The 300s Marvel Cinematic Rewind Presents: Thor

I remember I held off on seeing Thor until I had to no choice since it was a prerequisite for understanding the Avengers. Similar to when Iron Man first came out I had absolutely zero idea who the hell Thor was so I had pretty low expectations coming into this one. The story itself is a bit out there, but it presented the first opportunity for the MCU to really expand its grasp beyond that of Earth and it does it pretty well. It also does a great job of introducing SHIELD in a universal, nay galactic, role without totally shoehorning it into the movie. The highlight of the film though is definitely Chris Hemsworth, who was a complete unknown at this point, but became instantly enjoyable with his brash, aloof demi-god character.

Synopsis

Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, and Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Selvig are storm chasing, looking to unearth some type of astrological phenomenon, when they end up smoking an unidentified person with their van, who we learn is Chris Hemsworth falling from the sky.

An Anthony Hopkins voiceover explains the concept of life beyond Earth, officially introducing intergalactic characters into the MCU. The Frost Giants are introduced as the original big baddie with a weapon of mass destruction. This blue cube looks exactly like a lot of other colorful glowing cubes in the MCU, but this is *not* in fact an Infinity Stone. It’s actually The Casket of Ancient Winters.

(The first reference of an Infinity Stone in the MCU won’t be revealed until the end of this movie actually.) So as the Frost Giants tried to take over the universe, including Earth, Odin defeats them (and loses his eye in the process…just like his son would also do years later!) and returns home to Asgard with the ancient relic for safe keeping.

Years later Thor is on the precipice of being crowned the new king of Asgard and Loki is visibly bullshit. But, wait! Before Odin can officially say the words to make Thor king the Frost Giants have “somehow” snuck into Asgard and they want their blue cube back.

We also meet The Destroyer, who protects all of Odin’s dangerous toys and subsequently kills the Frost Giant intruders. Don’t sleep on this guy because he’ll be back.

Thor defies his fathers wishes and goes to Jotunheim, home of the Frost Giants, looking for answers and starts a big old battle. Key scene here shows one of Thor’s warriors getting burned by a Frost Giant, yet when Loki gets touched his skin turns blue and we see the wheels start to turn in his head. The battle goes on before Odin not surprisingly has to come rescue the crew before banishing Thor for disobeying him.

I have to say, in the beginning of this movie, Thor sounds an awfulll lot like Prince Joffrey now that I rewatch it.

Full of arrogance, mean, and just itching to start a war before Odin shuts him down.

Back to Earth.

Along with Thor Odin sends his son’s hammer, Mjolnir, to Earth saying only he who is worthy of its power will be able to wield the weapon. (Not you, Loki)

In a direct reference to Excalibur (the director has a fondness for Shakespeare and such), Thor’s hammer lands in the New Mexico desert and people come from all over trying to pull it from the ground before SHIELD quarantines the entire area.

Natalie Portman has all of her scientific research confiscated by SHIELD and now that her and Hemsworth are acquainted, Thor promises to give her all the answers she seeks if she drives him out to the crash site where Mjolnir currently sits.

We’re also introduced to Hawkeye for the very first time in this scene as Thor tries to fight through the SHIELD base to get his hammer back.

How about Jeremy Renner? Remember when he was tapped to be the next biggest movie star on the planet? He was in The Town, Thor, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and the Avengers back to back to back to back. Thats four absolute heaters in a row he starred in before making the snooze fest that was The Bourne Legacy followed up by Hansel and Gretel. WHO IS HIS AGENT?

Unfortunately Thor comes to learn without his powers he is unable to lift Mjolnir, which is what finally breaks his spirit from the cocky warrior that he has been. Luckily Dr. Selvig talks his way into getting Thor out of SHIELD custody.

THIS IS WHERE THE MOVIE HITS THE WRAP IT UP BOX

Thor’s righthand men and women (Lady Sif and the Warriors Three) take the bifrost bridge and teleport to Earth as they look to bring back their rightful king, which Loki doesn’t appreciate so he send the Defender to Earth to destroy them all. Once Thor’s crew promptly gets their asses kicked, the Thunder God offers his own life to spare the others. His apparent death is the selfless act necessary to grant the return of his powers and Mjolnir. Thor then makes quick work of the robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still.

This is where things get a little confusing. Loki cuts a deal with the Frost Giants to let them into Asgard so they can kill Odin…so he can become king…I guess. Then despite opening the goddamn door for them, Loki kills the Frost Giant before it can kill Odin. A cunning trickster indeed.

Loki reveals his grand plan is to open up the bifrost to destroy the Jotunheim.

Huh?

His plan was to rescue his father and then wipe the Frost Giants out to earn his father’s respect and become the true heir. I think? By starting war and committing genocide, which Odin was openly against from the start of the movie and is exactly what got Thor banished in the first place.

I don’t know, this never gets explained very well.

I’m pretty sure the third act of this movie is used solely to set up Thor’s reason for even being around during the Avengers. To stop Loki, Thor is forced to destroy the bifrost.

Odin wakes up from his dirt nap and a defeated Loki lets himself fall from the broken bridge as we’re left to wonder where he went.

Apropos of Nothing:

Heimdall is still the best. It’s a shame how criminally underused Idris Alba was in the whole MCU.

Loki really is one of the best anti-heroes in comic book history. After learning of his Frost Giant heritage he flips out on Odin and gives us one of the most popular GIFs of all time:

The whole exchange gives Odin a heart attack and as he drops Loki cries out for the guards. Despite all the evil shit Loki does in the following movies, you can’t help but feel for the guy.

The Breadcrumbs of the MCU…

“I knew this scientist, the pioneer in gamma radiation. SHIELD showed up and he wasn’t heard from again.”

What Has Aged Well

The one liners still land remarkably well.

  • Thor walks into a pet store and yells “I need a horse.”
  • “That still doesn’t explain how he was able to tear through our defenses?”
    • “STEROIDS!”
  • “Is that one of Stark’s?”
    • “I don’t know, he doesn’t tell me anything anymore.”
  • Thor calling Agent Coulson “Son of Cole.”
  • Thursday = Thor’s Day

What Has Not Aged Well

It took me seven years to figure it out, but I finally realized why Chris Hemsworth looks so weird in Thor 1 compared to all of the other movies he’s in. They died his goddamn eyebrows for some reason in the first movie, but then never did it again.

Thor 1:

Avengers 1:

Thor 2:

Oh my god the product placement. I must have seen that 7/11 sign no less than 30 times.

Asgard has fucking TERRIBLE security as the whole realm gets invaded in 2/3rds of Thor’s standalone films.

The Frost Giants look a hell of a lot like the White Walkers. Thor came out a month after Game of Thrones officially premiered, so GoT technically got the jump. After 7 seasons of Thrones they have the icy blue look on lock.

Rating

Thor was the first pleasant surprise of the MCU. Iron Man was great, but we had literally zero expectations for that. Hulk was always a disaster so anything after the Eric Bana mess would have been good enough. Thor was the first MCU movie that I was actively not looking forward to at all. A space god with long blonde hair directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh, a guy best known for Henry V, Hamlet, and Shakespeare? Sounded like a recipe for a disaster, but ended up being very entertaining. Thor holds up surprisingly well seven years later and sets up the MCU to tackle stories beyond that of just Earth.

7/10

 

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POST CREDITS SCENE

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