Though perfectly suited to watch as a stand alone feature, Thor is in fact the fourth movie of Marvel studios phase one universe that ties up with Avengers Assemble so if you want to understand some of the references then you should watch Iron Man, Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 first but it doesn't matter too much.
What does matter is that Thor is a fantastic film.
Based upon norse mythology, the character Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), the king of the realm of Asgard. During his would be corronation to receive the crown from his father, Asgard is attacked by a handful of frost giants, long time enemies of the Asgardians. Arrogant in his youth believing himself invincible, he is persuaded by his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) Thor and his closest warriors defy Odin and travel to Jotenheim to confront the giants resulting in war. Enraged by Thor's acts, Odin banishes him to earth to humble him. Pride before the fall as they say.
This film does so many things right. It has surprisingly strong character development at it's heart as Thor realises he has much to learn not only about himself but the other realms, I really enjoyed watching him grow.
The locations are stunning. The CGI heavy realms of Asgard and Jotenheim look fantastic, Asgard is all light with golden glowing castles and shimmering waters in contrast with Jotenheim's dark cold ice and rock environments. Despite these fantastical locations Thor's time on earth in a small desert town is equally memorable as Thor tries to adjust to a world he doesn't understand or belong leading to many humorous moments. Interestingly despite the large differences between each realm, it works well as a cohesive universe.Read more ›
Long ago Odin (Anthony Hopkins) led Asgard to victory against the Jotunheim Frost Giants and captured the source of their power, the Casket of Ancient Warriors. Over a thousand years later, Odin is about to crown his son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), as King of Asgard, but the coronation ceremony is interrupted when the Front Giants find a way into the weapons vault and try to steal back the Casket. Fortunately, it wasn’t stolen as the giants fell before they could take it. Wanting to make an example of them, Thor and some of his loyal companions travel to Jotunheim against his father’s wishes and start a war with the giants. Odin rescues them but not without grave consequences: upon returning to Asgard, Thor is banished to Earth for his actions, powerless and alone. Only his hammer, Mjolnir, is sent with him, but now with an enchantment that only the worthy can wield it—and Thor is not.
On Earth, Thor meets Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), an astrophysicist who was there along with her mentor, Dr. Erik Selvig, the night Thor came through the wormhole.
Meanwhile, Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), finds out that his own heritage is not what he was told and, upon finding out his true origin, seeks to ensure his brother never returns to Asgard so he could become the king instead.
While on Earth, Thor must learn what it means to be humble, care for others, and thus earn his place as the proper king of Asgard, all in time to stop his brother from leading the Frost Giants into Asgard and destroying Odin’s kingdom.
This flick was Marvel’s fourth film in its Phase One plan leading up to The Avengers.
Marvel taking control of their own characters has been a God send to fans of their comics. They have produced a series of movies: Hulk, Iron Man and Captan America that, while necessarily adapting and changing things for the big screen, have retained the sense and spirit of what made the comics a hit in the first place. Thor continues the trend. What fans of these films like is to see something that is recognisable from the original comics. Here we have an epic and sweeping Asgard, a genuinely awesome Destroyer, The Warriors Three, an all powerful Odin, a complicated and tortured villain in Loki and a brash, arrogant, funny and ultimately, mighty Thor. This, I would guess, has a lot to do with being written by Michael Straczynski who has previously produced stories for the comic. But a lot of the credit must also go to another left field decison by Marvel in the directorial department with the appoitment of Kenneth Branagh who has taken the material and treated it with respect. The film is not, as many a lazy reviewer has said when presented with a comics adaption, camp, high camp or silly. It is instead a near perfect distillation of 40 odd years of comics history into an enjoyable and satisfying screen event that is lean and punchy and does not outstay it's welcome. For true fans there are little treats like the brief appearance of Hawkeye, mention of Dr. Donald Blake, reference to a certain Gamma ray scientist and the obligatory cameo from Stan Lee. Like all the Marvel produced films since 'Iron Man' this is another step towards the 'Avengers' movie, an overall plan that is worth applauding for it'a ambitiousness. Mighty Marvel Marches On.
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