REVIEW: Thor (2011)

Summary: In this, the fourth movie in Marvel’s combined Movie Universe (preceded by Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man 2), we meet Thor, a human-like alien who was worshiped as a god by the Norse tribes. We find him about to take the throne in Asgard, a realm far beyond ours. But after some immaturity, his father banishes him to Earth. However, Thor’s brother Loki isn’t to be trusted (as most “trickster gods” shouldn’t be).

Thoughts: Thor is definitely a different kind of superhero. Most of a first movie made of a superhero is him getting his powers or dealing with them. Thor is an immortal (we think, they don’t really say) from another dimension/realm, whose powers are just a part of who he is. The movie doesn’t dwell on his powers (or lack thereof when he is banished), its just the story of Thor and how he learns humility from humans.

Thor introduces a lot of new concepts to the Marvel Movie Universe. The first three movies were all humans who either through science or technology gain powers they wouldn’t normally have. In Thor we meet an entire race of beings who are even more powerful than the heroes we’ve already met (*see “The Avengers” Discussion below) who have had powers for thousands of years. They live on a far away planet, that even SHIELD, the group that seems to know everything about all of the superheroes so far, doesn’t seem to know anything about. It’s not bad that all this is introduced, its just a little disorienting to think “OK, while Thor is on this alien planet fighting these people with a magical hammer, Tony Stark is in a cave building an arc reactor from a box of scraps”. Both of which are equally unbelievable in their own way, its just a step in a different direction, a direction the comics took decades ago.

As for the movie itself, it was pretty good. I love the main characters. Thor, Loki, and Odin were great as they should be. Odin is played by Anthony Hopkins with an Eyepatch of Power. You cannot have a more badass character than that (unless it’s Samuel L Jackson with an Eyepatch of Power, which also happens). For being a trickster god, Loki is actually a villain with motivations other than just screwing everyone over. You kind of feel sorry for him. Thor’s friends from Asgard were a little too comic-relief-y and the humans were vague and not very interesting, though better at comic relief. Natalie Portman plays the love interest, a scientist whose studies somehow related to both astronomy and theoretical wormholes. It’s more of an Informed Ability than anything we actually see on screen. Also, the love story is kind of something we’re told about but not really shown either. In fact, most of the Earth stuff felt a little rushed. Thor’s banishment lasts maybe two days, but the stuff in Asgard looks like it lasts longer (maybe it does, different realm and all).

The direction was different. There were a lot of shots tilted to the side, maybe to emulate the comic book feel, I’m not sure. I had to look up the director, as I wasn’t familiar with his work; turns out that I was familiar with him as an actor, as he played Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The movie was not shot in 3D, but converted before release. If I hadn’t seen Avatar in 3D a couple times, I wouldn’t have noticed the “cutout” feel you get sometimes, but the CGI sequences were rendered in 3D so the backgrounds sometimes look better dimensionally than the characters.

I think that after seeing this movie, Thor is now one of my favorite superheroes. Something about the way he carries himself and manages to be funny and awesome at the same time. He’s not an ass like Tony Stark, he’s just Thor. Know him, fear him.

Overall: Thor overcomes it’s weaknesses to become a quite enjoyable movie.
4/5

SPOILERS
“The Avengers” Discussion
Here we are, one movie away from The Avengers where all of the heroes get together. Let’s break down who we’ve met so far:

Iron Man (first appearance: Iron Man): Powered suit gives an ass the ability to fly and shoot lasers. Gets almost destroyed every time he fights, even after he upgrades his armor.
The Hulk (first appearance: The Incredible Hulk): Man who gets angry and grows into an unstoppable green monster.
Black Widow (first appearance: Iron Man 2): SHIELD Agent who fights people. No obvious powers.
Hawkeye (first appearance: Thor): SHIELD Agent who threatens to shoot people with arrows. No obvious powers.
Thor (first appearance: Thor): Thunder god.

We haven’t met Captain America yet as his movie comes out later this summer, but he’s a science experiment from the 40’s. The Hulk punched a guy once who had this same super-soldier serum: the guy broke every bone in his body.

The question my friend and I came up with after the movie is this: Why would Thor (or The Hulk) need to team up with anybody? I’m sure if anyone can make a believable scenario to make it necessary, its Joss Whedon, but it begs the question.

Also, as it stands currently, Iron Man is in the Avengers Initiative as of Iron Man 2 and we can assume Black Widow and Hawkeye are as well. But Hulk is on the run, Thor is stuck in Asgard, and I’m pretty sure the Cap will still be in the 1940’s at the end of his movie. How will The Avengers find time to get all of them in the same place at the same time and get them to unite as a fighting team without it all feeling rushed? I’m not worried, just very very curious.

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