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Movie Review: “Thor”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 5/6/2011

Theatrical Release: 5/6/2011

Synopsis

The mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is next in line to rule as King of Asgard. He is the god of thunder, and with his powerful hammer Mjolnir in his possession, it is hard to imagine a better choice for King. His father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is still very much alive, but Odin feels he is ready to put his days of ruling behind him. He is concerned, however, as Thor is young, arrogant, and seems eager to prove himself as a conquering leader. These are all traits that will likely bring war to Asgard. Odin does have another son in Loki (Tom Hiddleston). However, Loki is not next in line to the throne, a reality that has haunted him his entire life.

In an effort to prove himself as a strong leader to his father, Thor ends up stirring up trouble. Odin is furious with his son for being so foolish, and to teach his son a lesson, Odin banishes Thor to Earth. However, he did not stop there. Odin stripped Thor of his power, and sent Mjolnir to Earth after him, but not before bestowing a powerful enchantment on the hammer that will only allow someone worthy to lift it. Waking up on Earth, Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her team of scientists. Without his powers or his hammer, Thor has no idea where to begin in his father's latest lesson. Meanwhile on Asgard, the enemies Thor made on his foolish mission plan to strike back, and their primary target is none other than Odin.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Thor & Loki (+8pts)

Slow (-4pts)

Jane & Her Crew (+4pts)

Odinsleep (-2pts)

Thor Action (+6pts)

Loki’s Plan (-3pts)

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Pro: Thor & Loki (+8pts)

The story between these two characters was not all that original. One brother was being groomed to inherit the throne, while the other brother had been stuck in the other's shadow for their entire life. This story has been done time and time again, but the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston made it work. To be fair, their chemistry was at its worst in this movie, as it got progressively better with every subsequent movie, but it was still decent here, and I enjoyed their characters’ stories.

Thor's story was about discovery, as it was about finding himself and learning what it meant to be a King. In other words, his character was in need of a recalibration, and I enjoyed seeing that recalibration play out, even if I did not think the filmmakers had enough time to justify correcting his behavior entirely. That being said, I thought the filmmakers did a decent job with it, considering the amount of screen time they had. Tom Hiddleston as Loki was perfect. He was your typical scheming, jealous brother, but Tom Hiddleston's charisma made it work, and it left me wanting to see so much more of the character. You will root against this guy because of his reckless, sinister plan, but you will sympathize with him due to his life as "the other brother". In other words, while you will definitely root against him, part of you will care for him, and this made him a truly captivating antagonist.

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Con: Slow (-4pts)

This movie started off introducing different realms, Asgardians, Norse Gods and more, and it delivered entertaining action in the realm of the frost giants. Then Thor was banished to Earth and the story slowed way down. I liked the characters of Jane, Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), and Darcy (Kat Dennings), but I did not think they were nearly as interesting as Thor or what was happening in Asgard. Thus, when the movie got to Earth, it felt like it got a lot more mundane. The filmmakers then spent a decent amount of time on Thor not having his powers and it made the movie feel kind of slow. The filmmakers ended up bringing the action back and they ended up bringing the story back to Asgard, but the amount of time spent on the mundane, powerless Earth storyline made the movie lose a bit of its steam. If the filmmakers really wanted Thor powerless on Earth for that long, they should have had more interesting things happening there.

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Pro: Jane & Her Crew (+4pts)

While I thought these characters were less interesting than what was going on in Asgard, each of these characters served their purpose well. Jane was the love-interest that drove Thor's character progression, Darcy was an effective comedic relief, and Erik was the wise mentor who also had his share of comedic moments with Thor—like when they went out for drinks. Did any of these characters have complex or compelling character stories? No, and while the movie slowed way down when they were introduced, these characters and their interactions with Thor made this movie bearable and even somewhat entertaining during the movie's slower, more uneventful sections.

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Con: Odinsleep (-2pts)

The whole Odinsleep thing seemed pretty silly. Odin was important to the beginning of the story—who else would have the power to discipline Thor so effectively? He also had his role in the end, but Loki’s whole plan could have only ever happened if Odin was temporarily out of the picture, but there was no good reason for him to leave Asgard unattended. The filmmakers' genius solution was to just have him pass out from exhaustion. This was referred to as “Odinsleep” and it was an indefinite sleep, that clearly meant the writers would use it as a plot device to keep Odin out of the picture for awhile, but also allow for them to bring him back into the story when it was convenient for him to return. It was blatant, convenient writing, and while it did not hurt the movie significantly, I feel like the writers could have come up with a much better solution to their Odin problem.

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Pro: Thor Action (+6pts)

The action in this movie was pretty good, and a lot of that was a result of Thor and his trusty hammer Mjolnir. Thor's abilities and his hammer made for some cool action. We saw Thor going up against the destroyer, we saw Thor going up against Loki, and we saw Thor and his friends in the battle against the Frost Giants at the beginning of the movie. It was never incredible action, and Thor losing his abilities meant there was not a ton of it, but there was enough to keep things exciting. Then there was the build up of anticipation while Thor did not have his powers. It had me dying to see him get them back, and when he inevitably did, it was pretty satisfying to see him using them again. Thor and Mjolnir made for some cool action in this movie, and it left me excited for even better Thor action in future ones.

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Con: Loki’s Plan (-3pts)

Loki only had the opportunity to come up with an evil plan because Odin coincidentally fell asleep. Even putting that aside, Loki’s plan did not seem to make any sense. To start, his plan counted on Thor staying out of the picture for good, which was unlikely. He then felt the need to sneak down to Earth to tell Thor that Odin did not want him to come back. This move did not seem to serve any purpose, and it counted on Thor blindly believing him, a brother who was well known as the god of mischief. Loki then was the one who gave Thor the perfect opportunity to prove himself worthy of Mjolnir, the very thing Loki did not want to happen.

Loki also needed Heimdall (Idris Elba) to not see anything, even though Heimdall could supposedly see everything on every realm. Then, even if everything else went perfectly for him, Loki’s plan ultimately counted on Odin not suspecting anything when he woke up, and it counted on Odin never finding out the truth. Loki was supposed to be this scheming character, spinning this master plan of a web. Instead, his plan was like a Jenga tower wobbling back and forth, and Loki was the only one playing.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B- (84pts)

Thor was the third movie in the MCU, and while the franchise would go on to deliver great movies, it still seemed to be finding its footing with this one. The Thor action was pretty cool while it was happening, and what we saw left me excited for the potential, epic Thor action in later movies. I also liked the story between Thor and Loki, with one being the arrogant king-to-be and the other being the jealous prince who had always lived in the other’s shadow. It was not an original story by any stretch of the imagination, but it was an interesting story nonetheless, and it fueled the tension between the two characters. Audiences will find themselves sympathizing with Loki, despite him being the clear antagonist of this story, and that is a testament to how effective an antagonist he was.

The stuff on Asgard was interesting, but unfortunately, the filmmakers had Thor get banished to Earth without his powers, and that was where a good portion of this story took place. The human characters had their moments, and it made the Earth section of the story tolerable, but the Asgard stuff was so much more interesting, which made the Earth stuff feel somewhat boring. I also thought Loki’s plan was full of holes, and I thought the whole Odinsleep thing was incredibly convenient for the writers. This was a decent movie, but its issues made it clear that the filmmakers of the MCU had not yet found their groove.

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