Should I Watch..? Thor

Updated on May 7, 2018
Poster for the film
Poster for the film | Source

What's the Big Deal?

Thor is a superhero fantasy film released in 2011 and is the fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) during its first chapter. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film is a blend of superhero film and Norse mythology and is based on characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber. It offered viewers a different world to what had been seen previously in both The Incredible Hulk (1) and the two Iron Man films that preceded the release of Thor. It acts as both an origin story for the character as well as expanding the concepts already introduced in earlier MCU movies such as the work of SHIELD and their agents. It also introduces the Tesseract, a powerful object which becomes a crucial part of the MCU in the future. Like other Marvel films, it was a huge financial hit and pushed Marvel Studios even further into the stratosphere.

Watchable

3 stars for Thor

What's it about?

Unbeknown to most humans, Earth is one of nine realms that make up Asgard - a series of interconnecting planets, each with its own races and cultures. In the realm of Asgard, the mighty warrior Thor is about to succeed his father Odin to the throne of Asgard in place of his younger brother Loki. But after an attack by Frost Giants from Jotenheim, Thor travels with Loki to Jotunheim along with his childhood friend Sif and the Warriors Three - Volstagg, Hogun and Fandral. Thor's assault on Jotunheim destroys the truce between the two realms and with Asgard now at war, Odin has no choice but to strip Thor of his powers and banishes him to Midgard - our Earth.

Thor is found in New Mexico by astrophysicist Jane Foster and her mentor Dr Erik Selvig and slowly comes to realise that he is no without his strength or his hammer, Mjolnir. However, a local SHIELD encampment has found it and a team led by Agent Phil Coulson attempts to understand what it is and crucially, where it came from. Meanwhile, frustrated at his failure to secure Asgard's throne for himself, Loki decides to seize power for himself and sends the Destroyer - an apparently unstoppable giant automaton - to Earth to finish Thor once and for all...

Trailer

Main Cast

Actor
Role
Chris Hemsworth
Thor
Natalie Portman
Jane Foster
Anthony Hopkins
Odin
Tom Hiddleston
Loki
Stellan Skarsgård
Dr Erik Selvig
Idris Elba
Heimdall, guardian of the Bifrost Bridge between realms
Clark Gregg
Agent Phil Coulson

Technical Info

Director
Kenneth Branagh
Screenplay
Ashley Miller, Don Payne & Zach Stentz *
Running Time
115 minutes
Release Date (UK)
27th April, 2011
Genre
Action, Adventure, Superhero, Fantasy
*story by Mark Protosevich & J. Michael Straczynski, characters by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Larry Lieber
Hemsworth's physique should have gotten second billing...
Hemsworth's physique should have gotten second billing... | Source

What's to like?

Make no mistake, this is a movie that offers its audience a journey to a very different world to ours. Asgard, with its classical architecture and heavy Nordic influences, looks stunning on a big screen and does a grand job of convincing you that you really are in a different part of the universe. And as convincing as the effects are, the cast are equally believable - Hemsworth's impressive physique demonstrates perfect casting (as well as possibly a desire to get more women watching, perhaps) while Hiddleston's Loki is a villain for the ages - suave, manipulative and every inch the trickster you expect him to be. Branagh is very much an actor's director and there aren't many members of the cast who don't benefit from his direction.

There's probably a reason why quite a lot of its sequel - Thor: The Dark World (2) - is set in Asgard as opposed to Earth. The level of detail and imagination shown on Thor's homeworld is so deep that you believe and understand the culture and society there. Even the costumes, extravagant and finished with such finesse, are amazing - Loki's epic horned helmet looks as spectacular as it does ridiculous but hey, at least it's staying true to the comics.

Fun Facts

  • When Hemsworth and Hopkins first saw each other in costume, Hopkins remarked "God, there's no acting required here, is there?"
  • Hiddleston found Loki's enormous helmet heavy, uncomfortable to wear and hard to see out of. He then channelled this discomfort into his fight scenes.
  • Rene Russo's appearance as Queen Frigga was her first film role in six years. It was her daughter who urged her to return from her sabbatical.

What's not to like?

Where things go badly wrong in Thor is when the action moves to Earth. Portman's astrophysicist feels more like a horny storm-chaser while Skarsgård's Dr Selvig is only in the film to explain the endless Nordic references to audiences unfamiliar with them. Gregg finally has more screen time as Agent Coulson but his character feels ambiguous, as though Branagh wasn't sure if SHIELD were meant to be good or bad. But the worst is Kat Dennings as Foster's assistant Darcy. Utilised only for comic relief and to reinforce Hemsworth's sexiness, Dennings is a complete waste of screen time as she isn't funny and there isn't a need to hype up Thor's manly chest.

Even the action seems to suffer on Earth where before, in the other realms of Asgard, things were going well. The Destroyer is your typical big boss character where his size is directly linked to his accuracy - cars and petrol stations go up in a big ball of flame but ask him to shoot at an actor and nothing happens. He doesn't even look that convincing compared to the crystal clarity of Asgard. The story progression also fails to convince as Thor struggles to regain his humility and his powers amid drinking sessions with Selvig and making doey-eyes at Jane. Just as everything started off so well, Thor descends quickly into a substandard mess of a film.

Hemsworth (left), Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston (right) in "Thor"
Hemsworth (left), Anthony Hopkins and Tom Hiddleston (right) in "Thor" | Source

Should I watch it?

It's certainly different to other MCU films before it but Thor is a brave and adventurous movie that offers much but fails to completely deliver. The vision and imagination of Asgard, brilliantly realised from Kirby's wonderful illustrations, is forgotten all-too-soon when the film shifts to the boring, dusty plains of New Mexico and it cannot maintain its promising start. As a part of the MCU, the film is obviously worth a watch - it gives the other films a context and demonstrates that things won't just be a parade of superheroes overcoming evil. Thor doesn't feel like your average superhero film and for those already fed up of such movies, it's a breath of fresh air.

Great For: Marvel fan-boys, teenage girls, Hiddleston's career

Not So Great For: traditional superhero films, New Mexico's tourist board, supposedly comic sidekicks

What else should I watch?

Being the fourth entry of Marvel's MCU, Thor is part of a much larger picture and as such, is essential viewing for anybody wanting to watch Avengers Assemble (3) or the rest of Phase One. The power of the Tesseract and Loki feature prominently in that film so watching Thor should alleviate any questions about what's going on. It also makes it the only really essential watch before we settle down for Marvel's first 'greatest hits' package.

Surprisingly, there aren't too many other films about thunder-controlling Norse Gods but Thor: The Dark World (which is part of MCU's chapter two) is more focused on Asgard and only returns to Earth for an equally disappointing finale. Of course, if you want a more traditional superhero film then Iron Man (4) is fantastic escapism or if you're looking for something a bit more grown up or non-Marvel, Batman Begins (5) is the start of Christopher Nolan's game-changing Dark Knight trilogy and is just about as good a film with the Batman as you will ever see.

Appendices

  1. The Incredible Hulk
  2. Thor: The Dark World
  3. Avengers Assemble
  4. Iron Man
  5. Batman Begins

© 2015 Benjamin Cox

Soap Box

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)