Sara’s Thor obsession in Adventures in Babysitting, bringing the whole thing full-circle.
Adventures in Babysitting and Ms. Marvel are currently streaming on Disney+, while Thor: Love and Thunder hits screens next week.