Thor was always going to be the trickiest to adapt, given its more overtly fantasy/science-fiction based nature, but thankfully the story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich embraces that rather than trying to warp it into something more grounded.
The people from the far-off realm of Asgard once visited Earth to defend it from a race of evil frost-giants (told you it was out there!), and their exploits fell into the stuff of Nordic myth and legend. As we rejoin them in Asgard, Thor is about to replace his father Odin as king, while his lesser brother Loki looks on.
When the ceremony is interrupted unexpectedly by a frost-giant incursion, Thor, in his hubris, decides to retaliate, risking open war once more. To teach his son a lesson, Odin banishes Thor to the realm of Midgard (that’ll be Earth, to you or me) where he must learn to become a man worthy of the crown, with a little help from doe eyed Natalie Portman.
Given that he’s our hero, it can be somewhat jarring to see Chris Hemsworth’s Thor acting like an arrogant, petulant child during the film’s opening. Yes, he’s awesome, but some humility wouldn’t go amiss. Of course, the whole point of the film is that he learns this as the story goes along, so that isn’t a criticism by any means.
Tom Hiddlestone, as put-upon brother Loki has a great time going from unassuming and overlooked little brother to megalomaniacal would-be-king, and who could argue with the casting of Anthony Hopkins as Odin?
The rest of the Asgardians are likable enough, if a little under-developed (but this isn’t their film, after all), with only Idris Elba’s mysterious and powerful gate-keeper Heimdall making much of an impression.
As for the Earth-bound contingent, Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster doesn’t have to do much but steal glances at Hemsworth’s absurdly ripped torso and turn to jelly in his presence. She’s also a brilliant scientist, but that’s very much a background facet to her character. Stellan Skarsgard’s Dr. Erik Selvig, a fellow scientist, is better drawn, acting as father figure to both Foster and Thor, and gives out sage advice as well as he downs beers.
Probably the stunning assault on the frost-giant’s icy realm of Jotunheim early on in the film. With Thor still thinking himself God’s gift (and, let’s face it, he’s sort of right) his bravado makes for a fantastic action sequence, with the rest of his fellow Asgardian warriors getting to display their own skills around him as they take on a veritable army.
And it’s worth noting that the frost-giants themselves make for excellent foes, with their control of the ice particularly beautiful as realised by the impressive CGI.
Thor: “Your ancestors called it magic, but you call it science. I come from a land where they are one and the same.”
S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent: “Is that one of Starks?”
Agent Coulson: “I don’t know. Guy never tells me anything.”
Thor: “This mortal form grows weak. I require sustenance!”
Jane: “You think you’re just gonna walk in, grab our stuff, and then walk out?”
Thor: “No. I’m going to fly out.”
Clint Barton: “Do you want me to take him down, or would you rather send in more guys for him to beat up?”
The Avengers assemble:
Thor is arguably the film that you should see most before catching Avengers Assemble, given that not only does the titular thunder God form part of the team, but his wayward brother Loki is the principal antagonist, and Skarsgard’s Dr. Selvig also appears.
There’s even a brief glimpse of Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, a character who is explored in far more depth in Avengers Assemble.
What did you think of Thor? Let us know below…