Thor (2011)

Before the Movie

The first thing I think of with this movie is Kennith Branagh. With him we have an early example of Marvel Studios making a movie with an atypical director. Not that Branagh isn’t a great choice, but when I think of him I don’t necessarily think superhero film. He is maybe most well known for his adaptations of Shakespeare plays into films, he isn’t that out of the ordinary for Thor, but it is suprising none the less.

The Thor franchise might be the weakest in the Marvel batch. It doesn’t juggle origin story and movie making as well as Iron Man (2008) does. It does a lot of the heavy lifting to set Loki up as the bad guy in Avengers. It begins as a action fantasy story, then flips to some kind of romantic story, then ends as a superhero blockbuster.

I remember really enjoying the end. I remember really like the way the Destroyer is showcased. I remember it being funnier than I expected.

Notes During the Movie

  • Still distributed by Paramount
  • As internships go… Darcy’s is pretty awesome.
  • Frost Giants or clone army?
  • Asgard clone army. The Kaminos sold clone armies to both sides in this conflict.
  • Last Great War ended… withdrew back to Asgard.
  • Winged Helmet is pretty good looking.
  • Punisher is one of the Warriors Three.
  • Great costuming.
  • Set up of the beginning is very similar to Iron Man. Action opening. Flashback. Then back to the beginning.
  • They do a excellent job of straddling fantasy magic and plausible science.
  • I wonder why Balder is absent from these movies. Too many characters to serve the story.
  • Laufey is scary.
  • I hate the cgi ice fists.
  • Maybe KB is the guy to do a D&D Movie.
  • This opening is too dark. Like I can’t see much.
  • Is the frost giant planet a hollow earth?
  • Is Earth the back water of the Nine Realms?
  • Tone flips to comedy. Or Romantic comedy?
  • JMS… I think.
  • Is Jane’s lab set up in a car dealership?
  • I want to go to a Mjolnir BBQ. Pretty decent Stan Lee cameo. I expect Coulson had a hot dog or two. Although he is petty serious in this film. Less jokey.
  • Fish out of water.
  • Blue Man Loki
  • Tom Hiddleston is acting his ass off.
  • Loki has the most to do in this movie.
  • Going on Facebook… the difference between 2008 and 2011.
  • Meaw Mah
  • iPod?
  • Selvig knew Bruce Banner?
  • The fantasy drama is hitting all points
  • Earth story is part romantic, part superhero Thor origin, part comedy, part conspiracy mystery
  • I need a horse!”
  • What would Hydra had done with Thor?
  • What is the Coulson/Hawkeye relationship?
  • Unworthy Thor is hard to watch
  • Should Hawkeye had been a bigger part of the movie or not at all? No. Less.
  • Loki lying in Thor’s cell is pretty freaken evil.
  • Loki being unworthy is satisfying.
  • Selvig is fun.
  • Could Hawkeye had shown up in the bar? No. Why?
  • No idea what I am supposed to do.” Opposite of Tony Stark line in Iron Man (2008), “I’m just now figuring out what I am supposed to do.”
  • Why is Heimdall so emotionless?
  • We drank. We fought. He made his ancestors proud.”
  • Jane has a map of the nine realms in her notebook? What was she supposed to had been drawing there?
  • Are the nine realms Asgard’s empire? With Kree, Skrulls, Nova Corp and the rest are outside of it?
  • Lady Sif and The Warrior’s Three are excellent trackers.
  • Now plots are just mashing together.
  • Coulson/Destroyer scene is entertaining.
  • Destroyer showdown is fun.
  • Sif is clearly their leader, but nepotism puts Thor in charge.
  • Thor’s sacrifice is pretty solid.
  • What do the guards in Loki’s throne room think is going on while he is pacing around and listening to Thor’s plea to the Destroyer or is the audio plea being broadcast in the throne room and the guards are listening too?
  • What happens to the remains of The Destroyer? The Bifrost is broken at the end of the movie. Asgard can’t reclaim it. What does SHIELD/Hydra do with it?
  • Son of Coul.
  • I wonder what Anthony Hopkins thinks of all of this? It’s a paycheck?
  • Suddenly Loki sucks at lying? Not talented.
  • Why still destroy frost giants?
  • Still no lights on Jotunheim. I guess that make sense because a sun would warm the place.
  • Yes. He just said it is madness.
  • Is the floor of the Bifrost chamber a giant record?
  • A lot of fights happen on this bridge.
  • Odin isn’t a great dad.
  • Is Asgard flat? And Jotunheim is hollow. Hmmm… Are there lizard people in one of the nine realms planets?
  • Very short for a Marvel film at 1hr 45min.
  • Who was Selvig’s friend that he was going to call for answers?
  • Every now and then we find something that belong to both” is what Agents of Shield should be.

After the Movie

Thor is a solid three out of five stars. It seems like Branaugh was most focused on the Asgard stuff. There is court intrigue with the plot of who will sit on the throne. The uncovering of the conspiracy of Loki’s identity. The problem with putting Thor forward as a spoiled and impulsive king. The weakening of Odin. Part of what makes the Asgard plots strong is that they are more subtle than the rest of the movie. Except for maybe Thor being spoiled and brash, the Asgard story beats are complex. Odin raises Thor and Loki to be brothers so that the peace between Asgard and the Frost Giants lives on after his death. Loki realizes he won’t be king of Asgard so he starts out to embarrass Thor, but that spirals into a wider game of lies and violence. Thor is destined to be king, but if he is allowed to rule as the man he is in the beginning of the film then the universe will be plunged into war, which is exactly what he wants (much like a villain would). Loki lies to Thor to keep him exiled, but we’re shown that and not given any exposition for it. The Warrior’s Three are spinning with how to remain loyal to their duty, but save Thor. The plots just sort of unfold and the characters are shown to be reacting to circumstances changing very rapidly. Not unlike a Shakespearian drama.

The weakness of this movie is that it juggles too much. While Loki is seizing power in Asgard, things are kind of bumbling along on Earth. There seems to be several movies trying to happen at once. Some sort of fish out of water romantic comedy between Jane and Thor. A conspiracy thriller with the SHIELD cover up of Mjolnir’s landing. And a superhero origin story for Thor. For the sake of this movie only one of those plots should have had focus. However they’re all in there to service the Cinematic Universe. Jane is in there because Hollywood thinks all superhero movies need to have romantic conflict. The SHIELD stuff needs to be there to serve as the spine that leads to The Avengers. And the superhero stuff needs to be there because there needs to be a CGI battle at the end.

Thor needed to pick one of the earth plots and focus on that. The SHIELD stuff doesn’t need to be there. As great as it is to see Coulson (or Son of Coul) do more, he doesn’t really do anything. He and SHIELD could have been pared down to just be in the background, much like they were in Iron Man (2008). The romantic stuff doesn’t work for me because there isn’t a lot of depth to it. Other than he having the physique of a god, why does Jane fall for Thor? What does he do for her in this movie? More realistically, she is excited that he proves her scientific theories to be true, but doesn’t do much more for her emotionally. Yet by the end of the film they’re two heart broken lovers that are pining across each other with the galaxy between them. I don’t buy it. So then the plot that should have been brought forward was the superhero origin. An unworthy Thor with no godly strength learning to do good for earth until he is again worthy. I have no idea how that would plot out.

The action sequences in the second half of this film do carry a lot of weight. Thor strolling up to The Destroyer and offering himself as a sacrifice to spare the lives of everyone else is very well done. It sort of comes out of no where, but getting him to that point could have been the origin plot that would have been focused on. Then him smashing the Bifrost to save Jotunheim is pretty rad. Especially, with the exchange between Odin, Thor, and Loki at the very end.

As performances go Tom Hiddleston wins. He is acting laps around everyone else. Going from playing it cool about his involvement in the attempted heist during Thor’s coronation, to manipulating Thor to attacking the Frost Giants, to learning and confronting Odin about his true identity, then the plans within plans that keep Thor exiled and Loki the new ruler of Asgard. Hiddleston does his evil with a straight face that is chilling (then again he is a Frost Giant). Until the very end when he goes literally mad and it seems out of place. Anthony Hopkins does a good job as Odin. He does what he needs to. His Oden is a father that wants the best for his kids, but doesn’t take the time figure out what that is for them. He is a plotter and has good intentions, but whose fault is he doesn’t see the weaknesses in either of his sons character. Idris Elba is, hypothetically, a great element to have in this film, but he does not get enough to do. Not sure why he is so emotionless. I’d rather Heimdall be one of Odin’s old war buddies. And old friend who doesn’t fit in with the younger heroes of Asgard’s court. I wonder if Sean Connery would have been better and then put Idris Elba in there or a later film as Balder the Brave.

Thor is interesting as superhero films go. It is a Shakespearean drama blended with the regular tropes of the genre. A little boring in parts, but very interesting in other moments.