Characters You Will See In Thor: The Dark World, And Some Background On Them
The marquee character of the movie. The movie version of Thor is actually more enjoyable to me than the comic book one. Or was. They altered the comic one a lot to be more like the movie version.The movie Avengers are actually a mix of the traditional comic versions, the Ultimate Universe version, and a bit of new Hollywood spin. Thor was created partly as a response to Superman, and the Hulk. Stan Lee wanted another Marvel character as powerful. He was also fascinated in Norse mythology. He got some stuff wrong in his comic book version of those myths, or perhaps purposely adapted them to a new audience, but he still brought them vibrantly to life and made people care about a centuries old pantheon. Lee came up with the character idea and concepts, then had his brother Larry Leiber script it, and Jack Kirby illustrate. The original comic book version was written in 1962. In it, Thor wasn't actually Thor, he was a human doctor named Donald Blake, hence the inside joke of calling him that in the first Thor movie. He finds a cane in Norway that turns out to be a disguised Mjolnir. When he strikes the ground with the cane, it becomes the hammer, and transforms Blake into Thor, the Norse thunder god. This was the status quo for a while, then it was revealed that Blake truly was Thor, who had been turned human, and bonded with the soul of Blake, by Odin. It was a lesson in humility for the proud, arrogant Thor. The cane he was drawn to was his hammer Mjolnir, and only allowed him partial access to his powers, until such a time as he'd learned his lesson. The hammer is a very powerful weapon, that has "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor" written on the side in runes, though the runes shift and become readable script to whoever is reading them. The hammer is made of the mythical metal uru, by the best dwarven smiths in the realms. There are numerous myths pertaining to the hammer in real history, and Lee and others adapted most of them into the comics.
Eventually Thor is separated from Blake, and they become separate entities. Thor spoke in an Olde English manor that was both endearing and laughable. They changed that for the movies, giving him an accent and a kind of classical manor of speaking English, the same for most of the Asgardians. Thor/Blake and eventually just Thor, becomes a superhero on earth/Midgard. He fights crime and monsters. He falls in love with Blake's head nurse, Jane Foster. He is one of the founding members of the Avengers, and has been part of the team off and on ever since. In the comics, Loki was the person who brought the Avengers together, as an accident. He meant to fool Thor into fighting the Hulk, and hopefully killing one or both of them. This partly works, but it also draws Iron-man, Wasp, and Ant-man into the conflict as well. The heroes come together to stop the Hulk, but quickly realize they've been tricked and bad together to stop Loki. Iron-man comes up with the idea that they could all do much more good together than apart, and the others agree, forming the Avengers. The Hulk leaves the group soon after, and Captain America joins in issue 4 of the series. In Norse myth, Odin is seen as a war god, the god of warriors whose souls go to Valhalla. Thor is the champion of the everyday people, and of mankind in general. This is why many followers of the Norse beliefs wear the symbol of Mjolnir, and not one of Odin.
The Ultimate version of Thor is equally as powerful, but no one is ever really sure where he got his powers, if he is truly a god, or if he is simply a delusional meta-human. It isn't revealed until years later that he is truly just a man, and yet also Thor. He was a subject in a EU experiment to create super-beings. His powers are derived from a mixture of tech and bioengineering. But the process seamed to drive him insane, and he became convinced that he was Thor, the Norse god. He was put in an institution, but escaped, and became something of an Eco-terroist, stopping polluters and poachers, though not actually killing people. He was doing this when he was approached by SHIELD about joining The Ultimates, which Fury was reluctantly putting together as a government response team to the emergence of hundreds of post-humans. Their first missions were stopping the Hulk, and an invasion by the Chitauri, an alien race (who appear in the Avengers movie in altered form). He initially refuses, but changes his mind later. Eventually it's reveled that the human is actually Thor, reincarnated after dying in Ragnarok. He had no memories of the past life, until the EU program altered him a great deal, and brought all those old memories to the surface.
In the movie version of Thor, the Asgardians are not deities or even magical, but are extra-dimensional beings of great power who's advanced tech seemed like magic to primitive man eons ago. Their world is linked to ours by the Bifrost bridge, which is as far as i can tell, is the physical manifest ion of a physics concept. In the first Thor film, Thor renews the war between the Asgardians and Jotunheim, the realm of Frost Giants. A few of the giants had snuck into Asgard, and died trying to steal the mystical power source of their people, which Odin had captured in the last war. It is reveled that Loki let the giants into Asgard,as a trick to disrupt Thor's coronation ceremony, but this leads to everything being changed when Thor journeys to Jotunheim to question them about the attack, bringing along his close friends and allies: Loki, Sif, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg. After a blundered assault, and being saved by Odin, Thor is banished to earth, as a mortal. He puts a spell on it that makes it so only someone truly worthy may wield it. Thor lands on Midgard, in New Mexico, and meets Jane Foster (an astrophysicist in this version), and her crew. It takes Thor a while to adapt to being human, and he finds meaning in his new friends. After a failed attempt at regaining Mjolnir, he is captured by SHIELD. Loki, who is now king of Asgard after Odin collapses and enters Odin-sleep. Loki lies and tells Thor that Odin died form grief and Thor may never return. Thor is broken up, but after being released by SHIELD, he is comforted by his new human friends. He's learning to live his new human life, when his Asgardian friends sneak to earth to bring him back, and tell him the truth about his brother and father. Loki sends the Destroyer armor to the small New Mexican town Thor is at, to destroy it, Thor, and Thor's friends who have figured out the truth about him. Thor sacrifices himself to Loki, asking that Loki spare the town. Which Loki seems to do after dealing a fatal blow to the mortal Thor. But after dying, or right at death's door, Mjolnir awakens and rushes to Thor, and gives him back his power. He destroys the Destroyer, and returns to Asgard to deal with Loki. Loki has decided to begin the process to use the Bifrost bridge to destroy Jotunheim, to prove himself a worthy son of Odin. Thor stops him, but is forced to destroy the Bifrost to do so. Loki falls, apparently to his death into the vast empty space around Asgard. Thor mourns him, and Jane as he destroyed his only means of reaching Midgard. In The Avengers it is revealed that Loki survived the fall and has allied himself with the Chitauri, an inter-dimensional race of conquerors. They save him from the never ending fall and give him new powers, in return he agrees to go to earth and use the Tesseract to open a portal to allow the Chitauri into this dimension. Loki is also to be given ruler-ship of Midgard. Loki causes lots of chaos and steals the Tesseract. He needs a vast power source to kick start the gateway through the Tesseract, He decides to use the arc reactor in Stark tower. Fury decides to jump-start the Avengers Initiative, despite the misgivings of his superiors. They capture Loki, and Thor appears to take him into custody to bring back to Asgard. It is alluded to that Odin used the same dark channels that Loki does to get Thor to earth for this purpose. Thor fights Iron-man over who gets Loki, then decides to accompany and help SHIELD recapture the Tesseract, and then he is to b given Loki to take. Loki escapes, tries to kill Thor, and opens the portal to allow the Chitauri to enter our world. A battle ensues. Thor still wishes to have his brother back, but things can never be the same. The Avengers save the world and close the portal. Thor has Loki in binds and muzzled at the end of the movie, and he goes back to Asgard with him and the Tesseract. Now we are waiting until we get to see Thor: The Dark World, to see the next chapter of the movie Thor's story, and I for one am very excited to experience it.
The comic book version of Jane is kind of a non-character. Her only reason to exist really was to be a love interest for Thor and Donald Blake. It was the done to death hero with a secret identity love triangle with a girl and their own alternate ego. The only real twist here was that there really were two separate people with Thor and Blake, and not just a false identity. It's been done with Captain America in the golden age, Spider-man, Iron-man, Superman, Batman, Robin, Flash, Green Lantern....the list goes on and on. It's a plot device I've never really liked, as the women involved are usually one dimensional and cruel to the identity they see as "weaker". Even when it's done well, which is a rare occurrence, it's still more annoying than entertaining. Jane wasn't mean to Blake, she worried about him a lot, but in a sisterly kind of way. She had a crush on Thor though. Thor eventually told her the truth about him, which for some reason upset Odin, who punished him with more banishment or something. He was forgiven after saving Asgard. For a time Jane lived with Thor in Asgard, and was granted immortality and Asgardian powers, but ended up losing them and returning to earth after failing one of Odin's tests. She and Thor broke up, and she eventually started dating another doctor who resembled Blake, She ends up marrying him and having a child by him. In the Civil War, she sided with the rebel heroes and was their unofficial doctor. After Thor died,and came back, along with the reemergence of Blake, she leaves her husband and moves to be near Blake. They start a medical practice in the town of Broxton, OK, where Asgard has come to be on Midgard, after a series of events.That's the last story I can find involving her.
The movie version of Jane Foster is much more nuanced and realistic than the comic version. Natalie Portman brings a likable intelligence to a relatively small role, in the Marvel movie universe as a whole. In the first Thor film, shes an astrophysicist who has a theory about gateways to other dimensions, and has spent her life studying them. Her and her team, Dr.Erik Selvig and Darcy Lewis; spend their time in the land of enchantment, studying variations in radiant energy levels and the math behind making a gateway to other dimensions. She hits Thor with her van during an energy storm, and they take him to a hospital. After seeing pictures of a human form in the storm, she realizes that Thor was somehow inside the storm, and goes back for him. She finds out he has escaped, and then promptly runs him over again. Thor stays with them for a while, adjusting to being human and culture shock. He drops many cryptic remarks that make Foster and the others think he may be crazy, or may be from another world. She helps Thor try to seize Mojlnir, after SHIELD has seized all her notes and equipment. After Thor is told his father died and he's to remain on earth forever, he and Foster spend a deal of time getting to know each other and growing close.Then Thor's friends show up, and the Destroyer attacks. Thor is seemingly killed and Foster is devastated. then Thor is revived, with his powers renewed, and he brings the Destroyer down. Then there's a tender moment as Thor prepares to leave for Asgard to deal with Loki. They kiss, and Thor promises to return. But after he must destroy the Rainbow Bridge, he can't. Foster is sad, but begins again on her theories, with a renewed sense of purpose.
I like the movie Jane a lot, but I like the version of her in the Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes cartoon show as much, if not better. She is voiced by Kari Wahlgren, and is portrayed as a fearless EMT, who impresses Thor with her bravery and gusto,despite being physically vulnerable (In Thor's eyes).
And now Loki, the primary antagonist from Thor and The Avengers. Thor's adopted brother. He's become a surprise hit. He seems to be more popular with a lot of people than most of the Avengers. There's good reason for this; his character is both evil and sympathetic at the same time. And Tom Hiddleston does a masterful performance of bringing the evil, jealousy, mirth, and sadness of Loki to life. In Thor, he was not truly evil..but simply doing what he felt was best. His frustration at being second best to someone he felt didn't truly deserve the crown, mixed with him finding out he was really a frost giant, made him distraught. Then suddenly becoming king of Asgard himself, changed his outlook considerably. He set out to assure his people of peace, and try to win his father's favor. It has to be remembered that Loki planned almost none of this. Initially, he simply sought to foul Thor's coronation and stave off his kingship for a while. He had no way of knowing it would lead to Thor's banishment, or his own kingship. He had no way of knowing he was adopted. Then once he found himself being the king, everything changed. He didn't want to lose the crown, and he wanted to prove himself a better king than Thor would have been. He knows if Thor comes back, the people will demand that he be king instead. So, Loki sets about making sure that never happens. Closing off the bridge to Midgard, and telling Thor that their father had died, and that Thor could never return. I'm not saying that the choices he made are the right ones, but I think they are easily understandable to most of us. His overreaction to the Jotun problem, wanting to wipe them out, is extreme, but no more so than some of the people in the real world who respond to attacks by small groups of people by bombing entire countries. He wanted to both protect his kingdom form the threat of the Jotun, and prove to himself and Odin that he was truly an Asgardian, no matter his heritage. Thor and his friends stop him, and he falls into the abyss. He is already shown meddling with Dr.Selvig's mind after the credits in Thor. It is alluded to in Avengers but not shown, that he fell for a very long time, and saw things no one should have to, and then was pulled from the abyss by the Other, the face of the Chitauri. He has obviously been warped by this experience, into a much darker version of himself, who now thinks only of vengeance and not on proving himself or protecting Asgard. He is given new power and understanding by the Other, and he makes a deal. To use the Tesseract to open the portal that will allow the Chitauri to enter this dimension, where they will conquer all of it. In return, Loki will be allowed his vengeance, and ruler-ship of the earth. So Loki sets about acquiring the Tesseract, and weakening the earth's defenses against him. He arranges to have the greatest threats to him fight among themselves, as he steadily works to amass power and open the gateway. His plans work, but have the unexpected side effect if bringing the Avengers together as a group, and giving them a reason to move beyond their differences. They manage to stop him, and he is severely beaten by the Hulk. He is seen at the end of the movie, in bonds, gagged, going to Asgard to face his punishment. We are forced to wait until Thor: The Dark World to see what happens with him next. It is hinted at but never said directly that Loki uses actual magic, as opposed to the regular tech of the other Asgardians. He is called a sorcerer, and knows things that the others don't, and has skills they don't. He can hide from Heimdal, which none have ever done before. He can travel between the worlds without using the Bifrost. He is referred to as using dark energies. It says repeatedly that there is no actual magic in Asgard, but I really think that Loki is the exception, which is what makes him unique, as much as his personality and heritage. Marvel avoided the concept of magic as much as possible with the movie Asgardians, but it slips through here and there, And they will have to address it eventually, when they bring Dr.Strange and Ghost Rider into the mix.
The comic version of Loki originally appeared in the Aphrodite comics, by Timely Comics, the company Marvel was before it was officially Marvel. This version had little to do with the Silver Age version of Loki, who was made to be the primary foil of Thor. The original Loki was a good, interesting, though annoying villain. He was fairly one-dimensional, though this has changed over the years. He evolved into the tragic, evil form that we know and love today. He is a genius, in both magic and intrigue. Only his own burning jealousies and rage and hubris have kept him from attaining numerous thrones. He's not quite on par with Dr.Doom, but is not far off the mark either. He inadvertently caused the founding of the Avengers. He has been a foil for them for decades. He helped to cause the Siege of Asgard, then sacrificed himself to give everyone a chance to stop the Void from destroying everything. He had previously worked it so he couldn't truly die, as his name had been erased from the books of the dead. But this was still a true sacrifice of time and sense of self, as his reincarnated self didn't have his memories until certain things were fulfilled to make that happen. Thor found the new child Loki, and reawakened some of his dormant memories. Thor hoped to have his brother back again, without the evil taint of the former one. Loki didn't remember much of his past life, but the other Asgardians do, and they understandably distrust him. Eventually, the old Loki manages to have his mind set back into his now teenage reincarnated form, and is part of the new Young Avengers. He hopes to travel a different road this time, but few think that is truly possible.
Odin, father of Thor. He is an important figure in Marvel, but ultimately he is a supporting character. He gives meaning and background to many of Thor's greatest adventures. He is both the cause and the solution of some of Thor's biggest challenges. In the movie Thor, he is presented as a wise, elderly father and king. The years have changed him from a young warrior king, into a peace seeking ruler who simply wants the beings of all the realms to live in harmony. He helped protect Midgard from the Jotun, and steals their power source in the process. He also finds a baby, the child of Laufey, the Jotun king. The child is a shunned runt, too small to be accepted into Jotun society. Odin takes pity on the child, and also thinks that maybe having the Jotun prince raised as an Asgard prince could mean a chance for peace between their peoples. He raises Loki as his own, truly loving him as he would any biological offspring. Yet Loki still senses that something is off in the different ways he and Thor are treated. This breeds a deep seated resentment and jealousy between himself and Thor. He loves his brother, but he feels the eternal second fiddle. This leads to the series of events in the movie, and Odin's entering into the Odin-sleep early. He spends most of the movie in a mystical coma, but then as I said before, it's not his movie. I found the movie Odin to be interesting, I'd like to know more about him. But there wasn't enough there to make him someone I found myself talking about much when I talked about the movie.
The comic version of Odin is certainly more detailed than the movie one. He's impacted the Marvel universe immensely, and his story has been told, ret-conned, and retold many times, with deep meaningful material in most of it. He is a driving force behind Thor's heroism, but at the same time is constantly punishing him for being to involved with Midgard.I'm not sure if this is a plot device to give the god hero some struggle, or the way the writers truly think Odin would react to Thor's affection for mortals. The power of Odin falling into the wrong hands is a frequent trial for Thor. Maybe a bit too often for belief, but the same can be said of almost all the very powerful people in comics. He's died a few times, always defending Asgard in some form. He's not the perfect father or humanitarian, but he truly loves and cares for his people. The mythical Odin was equally dour in many ways. He was very wise, but he was never known for being merciful, and cared much more about his warrior souls than humanity as a whole. He gave an eye, and spent a good deal of time hanging upside down from a tree, all for the sake of occult knowledge. He was known to wander Midgard as a hermit, and interact with people to see how they treated everyday people. There are more myths involving Odin, I think than Thor, but in the Marvel Universe he's taken a back seat to his sons.
I honestly don't know much about Malekith, other than what I've read on wikis. I've never seen him in a comic, though I have heard him talked about in them. I saw him in an episode of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. I haven't seen The Dark World yet, so I don't really know what he does in it. I know his basic story. He's one of the Dark Elves, a race of elves who live in Svartalheim. The dark elves are a mostly evil group, who have tried to destroy and/or conquer the rest of the Realms, most often using dark magic. In the comics, Malekith gained control of an artifact that allowed him to unleash the deepest freezing winds from Jotunheinm which could be used to flash freeze large groups of his enemies. A human manged to steal the box, and Malekith was captured and trapped in another dimension. He was eventually released by Surtur, and began making havoc again. He turned Algrim into Kurse, when he sent him to fight Thor, and then had them both trapped in a volcano blast, in an effort to kill Thor. Kurse ends up killing Malekith, but Malekith is somehow alive again at a later time.
Sif is an important person in the history of the comic universe Thor. In the movie's she's his best friend and comrade at arms. In the comics she is these things, and his on and off love interest. In real life myth she is Thor's wife, and isn't a warrior, but a goddess of marriage and/or the harvest. She is changed a lot in the Marvel version. She is a warrior there, one of the finest in Asgard. She is not married to Thor, though they are a couple at times. They have had children together in many alternate futures that have been shown. Her hair was changed from golden to black, much the same as Thor's being changed from red to blonde. Really not sure why Lee and co. chose to do that, maybe just a lack of fact checking or not considering the hair color an important thing. She is very supportive and self sacrificing when it comes to her friends and loves, though she does not really understand or support Thor's affinity for humans, at least not at first, until she got to know a bunch of them.
In the movie Thor, she goes with Thor to Jotunheim, and is the first to decide to go to Odin to ask for Thor's return, and the first to decide to travel to Midgard to find him. She is depicted as a very capable and strong warrior and friend.She is an intriguing character, despite her limited screen time. I like that she is one of the few good, strong female characters in comic book movies, who's primary reason for being is actually not as a love interest for a male here. That's a very short list.There is some talk of a Sif solo movie. I don't see enough material for that, just from what I've seen in the movies so far, but I am still loving that idea, if for no other reason that there is a dearth of superhero movies who's main star is a woman. Hollywood needs to fix this, now. They gave a movie to Elektra..and it failed. Now because of that, none of the great female characters will get a chance? Elektra was a third tier character in a really bad movie. It will not be the same if you give us an important character and a good movie. I would salivate for the chance on a She-hulk or Ms.Marvel movie. Would say the same for the X-Women, but I'm pretty sure Fox would screw it up, and it's end up somehow focusing on Wolverine.
Fandral is my favorite member of The Warriors Three, the group consisting of Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg. I like that he uses swords, and his swashbuckling, boastful personality. His luck and lack of luck with the ladies is always entertaining. I've only seen him in a few comics, but I liked all those. He was great to see in the animated movie: Thor: Tales of Asgard, and on the show, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. I've never seen a lot of detail about his history anywhere, just some hints and allusions here and there. He has been in every battle to defend Asgard that has been depicted. He is always optimistic, and assured that he and his friends will prevail. This occasionally causes some unnecessary risks and escapades for them. Fandral is usually first into the fray, and willing to fall for his comrades if necessary.
The movie Fandral is also entertaining, and much like his comic counterpart. We don't get to see much of him in the Thor movie, but what was there felt like Fandral. He fights with his friends on Jotunheim, and supports Sif in sneaking to Earth, where he and his friends took on the Destroyer, and lost thoroughly. But they risked everything just to buy the people in the town some time to properly flee. I'm hoping for more screen time for the Warriors in the sequel. There has been some interesting stuff in the casting an actor for Fandral. It was originally supposed to be Zachary Levi playing him, but he was forced to pull out after his show Chuck was picked up for another season. Then Stuart Townsend was supposed to do it, but he had some creative differences with the movie makers, and backed out. So Joshua Dallas ended up portraying him for the movie. Then when it came time to do the sequel, Dallas was too busy with the filming of Once Upon a Time, to do so. So Levi actually got the part this time.
Volstagg is also one of the Warriors Three. The Three are not based on any real world myths, but were invented by Lee, Leiber, and Kirby to aid Thor and be comedy relief. A lot of Lee's writing is influenced by Shakespeare and the Bible, and Thor more than most. Volstagg is based on Shakespeare's character Falstaff. He is portly, boisterous, cowardly, and a bumbler. He often manages to save the day while trying to hide from danger. Originally. His character has been altered numerous times. The modern Volstagg is still rotund and boisterous, but he is also brave, loyal, and a family man. He defends Asgard whenever it's attacked, and is part of anything the Three are involved in, despite being older, married, and semi-retired. He was duped into helping Norman Osborn have a reason to assault Asgard, when the U-Foes attacked him in Soldier Field, destroying the stadium full of people in the process. This caused the President to alow Osbourn to attack Asgard. Volstagg decides to turn himself in to the authorities, but he is met by some reporters who are investigating Osbourn, and they eventually manage to have the true story of the Soldier Field incident revealed to the masses.
In the Thor film, Volstagg is similar to his modern comic self, he is larger and older than his friends, though he isn't as large of girth. He is the most reluctant to go on adventures and enter battle out of the group, but when things go down, he's all in with them, attacking their foes with gusto. He may be the most reluctant of the Warriors, but he also seems to be the most levelheaded and pragmatic of them.
Hogun, the Grim, the Dour. He is the third member of the Warriors Three. He is a very quiet, reserved man. He is a master melee combatant, proficient with many weapons, and unarmed fighting. He favors blunt instruments, such as maces. His history is more filled out than the other Warriors, because it was used in several stories. The original character design was based on Chares Bronson. In his backstory, he is an Asier, like the other Asgardians, but Asgard is not his homeland. His homeland was conquered and mostly destroyed by Mogul. He wandered and wound up apprenticing to masons. He meets the other two Warriors, and accompanies them on a quest to pet Fenrir. All three of them are badly beaten in this exploit, but they decide to remain together. Hogun's taciturness is even more glaring in comparison to his loud, happy friends. He is depicted in the comics as being the both the most pragmatic and hot-headed of the group. He is quicker to pursue violence than his comrades, but less likely to brag about it afterwards. He's involved in all the adventures of the Three, helping Thor, defending Asgard, etc.
In the Thor movie, he is a little less grim, but still seems dour compared to his friends. He accompanies his friends on all their exploits. No scenes with him really stand out in my memory, but as The three didn't have all that much screen time, and he is the least attention grabbing one of the group, that's not overly surprising. I am hoping to see more from the character in the sequel.
I've read comics starring Heimdall, but not many. He never really stuck out to me as being that interesting. He is based on a real myth figure, the Norse gatekeeper god who could see invaders from continents away. The comic version is even more powerful, being able to see and hear things from across worlds and other dimensions. At first he had to forever stand vigil at the gate of the Bifrost, but eventually he developed the ability to be on guard wherever he happened to be. The only way anyone can get around his sight is through cloaking magic. He has warned the Asgardians of incoming attacks ahead of time, thousands of times. Almost every time Asgard has be successfully sacked, Heimdall is the first to fall. The invaders must take him out in some way to be able to even get into Asgard. He is Sif's brother in the comic, but I don't believe that's the case in the movie.
The movie version of Heimdall is much more interesting to me than the comic version. In fact, Heimdall is the third most interesting and impelling character to me in the movie, after Loki and Thor. Sif would have been third, I believe, if she had gotten more screen time, and a back story. The amazing actor who plays him, Eldris Elba, gives the character's every word and action a sense of weight and importance. Which is ironic, as some white supremacists groups boycotted the movie simply because a black person was playing a Norse deity. This is both spiteful and hypocritical: they haven't boycotted any of the thousands of movies where white actors portrayed mythical and historical people who were not originally white. Their stance was a little extreme, but I have heard rumblings from many supposedly not racist fans who were bothered by any change of race in characters, such as Nick Fury, Kingpin, etc. But those same people didn't say a word when people who weren't white in the source material were portrayed by white actors, such as Maria Hill and a few others. When the comics were written, in the 30s and 60s, it was not an inaccurate portrayal of real life to have a large or small group of people who were all the same ethnicity, and sexual orientation. But bringing those characters into the present for new medias, it is not an accurate mirror of society. Look around; how often do you see a group of 5 friends that are all the same race and all heterosexual?...don't worry. I'll wait. And for even bigger groups, such as SHIELD, the odds are even less. The "traditionalist" fans cry foul whenever their familiar characters are changed in any way. But the only reason these beloved icons have remained relevant is by changing with the times. The traditionalists say it is caving in to appease a minority of fans, but the absolute biggest task for an entertainment company, is to please the fans, or at least keep them interested when they're not pleased. If traditionalists and supremacists got their way, the great characters of Marvel would stagnate and die.
In Thor the movie, Heimdall is an accomplice to Thor and his friends, but not a full ally. I like the concept that he is perhaps as strong as Thor and Odin, yet he is happy to remain Asgard's watchman and is forever loyal to the throne. He helps Thor and co. sneak out of Asgard to Jotunheim, because he wished to learn how the giants had snuck into Asgard to begin with.Later he helps Thor's friends get to Earth to look for Thor, and is banished from Asgard by King Loki. Once he is no longer an Asgardian citizen, he no longer has to obey the king, and he attacks Loki, but Loki uses the Jotun artifact to freeze him in place. Heimdall manages to break loose just in time to send the gateway to Thor and co, but he then collapses. He is sent to the infirmary by Thor's friends as Thor goes to confront Loki. I like the way that Heimdall's eyes look otherworldly and different in the movie. And it is fitting that they are golden, because the mythical Heimdall had golden teeth for some reason. I am hoping to see even more of this guy in Thor: The Dark World.
Frigga is the wife of Odin. In the comics she is Thor's step-mother, while Gaea is his bio-mom. In the movies she is Thor's full mother, I guess to simplify things. In the comics she is simply a support character, acting as mother figure for Thor, Loki, Baldur, and to Asgard as a whole. She has some good character moments, but she's still pushed to the background most of the time. Recently she combined her being with two other Mother deities and became the All-Mother, and ruled Asgard for a while.
In the movie, she is a sweet, charming, motherly, strong woman who keeps the peace between her family males. She is still a background character, but she is a very endearing one.
I've never read any comics with Kurse in them, but I have read some talking about him,and have seen him in various Marvel animations. I also beat him down in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. I know his story in the comics, but can't truly say how good a character he is until I go and read it myself. Algrim was the strongest of the Dark Elf warriors. Malekith amplifies his power even more, then sends him to battle Thor. As they fight, Malekith causes a volcano to erupt with them in it, sacrificing Algrim in an attempt to kill Thor. Thor survives, but Algrim supposedly dies. It is later revealed that he survived, and grew even stronger than before. Some more of Thor's enemies manipulate him into fighting Thor and his allies. Eventually Thor reminds him that it is truly Malekith who deserves his wrath. Algrim, now called Kurse, went and killed Malektih. Though Malekith of course, somehow survives. Kurse fought to protect the Asgardian children during an invasion, and was thereafter put in place as their guardian. I'm not sure what his story will be in The Dark World, but I hope it's pretty epic.
Darcy is a character made up for the first Thor movie. She has no comic counterpart. The same as Selvig. She aids Jane in her research. She's an intern, but is actually a political science major, not a physical science one. Some fans found her annoying, which she is at times, but I choose to see it is as cute. She's a bit of a bumbler and birdbrained, but she's always loyal and eager to help.
Selvig was invented for the movies, there is no comic version of him. That makes him the second most important part of the movies that didn't come from the comics at all. The first being Coulson. He is a supporting role, but it is a key role, in both Thor and the Avengers. He is a great combination of father figure, genius, and comedy relief in one. I like that Whedon chose to bring him back for the Avengers. And I think it was partly done to carry over even more form the Thor movies, and partly because the character is very nuanced for a supporting role. In Thor, Selvig helps Thor and Jane do their thing, and becomes a good friend with Thor..in like two days. He gives some mythical knowledge to Jane about the Norse legends. In Avengers, he is working for SHIELD on the teseract, when Loki mind controls him, and uses him to be the scientific brain behind his operation. He is the one who comes up with the means to harness the teseract to open the gateway. He is freed from the control after being knocked on his head, then he tells Black Widow how to shut the teseract down.