In 2011, we were shown a land of magic. We had a view of the world where wars are fought with sword and shield. Where strange, gigantic creatures fight against the heroes.
But enough about the trailer for The Hobbit. We have a movie to watch. Thor? Like Thor, the Norse god of thunder? Why did Marvel make a movie about…? Wait, he is a comic character? And he has been for a while? And he was an Avenger? Oh, okay. Well. Don Diego de la Vega- sorry, wrong movie. Odin starts us with a thrilling bedtime story about monsters attacking the world. He tells a story of courageous men who are confused for gods by the technologically inept Norsemen who had the misfortune of being attacked by the terrifyingly brutal frost giants. But, fortunately for mankind, these gods were led by their great hero, their leader, their king. Odin Allfather.
This is a movie steeped in Norse mythology and contains some very neat nods to lore and legend. Of course, they leave out a lot of the darker things, made everything bright and shiny (Which, incidentally a lot of things happen to be in Phase 1. (Because it’s all still brand-new, maybe?)), and made Thor insanely hot. I mean ridiculously hot. Of course, the real Thor wasn’t exactly ugly himself. But this is stepping away from mythology…
There is a scene where Thor explains to his new girlfriend how all the worlds are divided into the realms, and how the realms are all a part of Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life. He explains how the Asgardians use the Bifrost bridge to traverse the realms. Thor goes on to explain that Asgardian science is vastly superior to everyone else’s. And that was all on the same night he outdrank the physicist who bailed him out of jail. Drunken physics truly is the best physics.
From a comics standpoint, this movie has quite a few references and storylines woven through it. We hear about Loki’s talent with wordplay, Thor’s banishment to Earth is an adaptation of the run of Thor where he is sent to Earth in the form of Donald Blake, a crippled doctor who has no idea he is Thor Odinson. Of course, since this is just a movie and we need to wrap things up quickly, much of that story is just references and nods on screen, though the film’s purpose, teaching Thor humility, is the same.
There are also tie-ins to other Marvel films and comics. Agent Phil Coulson returns, references are made concerning the Hulk and Iron Man, and easter eggs that pointed to the future of the franchise, before the Tesseract were revealed to be one of the Infinity Stones. And speaking of returning appearances, what Marvel movie would be complete without an appearance by the man himself, Stan Lee? Watch for him as most of the small New Mexico town of Puente Antiguo attempts to pull an object, supposedly a crashed satellite, from the spot where it crash-landed the day before.
Incidentally, Puente Antiguo, the name of the fictional town Thor’s Earthly sequences takes place in, translates to Ancient Bridge, a subtle reference to the Bifrost. A not-so-subtle hint that this town would have Norse legends battling it out in the streets is the town’s water tower, where it proudly proclaims: “Home of the Vikings!” Thor also continues the Marvel/ Dr. Pepper advertising team-up. Several Dr. Pepper machines can be seen in the town.
It is another movie from the list of second-string (Read: not as well known, not badly done or terrible.) characters that Marvel still held the rights to. And it worked. The Shakespearean director, the numerous and continual rewrites, the constant changes led to many critics and moviegoers thinking that this movie would be a total bust. And it nearly could have been. It has a decent beginning, but the middle seems to slow down, only to pick up again as Lady Syf and the Warriors Three show up for the renaissance fair, errm, battle with the Destroyer. But I think that Natalie Portman effectively summed up the most popular opinion of the movie with just three little words.
“Oh. My. God.”