Thor, The Best Of Avengers Phase 1? - Review
Frozen or Thor'd?
I have written before about the Avengers movies, but I said there that Avengers Assemble was the best of "Phase 1".
Well, I may have to revise that opinion and put Thor on top, or at least, give them joint first position.
There's just something about this movie that puts it head and shoulders above the others - and no, I'm not just referring to Chris Hemsworth's (Thor) physical height!
A Trip To Asgard
The story is very different to the other Avengers movies, with a different setting and a whole other world to explore (more than one, in fact).
The artwork and effects for the environment of Asgard are particularly good, giving it the emotion of a heavenly dwelling place and a sense of wonder.
However, it also manages to stay connected in some way with the worlds around it, including our own.
Without spoiling the plot, its themes are that of redemption, betrayal and consequences.
This may sound tired and even hackneyed, but I found it to be fresh.
Thor and all those around him are changed by their experiences and there is a feeling of gravity to the situations they get themselves into.
The characters, most being gods from our human perspective, are all interesting, especially the relationship between the brothers Thor and Loki, and their father Odin.
Anthony Hopkins as Odin is suitably impressive, but I've become a huge fan of Tom Hiddleston as Loki and I look forward to seeing him in this (and the Avengers), almost as much as the main hero.
Thor's loyal friends are also interesting, if a little bit more comical and, dare I say it, more comic-book-like too.
They do however, provide a good backdrop to the main characters and my only disappointment is that I would like to see more of them in future episodes than we do.
In particular, the admiration of Lady Sif for Thor (or is it love?) is never really explored, but perhaps that will come to the fore some other time.
Want to see more of Thor?
Then here he is!
Thor is back and so is Jane, after a somewhat conspicuous absence in the Avengers ...but so is Loki.
Much mischief results, but their true enemy threatens to pull apart the very nature of the universe.
Can they face him together?
The human characters are fun too and provide a, er, human dimension to the action.
Their actions and reactions, as they try to understand what they are dealing with, are fun and provide a contrast to all the godly goings on.
For Marvel fans, Agent Coulson (and a SHIELD team), makes his first proper appearance in his own right.
Previously, he turned up in Iron Man 1 and 2, but this time round we get to see a bit more of him in action.
In Thor, it's also good to see some political interplay going on between the different factions.
Even if it's not developed to any great extent, the repercussions of events are brought home to us at both a national (global?) and personal level.
This sets things up nicely for the later movies, as both family relationships and the greater good of several planets are brought into question.
The fact that we care about what happens to Asgard as well as Earth, speaks volumes for how well the story reels us in.
It's well directed, well plotted and well acted, keeping up a good pace, but still includes moments of quiet and even tenderness in all the right places.
At the same time, Thor is full of humour and doesn't take itself too seriously.
From Thor's insistence on speaking in a semi-Shakespearean dialect throughout ("are these your chambers?", in reference to a caravan), to some genuinely laugh out loud comments (look out for the lines following, "I need a horse"), it will definitely keep you entertained.
The Avengers Assemble together for the first time, including our favourite man with a hammer.
Mjolnir was the name of Thor's hammer and was used as a religious symbol among the Vikings.
You may not be aware of this, but it is a historical fact that when Christianity came to Viking lands, jewellery makers weren't quite sure what to do with their trinkets.
Canny silversmiths decided to made necklaces which could be interpreted as a cross by Christians, or as a hammer by those still following pagan ways.
See the example below.
Hammer Of The Gods
I like too how it crosses genres, in that while Thor and friends have 'powers' in the superhero sense, sometimes they come across as magic and sometimes as science - in a Science Fiction kind of way, of course.
Indeed, the hero himself says, "I come from a place where they [science and magic] are one and the same thing".
That puts Thor in a unique place within the Avengers pantheon: Iron Man has technology, Captain America and the Hulk have special abilities, but only Thor has both.
One of the stars of the movie IMO, is not in fact a person, but a hammer.
This weapon of potentially mass destruction is inextricably linked to Thor's journey, and how he wields it is key to how things pan out - not to mention some lovely special effects.
It always gives an amazing impression of weight and it becomes as believable as the characters and the scientific techno-babble.
So in conclusion, I have to recommend this movie to you and I will place it at number 1 of the Avengers movie chart, for at least as long as the next time I watch Avengers Assemble ...or Iron Man ...or Captain America ...ahem...
If you want your superhero a bit more down to Earth, then Captain America will be able to sort out those bad guys.
He just uses his ordinary, everyday, hard as nails shield and his, er, superhuman strength and agility...
This film is able to distinguish itself from the rest of the series, by taking us back to the era of World War II.
Here's a trailer for your viewing pleasure.
Want more Thor? Then see my review of the sequel Thor: The Dark World.
© 2014 Tim Bader
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