"… if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor."
So reads the entire quote, straight from the original draft of Journey Into Mystery #83, the 1962 comic which introduced us to the Marvel version of the Norse-mythology-inspired Thor. Fifty years have passed since that fateful summer. I’ve been a fan of the character for many moons – probably because it was a natural meld with my fantasy/sci-fi reading schedule.
I bring this up since the movie version of Thor hit the theaters about a week ago. Thor is the latest segment in the Marvel studios build-up to The Avengers next year. I had some down time on Monday so I decided to take it in. To answer your unspoken question, no, I did not put on a red cape, winged helmet and carry a claw hammer with me.
Those stay in the footlocker.
The titular character is a prince of Asgard, the realm of the Gods. Nestled in the branches of the cosmic tree Yggdrasil, Asgard is connected to the other parts of the ‘Nine Realms’ – including Midgard (Earth) and Jotunheim (realm of the giants) – by Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge. (An explanation of the realms can be found here.) Thor and his brother Loki are in line for the throne of Asgard; Thor is eventually chosen by his father Odin but an intrusion by frost giants leads to a series of ugly events, resulting in Thor being cast out of Asgard.
I won’t post any spoilers but readers of the comic can probably guess the major turns of plot; they aren’t all that surprising. The acting is passable, and the script is Shakespearean to a fault. However, I give the special effects a superb grade; the visuals of Asgard and the cosmos around it are painted in a wonderful palette and are a visual feast. The characters are believable and quite likable; Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (as Thor) is sure to provoke some speculative eye-narrowing in the female viewers (or as Mrs. Axe put it, "Oh yeah, he’s hot!"). The dialogue flows well, serves the greater purpose, and in general, no words are wasted.
Familiar characters from previous Marvel movies – Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Gregg Clark as SHIELD Agent Coulson – reprise their roles. Perceptive fans of the Marvel universe might just spot some other well-known characters in the background. Oh, and always, make sure you stay until after the credits for a bonus scene.
Overall, I enjoyed Thor quite a bit. I think the gold standard is still The Dark Knight, and even though I am a massive fan of the character, Thor wasn’t quite that good. It didn’t break any new ground in the comic movie genre but it is solid, entertaining fare.
I give it a B. Non-fans of comic movies can pass. If you enjoyed Iron Man, I ‘spect you will enjoy this one too.
Captain America is out in a month, The Avengers next year. Hell, next year also has The Dark Knight Rises, and the Spider-Man reboot. The future is so bright, I need to wear shades.