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The Mighty Thor Arrives
Welcome to Asgard!
‘Thor’ was released in 2011 at the cinemas and is the fourth film in the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’. I never saw this movie at the cinema, though I was given a DVD of it by my best mate Stephen at Christmas time in that same year. This is probably the most unusual superhero movie I’ve ever seen.
Unlike Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk beforehand, Thor is not a superhero from the result of a freak accident. He is actually a god. He is Thor, son of Odin and is the god of thunder. Thor comes from Norse mythology. So this is Marvel’s version of that character which was intriguing to discover.
Like I said, I first had ‘Thor’ on DVD as a Christmas present from Stephen in December 2011. This film never got a 2-disc Special Edition DVD release as at that time the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ film series was entering into the age of Blu-ray. It was the case for many films made from 2010 onwards. More lately, I’ve ‘Thor’ as part of the ‘Marvel Studios Cinematic Universe – Phase One’ DVD box set.
‘Thor’ stars Chris Hemsworth as the titular superhero character. This film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, who would later direct the 2017 film, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’. The film also stars Natalie Portman as Jane Foster and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. Did this film excite me as other films?
Well, not exactly. I’m not saying I wasn’t impressed by ‘Thor’. On the contrary, I found this a really good film. It’s well-directed by Kenneth Branagh and it features some superb performances from the cast. But at the same time, I wasn’t particularly excited by Thor as a Marvel superhero in the movies.
I’m more in favour of human superheroes who get powers via accidents such as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. Thor as a superhero is a god. Now I’m not objecting to god-like beings as superheroes. I’m a fan of Superman despite him being god-like. But Superman is more memorable.
Thor isn’t so memorable for me. He made his first comic book appearance in ‘Journey into Mystery #83’ in August 1962 and was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. I’ve not read any comics featuring Thor as a superhero, so I couldn’t really connect to him as a character during the film.
With that said, the film ‘Thor’ has a ‘Lord of the Rings’ feel to it. This is especially the case when we see Thor’s home of Asgard and looking so majestic on screen. It’s interesting how Thor’s god-like world of Asgard contrasts to the ordinary human world depicted in the story as the film progresses.
In the film, Thor is about to ascend to the throne of Asgard by his father Odin. But Thor’s ceremony gets interrupted when the Frost Giants of Jotunheim attack Asgard and attempt to retrieve the Casket of Ancient Winters. This gets Thor angry as he wants to know how the Frost Giants invaded.
Thor journeys to Jotunheim with his friends Sif and the Warriors Three including Volstagg; Fandral and Hogun as well as his brother Loki to confront Laufey, the Frost Giants’ leader. A battle ensues on Jotunheim only to be stopped by Odin. Because of Thor’s arrogance, Odin banishes his son to Earth.
There Thor is exiled where he meets three scientists including Dr. Jane Foster, her assistant Darcy Lewis and her mentor Dr. Erik Selvig. Thor has been stripped of his god-like powers by Odin and lives the life of a mortal. Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, also gets sent to Earth. Is Thor worthy to have it again?
There is a certain fantasy element to this movie that I’m not wholly taken with, despite its impressiveness in terms of taking from Norse mythlogy. I liked it when Thor’s banished to Earth; has to learn the error of his ways and overcome his arrogance by interacting with the people of Earth.
Chris Hemsworth is brilliant as Thor. I like how his character journey develops in the movie. He starts off being arrogant and hungry for war before learning his mistakes and having to go through his exile on Earth in order to become the god of thunder again. Thor retains this cocky sense of humour here.
I like how Thor interacts with Jane Foster and gets to learn more about being a hero despite his arrogance and ignorance. One of my favourite moments with Thor is when he finishes a mug of coffee (I think) and smashes it to the floor, demanding another one. I should do that more often. 😀
I liked that scene in the movie where Thor tries to get the hammer out from the rock in the S.H.I.E.L.D. facility (a ‘Sword in the Stone’ reference no doubt) but is unable to. Of course ,Thor gets his hammer back eventually, but it was a moment of character development where Thor realises he’s vulnerable.
Natalie Portman stars as Jane Foster, Thor’s love interest in the movie. And yes I know, Natalie Portman played Padmé Amidala in the ‘Star Wars’ prequels. I was delighted to see Natalie Portman in ‘Thor’ and that she gets to play a love interest in a superhero film. I find her irresistibly attractive.
Jane Foster is a feisty young woman who’s passionate about her work as a scientist. She becomes intrigued by Thor when she meets him and starts to fancy him along the way. I liked the tender moments between Thor and Jane, as they get to know each other and help one another in the film.
Anthony Hopkins stars as Odin, Thor’s father in the film. Anthony Hopkins is a renowned Welsh actor who has done so many films in his career including ‘The Remains of the Day’. My Mum was surprised that it was Anthony Hopkins playing Odin in this. I guess the eye-patch made him unrecognisable. 😀
Odin is intriguing as a character. He banishes Thor to Earth and sends Thor’s hammer after him with an enchantment on it. He also gets weaker and goes into ‘Odinsleep’ before he wakes up and saves Thor at the end. His involvement in the wars against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim is very intriguing.
Tom Hiddleston stars as Loki, Thor’s brother in the film. It turns out that Loki is the villain and has been responsible for letting the Frost Giants into Asgard. It was interesting to hear more about Loki’s background as a character and that he was adopted by Odin. His actions as a villain were so intriguing.
Stellan Skarsgård stars as Erik Selvig, a scientist working with Jane Foster when they meet Thor in New Mexico and is Jane’s mentor. Erik Selvig becomes concerned about what’s going on with Thor and looks up on Thor’s mythology in books. He’s also concerned when Jane takes an interest in Thor.
Kat Denning stars as Darcy Lewis, a political science major who works as Jane Foster’s assistant. Darcy can be a little grating at times. She’s meant to be the comic relief, but there were times when I found her annoying with her one-liners. She also seems to be rather dim in the three scientists group.
Colm Feore stars as Laufey, the King of the Frost Giants and Loki’s biological father. I must say, I didn’t find the Frost Giants all that impressive and frightening. I mean okay, the fight scenes Thor and and his friends have with the Frost Giants are good, but those felt like ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ fights.
Ray Stevenson stars as Volstagg, the beardy ‘Gimli’-like member of the Warriors Three group of friends with Thor. Whilst I do like the Warriors Three as characters and beings friend of Thor, there wasn’t anything stand-out about them. I mean, how does Volstagg stand out for me? He eats a lot.
The rest of Thor’s friends include Tadanobu Asano as Hogun; Joshua Dallas as Fandral and Jaimie Alexander as Sif. I did like it when Sif and the Warriors Three defied Loki’s rule of Asgard and went down to Earth to bring Thor back. The warrior friends Thor has in this film are very loyal ones indeed.
Idris Elba stars as Heimdall, the gatekeeper of the Bifröst Bridge in Asgard. You wouldn’t think there was much to his character apart from being a gatekeeper. But apparently Heimdall seems to be all-seeing and all-hearing. He even knows it when Sif and the Warriors Three are about to betray Loki.
Rene Russo stars as Frigga, Odin’s wife; the queen of Asgard and Thor’s mother in the film. I don’t think there’s really much I can say about Frigga’s character apart from being the mother of Thor. She gets shocked when Loki has betrayed them and is pleased when Thor returns from his banishment.
The cast also includes Clark Gregg who returns as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson. Phil Coulson was in the ‘Iron Man’ movies and he made that appearance at the end of ‘Iron Man 2’ that tied into ‘Thor’. There’s also Jeremy Renner who makes his first appearance as Clint Barton/Hawkeye in the film.
The action sequences are impressive in this film as well as the fantastical majestic worlds of Asgard by director Kenneth Branagh. The fight scene Thor has with that terrifying Destroyer monster that breathes fire out of its mouth/head was intense to watch. Also the jumping from world to worlds was good.
It was amazing to see how Thor uses his god-like powers with his hammer to defeat his enemies, especially when he swings his hammer around and around in a furious fashion. The climatic scenes between Thor and Loki were especially gripping to watch, as they seemed to fight to the bitter end.
Thor made a promise to Jane Foster that he’d return for her. But when Thor’s fighting Loki on the bridge, he uses his hammer to break the bridge in order to protect the Earth. Loki is shocked at this, knowing Thor will never see Jane again by doing this. Perhaps there are more films to come. 😀
The DVD special features of ‘Thor’ are as follows. There’s a commentary with director Kenneth Branagh; four deleted scenes with an optional commentary and a ‘Road to the Avengers’ teaser trailer for ‘Avengers Assemble’ movie.
On the Blu-ray for ‘Thor’, there are special features like ‘Marvel One-Shot – The Consultant’; seven behind-the-scenes featurettes; 11 deleted scenes with an optional commentary and trailers.
‘Thor’ is a pretty decent Marvel superhero movie and a good introduction to Thor as a character. I’m not overly excited by this film as I am with other Marvel superheroes. But I’m glad I saw this film and it does set up things that would get explored later on with future ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ films.
There’s a post-credits sequence at the end of the movie where Erik Selvig is taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility and meets Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Nick Fury asks Erik Selvig to study a mysterious cube-shaped object that may hold untold power. An invisible Loki prompts Erik Selvig to agree to it.
‘Thor’ rating – 7/10
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