Released: May 6, 2011
Running Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
“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. While Loki, Thor’s brother, plots mischief in Asgard, Thor, now stripped of his powers, faces his greatest threat.”
In honour of the latest movie from the Marvel Cinematic Universe being released on November 3, 2017, I decided that I wanted to review all of the previous MCU films, and it was also a wonderful excuse to rewatch all the movies again. My girlfriend and I wanted to watch it with a group of friends, however there was no time that we could all agree on, and to space it all out didn’t work, so we watched the MCU movies during the month of September and October so that we would be ‘all caught up’ for Thor Ragnarok.
You can find all of the reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the link here. At that link, you can also find the dates that the other reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be posted. My plan is to release one every single day, and because I’ve already reviewed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here, and Spider – Man: Homecoming here, they will not be included in the two weeks leading up to Thor Ragnarok.
As such, I will now move onto the actual review of the film, and I hope you enjoy!
Thor Trailer – Source: Paramount Pictures & Marvel Entertainment
Cast and Crew
This film was directed by Kenneth Branagh, and was written by a group of writers, some who worked on the story aspect such as J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich, while others worked on the screenplay for the film, which included Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne.
Branagh, who is known mostly for his Shakespearean roles, as well as more recently Professor Gilderoy Lockhart from the second Harry Potter film, has done a really good job at distinguishing himself as a directing the Shakespeare films as well as acting in them. His work is very character based, and he has since worked on ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit’ in 2014, ‘Cinderella’ in 2015, and the new film that will be coming out on November 10, 2017 ‘ Murder on the Orient Express’, a remake of the original film in 1974, and based on the Agatha Christie book of the same name.
Straczynski has previously worked on mostly television shows such as ‘Babylon 5’ and ‘He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’, and has since worked on ‘World War Z’ and ‘Sense8’. Protosevich’s work includes 2006’s ‘Poseidon’ and 2007’s ‘I Am Legend’ before working on Thor, with only having written ‘Old Boy’ in 2013 since.
Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz have worked almost exclusively together as writers starting with the 2003 film ‘Agent Cody Banks’ and then continued into television before working on Thor, working on ‘Andromeda’, ‘Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’, and ‘Fringe’. Since working on Thor, the only other film that they worked on together was ‘X-Men: First Class’. Dan Payne had previously worked on television series in the mid to late 1990s before writing ‘My Super Ex-Girlfriend’ in 2006 and ‘Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer’ in 2007, he also wrote the story for the sequel.
The cast featured Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Kat Dennings, Idris Elba, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Tadanobu Asano, Josh Dallas, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, Jeremy Renner, Maximiliano Hernández, Clark Gregg, Samuel L. Jackson and Stan Lee.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor is not something that he nailed right away, or really got into in this first film of is, but he did fit the look of the film 100%. I think that Hemsworth has gotten better and better as Thor as the years have gone by. He seemed to have a lot of fun playing this character, and seemed to be learning throughout the film. I feel like he did a good job at displaying Thor’s lust for war at the beginning, and learning to become the man that would one day potentially become King of Asgard.
Natalie Portman did a good job at showing the intelligence that Jane Foster has, and it is easy to see why someone like Thor could fall for someone like her. I enjoyed her performance, but I don’t feel like she really stood out in any way. Casting Anthony Hopkins as Odin was another magnificent move by Marvel, as he displayed the many emotions needed throughout this film as well as the wisdom and weight that this character must possess for him to be believable.
Tom Hiddleston became a superstar and a heartthrob to every single person who loved the ‘bad boys’, and for very good reason. He performed the role of Loki with such charisma, emotion and fun that audience can’t seem to get enough of his character. Where Hemsworth took a while to get into the character of Thor, Hiddleston did it the moment he shows up on screen. He is devilishly amazing in his ability to make people love the bad guy. His chemistry with Hemsworth really cements the fact these are two brothers fighting each other because one was loved by their father more growing up, and jealousy took over. I am so happy that we have gotten to see him perform as Loki over and over again, as he has become one of the MCU’s greatest villains.
Skarsgård & Dennings did a good job at providing the human levity to the film. Skarsgård also displayed the intelligence of a professor and astrophysicist, while Dennings performed the comic relief / slightly stupid friend of Jane Foster really well, as it fit in right in her wheelhouse in terms of acting ability.
Idris Elba is one of those actors that is amazing in everything that he appears in, and portraying Heimdall the Gatekeeper of the Rainbow Bridge while a very small role for someone of his calibre, was extremely well done. I think I can count myself in the majority in wishing that he would have been cast in a different role in the MCU to truly be able to see Elba take on a great role. Colm Feore is another actor that I feel does a good job in everything. I first noticed him in Bon Cop, Bad Cop, a very eastern Canada film, and when I saw Thor for the first time, I thought that Lauffey looked familiar. He does a good job with what little he is given, but I feel like he and his character was also wasted.
Introducing Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye in this movie in a very short cameo is something that they should have done with Romanoff in Iron Man 2. He was in it long enough for people who know the comics to recognize him, and for people being introduced to him to want to know more about the character that was rooting for Thor, and chose a bow over a gun. Clark Gregg returning as Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Phil Coulson was fun to see, and I enjoyed seeing him interact with another superhero other than Tony Stark. Son of Coul will always be a favourite of mine, as Gregg is great in these small cameos.
Ray Stevenson as Volstagg was a fun, lovable character who loved to eat and fight, and was well acted. There’s not much else to say about the character other than to say that there wasn’t enough of him. Tadanobu Asano as Hogan did a good job at being the serious one out of the group. I feel like his characters, as are the other 3 warriors were wasted, as they weren’t given the time to properly develop.
Jaimie Alexander was almost perfect as Lady Sif. I feel like she captured the cockyness and portrayed the self made woman who can stand toe to toe with the guys and even best them was nice to see, while also able to display a wisdom that the warriors three solely lack. Josh Dallas was good as the swashbuckler Fandral, and I wish that we would have gotten more of him, as he left the MCU to star in the television show ‘Once Upon A Time’.
As much as I loved the four characters mentioned above, Lady Sif and the Warriors Three, I feel like they were severely underused and I wish we could have gotten more, as they are really interesting characters. This movie was just slightly shorter in terms of running time than The Incredible Hulk, and is currently ranked #2 on the shortest MCU film so far. I feel like if they added more to the story and characters, it would have made this movie go from great to fantastic. I say that, however, I’ve complained a lot in the past when films overstay their welcome or add too much fluff for the sake of runtimes, one will never know if they made the right choice at keeping it at 115 minutes.
The overall story for this film was a simple one, yet followed the comics pretty accurately, with the exception of King Laufey, who in the comics is killed by Odin before taking Loki as a baby, rather than in the movies, where Laufey is killed by Loki to try to win his father’s favour.I enjoyed seeing Thor slowly acclimate to Midgard and all of its own wonders and people, particularly Jane Foster, who is straight out of the comic books. Seeing Thor’s interaction with Loki was absolutely brilliant, and is one of the most charismatic duo brimming with chemistry between them.
The score for Thor which was orchestrated by Patrick Doyle was wonderful, grandiose and heroic, following the themes set by prior MCU films, which the music really matches the titular character and the style of film extremely well. Thor’s soundtrack is one of the soundtracks that I actually have on my IPod, granted it’s not as symbolic or memorable as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Star Wars’, but it’s got a wonderful and even soothing style in the score that really displays the history and grandness of Asgard and its inhabitants, as well as bringing the heroism to Midgard in the music as well.
The Cinematography of Thor, which was done by Haris Zambarloukos, is one of the most beautiful looking films that the MCU has produced thus far. One of the reasons behind that is the absolutely beautiful and magnificent job that they did with Asgard. I can go on for the entire review describing how beautiful that world was, but then I would forget to talk about the job that they did on Midgard (Earth). Using New Mexico as the site for Thor and Mjolnir’s landing was a great idea, because you isolate Thor in a small village, and you are able to use the beautiful landscapes that ‘New Mexico’ has to offer.
The Art Department of Thor is amazing, when you factor in all of the set designs, the costumes, the different worlds that is visited in this film, it really is amazing, and I’m still shocked that ‘Suicide Squad’ (which let’s be honest, the makeup wasn’t Oscar – worthy), got an Oscar before any of the MCU films, especially before Thor.
The art department also did a wonderful job with its visual & special effects, with the visuals of the different planets that was shown in the film,
The Jotunheim King, Laufey was underutilized for the story that they chose to tell. Yes, I know that he’s not really the villain, but more of a victim with having lost a war, having his son taken from him, he lost his people most of their powers, and then he was killed by his own son when he thinks he will finally get to kill the person responsible for all of the bad things that has happened. I feel that if it wasn’t for the fact that we need that last part to happen to get Loki to try and receive Odin’s favour and show that he can equal Thor, I would have had Laufey be killed as he was in the comics, by Odin at the beginning.
The true villain of this movie, is Loki, the God of Mischief and Evil, the overshadowed brother of one of the greatest warriors Asgard has ever seen, raised with the idea that either his brother or himself would be crowned King. I really enjoyed Hiddleston’s performance as mentioned above, and he truly captures his charisma and mischief – making. I am really glad that they didn’t kill him off in this movie or any subsequent movie so far, as his relationship with Thor is absolutely wonderful and hectic.
I enjoyed that they kept to the aesthetic of the different worlds from the comic books, and that they weren’t afraid to go really out there, by having a floating island be Asgard. I thought it was really well done, and I loved that each world had its own feel, look, and music to it.
The action in this movie is well shot and choreographed in the scenes on Jotunheim, I feel like it was setting itself apart from the other MCU films, and it succeeded in finding it’s own style. It uses Mjolnir effectively, and Thor just absolutely destroys everyone that stands in his way, as it should be. I loved that the action shots was not just a series of quick shots, edited together to make one fight scene, and featured a bit more calmness that the previous films had. The fight with the Destroyer on Midgard was great, and showed that Thor could defeat the mighty defender of the Vault in Asgard if he was so inclined, and it really demonstrated Thor and Mjolnir control over the elements, not just Thunder.
The tone in this film was comical, yet had serious undertones throughout the film, and I feel like that has become Marvel’s ideology when it comes to the MCU films. Thor was funny because he was a fish out of water, he doesn’t belong on Midgard does things that seem foolish to the audience, which makes him funny. There are also the serious moments such as when Odin is banishing Thor to Midgard, and that is a heavy scene, which Hopkins absolutely nails.
The overall theme of the movie, to me, is one of acceptance and making one’s father proud. Loki does what he does in this film because he wants to be seen as an equal to Thor in his ‘father’s’ eye, and show that he can be worthy of being on the throne. Thor, has to learn humility and eventually becomes worthy after spending a night being nice to humans, and sacrificing himself to save them. He eventually makes his father proud, once again becoming worthy of Mjolnir, and displaying the qualities of a King in Odin’s eye.
As I’ve mentioned a little about above, I feel like they didn’t do a good job with Laufey’s storyline, how little Lady Sif and the warriors three featured in the movie, and I would have loved to have had a bit more of Thor showing his power to the mortals to make them worship him as a God, as Loki mentioned briefly.
The post – credit scene in this film is a very short one, and it sets up both Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as Marvel’s The Avengers with the Tesseract. Samuel L. Jackson returns as Nick Fury to show Selvig the Tesseract, where we get a glimpse of Loki, who managed to survive the fall into nothingness slowly influencing Selvig, going as far as saying the same words as he does.
Overall, I feel like this movie was a really good movie, with very little faults that I can say affected my viewing experience. The acting in the film was fantastic, the music was wonderful, the cinematography was beautiful, the story lacked a little, but was still good. At the end of the day, this is a film that, in my opinion, is just as good a film as Iron Man in terms of ‘origin’ film. Looking back, people might have raised the scores that they might have originally gave this film, I know I have. At the end of the day, I would give this movie a score of 8/10.
This is now my longest review to date, and I want your opinion on what you think of the length of my reviews. Do you prefer the shorter ones, or the ones that have a bit more meat to them? Let me know in the comments below!
What did you think of the film? Are you excited for Thor Ragnarok? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,