For some reason As I started writing this review, I got the theme song from the old 60’s cartoon stuck in my head. Anyways, the fourth movie in the MCU actually had me a little worried. I mean, most of the movies in the MCU had well known characters but Thor is kind of a trick one because, while well known, the whole Norse mythology angle to his character might turn people off and make it not fare well at the box office. Those fears weren’t without merit as it wasn’t as successful as the previous film in the series, but it wasn’t the worst either. So let’s see just what impact today’s movie, Thor, had on me.
The plot: In the New Mexico desert, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster, along with her assistant Darcy Lewis and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig, observe a strange astrological event and as they travel towards where it strikes the ground, they end up accidentally hitting a man with their SUV. In flashback, Odin, the king of Asgard, tells the story to his sons Thor and Loki of how the frost giants had invaded Midgard (Earth) but Odin led his warriors from Asgard to battle the frost giants and they drove them from Earth, beat their king, and took the casket that was the source of their power. Centuries later, Thor has now become an adult and a celebration is being held for his being named the heir to Odin’s throne. However, before he is named heir, a group of frost giants break into the vault and attempt to steal the casket but Odin sense them and summons the Destroyer, a mystically enchanted suit of armor, which easily kills the frost giants. Thor wishes to go to the Jotunheim and teach the frost giants a lesson but Odin forbids it, saying that there is a truce between Odin and Laufey, the frost giants king, and he does not believe the actions of a few frost giants to be worth breaking the truce. Angered by the inaction, and manipulated by Loki, Thor leads Loki, Sif, and the Warriors Three (Volstagg, Fandral, Hogun) to Jotunheim by way of the Bifrost bridge and questions Laufey but he refuses to answer and tells them to leave. When one of the frost giant insults Thor, he strikes him and starts a battle between the frost giants and his friends. During the fight, Fandral and Volstagg are injured and Loki is grabbed by one of the frost giants but instead of injuring him, his skin turns blue but then turns back again. When the Asgardians are surrounded, Odin appears to stop the fighting and, with Laufey declaring that war will come, Odin takes Thor and the others back to Asgard. Sending the others to the healing chamber, Odin chastises Thor for defying his orders and starting a war and when Thor argues with him, Odin takes his powers from him and banishes Thor to Earth, then casts an enchantment on Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, and sends it to Earth as well. Back in the present, Thor comes to and and demands to know where he is but Darcy freaks out and tasers him so Jane and the others take him to the hospital. The next day, Jane, Eric, and Darcy are going over the pictures of the phenomenon and when they notice a man shaped object in the epicenter, they head back to the hospital to find Thor, accidentally hitting him with their car again. Meanwhile, a man finds Mjolnir out in the desert and after failing to lift it, he gets several of his friends together and they make it an event until Agent Coulson and some other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents arrive and take over the site. Back in Asgard, Loki is confronted by Odin in the vault and reveals that Loki was Laufey’s son, who was cast out for being too small, and Odin took him and raised him as his own in the hopes of making a permanent truce and uniting the two kingdoms before he ends up collapsing into the Odin sleep. Back on Earth, Thor regains consciousness and after getting a change of clothes from Jane, they get some food and overhear two men talking about the events in the crater. Thor gets directions to the crater and starts to head that way, saying goodbye to Jane and the others as he leaves. Jane and the others return to their lab where they find Agent Coulson and some other agents taking all of their equipment due to a possible security threat. BAck in Asgard, Sif and the Warriors Three go to see Odin and discover Loki is acting king due to Odin being in the Odin Sleep and Loki’s mother refusing to leave Odin’s side. They ask Loki to free Thor from the banishment but he refuses, saying he can’t have his first act as king can’t be to undue the last act of the previous king. In Odin’s chamber, Loki asks his mother why Odin lied and she says that Odin has a reason for everything but that Loki has always been their son. Back on Earth, Jane finds Thor and agrees to take him to the crater in exchange for him explaining things to her. When they get to the crater, and see how S.H.I.E.L.D. has cordoned off the area, Jane grows suspicious but Thor says he will get her research back and sneaks into the base. When his entrance is noticed, the base is put on alert and Agent Barton heads to a snipers position but is told not to fire as Thor smashes his way through the guards and makes his way to Mjolnir. When he is unable to lift the hammer, he cries out in despair and falls to his news, allowing Coulson and the other agents to capture him. As Coulson takes a break from questioning Thor, Loki appears and tells Thor that Odin is dead and that the truce is dependent on Thor remaining banished and can never return to Asgard before he leaves. Meanwhile, Jane convinces Erik to use his government contacts to help get Thor freed from S.H.I.E.L.D.S. custody and Thor manages to grab Jane’s notebook as they leave. After the two go to a bar for some drinks, Thor helps Erik back to Jane’s place and then he returns her notebook and ends up telling Jane about the Nine Realms. Elsewhere, Loki travels to Jotunheim and makes a deal with Laufey to shield him and some of his giants so they can sneak into Asgard and kill Odin, so he can have full claim on the throne. Heimdall grows suspicious but is unable to act himself so he secretly allows Sif and the Warriors Three to use the Bifrost to search for Thor, but Loki sees this and sends the Destroyer to Earth to stop them. Sif and the Warriors Three reach the town and find Thor but when Thor tells them that he has to stay in exile due to his father’s death, they tell him that Odin still lives. Loki approaches the Bifrost and Heimdall questions how Loki managed to sneak the frost giants into Asgard. When Loki admits that he did it but has no need to do so now that he is king and he exiles Heimdall, who tries to attack Loki but Loki uses the casket to freeze Heimdall. On Earth, the Destroyer arrives on Earth and begins attacking the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents outside of town. Powerless to stop it, Thor asks Sif and the Warriors Three to buy him time so he can help evacuate the town. When they are unable to stop the Destroyer, Thor tells his friends to fall back then approaches the Destroyer and speaks to Loki, offering to sacrifice himself to keep everyone else safe. The Destroyer strikes Thor and apparently kills Thor but up in Asgard, Odin sheds a tear in his sleep, and Mjolnir flies up from where it lies and into Thor’s hands, restoring his powers to him. Thor battles and defeats the Destroyer then, after telling Coulson that he can be considered an ally in defending Earth, Thor leads Jane and the others to the Bifrost site and calls out for Heimdall, who manages to break free from the ice imprisoning him and opens the bridge for Thor and the others to return to Asgard. Meanwhile, Laufey is in Odin’s chamber and prepares to kill Odin but he is killed instead by Loki, who plans to use the assassination attempt as reason to destroy Jotunheim. Thor appears and tries to stop Loki but Loki blasts him and heads to the bridge, opening it up and leaving it open so that it will destory Jotunheim. Thor battles Loki and eventually beats him but when he is unable to stop the Bifrost, he is forced to destroy the Rainbow Bridge in order to save Jotunheim, sending Thor and Loki both plunging into the abyss of space. Odin manages to grab Thor but Loki, who was holding onto Odin’s spear in Thor’s hand, lets go of the spear and falls into space to his apparent death. A celebration is held in Asgard but Thor chooses not to celebrate as he is mourning the loss of his brother as well as misses Jane, whom Heimdall is able to see on Earth and tells Thor that she continues to search for him. Sometime later, Erik is approached by Nick Fury to help investigate a strange cube that can hold untold power but unknown to them, an unnoticed Loki is there and he is interested in the cube himself and prompts Erik to agree.
Thor was well received by the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 77% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus among the critics was, ” A dazzling blockbuster that tempers its sweeping scope with wit, humor, and human drama, Thor is mighty Marvel entertainment.” There was actually quite a bit of controversy among some racist groups over some of the casting choices in the film, primarily Idris Elba’s casting as Heimdall as the character in the comics was white, but the studio went ahead with their choice with the reasoning that “gods could appear to be whatever race they chose.” The movie was a box office hit as it made over $449 million off a $150 million budget.
For the imagery of Asgard alone, this is a great movie, but a good story does help. The acting was pretty good and there was some great casting jobs done in this movie. Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins were all excellent choices as Thor, Loki, and Odin respectively. I also liked Idris Elba (Heimdall), Stellan Skarsgard (Eric) and Clark Gregg (Coulson) in their supporting roles but I was a little disappointed with how Natalie Portman’s character of Jane was written for the movie. The story was really good, giving a bit of history regarding Asgard and interjecting some humor into tense situations to keep things from becoming too serious. On a side note, I also liked the different items in the vault that hinted at future movies, such as the Eye of Agamotto (hinting at Dr. Strange) and a glove that looks suspiciously like a de-jewelled Infinity Guantlet (can we say Thanos?). The action scenes were really good and the special effects and designs, especially of Asgard, were incredible. A great movie to bring the God of Thunder into the MCU and well worth watching on it’s own.
Rating: 4 out of 5