When you grow up with Norwegian heritage there are a few things you learn very early on. One is how to make lefse with every single female relative you’ve ever had. Two is that lutefisk MUST have been the inspiration for Klingon cuisine. Three is that the Gods of Asgard are a source of national pride and woe be unto the person who doesn’t show the proper respect.
So naturally Thor would be a favorite comic book character of mine.
Kind of like with Harry Potter I’m always simultaneously nervous and excited when a movie about a character I love makes its way to the big screen. Sometimes I’m ok when they change the story up and sometimes I’m not. It all depends on how they do it.
Thor the movie differs from Thor the comic in several key points but for some reason it didn’t really bother me. Maybe it’s because Kenneth Branagh was at the helm (hehehe) and the Shakespeare lover in me adores him. Plus I owe him for reminding me that Thursday is named after Thor (get it? Thor’s Day?)[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOddp-nlNvQ]
Chris Hemsworth is charming and, um, impressive as the God of Thunder. Believable as both an arrogant warrior and an amused outsider, his performance was downright disarming at times. Let’s just say I wouldn’t mind hitting him with my car or with anything else a few times (cold shower anyone?) He managed to make wielding Mjolnir, a war hammer that could have looked ridiculous in comparison to more modern weapons, look cool and intimidating. Mjolnir, a character in its own right, produced a highly satisfying crunch every time it slammed into the face of a frost giant.
Thor’s major deviation from the comic book? His lack of amnesia. In the comics he doesn’t know that he’s Thor after Odin exiles him to Earth. After “being” Donald Blake for awhile, he gets a whisper in his ear from Odin and feels compelled to return to a cave in Norway aka the place of his birth (oh yeah, and sorry Rene Russo, but Frigga is not Thor’s mama, Gaea is) where he finds a wooden cane. Upon striking the cane on a rock, it transforms into Mjolnir and subsequently returns him to his Thor-ian form. He regains some of his memory but not all. It takes saving of humanity a few times before he gets all of that back. Oh yah, and they sort of skipped over the whole part where Thor and Sif are young lovers.
Natalie Portman is adorable and enchanting as Jane Foster, an astrophysicist studying spatial anomalies in New Mexico when she runs into Thor (literally). Arrogant as he is, it would be tough not to fall hard and fast for Thor and she is no exception. What makes her different from most Superhero girlfriends is her humorous way of saying exactly what’s on her mind, even when it’s awkward or poorly timed. Having been there, done that pretty much every day of my life, I totally understand where she’s coming from.
Jane’s major deviation from the comic book? Wow. Talk about a promotion! She went from being a nurse to an astrophysicist! Much like Lois Lane and any number of comic book ingénues, Jane is involved in a bizarre love triangle with two people who are actually the same person. In the comics she’s in love with both Dr. Donald Blake and Thor, unaware that they are the same person. In the movie, the name Donald Blake comes from a supposed ex-boyfriend as opposed to a crippled medical student.
This was my first exposure to Tom Hiddleston, who plays the silver tongued sorcerer and adopted son of Odin, Loki. So far I like what I see. Even knowing ahead of time that everything that comes out of his mouth is part of a devious master plan, I still found myself believing him when he said “damn” after a frost giant provokes Thor into attacking.
Loki’s major deviation from the comic book? It’s been more than a few years since I read the comic books but from what I can remember they pretty much got Loki right. In the comic books it’s a while before Loki sends the Destroyer (the nearly indestructible suit of enchanted armor) after Thor and when he does Thor is able to possess the robot (for lack of a better term) and then turns around and wreaks havoc on Hela of the Underworld…but that’s a whole different story.
Sir Anthony Hopkins is regal and imposing as Odin, King of Asgard and guardian of the nine realms. His poorly timed Odinsleep allows Loki to take the reigns of the kingdom while Thor is exiled. Oops. There are few people who could have portrayed Odin and Sir Tony was a fantastic choice. I don’t remember Erik Selvig from the comics and I’m wondering if the character (played by the brilliant Stellan Skarsgard) is a way of bringing in Eric Masterson way before he’s supposed to be introduced to the story. Never you mind that Eric with a “c” is an architect whereas Erik with a “k” is an astrophysicist. I also don’t remember Darcy Lewis being a character in the comic books, but I really got a kick out of Kat Dennings (FYI, it’s pronounced MEE- YOLL-NER not MEW-MEW, but nice try Darcy). Darcy could have easily gotten lost amongst a cast of larger than life personalities but, to her credit, there was no way Dennings was going to let that happen. Clark Gregg continued his meddling as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulson, another character that would get lost in the crowd if it weren’t for his impeccable comedic timing. When Coulson questioned whether the Destroyer was one of Stark’s, I literally laughed out loud.
Sif, Fandral, Hogun and Volstagg (Jaimie Alexander, Josh Dallas, Tadanobu Asano and Ray Stevenson respectively) are delightful as the lone warrior woman and the Warriors Three, loyal friends and battle comrades of Thor’s. I’ve always had a soft spot for Sif so I was pleased when Alexander did good by her. Part of me was hoping they’d show her as a kid with her golden hair. It would have been a great way to introduce Loki as a trickster when he chopped it off and, when forced to make it grow back, it came in black. Volstagg shouting “do not mistake my appetite for apathy” was another laugh out loud moment. The Warriors Three were created for the comic books and are not a part of the original Norse mythology. Volstagg in particular, was modeled after Shakespeare’s Falstaff, a man who is innately cowardly but boats of his glorious past. Fandral was inspired by Errol Flynn in his glory days of playing dashing young heroes like Robin Hood. Originally inspired by the cowboy roles of Charles Bronson, here Hogun is given more of a Samurai persona, though he stills rocks the mace.
Idris Elba as Heimdall was one of my favorite characters. Maybe it’s because he reminded me of the oracles in the Neverending Story, maybe it’s because I really dug his eyes. I don’t know, but I really enjoyed watching him. It’s a little ironic that Heimdall is portrayed by Elba since in Norse mythology Heimdallr is “the whitest of the gods” but hey, I’m cool with switching it up a bit. His major deviation from the comic book? The fact that he’s actually Sif’s brother.
Colm Feore (really, the best reason to watch The Chronicles of Riddick) got the job of portraying King Laufey of the Frost Giants (Laufey, by the by, is actually a chick in Norse mythology, but whatever). I can’t figure out if Laufey was all CGI or was a combo of CGI and make up. A credit to the special effects peeps I suppose.
I really liked the interpretations of the costumes, especially Loki’s after he takes control of Asgard. It was virtually spot on. Although I was a little disappointed when Thor got his powers and armor back and his helmet didn’t showed up. But that’s just me being picky. Oh, and anyone else notice Hawkeye?
This movie seriously had the most gorgeous ending credits EVER but the real reason to stay was, of course, another Avenger cock tease featuring Nick Fury. This time it introduced a Cosmic Cube, which is basically a cube of pure power. It will be interesting to see how it fits into the Avenger storyline…hopefully differently than the AllSpark did in Transformers. Loki will obviously be making an appearance in The Avengers which makes me wonder if the plot will revolve around preventing Ragnarok.
Ok, that’s it. I’m calling it right here and now. Ragnarok in The Avengers. Because really, what would be a better challenge for the team then preventing the Apocalypse?
Four out of five Sci-Fives!