Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Studio: Marvel Entertainment
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Review Rating: 8 Hammers
After a misadventure against the Frost Giants, Asgardian Thor is banished to earth by Odin, to learn a few life lessons in search of his lost weapon Mjolnir, or Hammer!
I wondered how Marvel would take the whole Norse mythology thing and make it viable in their world, since I haven’t read the Thor comic books. On the other hand I know plenty about Norse mythology, so when Thor presents the world of the Asgardians as simply an alien world happening to be more powerful than us but connected to us, hey, I’m all for it.
There’s a lot of talk towards the beginning of the movie, about the vaunted acts of Odin and how he beat the Frost Giants to a standstill. It’s even implied that he did it all by himself, but come on, we know he couldn’t have. Anyway, Thor and Loki are brothers, sons of Odin, legendary killer of Frost Giants and such. Loki demonstrates clearly even when he’s young his utter cunning and adeptness at sorcery, plus his penchant for thinking way too much. Whereas opposite him is Thor, blond and bold and reckless, assured of his place as future King even as a child. And sure enough, in the next scene Thor is about to be crowned the next King by his father, when the Frost Giants break in and try to steal the power source thingie, whatever it was that Odin stole from them first. Here is where we first encounter Thor’s penchant for chaaaaarging in to battle and the devil take the hindmost, he very much wants to give the Frost Giants what-for in exchange for their attempts at thievery during what would have been his investiture, whereas Odin puts it off to a foolish prank and tells Thor to stand down. Peace is preferable to war, he implies, but does not outright say it, so of course Thor, along with some pals and his brother, go off to give the Frost Giants a taste of Asgardian justice. And inevitably, they can’t handle it, Odin has to save everyone, and he and King Laufy of the Frost Giants have to end their long truce. So Odin curses Thor powerless and banishes him to Earth, but tosses the hammer Mjolnir after him, with a muttered incantation about worthiness and possession of the hammer.
Here we pause to examine everything so far. Asgard is lovely, if a little impractical. You never really see anyone besides guards, Odin and his family, and Thor’s warrior friends. Which I thought was a little odd, but whatever. And I thought it was cool that Thor actually has a cadre of warrior friends, none of whom are Norse like him. Ray Stevenson, you know, Frank Castle in Punisher: War Zone, is Volstagg, he looks Scottish to me but that’s just a guess, warrior great in his appetite and very loyal. Tadanobu Asano, of great Japanese fame such as Zatoichi and Ichi the Killer, stars as Hogun, asian warrior pal who has a bit of difficulty with the Norse names in Asgard. Josh Dallas is Fandral, he struck me as a very French fop kind of warrior, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, he proves to be still all warrior and great with it. Jaimie Alexander is Lady Sif, Thor’s sister and part of the warrior cadre, and every bit as crazy as Sif is in the mythology, which I thought was awesome. But I do have to ask, why did they have a black man, Idris Elba of 28 Weeks Later fame, as gatekeeper Heimdall? It seems a very odd choice. Again not a bad one, just very different – I wondered if it was like that in the comic.
So Thor comes to Earth to learn his lessons, gets hit a lot by a car where Jane Forester, astrophysicist tracking crazy signs from the sky, meets up with him and ends up helping him. Back in Asgard Loki has gone power-mad, Odin’s in the death-sleep (that wasn’t very well explained btw, but it is an Asgard legend), and Thor’s warrior pals are determined to help Thor any way they can, even if it means defying the new King. Thor determines that everything will be fixed as soon as he can get his hammer Mjolnir back, but it’s already been held a block party around (Americans will BBQ for anything, look there’s Stan Lee’s cameo!), and then S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Coleson set up what looks like a small city around it. And even when Thor does break in and grab the hammer, he’s still unworthy, hasn’t learned his lessons yet, and from my take, doesn’t have an Enemy to be worthy against yet. And that is where we will leave the movie surprises, other than to assure you that yes, there is an Easter Egg at the very end, and yes, it does have to do with the Avengers movie coming soonish. It helps if you’re a fan of the comic books to get it though. Natalie Portman stars as Jane Forester and she is just wonderful, with that smile that lights up the room. And don’t forget Chris Hemsworth, that 6 foot 5 blond powerhouse that brought Thor to life, how he muscles and ripples and is perfect for the role. Father Odin is of course Sir Anthony Hopkins, man did he have the Godlike aspect going well. Tom Hiddleston stars as Loki, and despite being noone I’ve ever heard of, the costumes and the makeup only add to an already versatile character, but Hiddleston really brought him alive in all his glorious anger! Thor gets a rating of 8 Hammers, and an assurance of the return of both Loki and Thor in The Avengers movie!