Thor (2011) (2011)
November 17, 2014 4:44 PM - Subscribe

The powerful but arrogant god Thor is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans in Midgard (Earth), where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

So, I just finally saw this movie today and would like to talk about how it is the best movie yet released in the MCU (with the possible exception of Thor 2, which is the only MCU movie I have not yet seen). I especially loved the restraint they showed regarding needlessly extending the fight and explosion scenes (though the first one, in Jotunheim, was still a bit long).

There were a few things that bugged me about it though:

1. Why did Loki have to be SO evil? In the early parts of the movie, we see him being a seemingly loving brother and son, but that all turns out to have been deception. Yet, the movie provides plenty of reason why he may have chosen a darker path halfway through, thus giving him more of an arc than: racially impure, bad from the get go.

2. Thor gives his word to Erik after one drink that he will leave town by morning. They then get fabulously drunk and Thor is still there in the morning and acts like this promise was never given. This seems in pretty clear conflict with his character otherwise.

3. No ravens.
posted by 256 (44 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Love this - directed by Kenneth Branagh who did a great job with it. I was fed up with superhero movies when my partner wanted to see this and I half-heartedly agreed: boy did I get interested soon after it began.

I got the distinct impression Anthony Hopkins thought it was ridiculous but decided to give it his all anyway - and damn if he doesn't steal the movie.

Also the opulence of the film is a real pleasure - the bridge! The costumes! ALL THAT GOLD.

(Also: nice to see Rene Russo in the role of the mother.)

A great ride of a movie.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:17 PM on November 17, 2014

(that'd be me.)

Yes, it's a big unashamedly silly movie and Hopkins in particular gives a big unashamedly silly performance.

I think also Chris Hemsworth was very well cast: Thor is like 75% impetuous meathead, 25% introspective puppydog, and Hemsworth either has those characteristics or is quite good at portraying them.

Opulence yes! But I think that makes the middle third sag a bit; it's a bit too jarring a transition from Asgard's towering glories to New Mexico's flat dust. It feels a bit like they threw all the budget at the Asgard effects and didn't have much left for the rest of the movie.

(I suspect this is why Thor 2 chose more visually-exciting locations for its Earth-bound segments.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:05 PM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I still think the time spent on Earth was too short to explain Thor's sudden maturity. But I greatly enjoyed it!

But them dutch angles tho.
posted by cendawanita at 6:09 PM on November 17, 2014

I actually felt this was one of the weaker Marvel films, but I'm a big MCU fan so that doesn't mean I dislike it.* There's a lot to love. Good performances, good sense of humor. Hemsworth is great.

However, I don't think Thor's maturity is quite earned, the canted angles reminded me unpleasantly of Battlefield: Earth and too much of the film felt like it was shot on a back lot somewhere. Something interesting could have been done with that contrast between the epic fantasy universe and the small town, but I don't think it quite pulls it off.

* My ranking, FWIW.
posted by brundlefly at 6:17 PM on November 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Although this ostensibly has more serious cinematic cred than any of the other Marvel movies, it's hard to shake the feeling Thor is the b-movie to Captain America. It looks and feels like a movie made in a hurry and on a relative shoestring. SO BE IT!!! The movie is basically just a vehicle for Thor himself, and thankfully he's so damn charming and funny that it actually kind of works. It's fun. I still haven't seen the sequel, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:25 PM on November 17, 2014 [4 favorites]

Why did Loki have to be SO evil?

Mostly, I would guess, because they're setting up for his role in The Avengers -- which needs him to become, if not the Big Bad himself, at least The Greedy Dupe Of The Bigger Bad.

In this movie though (and I'm not familar with the comics, so this is just from the movie): I read it as classical younger-son resentment. He's smarter than Thor and knows it; but he's weaker than Thor and knows that also. Thor is the heir apparent, very much in his fathers mold, and will inevitably ascend to his father's position; Loki's the misfit, always looking for recognition from his father, always overlooked for Thor.

So he's resentful; also greedy; and also he's an archetypal trickster so he enjoys fooling his father into banishing Thor. But not evil enough to assume power by killing Thor, though; or by arranging for Thor to fall in battle, which presumably might be within Loki's power to influence.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:35 PM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I saw this in a second run theatre and literally the only two things I remember are 1) why are there horses on a spaceship? That is a spaceship, right? a retro spaceship? wait, why do they live on a spaceship? confusion and 2) the mud wrestling scene which I enjoyed.

It made literally no sense to those of us who'd never read the comic books, none at all. I have never seen such an incomprehensible thing on film, barring perhaps Lynch.

Although I like to think those of us who'd read The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul managed to piece a story together anyways.
posted by fshgrl at 6:59 PM on November 17, 2014 [5 favorites]

I think one of the things I liked best about the movie was how Hemsworth pulled off the attitude of "yeah, I'm basically a god" and was totally good-natured about it without being smug or haughty, which would be easy to fall into.

Unfortunately, before I saw the movie, my wife and I went to a taping of Conan where Hemsworth was the guest (to promote Snow White and the Huntsman), and they replayed this clip before he came out.
Another one.
posted by LionIndex at 7:13 PM on November 17, 2014

My ranking, FWIW.

1. Thor
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Iron Man
4. Captain America
5. The Avengers
6. Iron Man 2
7. The Hulk
8. Captain America 2
9. Iron Man 3
10. I haven't seen Thor 2
posted by 256 at 8:08 PM on November 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Thor 2 is a ton of fun, 256. Definitely see it.
posted by brundlefly at 9:21 PM on November 17, 2014 [6 favorites]

Thor interacting with New Mexico human life is Best Thor.

Also Darcy Lewis.

I will always demand more Darcy.

(Thor 2 is basically like eating an entire tub of frosting. Nothing matters but it's enjoyable while it happens)
posted by The Whelk at 9:23 PM on November 17, 2014 [10 favorites]

posted by The Whelk at 9:24 PM on November 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

"This drink. I like it. ANOTHER!"
posted by brundlefly at 11:04 PM on November 17, 2014 [6 favorites]

Thor makes this film, just as Iron Man makes Iron Man. By that, I mean both films are fairly flimsy and not brilliantly constructed, but their main characters are so great that they pretty much drift on on charisma alone. I don't think Thor at the start of this movie is terribly different from Thor at the end of this movie, but he's a lot of fun to watch all the way through.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:05 AM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hemsworth is perfectly cast in a way that makes me hope he's got more than Thor in him.
posted by double bubble at 2:02 AM on November 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I really like this Thor, because it gets across remarkably well (and this comes across in the next movie even better) that Thor is ultimately not all that bright. His general solution to any problem is "I will hit it with my hammer" and this is ok. This is who he is. It's not played up like, oh ha, here is a super dummy with a hammer, it's just, honestly, "I will hit it with my Hammer" has always solved the problem in the past, and he's always pretty much enjoyed hitting stuff with his hammer.
There is no angst going on, and that is what I want from Thor. I don't want him brooding over whether he should or should not hit things with his hammer. I just want him to be happy that, hey guys here is a thing I can hit with my hammer. I think I will hit it... probably with this hammer I have.

It also works really well in the Avengers, because you have Captain America who is clearly far weaker than Thor (or Iron Man, or Hulk) but he brings the tactical brains to the situation, and it shows us that he is filling a role that Thor just can't (and that Tony Stark is too self obsessed ever to be able to do).
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:07 AM on November 18, 2014 [29 favorites]

I love the first 3 minutes of this deleted scenes clip. I'm amazed that it was cut from the movie.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:34 AM on November 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Stuff that comes to mind when I think of Thor: Those dutch angles are so lazy. The production value looks cheap--New Mexico, Asgard, it all looks like a set. That said, the casting of Hopkins and Hemsworth is perfect. And Hemsworth is unexpectedly gifted at pratfalls. Oh, and it was nice to see something something unapologetically Kirbyesque on the big screen: the Destroyer.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2014

I'm probably misremembering the quote, but I remember reading somewhere that Tom Hiddleston, in the early going, was feeling a bit uncertain about what sort of tone to strike in a comic book movie about Norse deities that are actually extra-dimensional aliens. So he asks Kenneth Branagh for some guidance on what kind of performance he should be shooting for. And Branagh told him to just play it the way he would play the younger brother in any of the Shakespearian history plays.

I don't know why, I just find that a hilarious bit of advice for playing the "devious" form of supervillain. And it seems to have served him well, because he pretty much pulled off the definitive version of that character, the perfect foil to Hemsworth's more straightforward persona.
posted by Ipsifendus at 8:41 AM on November 18, 2014 [11 favorites]

I think this was the movie with which I started to understand what Kevin Feige and the MCU were really doing. I'm an admirer of Branagh, but I was a bit wary of how he'd handle the FX and the action scenes. And when I saw the film, the FX and action were so clearly of a piece with previous MCU films that I realized that Marvel uses a steady team of effects and second unit personnel to give their films a consistency of visual quality and style that really link them together. It doesn't matter if the director is an action veteran, a guy who previously made only made comedies, or a classically trained Shakespearean... they're mostly there to handle story and actors. All that money they're spending on spectacle is being routed through the same team of top flight support staff over and over again, so you know the stunts, the fights, the CGI... all of that will come out terrific no matter who's at the wheel. The director can then be free to focus on less technical matters.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

I love the first 3 minutes of this deleted scenes yt clip. I'm amazed that it was cut from the movie.

you know, all the MCU movies do this and it bugs me. We all go "that was fun but why not more X" and they go "Oh we shot X but cut it out and put it in deleted scnees." and like there is a built in audience allready! We know these movies are kinda long! We're okay with that! These scenes are short! Put them in damnit!

(eventually I'm going to have to make some MCU Ultimate Cut with every scene I want put back in aren't I? gah)
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Yes, The Whelk, if there isn't one floating around out there already. I thought the released film was a bit rushed at points. And I've enjoyed the 10 minutes I've just spent seeing some of those deleted scenes.

Very pretty movie though. I'm glad they got the Asgard scenes pretty spot on in the second film, too. All the long shots in both movies feel like the same place.
posted by Catblack at 11:39 AM on November 18, 2014

If something breaks he hits it with a hammer is a phrase we've used to describe a type of man ever since this movie came out. It perfectly sums up a certain type of person.
posted by fshgrl at 4:45 PM on November 18, 2014

It made literally no sense to those of us who'd never read the comic books, none at all.

On this point: I have never read the comics, but I was not confused for a single moment. I do have a good familiarity with Norse mythology however and with the general language of 21st century comic book films, so maybe that was enough?
posted by 256 at 6:03 PM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I, also had no former knowledge of Thor as a comic book character, and I got the idea...alien gods, earth, brothers, whatever. I actually didnt know Thor was a Marvel character I thought they where just folding in a comic booky Norse mythology and I knew Norse Mythology so it made sense?
posted by The Whelk at 6:06 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

So, no one has yet commented on my second objection, regarding Thor promising to leave town that night, then reneging on the promise with nary a comment on the fact. Was I the only one who though that very strange for his character?
posted by 256 at 6:13 PM on November 18, 2014

I'll chime in as another person who was unfamiliar with the comics who had no trouble following at all.
posted by brundlefly at 6:21 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think I just now figured out they were really aliens. Wtf did they have horses so? Very enjoyable film but as someone with no comic book background at all, but lots of knowledge of mythology, it was confusing as hell.
posted by fshgrl at 6:42 PM on November 18, 2014

256 - I admit I hadn't noticed that. Rewatch!
posted by double bubble at 7:04 PM on November 18, 2014

From the drunk scene(s) I loved: he drank, he fought, he made his ancestors proud.
posted by double bubble at 7:06 PM on November 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

His general solution to any problem is "I will hit it with my hammer" and this is ok. This is who he is. It's not played up like, oh ha, here is a super dummy with a hammer, it's just, honestly, "I will hit it with my Hammer" has always solved the problem in the past, and he's always pretty much enjoyed hitting stuff with his hammer.

I'm totally thinking of Fix-It Felix in the Fungeon: "Why do I fix everything I touch?"
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:34 PM on November 18, 2014

I could watch this a 1000 times:
Thor: [walking into a pet shop] I need a horse!
Pet Store Clerk: We don't have horses. Just dogs, cats, birds.
Thor: Then give me one of those large enough to ride.
posted by elgilito at 12:41 AM on November 19, 2014 [15 favorites]

Loved the look of the film but thought it was otherwise complete garbage.
posted by juiceCake at 7:54 AM on November 19, 2014

So, no one has yet commented on my second objection


Yes, it does seem out of character for Thor, who is very much a man of "my word is my bond" honor.

I wonder if there was more of a meeting of minds between Thor and Selvig than the movie depicts. The version of the script at IMSDB has a longer version of that scene (search for "97 INT. BAR") than I remember from the movie, and includes Selvig asking Thor "another drink?" This seems to me an implicit "you know that deal where you leave town after one drink? you don't have to, we're buddies now."

(I don't remember how the scene runs in the movie -- does it smash-cut straight from the "leave town tonight" nod to Thor and Selvig arriving drunk at the trailer?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:25 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Interestingly, the scene in the movie cuts off just before the point where the drunk townie enters in the script. I agree that the "another drink?" line provides a sort of implicit revocation of the earlier ultimatum. I bet they filmed that segment and left it on the cutting room floor without really thinking about it.
posted by 256 at 2:32 PM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Like juiceCake I did not care for the film and am somewhat surprised to hear all this love for it. I found the progress exceedingly dull and the only bits I really liked were because someone else had focus. Darcy, Hawkeye saying he's starting to root for the guy, Idris because shit who can be unhappy when he's on screen?

As was said above, the jump to humility came shockingly fast (while seeming, to me, to take FOREVER to get there given all the other draggy setup) considering that said character development is really the only point of the film.
posted by phearlez at 12:40 PM on November 20, 2014

I admit to just loving the New Mexico scenes. Didn't care for Asgard with all the special effects, honestly - that felt like a bit of a chore to get through. But I loved the Earth bits.

I rank this one below the Captain America movies and The Avengers; this ties with Thor 2 but outranks the later Iron Men for me.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:49 PM on November 21, 2014

I need to give this one a rewatch because I remember it being kind of boring, but I thought the second one was fantastic and realized how much of a reflection it is for the first one.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:32 PM on November 23, 2014

So I watched Thor 2 and I think the fact that so many people seem to think it's superior just really shows that I'm not the target audience for superhero films. I really liked the way they developed Loki's character in the second one, and especially the way they further explored his dynamic with Thor but: fight scene, creepy cgi world, fight scene, chase scene, fight scene, gratuitous destruction of major city, chase scene, fight scene, explosion, denouement.

posted by 256 at 6:05 AM on November 24, 2014

Re: Thor vs Thor 2 & SPOILERS

If you'll indulge some liberties - but I think it's worth considering some ideas: Asgard, a highly CGI stylized cinematic magical place, sits at one end of the Bifrost, which looks very similar to the light projection from a movie projector, and at the other end is Hemdall who sees everything, like the audience, and hangs out inside a giant eyeball.
In the first one Thor loses his power and is cast out of magic land to cope with reality. This is opposed to the second film where our (2nd?) favorite scientist gains powers and is transported into magic land. I believe in both films their roles are also pretty much reversed as hero and ally. Through the sequel, Thor's character has gone through almost a complete reversal and has learned to grow up and take on responsibility by trying to do the right thing. It's also interesting that Loki's character, who seems to remain a constant, constantly uses illusions and enacts plots, not unlike a director.
Both films show how the intrusion of one piece of reality into the other is treated, and in both realms they are treated xenophobicaly. Although on Earth they try to contain it in what appears to be a circus tent (as entertainment?), while on Asgard they immediately want to cast out the fragile icky non-magical human back to reality. I think the exposition in the films is fun in that the scientists are the ones constantly describing to us how it's not magic but actually SCIENCE.

So I think they compliment each other really well and I just happen to like the second act better than the first.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:48 AM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hemsworth is perfectly cast in a way that makes me hope he's got more than Thor in him.

I take it you haven't seen him completely set the bar for the entire movie as George Kirk in the opening scene in Star Trek, then? It's an amazing performance and he does so much with just a handful of lines and a very brief time on screen.
posted by biscotti at 7:45 AM on November 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hemsworth is also brilliant in Rush as F1 driver James Hunt.
posted by hush at 5:51 AM on April 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best part of the movie.
posted by Pendragon at 10:25 AM on June 7, 2018

After Loki, I thought I'd go back and watch the earlier Thor films. This is wonderful hokum: ten years ago the accent was on the hokum, but now I'm more aware of the wonderful. Branagh was definitely the right choice: the Asgard stuff was exactly the stuff of middling Shakespeare plays we've half-forgotten. Will's dialogue would have been better, but possibly more difficult to understand.

Anyway, wonderful. Also hokum. But mostly wonderful.

(I watched the first Avengers movie immediately afterwards - it seems not to be in here, but I can't be bothered to add it. I like it more than I did when it came out, but it seems to be "All those characters you like, all together in the same place. And now they're all complete dicks!")
posted by Grangousier at 5:58 AM on July 16, 2021

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