This is definitely the most ambitious Marvel movie to date, as well as one that I wasn’t too excited to see. Thor is one of the most recognizable Marvel characters who has been around as long as any other notable Marvel character, yet one that causes quite a bit of confusion. Well sure, he’s the God of Thunder, but what does that even mean? What are his powers? Who are his enemies? If he is so powerful, why doesn’t he smote thine enemies heartily? In addition to being confusing to the general populace, who the fuck is Chris Hemsworth? Natalie Portman, she was in that Black Swan movie, right? Anthony Hopkins is playing…Odin? What the fuck is an Odin? Kenneth Branagh…wait, THAT Kenneth Branagh? I thought he only did Shakespeare stuff? Being the first film in a big summer of superhero movies, Thor was setting the standard for what we can expect in the summer to come.
Gotta be honest, the yellow hair/beard combo was a little distracting knowing that Chris Hemsworth, ya know, DOESN’T have a yellow beard or hair.
Thor, Odin, and Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, are all residents of Asgard, which for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just refer to as a different “realm” from Earth. Odin is their father, and is about ready to pass down the kingdom of Asgard to Thor, but before he can, Thor launches an assault on their enemies, and shows Odin that he is a stubborn, headstrong warrior, rather than a king. Odin casts him out of Asgard, and Thor lands on Earth, which they refer to as “Midgard”, stripped of all of his Godlike powers. On Earth, he is found by an astrophysicist named Jane Foster, played by Portman, and her buddies, played by Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings. While he is on Earth, trying to figure out how to get back to Asgard, as well as respond to the confusion by his Earth buddies, Loki is still in Asgard, now set to take over from Odin. Thor’s best buddies, known as the Warriors Three, and a lady warrior who goes by the name Sif, learn of this, and go to Earth in hopes of warning Thor and explaining what is happening. Before they can explain everything, Loki has sent a killer robot to kill Thor, and anything in its path, which is what happens when you name a robot “Destroyer“. Thor manages to get his powers back when he demonstrates his selflessness, fights things, everyone punches stuff, and, well, I’m just going to leave it at that. Not that there are really “spoilers”, but I’m sure that at this point you can figure out how the movie ends.
“HERE I AM AND I’M YELLING AND BEING LOUD ABOUT THINGS!!!!!!”
Not only was it one of the most ambitious Marvel movies, but it also ended up being one of the best. I had heard rumors of this movie being better than Iron Man, and despite Iron Man being a lot more reckless fun, Thor was certainly one of the best films to come from Marvel. The trailer gives the impression, or maybe I read into it too much, that Thor was going to spend a lot of time on Earth, running around and smashing things. Turns out, not only was that not true, but also that there was a lot of the plot taking place in Asgard. Even trying to summarize the nine worlds that Asgard and Midgard are included in is pretty confusing, but for the sake of this movie, you didn’t really need to know anything. The visionaries behind the aesthetics of Asgard were quite talented, putting onto film things that are highly conceptual. For example, the way that all of the nine worlds are connected is through the Bifrost Bridge, which in comics, is just this big rainbow bridge that shows up whenever the Asgardians go somewhere. Clearly a giant rainbow wouldn’t translate as well on film as one might hope, but the way they pulled it off was not only faithful to the comics, but had a practical sensibility to it. The mythology was handled quite well, and you didn’t doubt the authenticity of the filmmakers for a moment.
In my day, the term “SIF” always referred to Secret Internet Fatty. Apparently, they’ve changed the definition!
I have been reading Thor for a few years now, and feel like I understand the character, yet was still surprised by Chris Hemsworth’s interpretation of the guy. He started off headstrong and narrow-minded, which is more similar to the way Hercules is portrayed in recent years with Marvel. This threw me off a bit, and I was a little disappointed that Thor was originally just being referred to as some sort of wacky fish out of water who didn’t understand things, rather than a warrior from another realm who was about to be a king. By the end of the film, he really evolved into much more than that, and set the bar for the humble and reserved, yet powerful warrior as he is usually portrayed. Tom Hiddleston as Loki was quite good, being able to play the God of Mischief who is clearly intelligent and strong, without coming across as a wormy sidekick. This was also one of the first movies where I felt Natalie Portman was playing a woman as opposed to just a girl playing grownup. One of my favorite characters? Oh, well, that would be Jeremy Renner as fucking HAWKEYE. Yeah, that’s right, Hawkeye was in this movie. No, he wasn’t referred to as Hawkeye, merely his real name of Clint Barton, and he only had about 6 or 7 lines of dialogue, but it was awesome to see that much screen presence, not knowing he would be in it at all.
This was one of the first images released from the film. Can you blame me for being pissed?
The best comparison for this movie in the realm of Marvel movies would probably somewhere along the lines of the first X-Men movie. It wasn’t acting so much as a complete and all-encompassing project as much as both films were serving as introductions to characters and concepts. We already know that Thor, as well as Hawkeye and maybe a few other characters from this movie, will be featured in the Avengers movie coming out next summer, and this movie did a good job of getting you to learn about the characters. You might notice I use the terms “fun” and “good” with two different definitions, which I think is an important distinction, and those terms can be used separate from one another. For example, the first X-Men movie was fun, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it was good, mostly in regards to things like shitty, shitty dialogue. I’m not saying that Thor wasn’t fun or anything like that, but it was far more mature in subject matter than X-Men was and in overall quality of the film. Thor didn’t have too many rallying moments where the audience jumped up and cheered at what was going on in the movie, but you still enjoyed yourself. Comic book movies can be both good and fun, movies like Spider-Man 2 and X2 are both good and fun, but not all movies manage to pull off both successfully. Thor serves as a great introduction to the character, is a mature film with complicated concepts, and gets you excited for as much Thor related content as there is. If movies like this are what we can expect for the rest of the summer, it’s going to be a good one.
Wolfman Moon Scale