Countdown to Avengers: Thor (2011)

Countdown to Avengers is a blog crossover between Nerd Lunch, To The Escape Hatch and the Cavalcade of Awesome.  Together we are reviewing all of the solo Avengers movies as well as some of the comics and cartoons.  It’s all leading up to the release of The Avengers on May 4 where we will all review the new movie.

So, today my assignment for the countdown is to review the movie Thor.  Directed by Kenneth Brannaugh and starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Tom Hiddleston and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Thor
(Via Die Screaming)

My Review:
For this review, this was my second viewing of the movie and the first time I’d seen it since watching it in theaters when it was released in May 2011. To back up a bit, my background with Thor is pretty close to nil.  I was not ever a Thor reader.  I have a few of his issues from the 80s/90s, but mostly when he had co-stars I cared about like Hulk or The Fantastic Four.  I also vividly remember his terrible, terrible Incredible Hulk TV movie appearance.  So, needless to say, I’m not really a fan.  That being said, if they had decided to play fast and loose with Thor’s history, I really wouldn’t know any different and I would welcome it.  I just wanted the movie to have an interesting and engaging story with some really nice visuals.  Did it deliver?

When I saw this movie in the theater, I thought it was okay, I enjoyed it and thought the effects were awesome.  I think I was more excited about the Hawkeye cameo than I was about the rest of the movie.  When I watched it this second time, I focused more on Hemsworth as Thor and Portman as Jane.  They were great.  Hemsworth especially as the prideful Thor in the beginning is truly great.  And how awesome is Anthony Hopkins as Odin?  All the Asgard stuff was really good as are the machinations of Loki back in Asgard.  I actually believe Hopkins as Odin is truly disappointed and mad at Thor when he casts him out of the realm to Earth.  I jokingly quote some of Hopkins’ speech to my son. “..I CAST YOU OUT!!”

This is such a fun movie and includes many great sequences like Thor’s assault on the SHIELD facility (and the aforementioned Hawkeye cameo) and the battle with the Frost Giants.  I can easily recommend this.

Sif Jane
(Via Inside Pulse)

And I want to give a special shout out to all the ladies of Thor.  They were all wonderful to look at.  Lots of eye candy.  Natalie Portman is gorgeous as usual and I keep finding Kat Dennings adorably attractive whenever I see her in movies.  Plus there’s also Jaimie Alexander as Sif and Renee Russo as Odin’s wife Frigga (great name).  Both crazy hot.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any of them are slated to be in The Avengers, but I presume we will see most of them back for the Thor sequel planned for release in late 2013.

Connections to The Avengers:
There are many Avengers nods in this film. We see SHIELD has a pretty big setup around the site of Thor’s hammer. This gives us somewhat of a glimpse into the inner-workings of the organization of which I’m sure we’ll get an eyeful in May. Within this SHIELD facility we get some scenes with Agent Coulson. I mentioned earlier that we get a great little insert cameo by Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye. He isn’t in costume, but he shows up nonetheless in a great little scene. He’s the one I’m probably most interested in seeing in the new movie. We see the machinations of Loki which will only play bigger in The Avengers movie itself. Most especially in the end credits scene where we see Loki possessing Dr Selvig and meeting with Nick Fury. Presumably it has something to do with what I assume was the Cosmic Cube Fury had in the briefcase.  Which, apparently, the Norwegian village that is featured in the flashback scene, is the same village the Red Skull invades in Captain America to obtain said Cosmic Cube.  Layers upon layers, my friends.

How Thor will fit into the Avengers:
First and foremost, Thor is a warrior.  He is action first, diplomacy second.  He’ll be sort of an outsider to the group. Being an actual God tends to make others feel uncomfortable (except, I’m sure, Tony Stark).  Thor may clash a bit with Capt America as he will be The Avengers de facto leader which I’m sure will rankle Thor’s feathers.  Thor also tends to be on the impulsive side and will want to fly into a situation without a plan.  Like the beginning of this movie, Thor will have a problem with people not “getting him”.  But when the rubber hits the road, Thor will come out swinging that awesome hammer and kicking some ass.

Some thoughts from Robert over at To The Escape Hatch:
Thor is probably my favorite film in the pre-Avengers series. Director Kenneth Branagh was sort of an inspired choice and he made a film that effectively tells its story while featuring great characters and fantastic imagery. I recall that Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood and the upcoming Battleship was in the running for the role of Thor. I thought he would have been great at the time but now in hindsight he wouldn’t have fit. Chris Hemsworth played the part just fine, creating a haughty character that eventually grows and develops into a true hero.

In my opinion this film may be the greatest success of this series, as it was facing an uphill battle in a few ways. It had a lot of different elements in play. How would Thor’s universe fit in with the likes of Iron Man, The Hulk, and Captain America, three characters whose films had been and would be rooted largely in the realm of science fiction? The character of Thor – a magical god – was vastly different from his counterparts.

I think this film handled tying into the developing world of The Avengers with ease. Agent Coulson had a bigger role and the film even introduced Hawkeye. And before the credits rolled even! It’ll be interesting to see how Thor even winds up in The Avengers, seeing as how the end of this film features the destruction of the bridge between his world and ours.

With the huge cast of characters in The Avengers, it might be tricky to develop Thor’s character. However, knowing that a decent explanation/chunk of story is due to explain Thor’s return combined with the fact that his brother and nemesis Loki will serve as the film’s main villain I think The God of Thunder will have his time to shine.

Previous Countdown to Avengers articles:
Before the Avengers Initiative (Nerd Lunch)
Review of Iron Man (Nerd Lunch)
Review of The Incredible Hulk (To The Escape Hatch)
Review of Iron Man 2 (Nerd Lunch)

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7 Responses to “Countdown to Avengers: Thor (2011)”

  1. Ah the lovely ladies of Thor. Hopefully Kat Dennings will return for the sequel.

  2. I like the part of the movie where Thor eats pancakes.

    I also don’t know if this comment will work.

  3. I wondered how they were going to pull this off without it being completely weird and corny, but they nailed it. This flick was my clear #2 in the arc after the original Iron Man. I think Branagh was a great choice since he could ground the Agard stuff as some kind of celestial Shakespeare.

    Chris Hemsworth. Let’s just say I haven’t felt that way about another man since seeing Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse.

    • I can not, and will not, disagree with you, my friend. This movie above all had the potential to be silly and not work at all. But they nailed it. I look forward to the sequel.

  4. Jack Weitzel Says:

    Anthony hopkins is definetely one of the best actors these days, this guy is very talented. `”`'”

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  5. Chastity Saadat Says:

    Anthony hopkins is still one of the best actors these days eventhough he is very old. ;

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