Saturday, May 19, 2012
Thor (live action movie)
A long time ago, the Asgardians won a war against the Frost giants and took a Frost Giant power casket back to their world. Since then, the Frost Giants and Asgardians have had something like a truce. When a small group of Frost Giants breaks into Asgard and tries to take back the casket, Thor, one of Odin's sons, becomes enraged and argues that the Frost Giants have broken the truce and need to be punished. Odin disagrees, seeing no need to get his people involved in another war. Loki, Odin's other son, convinces Thor to disobey their father. Things go badly and, after saving Thor, his friends, and Loki, Odin strips Thor of his powers and banishes him to Earth as punishment for his arrogance.
One of the first people Thor encounters on Earth is Jane Foster, a scientist who, along with Erik Selvig (another scientist) and Darcy Lewis (a political science major who I think is Jane's intern), was studying aurora borealis-type phenomena. At first everyone assumes Thor is just a random crazy person, but Jane starts to have doubts. What if the phenomena they saw was actually a gateway to another world, and what if Thor somehow came to Earth from that world?
Meanwhile, back on Asgard, Loki has learned shocking things about his own history. Now, after years of being jealous of Thor, Loki schemes to become king in Thor's place. His position won't truly be secure, however, until Thor is completely out of the way.
When Thor first came out, I passed it by because the trailers made Thor look like a testosterone-filled jock who lacked the charisma that managed to make Tony Stark enjoyable in the first Iron Man movie. After seeing The Avengers and finding both Loki and Thor to be more fun to watch than I had expected, I immediately picked up a copy of Thor.
I really wish that I had seen this prior to watching The Avengers – this movie provided much more background information than I realized. That said, seeing this movie not long after seeing The Avengers gave me a better appreciation of The Avengers. That movie was, overall, better-looking and more enjoyable than Thor.
My initial impression of Thor as a testosterone-filled jock was correct. He wasn't a bad guy, just overly direct and not inclined to think things through. Loki was subtler and smarter. Had things gone without a hitch and Thor taken the throne, I imagine Loki would have ruled from the shadows. Maybe Loki would have eventually mellowed out and learned to accept being in his brother's shadow, or maybe Thor's arrogance would have one day prompted Loki to attempt to assassinate him. I never really came to like Loki, but I sympathized with his position. It can't have been easy growing up surrounded by Thor, Thor's friends, and everyone else who thought Thor was the greatest.
The one scene I remembered from the trailer was the bit where Thor was in a diner and smashed his mug on the floor in a demand for more to drink. This, as it turns out, was the funniest scene in the entire movie (EDIT: Never mind, I just remembered the scene at the pet store. Heh. Too bad Thor didn't have lots more of that sort of thing.). The movie also fell flat in terms of its romance. From what I could tell, the romance between Thor and Jane consisted of hardly much more than “hot guy meets pretty woman.” In one scene, Thor kisses Jane's hand as he says goodbye, making her all giggly and flustered. In another scene, Thor is getting dressed in some clothes Jane's ex left behind. Considering how flustered Jane got over just having her hand kissed, you'd think she'd have had a meltdown when shirtless Thor briefly loomed over her, but Darcy seemed to be more affected by Thor's shirtlessness than Jane. The nicest scene Thor and Jane had together was when they were watching the stars and Thor tried to reassure her that her research was on the right track. I couldn't help but feel that Thor had more of an emotional connection to Mjolnir, his hammer, than to Jane.
As far as the action scenes went...I was unimpressed. The special effects were pretty bad at times. For me, the worst scene in the movie was probably the one with the giant robot thing Loki sent to kill Thor. Something about the robot's movements made it look almost like it came out of an old sci-fi movie (although maybe that was on purpose?). There's a bit where the robot hits one of Thor's friends that just looks so horribly fake it was hard for me to take the battle seriously.
At the very end (after the credits), Nick Fury offers Erik Selvig a job with S.H.I.E.L.D. (with a moment that makes it look like Loki had control of Erik even back then, implying that Erik unknowingly made it possible for Loki to enter our world). I still can't help but wonder, why Erik? It was Jane's research that S.H.I.E.L.D. originally confiscated, and Jane was one of the first people to think that Thor might really be what he claimed to be. And yet S.H.I.E.L.D. picked Erik over her. Why? Considering her past relationship with Thor, she'd even have made a more interesting addition to The Avengers movie than Erik – imagine the emotional impact when Thor realized that Jane was under Loki's power. And now I kind of want to go looking for fanfic where Jane was invited to work for S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than Erik...
This could have been a better movie, but it did accomplish one thing – it gave me an urge to re-watch The Avengers. My plan is to get it when it comes out on DVD, at which time I'll re-watch all the movies that came before it. Although I suppose I'd need to buy Captain America and Iron Man II as well.
As with The Avengers, I'm not bothering to add a read-alikes/watch-alikes list. I feel too lazy at the moment to go through the effort it would require to find things to suggest other than all the other superhero movies and Marvel graphic novels. If you're interested in other superhero movie posts I've written, check out my posts for Iron Man, The Avengers, Batman Beyond: Season One (an animated TV series, not a movie, but it features a superhero), and Hellboy (I'm not sure if he counts as a superhero, but this is still another movie adaptation of a comic book character).