I am on week4 of the Marvel-A-Week challenge that I have set myself and I am equal parts shocked and pleased that I have made it this far.
It was in no way a chore to sit down and watch Thor, as the brilliance of Thor: Ragnarok was still very fresh in my mind, and, my YouTube history will embarrassingly attest to the number of times I have watched the ‘Get Help’ scene. However, I was burdened with inglorious worry. I found myself feeling protective of Tony Stark, my least favourite Avenger, after watching Iron Man and Iron Man 2. My contrary nature meant that there was a very real likelihood that I might not enjoy Thor. I didn't, I loved it.
PLOT: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is banished to earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) after invading Jotunheim in a fit of foolish rage and almost breaking a longstanding truce. While Thor is trying to adapt to human life, Asgard falls into disarray after Odin takes confrontation-avoiding-nap and his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) inherits the throne. Thor must prove himself worthy of wielding his own hammer and return to Asgard to put his house in order. END PLOT
Thor opens in Asgard, and we get to enjoy some Shakespearean family drama, before Thor is hurled to earth. Once on earth, the tone shifts, and we are treated to some fish-out-of-water comedy and romance while Thor learns some valuable life lessons. The plot beats are familiar, but the dramatic scenes are wonderfully acted and the comedy scenes are generally funny, so it’s a job well done.
What makes Thor stand out is its cast. Chris Hemsworth is excellent as Thor, although the performances of Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins almost steal the movie from under him. I fully confess that Thor: Ragnarok kick started a much delayed Hiddleseason and I will subscribe to each and every fan theory which concludes that Loki is not a villain. Thor may be the lead but there is no denying that Loki is the more interesting character. I had forgotten that Loki let the Frost Giants into Asgard to derail Thor’s coronation and my own head-canon believes that Odin’s diplomatic response was because he knew that Loki did it. This will be the only time I react positively to Odin, a man incapable of dropping life-changing bombshells without either sleeping or dying to avoid follow up questions.
The chemistry between Hemsworth and Hiddleston is what has made the relationship between Thor and Loki endure. They bring out the best in each other and in their characters. It’s easy to forget that Thor and Loki have been bickering their way through four movies and I am quite content to watch them bicker through four more. The theories circling Infinity War suggest that won’t happen, but let’s be honest, was anyone really expecting Thor: Ragnarok to be such a huge hit? I could murder Loki and watch him die in my own arms and I still wouldn't be 100% convinced he is dead.
Anthony Hopkins is excellent as Odin and has the commanding presence required for such a huge personality and Idris Elba is the unsung badass of all three Thor movies. The Asgardian supporting cast is excellent and it’s unfortunate that we don’t see more of them. Down on earth, Natalie Portman is fine as Jane Foster and it's always surprisingly exciting when Clark Gregg pops up as the likeable Agent Coulson. Gregg ties the Phase One movies together and I like that Coulson is the character who brings everyone together in the Avengers.
The action scenes are fine but there are fewer than you might expect. The tension comes from the dialogue various members of the House of Odin yell at each other, rather than any sense of physical danger. It is a testament to the acting calibre of the cast that the big action scenes are not missed.
Iron Man relies on the personality of Tony Stark and Captain America has the fractured friendship of Steve and Bucky as selling points, but my heart lies in Asgard. I enjoyed everything about this film and as a trilogy, the Thor films are Marvel’s most consistent series. Thor will forever hold a special place in my heart as it has the best, and most relatable, piece of dialogue in the entire Marvel series – ‘do not mistake my appetite for apathy’. Even if I didn’t enjoy anything about Thor, it would get 10/10 for this line alone. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to destroy Jotunheim.