Thor- A Comparison of the Graphic Novel and Film
Thor, a comic series centering on the mythical Asgardian god of thunder, transitions gracefully into film. Not only does the film possess an entertaining, action-packed plot but it is also rich with character development while remaining visually stunning throughout.
Differences in plot between the books and movie are in some instances extreme. For instance, instead of being transformed into the body and memories of Dr. Don Blake, the mildly handicapped doctor from the comics, Thor is still Thor, but without his godly powers. The Blake character which was so integral in the graphic novels is completely done away with in the movie. Also, Thor's love interest, Jane Foster, is not a nurse as she is in the books, but is instead a scientist who chases and studies storms.
However, similarities in plot still outweigh the differences. Thor still falls in love with Jane but does not get to be with her at the film's end. The characters Fanral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim, and Volstagg the Voluminous have less of an important part in the movie as in the comics but still make an appearance. Thor learns humility by being a human, which was what his father sent him to earth to learn, and eventually earns the right to wield his hammer.
As far as differences and similarities in appearances go, the film seems to draw heavily from the graphic novel illustrations. Thor's costume, a winged helmet and flowing red cape, is the same in the film and book. Loki's costume, which is predominately green and features a Gungnir spear and horned helmet, is also quite true to the book. Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, looks nearly identical to the comic book images, which show a huge squared off block of metal, with a metal handle wrapped with a strip of leather. It has a leather loop at the end which can be used to secure it to Thor's hand or can be used to swing the mallet around in rapid circles when Thor prefers to use a spinning weapon. As in the comics, Thor can throw Mjolnir and it will return to his hand like a boomerang. He can also hold onto the hammer and use it to fly. The Destroyer, an almost indestructible automaton, looks the same as in the comics, complete with the disintegrator beam that fires from his face.
Kenneth Branagh directed Thor, which was notably different from his previous works, as he is best known for adaptations of William Shakespeare. However, perhaps it was perhaps this knack for literary plots that brought a seriousness to the mythical aspects of Thor, a witty humor to the contrasts of old and new, and a great depth to the characters despite the focus on fast-paced war sequences, which Branagh also seemed to excel at depicting despite a lack of previous experience in his other films.
The scenes that take place in Asgard are beautifully computer animated with every detail, from the rainbow bridge to the voices and mannerisms of the characters, being brought to life in a creative but true to legend way. The scenes on earth make a stark and at times humorous contrast from the colorful, shiny kingdom of the gods with the brown, sandy surroundings and scrawny, imperfect people. The film does as good a job, if not better, at portraying these contrasts as the books do.
Nothing was lost from the comics to the film, even if slight to moderate variations in appearances and plot are present. Any changes were presumably made to create better flow and visual continuity in the film, as well as to keep it down to its running time of 114 minutes. Thor is one of those precious few movies that may arguably outshine its literary predecessor.