Thor Retrospective

31st May 2022, 12:54 PM
We're approaching the end of another chapter, and that means it's time for another look back at the movie I just finished adapting. In this case, 2011's Thor.

Stray observations from my rewatch:
  • Do they ever actually explain what the atmospheric disturbance Jane's been tracking is supposed to be? I know it's Bifrost-related, but why is it predictable except for when Thor gets beamed down, at which point it's suddenly not?
  • The MCU just needs more Anthony Hopkins narration. Not even just for the Thor movies, just in general. Anything magic/fantasy/mythology-related, get him to open it with a monologue.
  • For as many problems as I have with Ragnarok, I do like how it forces me to re-evaluate Odin's interpretation of the war with the Frost Giants. Was this after he gave up conquest and decided to become a benevolent protector, or did it just happen the Frost Giants stepped on his turf and he decided to kick their asses?
  • "Both of you were born to be kings" Odin learned much about peace, but very little about parenting.
  • I'm glad they stopped dyeing Chris Hemsworth's eyebrows, they make his face look smaller and squinty.
  • Everything about Odin's coronation speech also deserves a side-eye in the wake of Ragnarok. Calling Thor his firstborn, mentioning Mjolnir's unrivaled power to destroy as well as build, claiming he's defended the Nine Realms from the beginning... obviously they didn't have this whole thing planned out in advance, but it really does add some interesting characterization in hindsight. It feels like Loki really takes after him more than Thor does.
  • Okay so Thor's clearly over-reacting to the weapons vault break-in, but I feel like Odin is under-reacting. At the very least, if someone broke into my personal stockpile of uber-dangerous things, you can bet I wouldn't just be like "Well they didn't actually take anything, no harm no foul". You can bet there would be inquiries at the very least.
  • "BUT YOU'RE NOT KIIIIIING! Not yet." Anthony Hopkins truly is the actor we need, but not the one we deserve.
  • I don't want to say Idris Elba is the unsung hero of the Thor franchise, because I feel like he gets plenty of well-deserved praise, but of all the under-utilized characters in this subset of movies, he certainly does the best with what he's given.
  • The set design of Jotunheim is magnificently gloomy. It really sells the idea that the world itself is crumbling away and decaying.
  • So Laufey is clearly an asshole for invading Tonsberg back in the day and attacking that village, but he's not necessarily wrong about Odin. Honestly him reflecting on the horrors of war and being willing to let them leave hits surprisingly hard.
  • It's hard to tell exactly where Loki's plan spiraled out of control, but I genuinely think it was the moment where that one giant called Thor a "princess".
  • In general the MCU has nerfed a lot of their powerhouses, but wrecking the Jotuns' shit with a single lightning bolt and OHKO'ing the Frost Beast are still very impressive showings from Thor.
  • I had to keep in Odin cutting off Loki with the "HAERGH!", it's just too damn good.
  • Goddammit I really don't want to turn this into a dissertation on Ragnarok but it really does make Odin's banishment speech hit all the harder. This isn't the first time he's had to banish one of his kids, and it is clearly tearing him up inside.
  • I have a lot of issues with how the Thor franchise handles the Earth side of things, but Darcy tasering Thor? Still classic.
  • Making Jane an astrophysicist was a smart move, in theory. Since Thor isn't Dr. Donald Blake in this continuity, it's a good way to give them a point of commonality.
  • Miss you Stan. :(
  • "This mortal form has grown weak. I need sustenance". Do  Asgardians not actually need to eat? Otherwise that's a pretty weird line.
  • Okay I take it back, given what Loki says about having tipped off the guard, maybe his plan actually went out of control once Heimdall actually let them go to Jotunheim? Maybe the plan was just to get Thor in trouble for trying to subvert Odin's orders. It's hard to tell of course, since it's Loki.
  • Loki finding out he's adopted makes me feel bad for him of course, but it also makes me feel bad for Odin, you can tell he did not want to have that conversation today. Props to Tom Hiddleston for carrying his own weight in the scene alongside Anthony Hopkins.
  • I don't remember where I first saw this, just that it's not an original observation, but I think it bears repeating; I appreciate that when Jane chastises Thor for breaking the mug he accepts that things are different on Earth, apologizes, and rolls with it. After watching him be a jerk for most of the movie so far it's a nice indication that he can be agreeable even when things aren't going his way.
  • Speaking of nice indications, good bit of foreshadowing in this movie for Avengers and especially Winter Soldier. S.H.I.E.L.D. is (generally) well-intentioned, sure, but they're also kind of assholes sometimes.
  • In another timeline where Edgar Wright had gotten to make Ant-Man as a Phase One movie as originally intended, I wonder how different things could've been. Pretty sure Hank Pym was supposed to be Selvig's old contact who'd dealt with S.H.I.E.L.D.?
  • Why exactly does Loki automatically take the throne while Odin's sleeping and not Frigga? I mean I know why, because otherwise we wouldn't have a movie, but why? The Odinsleep clearly isn't news to Frigga, what were they doing before?
  • As far as "I'm weirdly intrigued and moderately infatuated with this person who should be sending up a shit-ton of red flags" romances go, Thor and Jane's chemistry in this movie is... okay.
  • Hey it's Hawkeye! ... Crazy how far we've come in terms of "little cameos that only people who read the comics will understand".
  • Not only because Hawkeye is now known the world over and has his own Disney+ series, but because as cameos go, this one is actually super-clunky. The fact that you chose the movie about actual gods to introduce the guy with a bow and arrow as some important thing to pay attention to is honestly kind of hilarious, and it's even more awkward because he only shows up to be a potential obstacle for a depowered Thor who never pans out.
  • The way the music changes when Thor tries and fails to pick up Mjolnir is quite good.
  • In the same way that it's really funny to watch Tony brag about establishing world peace knowing all the crazy shit that's going on, it's really funny to watch Coulson be so sure he has Thor profiled as a mercenary and just... have no idea how off the mark he is. XD
  • Why is Loki in a suit when he shows up to lie to Thor? It can't be for camoflauge, clearly nobody notices he's there or they'd be wondering who this rando is trying to pick up the hammer and not wearing a hazmat suit.
  • Honestly I think the saddest thing about Loki lying to Thor here is that of their entire friend group, Thor is the one who seems... I don't want to say the most supportive of Loki, but definitely the least dismissive.
  • Okay the fake ID scene. As I commented in the section itself, I kind of hate this bit, it raises so many questions. Who made this fake ID (I mean it's clearly Darcy but I'd like to think maybe it was Selvig)? It has to be a fake, it's the same picture she took of Thor in the diner. Why are they so willing to throw Donald Blake under the bus by using his identity? Thor can't possibly actually look like him because otherwise you'd think Jane would have brought it up. Why didn't they just make a fake name if they're already making a fake ID? It wasn't going to fool S.H.I.E.L.D. anyways.
  • Selvig is cool and I'm genuinely sad that the last time we saw him is Age of Ultron. He's my favorite of the Earth trio. Which, in this movie at least, isn't a knock against Jane or Darcy. I will speak at length about Darcy when I get to the Dark World.
  • I'd complain about later installments of the MCU making Loki be bad at schemes, but he's always been bad at schemes. Letting Laufey in only to kill him and gain glory is an involved scheme with lots of steps and that's all very impressive, but like. What's going to happen when Odin wakes up? You think he's going to approve of killing Thor, freezing Heimdall, and destroying a town full of innocent people? Then again, maybe he would...
  • I think if the early MCU had been more willing to say that there were things happening between movies, the Thor/Jane romance might have actually worked better. Him explaining the Nine Realms to her is genuinely cute.
  • The Warriors Three need some kind of spinoff, they aren't bad but they do not get enough screentime to matter much in this or any movie. Here's hoping Love and Thunder hits some kind of anti-Ragnarok reset button or something. They're gods, magic them back, nobody will care.
  • Even Hogun smiles when they find Thor, that's sweet.
  • Heimdall loophole abusing his way into trying to kill Loki is just a perfect example of why he's the best under-utilized character. Which is why he's a player character in this chapter and the Warriors Three are not.
  • Oh no, the Destroyer's wrecking everything! You know who we could really use right now? Hawkeye!
  • What constitutes "destroying everything?" Clearly the Destroyer can't have killed all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents it encountered, Coulson managed to get away.
  • This fight to keep the Destroyer distracted went way quicker than I remembered. Probably could've stood to be longer.
  • Seriously they make Sif and the Warriors Three look like total chumps next to Thor. They don't even seem to hurt the Destroyer, and they're at full power!
  • Again, I feel the need to stress that Loki and Thor being adversarial doesn't necessarily work here. The fact that Thor's first approach when talking is to assume it's something he did and apologize speaks volumes to what he thinks about his brother. I know Loki's gone a little around the bend because of finding out he's a Frost Giant and all, but it does not do his character any favors.
  • We really don't get enough of Thor's weather powers in these movies, that tornado is sick.
  • I understand the reasoning for having the Bifrost open at specific locations in theory, but it doesn't really amount to anything in this movie and I'm glad future movies moved away from it.
  • I find it really funny that Loki was willing to let Odin live despite keeping all this stuff from him, but Thor? Nope, gotta die, sorry bro.
  • I'd like to point out that after blasting Thor out of the palace, Loki proceeds to... ride his horse all the way down the road to the Bifrost, and yet somehow, Thor doesn't catch up until Loki's already activated it. What the hell is that?
  • It really is tragic that at the time they start fighting, Thor has no idea what discoveries Loki has made. So he has actually zero context for what's gone on and why his brother is doing this.
  • "Is it madness? Is it? Is it?!?" is one of my favorite parts of this movie, it's heartbreaking. You can tell by this point Loki's not even trying to convince Thor that his plan is sound, he's trying to convince himself that it's all justified.
  • Odin can't even wake up from a nap without making a big production out of things, no wonder Loki's so dramatic.
  • I know the sadness of Thor not being able to go back to Earth and Loki being MIA is the big crux of this conclusion but seriously can we at least acknowledge the siutation with Jotunheim?
  • Post-credits scene is... fine? I wasn't as big into comics when I first started watching these movies, so I had no idea what a Cosmic Cube was or why I should care. Loki being able to reach out and control someone's mind from who knows how far out is hella impressive though.

On paper, Thor is one of my favorite Marvel characters. I love the spin on pre-existing mythology, I love the faux-Shakespeare dramatic speech, I love going out into space and across the realms to vanquish evil and the such. So that being said, the Thor movies as a whole don't really appeal to me all that much. But the first Thor movie is ultimately fine. I think it's definitely the best Thor movie we could have gotten at this stage of the MCU. The scenes with Thor on Earth are more engaging than they have any right to be and actually do a pretty good job making up for the relatively scant action. Asgard and Jotunheim both feel like completely different worlds from each other and from Earth, which is absolutely important. And the things that I ultimately don't like about where the Thor franchise has gone are... not this movie's fault, I think? I feel like the main problems come from either the Dark World doubling down on the wrong areas and then Ragnarok just chucking out the entire toybox as an over-correction, but I'll get to those when appropriate because the first Thor isn't really to blame for either of those points. Ultimately this one just falls into the "it's perfectly acceptable" category for me, definitely not one of my least favorites, but nowhere near the top 10.

Comments:

31st May 2022, 12:56 PM
CaptainSkitty
I kid you not
I’m about 16 mins away from the end of the actual Thor movie
How convenient
31st May 2022, 1:01 PM
Wow, that is some fantastic timing. XD
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