I’ve finally gotten to my last pre-Avengers movie, although I did technically cheat a little in my watching order, I just couldn’t wait and I saw the Avengers already. But since I want to keep my schedule going, I am reviewing Thor first and the Avengers will have to wait until Tuesday. I am also doing a slight schedule change and posting my blog topic for the week on Wednesdays now for a full seven day schedule. This may change in the future if I feel that reviewing three movies a week is a bit much for me but we’ll just have to see how it goes for now. Back to Thor, I was never a big fan of Thor, he never really showed up in any of the cartoons I watched when I was younger except maybe in an episode or two of Spider-Man or Iron Man but none that I remember. So watching this movie when it came out on DVD last year was really my first introduction to the character outside of a couple things. I knew that his hammer could only be picked up by someone who is worthy enough to wield it, and I knew he was essentially based on Norse mythology.
I think one of the hardest things to accomplish when trying to bring Thor to life on the big screen is to make him more believable. I mean, it’s a Norse God who uses a rainbow bridge to come to our plane, flies by swinging his hammer around really fast, throwing it, and hanging on. And yet this movie actually pulled both of those things off and made it look pretty dang cool. The solution turned out to be fairly simple even though it might wrangle some of the more hardcore comic fans. Instead of using the straight up Norse mythology, they updated it to more of a sci-fi angle. As a side note, if Michael Bay handled the Turtles situation this way without blowing it in an interview it might have actually come out with less of a fan onslaught. Anyway, instead of living in a different plane, Asgard is now in a different galaxy. Their magic is explained more along the lines of a technology so advanced that it seems like magic. And personally, I bought it. I liked the melding of futuristic and yet medieval styles in all the designs for Asgard and the Asgardians.
A big part of the story is the whole stranger in a strange land when Thor is exiled down to Earth, his power taken from him because of his insolence. He acts like a man out of time, and yet he acclimates very quickly. This is also helped with the technological explanation, it would make sense that he would understand the more primitive technology of our world if their technology has advanced far beyond to the point of magic, even if they haven’t visited in thousands of years. There is of course a woman, there is always a woman where these movies are involved. In this case it’s the scientist Jane played by Natalie Portman. I’m a fan of hers and I thought she did a great job, even though the chemistry between her and Chris Hemsworth wasn’t quite electric, but it was serviceable.
The villain in this piece is Thor’s adopted brother Loki. I wrote in a comment on another review that I thought this movie actually seemed like more of an origin story for Loki than it does for Thor. In this movie Thor has already begun with his power, his hammer, his fighting abilities. During the course of this movie, he grows as a character and becomes what is needed to become king of Asgard even though he doesn’t seek it at the end of the movie, but it’s more like he grows rather than becomes as most origin stories tell. Loki on the other hand does in fact become a true villain. I like Loki because he is given a lot of depth and purpose. He feels betrayed by his father and lashes out in retaliation for being lied to his whole life. All his pent up frustration and jealousy is given a target, and he uses all the means at his disposal to outsmart and confuse his enemies, living up to his name of the god of mischief. It was a little disappointing seeing him as a less complex villain in the Avengers because he really shines in this movie, going big when he needs to, but still being able to show the more complicated aspects of his relationships with his brother and father.
Since I have watched the Avengers prior to rewatching this movie, I do have to make a few mentions of things that I noticed being set up in this movie that pay off in the next movie. There is the tease at the end with the scientist Erik Selvig being controlled by Loki even though they ultimately use a different method than they show here. There’s also a hint of Hawkeye in this movie even though he isn’t given much to do outside of hold a bow. And of course there’s the big role of Agent Coulson and his interaction with Thor ending with Thor pledging to give his services to S.H.I.E.L.D. if they ever need him. And of course there’s the role of the Tesseract, even though it’s never actually called by that name in this movie, but it is shown in the same form that later shows up in the Avengers in the post credits scene. It’s a great movie and a great set up for both Thor and Loki, even though out of all of the heroes featured in the Avengers, I think it would be hardest to create another movie with the same amount of depth as this movie using the same characters. I think at this point Thor would be best used as a side character in someone else’s movie or in another Avengers movie. But I will say that this movie made me a fan of Thor. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.
-Poster by Olly Moss
Posted on May 6, 2012, in 10's movies, Marvel and tagged Avengers, hammer, Marvel, mjolnir, movies, review, Superhero, thor. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.
Considering the source material that is Thor’s origin, they do a pretty good job. He is an interesting case since he starts off with powers. I felt Thor and Portman just wanted to do it, no all powerful romance. Kat Denning stole the film for me.
Yeah, I loved her character and I also loved the Watchman a lot too, he made an impact for having such a small role.
Is that the Mondo poster? That’s awesome. I totally agree with you on this one. I really enjoyed it both as its own film and as a set-up for Avengers. This was actually in my Top 11 of 2011 as well. I think Sif and the Warriors Three could have had a bit more to do, but you’re right about Heimdall: total badass.
The poster was done by Olly Moss and made specifically for the cast and crew, clicking the poster takes you to his website. I meant to add a footnote but originally forgot – it’s fixed now.
Thor’s a bit of a guilty pleasure movie; it’s a big-budget cheesy CG effects masterwork with an extremely shoehorned and eye rolling romance angle. But, with that said… everybody did their best to sell their characters, the story had enough twists and turns to make Loki quite interesting, and it ended up being quite fun-for-fun’s-sake.
At first I was VERY iffy on the whole “We’re super science aliens, not norse gods” angle. It seems like a copout, a way to not have to deal with the idea of true immortal deities in the modern world. Thankfully it’s just window dressing, without a lot of History channel style Ancient Aliens nonsense going on. The focus is where it needs to be, on the characters.
I had a feeling the Tesseract (is it this canon’s version of the Cosmic Cube?) would come into play in the Avengers when it was mentioned as being one of Odin’s treasures. But… I haven’t seen the Avengers yet, so, NO SPOILARZomg.
Well the Tesseract has made an appearance in all three of the most recent Marvel lead-in movies, so they were definitely setting it up as a big Macguffin.
I think I was least looking forward to Thor. I just didn’t think it would work. Asgard looked like somewhere that no one could relate to in a film and Thor himself? Yeah… just didn’t get it.
But I fell for this film. It’s a simple story, but I loved how it was told. Sibling relationships, growing as an adult in your own way. Not to mention how stunning Asgard looked.
I was the same way initially. I thought it would have been difficult to combine Norse mythology with superhero mythology convincingly in a movie, but Kenneth Brannah pulled it off by turning it into a Shakespearean story.
I think part of why the “super science alien” (to borrow the phrase) nature worked in the film is that this is Marvel’s Thor, not the traditional Thor. And while Marvel’s Thor has always been the Norse God, there’s also been — since at least the seventies — a big question mark over all the “divine” characters in the Marvel universe as to just how much it’s true divinity and how much is “sufficiently advanced science”. This is especially true with their races such as the Immortals, but it’s implied with the Asgardians as well. So while it’s a divergence from the Norse myths, it’s not much of a divergence from the comic book character.
Great review, as usual. You’re absolutely right about this being as much Loki’s origin story as anything else. And I think it worked pretty well in that regard; I enjoyed the film a lot more than I expected to.
I’m kind of surprised that you think this movie actually isn’t too far off from the comics. While I’m not a big comic book fan, I’m pretty sure I remember seeing discussion on the City of Heroes forums (with lots of big comic book fans, naturally) where many people complained of the space origin being different from the comics. Then again, it could just be my vague memory of it making it a bigger issue than it was.
The “space” part was different, from what I remember. The “advanced science that looks like magic” wasn’t such a big stretch, though. Granted, I wasn’t a huge Thor reader either, but that was how it seemed to me when it was portrayed in other comics.
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