SLIGHT SPOILERS THROUGHOUT
Thor, in my eyes, has always been one of the lesser known characters in the vast Marvel Universe, however after watching this movie, I can safely say he now ranks as one of my favourites in the cast of characters collectively known as “ The Avengers”!
Thor is perfect as the arrogant heir to the throne of Odin, Monarch of Asgard. However bearing in mind these guys are immortal he has a long time to wait for the crown! He struts around like the proverbial ‘big man on campus’ and we meet him initially when he is set to become the next heir to Odin – mind you, jealous brother Loki is lurking in the wings……
An incident occurs between Asgard and their long standing foes, The Frost Giants. Thor takes it upon himself to retaliate and has himself and his band of merry followers beamed to Jotunheim where some hammer throwing justice is hurled upon their icy foes!
Enraged by the Thor defying the peace treaty, Odin strips him of his mighty hammer Mjolnir – source of all Thor’s powers – and casts him down to Midgard (known to us as Earth) to learn some humility – his first lesson in this is taught by landing in the middle of a desert and being hit by a car driven by astrophysicist Jane Forster. This leaves Loki in Asgard poised to take control of the throne as soon he can get Odin out of the way………..
Meanwhile, Mjolnir has also landed on Earth, creating a fairly substantial crater where it hit – this gives us the treat of a little light humour when the puny mortal humans attempt to lift and remove it! Enter S.H.I.E.L.D. – the crater is now under the control of the ever loveable Phil Coulson and while Thor has now found out the location of his hammer, he will not be able to retrieve it and return to Asgard until he proves he is worthy !
Thor is essentially a fish out of water on Earth but thankfully we are spared the many goofy adventures which come with that. He does show how out of touch he is with his understanding of Earth and Humans in one scene which I found particularly amusing – Thor is in a café and smashes his cup on the floor which, while obviously a custom in Asgard, is not quite as acceptable in an American coffee shop!
Outside of these moments of comic relief, I felt the director kept the focus firmly on Thor’s dramatic story arc. The movies’ strongest moments aren’t always as described in the comic books, although they are pretty neat, but in it’s family scenes in Asgard. Thor’s scenes with Odin and Loki carry an intensity and emotion which I feel is lacking during the scenes on Earth.
Visual effects throughout the movie are quite good, the Asgard and Jotunheim sequences especially. The scene with the Destroyer was a little underwhelming as it did come across as a fake western town set and the sight of a super-powered badass busting up a small town seemed like it was lifted straight out of a superman movie.
However the biggest problem I have with this movie is the short space of time Thor seems to spend on Earth – over one weekend he learns the error of his ways and falls in love with Jane – bit rushed even for an Immortal! Yes, Jane is kind, beautiful and overwhelmed by Thor, God of Thunder but then Sif on Asgard has also all of these attributes plus the immortality aspect ……..
Now if Thor had been on Earth for a longer period of time then his romantic longing and change of heart might be more believable, but then I guess more time spent on Earth isn’t what we as Thor fans want.
DIAGNOSIS – MINOR SURGERY
Although it would have been nice to see Asgard a bit more and become more familiar with it, the directors deserve credit for making these “GODS” feel like real people. Thor serves as a star-making vehicle for Hemsworth and Hiddleston as they both own the screen whenever they are on it. Thor may not be a game changer but it’s a solidly entertaining one, most notable for changing what could have been an utterly campy movie to one which is dramatic and relatable. The action and otherworld elements will appeal to core fans and possibly win over sceptics (I was one of them) and it comes with enough humour and humanity to engage general audiences.