Avengers Week: #7 of #10- THOR

Note from T, The Focused Filmographer:

Welcome to AVENGERS WEEK! -where we take a more-or-less chronological shared look at the “prequel” films and characters in preparation for The Avengers. In case you missed the introductory post explaining the exciting entire week, please visit HERE. Let the festivities BEGIN!

Today, Jaina from Time Well Spent shares her review of Thor and her thoughts/expectations of the hero in The Avengers! Thank you, Jaina.

Trailer:

REVIEW:

I remember my expectations of Thor were low last year. The trailers didn’t fill me with much joy and I was more interested in seeing Captain America. I think those low expectations did well for me.

Comic book films, the first in apparent series, are always bogged down with needing to explain certain things and set up the character’s backstory and history and place it in context. They’re the origin stories. Batman Begins, Spider-Man, X-Men – they are all heavy origin stories. Interestingly enough, I never felt for once that Thor was an origin story! Sure, it was introducing us to a new onscreen comic book character and a new world with Asgard, but we weren’t taken through the familiar trappings of the comic book hero’s origin story. Well, in my eyes.

In my eyes, we’re introduced to our hero – Thor. An arrogant, proud, petulant, vain god. Very much the child who wants everything and has no foresight to see how what he’s doing will play out or how it’ll effect those around him. In short, he’s a bit of a jerk.

Through the film we watch this god fall. Literally. Fall to Earth. Fall from grace. He learns to be humble. He learns to think of those around him and what it truly means to be worthy. I loved watching Thor grow as a character in the film. He actually did develop. His character went on a journey, rather than going through the motions.

Unlike the majority of comic book films out there, there’s not a big villain in the piece here. Yes, I know there are the Frost Giants. But they’re just pawns. I know, Loki is the “villain”. I use the quotation marks because, I feel, he wasn’t the villain from the beginning. But it was the story that drove his character down that path. Those are villains I can get behind.

In short, Thor was excellent. From someone who only knew Thor vaguely from Norse mythology and Adventures in Babysitting

Character Thoughts/Expectations:

I’m trying to stay fairly spoiler free in terms of The Avengers. I’ve seen the trailers and all I know of the plot is the vague summary of Avengers assembling to face off against some big ol’ evil!

But from what I can see from the trailer, and the tasty little Easter egg at the end of Thor, I have a feeling Thor’s going to be a fairly pivotal player. It looks like the big bads of the film aren’t Earth based and the only non-Earth Avenger. So there’s got to be a connection there. Oh and the fact that Loki is involved with things on Earth after his fall from grace. He’s doing his best impressions of walking around like a scorned god in the trailer:

In Thor, Thor himself set up an agreement with Agent Coulson that he’d be happy to work with him for the preservation of Earth. So somehow the BiFrost gets itself all fixed up and Thor heads down to see Jane. Or maybe it’s the other way around and Jane’s the one who gets the magical rainbow bridge working on Earth’s end and Thor’s summoned to Earth because of some big bad threat.

Whatever it is, I’m expecting Thor to be a major player

Thor is a big character. Yes, his own little film has taught him to be a little more humble. But he’s still a god. I’m looking forward to many a clash with Earth’s own man-made god-like being – Iron Man. With Stark’s massive ego being faced with an actual god… I can’t wait for the sarcastic words to start flying!

I’m just hoping that Thor doesn’t get drowned out by all the other big characters also in the film. Drowned out or watered down. Add another “or” – or that his character doesn’t regress. He developed a whole heap in Thor and it’d be a shame for that to get lost here. I will make this face if that happens:

FUN FACT: I read that they’ve not bothered dying Chris Hemsworth’s hair and eyebrows and beard, like they did in Thor, so he’ll look less like a Timotei advert. There’s a plus!

Movie Thoughts/Expectations:

The Avengers is the first ever comic book film of its kind – a great big massive team up. I’m right, right? Joss Whedon was the one tasked to bring it all together. He’s not a huge name. Those in certain circles and fellow film geeks out there will be very aware of him. Maybe that’s what this film needed. Someone who’s got some critical respect and acclaim but not being so big that he’ll feel he needs to put his stamp all over what he does. I’m looking at you, J.J. Abrams, and your light flares. I’m not saying that Joss doesn’t have a style, but it’s subtle. It’ll be in the witty dialog. Or a certain frame of film.

I am really excited about seeing all the characters interacting with one another. Really excited. I’m hoping that’s where the script will shine. There’s such a massive opportunity for some snaptastic dialog.

My biggest fear with The Avengers is all the included characters and them all having enough screen time. There’s a lot of big people in there. I’m worried about how they’re all going to work together. How the characters are going to interact. Will it all just come off terribly cheesy and will they have their own Team Avengers ring and special hand shake?

A bit of a random fear for The Avengers is the score. Love my film scores. They can make a film for me. Here we have Alan Silvestri on scoring duties. He was behind the score for Captain America last year and I really wasn’t impressed. It just fell flat for me. Like a fair few of his scores have done for me recently. A comic book film as big as this deserves a score to match. I would have loved someone like Henry Jackman, Patrick Doyle or Hans Zimmer to have been on scoring duties.

All I’m really hoping for is a hugely entertaining and smart comic book film. Too much to ask? NO! -Jaina

***(Coincidentally, since writing this post, Jaina has gotten to watch and review The Avengers. Interested in seeing if the film met up to her expectations listed here? Check out her review HERE)!

Don’t Forget: Vote for your choice of Avenger in the Special Edition of “Time to Vote Tuesday” HERE.

Up Next: Morgan shares his thoughts/expectations of Hawkeye and Loki in The Avengers! Stay Tuned.

T, The Focused Filmographer

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

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24 comments

  1. I loved Thor till the end. The big SFX filled climaxes are always a bit of a let down for me in this kind of film. By all accounts, it sounds like Whedon has nailed the big finale of Avengers though!

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  2. Thank you for not spoiling this movie, even though you’ve already seen it.

    I guess you’re right, the main challenge of the movie will be balancing the ensemble cast and getting the most out of all the characters. I’m sure they’ll do it well.

    But you already know the answer, don’t you? Jaina?

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  3. I liked Thor when it came out and agree with what you said about him being a major Avengers player. On another note, I was surprised to see Natalie Portman in Thor. Still, I haven’t figured out whether I liked her better in Thor than in Black Swan or what. It’s looking like I might go check out The Avengers this weekend but I’m not looking forward to the hyperactive theater crowds. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a laid back theater but still, opening weekend always brings out massive amounts of rowdy people and with a movie like The Avengers, the rowdiness may be in full swing.

    ~Nicole
    Blog: The Madlab Post
    @MadlabPost on Twitter

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    • Nicole, thank you for continuing to visit throughout Avengers Week,

      I don’t know that I liked Natalie Portman more in Thor than I did in Black Swan. Her character (deservedly so) got so much more development in Black Swan.

      I hope you get to enjoy The Avengers this weekend in a quiet theater!

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      • While Natalie Portman’s character wasn’t a big deal in Thor, I’m glad they cast a solid actor in the role. It didn’t give a chance to there being the smallest bit of weakness in the cast. Every single one of the players are strong, right from Anthony Hopkins to Stellan Skarsgard.

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  4. Hi, Jaina, Terrence and company:

    Being a follower of Thor since his Stan Lee & Jack Kirby beginnings. I think he is one of the harder Marvel Super Heroes to translate from paper to film. This may be due to directors and suits dumping his entire Dr. Donald Blake on Earth roots and focusing more on life at Asgard.

    Yes, Thor is strong and muscular and has a wicked, big Uru Mallet. Though if the doctor background was held onto. Those same kind of visual thoughts Downey’s Sherlock Holmes applied in fights could also be used with Thor. In ways to painfully hurt or permanently disable Loki close up and without explosions until next time. Without killing him. Thus destroying the franchise by the removal of a major nemesis.

    Would also like to see a follow on piece regarding the citizens, businesses and corporations of New York and their massive, multiple lawsuits against Stark, SHIELD and the Avengers for damages done, post attack.

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    • I’m not all well versed in the Marvel universe, but of the characters that have translated to the big screen, his character’s the “different” one. He’s not of this planet for one thing and the other is he’s not an experiment gone wrong. He’s not made himself into this hero. He is who he is.

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  5. Great review Jaina. I really got a kick out of Thor, a lot more than I was expecting to. You’re right in that it doesn’t take the typical origin story path, and just gives us the character development. Thor as a character goes through quite a bit of growth, but remains the same boisterous bruiser the whole way… he just learns when and why to apply it. Very likeable character. (And personally, I’m glad they dropped the “Dr. Donald Blake” aspect; it hasn’t been a part of the comics for decades anyway, and it was always more a way to make the character fit in more with more traditional superhero tropes, which rather defeats the purpose of having a Norse god as one of your characters.)

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    • I am so glad they dropped the Donald Blake thing too. I remember reading that there was actually going to be two actors – one as Thor and one as Donald. I just had flashbacks to the old Hulk TV series. Which was great then, but not for now! Still, it was a nice touch having Thor being called Donald by Erik.

      Thor was a whole lot more likeable than I was expecting him to be. Makes such a difference!

      Looking forward to reading your post, Morgan!

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      • Yes, they did a good job of throwing in enough nods to the old secret identity to establish it as one for Thor in the movie, just not an alternate persona. It was well done.

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  6. Thor was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it. But overall, it was very light and forgettable and that was no more apparent than when I decided to rent the movie a few months after I saw it in theater.

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  7. Nice post Jaina! Man, Hemsworth’s massive biceps are distracting 😉

    Btw, about Loki… his walking around like a scorned god is one of my fave parts of the trailer! I do hope there’s at least one epic battle between these two ‘brothers’ again in The Avengers.

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