Thor was the riskiest early movie in the MCU in my eyes, Iron Man was equally unknown but at least it had the “cool suit” aspect for it, Thor just had old fashioned lingo and magic, which didn’t fit with other films at all. Somehow of course they pulled it off, not only casting Thor and Loki perfectly but somehow pulling off Asgard and their magical ways and had it fit the films that came before and after it. Let’s take a look!
As the son of Odin, king of the Norse gods, Thor will soon inherit the throne of Asgard from his aging father. However, on the day that he is to be crowned, Thor reacts with brutality when the gods’ enemies, the Frost Giants, enter the palace in violation of their treaty. As punishment, Odin banishes Thor to Earth…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Wow, he looks so young! Or more accurately, how did a God who ages slowly across thousands of years look older in later films?
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Chris Hemsworth at Thor and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki are the highlights of the film, which is handy because they’re also the centre of it. Thor is brash and arrogant, but despite this Odin (played with great presence by Anthony Hopkins of all people) is still willing to crown him King in his place, but when some Frost Giants break into Asgard’s vault Thor takes his four close friends in Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Fandral (Josh Dallas) and Sif (Jaimie Alexander), along with his brother Loki, and heads to the Frost Giant’s home realm and face off with King Laufey. On the way they get permission to pass from the Rainbow Bridge’s guard Heimdall (Idris Elba, who really it’s a shame he didn’t get a bigger role in the MCU…) and soon arrive, eventually attacking a bunch of Frost Giants before being saved by Odin.
Odin is rightfully peeved so strips Thor of his powers and casts him down to Earth, where he is soon hit by a van driven by scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her crew of fellow scientist Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and intern Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). This leads to some well written and performed “man out of his element” jokes as Thor is taken to hospital, escapes hospital, is hit by Jane’s car again, and then eventually has a meal with them in a café. It’s here where Hemsworth gets across Thor’s more endearing side, especially when he travels to where his hammer Mjolnir had landed but fails to be pick it up because he is no longer worthy. Also in these scenes are Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the debut of Hawkeye himself Clint Barton (played by Jeremy Renner), though the latter doesn’t get a lot of screen time. During this time Loki is revealed to be part Frost Giant who Odin took in as his son rather than a full-blooded Asgardian and watches as his father collapses due to needing his “Odin Sleep” to recharge his batteries, so to speak. With Thor banished Loki takes over as King, but is also making a deal with the Frost Giants and visits his brother and tells him his father is dead for good measure. Basically just being a bit of a git.
The phrase “the man you love to hate” comes to mind.
Thor and Foster start getting along and the former starts to feel humbled and happy, so when his four friends arrive he’s thrilled to see them, but says that he can’t come back… until finding out Loki lied. This then leads to Loki sending the powerful machine known as “The Destroyer” down to Earth in order to wipe out his brother for good, but Thor being willing to sacrifice himself to save his new friends shows he is now once again worthy to be Thor and Mjolnir returns to him and gives him his powers back. Thor takes out The Destroyer and together with his allies they return to Asgard, where Heimdall is barely on his feet having defied the new King. Laufey attempts to assassinate Odin as he sleeps but Loki kills him and saves his father in an attempt to convince those around him of his Kinglyness and then sets the erm, magical bifrost cannon … thing to destroy the Frost Giant’s world, but it’s here where he and Thor have a duel which Thor wins before he destroys the Rainbow Bridge to save the Frost Giants despite it meaning he can’t return to Earth and see Jane again. Loki falls into the Frost Giant portal before it closes and that’s that! Odin is proud of his son and we get a post credits tease as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows Erik the Tesseract, which Loki claims is “very interesting” as he watches from behind the scientist…
“Permission to fire an arrow at the perp, sir.” “Well I keep saying you should really use a gun, but still: permission denied.”
Not a lot. It’s pretty perfectly cast, it doesn’t go on too long and the action scenes are all fun. You could argue that Jane doesn’t get to do much, especially compared to a lot of the female characters that appear later in the MCU, but other than that, not a lot to complain about, just don’t expect it to light the world on fire.
Jane finds out just how long she’ll have to wait for an adaptation of the female Thor storyline.
Thor was a hard concept to nail in these early days of the MCU but it’s managed perfectly well. The casting was on-point, the action scenes done well and the dialogue full of just as much humour as drama. Very much what most of the MCU becomes later, really… well, apart from the next Thor film…