In commemoration of the upcoming CAPTAIN MARVEL (2019) as well as AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), I’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and revisit ALL of the films relating to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In addition, for my reviews of the other films from the MCU, click the following links:
- IRON MAN (2008)
- THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
- IRON MAN 2 (2010)
- CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
- THE AVENGERS (2012)
Click the following link for:
Cast: Chris Hemsworth (EL ROYALE , HUNTSMAN 2 , HEART/SEA , CABIN/WOODS , and upcoming films MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL  and DHAKA ), Natalie Portman (VOX LUX , SONG TO SONG , JANE/GUN , Star Wars Episodes I , II , and III , and the upcoming LUCY IN THE SKY ), Tom Hiddleston (EARLY MAN , KONG , SAW/LIGHT , and MIDNIGHT/PARIS ), Anthony Hopkins (TRANSFORMERS 5 , MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE II , and the upcoming ELYSE ), and Jaimie Alexander (LONDON FIELDS )
Director: Kenneth Branagh (ORIENT EXPRESS , and upcoming films ARTEMIS FOWL  and DEATH ON THE NILE )
Writers: Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS ), and Don Payne (FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER  and MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND )
Composer: Patrick Doyle (SGT. STUBBY , UNITED KINGDOM , HARRY POTTER: GOBLET , and upcoming films ARTEMIS FOWL and DEATH ON THE NILE)
Cinematographer: Haris Zambarloukos (ORIENT EXPRESS, DENIAL , MAMMA MIA , and the upcoming ARTEMIS FOWL)
Editor: Paul Rubell (BUMBLEBEE , FATE/FURIOUS , and 5TH WAVE )
This is my honest opinion of: THOR
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is about to be crowned the new King of Asgard, succeeding his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). However, a Frost Giant attack prevents the ceremony. In an attempt to seek answers why, Thor, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and their friends venture to the Frost Giant world, Jotunheim, against the expressed orders of Odin. However, peaceful talks end in a fight and Thor’s aggression results in war being waged. For his arrogance, Odin takes Thor’s powers away from him and banishes him to Midgard, or as the inhabitants call it, Earth. Specifically, a small town in New Mexico. While Thor must learn humility, Loki learns a terrible truth about himself and seeks to take over the throne of Asgard.
Much like IRON MAN 2, some parts of this movie hold up really well, but others fell weirdly flat. Ultimately, though, I still like it.
I remember this movie getting a pretty mixed reception when it first came out, and I think I understand now better than I did back then. Thor is very much a differently packaged version of Iron Man. Think about it. An arrogant dick who inadvertently causes his own problems and has to learn how make up for his sins. The only real issue with Thor is that his problems were caused in a very stupid way. When Tony Stark realizes that his weapons were somehow getting into the hands of the bad guys, he wanted to shut down his entire weapons manufacturing branch of his company. He didn’t know his weapons were being used in such a way and he wanted to destroy them all. Actually, come to think of it, why didn’t Tony just have an investigation done and see how his weapons got into the hands of the 10 Rings instead of shutting down that part of his company? But in any case, he didn’t know his weapons were there. Thor caused problems because he was a dumb-ass. He’s such a blood-hungry asshole that he barely cared about peace. Thor causes a war because of petty insults, basically undoing everything Odin had managed to accomplish in terms of brokering peace with the Frost Giants.
In fact, that’s kind of one of the bigger problems of the movie. It’s not always written well. Occasionally, it’s simply because of a bad script. Like when Thor is about to be crowned king, Odin randomly breaks out into a monologue about Mjolnir and its origins. Um… I think most fans would have accepted it as just his weapon of choice. But some of the bad writing is more on the narrative side. When Thor’s crowning is interrupted by the Frost Giants, the writing on how to proceed feels really dumb. Thor has the right idea in going to go to Jotunheim to look for answers. But the problem with him is that he obviously just wants to pick a fight. And Odin wants peace, but it’s pretty dumb to be content with just allowing this unprovoked attack be that. Essentially turning a blind eye to the event. Sure, maybe the attack was just by some overzealous dick-weeds, or maybe they were scouts ready to report back on the defenses of Asgard and attack. Odin doesn’t know that this wasn’t a preemptive strike, and that he has no intentions of finding out doesn’t make him the “wise King” that he’s built up to be. Even in the more mature scenes, it’s botched by stupidity.
Even the action in the beginning of the film was pretty stale. I mean, there’s no creativity and almost no energy in it whatsoever. Thor throws Mjolnir at a dude’s face and it’s a bunch of quick-cutting between slashes and stabs. Every so often there’s a cool effect, like a Frost Giant punching the ground and an ice fist punches a hero, Thor had one cool lightning blast, as well as some satisfying creature violence. But that’s about it and all of it only lasts a few seconds. On top of that, Jotunheim is such a dull setting. At first, it looks cool enough, all dark and gloomy, but when you see too much of the same, it ends up being a wasteland of snow. It loses its cool pretty fast. And when you set action scenes in that with quick cuts to uninteresting action, it’s almost boring.
<<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ And now let’s talk about the biggest controversial opinion regarding this review… Loki. In that, I don’t think he was as good a villain as everyone made him out to be. Let me be clear, I only mean as far as this movie is concerned. As his character evolves over the course of the MCU, he gets much better, but I don’t think his starting point was as strong as people said. Granted, compared to most of the Phase 1 villains, he is technically the best. But here’s why he’s still not that great. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that he’s pissed off that he was never told of his adoption. And for no better reason than “being protected from the truth,” which is about as brain-dead a reason as anyone can ever give in ANY setting or given circumstances, I totally understand his anger toward Odin. And to make matters worse, Odin had the gall to say that Loki was intended to be used as a way to broker a full-on peace of true coexistence between Asgard and the Frost Giants. Glad to see that Loki isn’t in on that fun. In fact, because Odin is such an idiot in his own right, I was practically on Loki’s side when he usurped the throne for himself. I will even give credit that I believe Loki when he says that he doesn’t actually want the throne. He just wants to be seen as Thor’s equal. Thor is this big ole celebrity, beloved by one and all, whereas Loki is just a wallflower and treated like a second-class person. I can see why he’s been jealous toward Thor. ] <<<CONTINUE SPOILERS>>>
<<<SPOILERS CONTINUED>>> [ However, the rest of Loki doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why does he think that Odin wasn’t going to give Loki the throne because he’s a Frost Giant? Uh… actually, in a lot of cultures, the firstborn of any royal family inherits the title and possessions. Thor is the firstborn. This actually checks out to me, and if I can tell that Loki’s heritage has nothing to do with it, how can’t he? Why does he tell Thor that Odin is dead? Thor already knows he can’t just come back to Asgard. Why hammer this in? Pun intended, by the way. Doubling down on this, why send the Destroyer to kill Thor? Again, he’s not coming back any time soon. And for a character who “loved Thor” more than his closest friends, he never seems to really demonstrate it. Okay, we have one shot of him trying to defend Thor before he gets banished, but after that, whatever love that Loki has for Thor, it’s not shown. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
But, I can’t crap on this movie forever. I said I liked this movie, so let’s get to why.
One of the biggest reasons why I would continue to watch this movie, despite its flaws, is the amazing score that Patrick Doyle produced. I’m honestly going out on a limb here and saying that this might be one of my favorite scores in the MCU, and maybe even in films in general. I love how the main theme is played on different instruments, and can be manipulated into being big and epic, or soft and heartfelt. Truly, the biggest saving grace for this movie is the music. I was in love with it eight years ago, I’m in love with it now.
I also think the comedy holds up. Or if not the comedy, the charm. Of course, Hemsworth should go without saying. Half the reason why this movie works at all is because of his natural charisma. But I think that the supporting characters don’t really get their due diligence. I think Portman has a million dollar smile. When Thor kisses her hand, I swear that wasn’t acting. Girl, I got an eye-full of a shirtless Thor as well. That giggly smile was not acting. You were really blushing. And contrary to popular opinion, I thought Kat Dennings as Darcy had some fun lines too. “Oh my god, does he need CPR? Because I totally know CPR.” I’m sorry, y’all, I giggled. In fact, when the comedy landed, it really landed. I never get tired of seeing Hemsworth getting hit by that car, or Portman’s freak out. “I swear, I’m not doing this on purpose!” Even if the lines don’t land, there’s still a likability factor to them. Trust me, the comedy only gets painful in the sequel. Or how about when the town comes together to hold a barbecue as the townsfolk try to lift Mjolnir? Come on.
I know it’s been said that everything that takes place on Asgard is where the movie is at its strongest because of the visuals, and everything taking place on Earth is where the movie is at its weakest. For me, it’s completely the reverse. Because I care more about characters than strong visuals, the characters were the least likable aspects of this movie. I didn’t like Odin, I didn’t like Loki, Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the Warriors Three were criminally underutilized, there was nothing tying me to their world. However, everything on Earth was far more compelling. Aside from the charm the characters were giving, I enjoyed how certain tropes were played with. The fish-out-of-water story is done to death, but what they do with Thor is quite refreshing. When he acts like he normally would, but realizes that’s not how things are done in this world, he nods his head and respectfully accepts. Far too many films with similar stories have the “fish” character complain and say how things should be and be an unlikable brat and nuisance to everyone around them. But Thor isn’t that way. He knows he’s out of his element and even though he’s a borderline thug who wants war, he’s not without common manners or close-minded to other cultures.
This applies as well to when he storms the compound in an attempt to retrieve Mjolnir. This is actually one of the more compelling action sequences because Thor is without his powers, so he has to rely on intelligent melee combat and martial arts. Okay, he’s no Black Widow, flipping around and doing fancy takedowns, but it’s a side of Thor that we don’t see before or after this. Yes, yes, RAGNAROK and him in the arena, but I’m talking about without his powers. To see him be such an effective fighter, I thought that was cool. Plus, Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner) cameo, come on, bro. That was a lot of fun. And even once Thor reaches Mjolnir, but can’t lift it, the following scene with him sitting in the interrogation room, processing his own unworthiness, the true magnitude of his actions and what it all cost him, the subtle anger, Loki’s lies and the knowledge that he can never return to Asgard, but having no ill will about it… seriously, I think these are some of the best scenes in the movie. Even post failure of lifting the Hammer, Thor ends up learning humility. He reveals how big the universe is to Jane and that her science is on the right path. Hemsworth and Portman’s chemistry is fantastic. And the following morning, there’s the little things, like him serving Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) breakfast first, without being asked to by Jane, and happy to do so… how is this so overlooked?
Overall, yeah, this movie has a ton of flaws. Many can argue that it’s a rehash of the Iron Man story, the otherworldly characters are poorly written that you almost root for the villains, and the film’s main conflict is triggered in a pretty dumb and childish way that it makes watching the first half of the movie a chore. But the movie is saved by Hemsworth’s charm, as well as the likability of the supporting human characters, a great character arch for Thor, and that gorgeous and epic score by Doyle. I understand if this movie wasn’t everyone’s favorite, nor is it mine, but there’s a lot of overlooked qualities about it that make it worth revisiting.
My honest rating for THOR: a strong 3/5