Bennett is reviewing all of the movies in the current Marvel Comic Universe leading up to the release of Age of Ultron. Check in on the other MCU movie refreshers:
Part of me wants to come up with a drinking game for Thor. I can’t decide if the drinking cues should be any time a word that sounds like nonsense is uttered, or if it should just be based off of any time someone says a version of the word “worthy.” Either way, you’re gonna be trashed on some cheap boxed wine and wondering why you took suggestions from a blog on a drinking game. I can’t answer these kind of questions for you, but I can tell you that I now think Thor is Marvel’s most underutilized asset. This may come as a surprise as it feels like Asgard’s problems plopped on Earth in Avengers and he is slotted to appear in two more movies after Age of Ultron. But, Thor feels like the most genuine character that Marvel has on its roster, and that is what makes this movie enjoyable, because it is most certainly not watching Chris Hemsworth try to make flying look believable.
Thor has a fatal downfall. It is not entirely set on Earth. It would have been ridiculous to not include Asgard in this story; however, it was never going to be easy to convince fans that they had just been transported to the realm eternal. This is even more apparent as we are now four years and one Guardians of the Galaxy separated from the release. The production design is unabashedly bold, but definitely flounders at points. This boldness possesses the screen during most scenes taking place in Odin’s kingdom, which is very unfortunate because this movie is not about the flashy fights, the gleaming city of Asgard or the attempted scientific explanation of how Thor arrives on Earth.
No, the strength of this movie is in small emotional moments that reveal much of the characters that cannot be seen in their cape-laden gallivanting. When looking at these emotional moments, a few in particular do an exceptional job of setting up how these characters will act in movies to come.
The first, and potentially the best scene in the movie, is when Loki discovers his Frost-Giant heritage. The dialogue between him and Odin hits harder than any of Thor’s blows as we see the destruction of Loki’s place within this kingdom.
This scene not only shows off the Hiddleston’s acting chops–he gives the best performance of this movie by far–but it serves as an impetus for the transformation from the Loki that we meet at the beginning of the film to the one that we are left with in Thor: The Dark World. This arc is my personal favorite within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and this scene is really where it all begins. Other poignant moments come when Thor tries unsuccessfully to lift his hammer, his subsequent conversation with Loki in the SHIELD compound, Thor’s explanation of the World’s Tree to Jane, and Thor’s destruction of the Rainbow Bridge. None of these moments were feats of amazing special effects. However, they each brilliantly show the heart that is in this movie. These are the moments that are most memorable by the end.
The unfortunate truth is however, that those moments are far too often drowned out by much of the nonsense of Thor. We get way too much Dr. Selvig and one broke girl, which both deliver uninspiring performances. I imagine there is another timeline where we get to hang out with Idris Elba’s Heimdall, and Jaimie Alexander’s Lady Sif instead of wasting our time with Kat Denning’s character, who completely flops in her one purpose of providing laughs that are pretty unnecessary in the first place. You have a god coming down and trying to exist on Earth. There is such a wealth of material available, and yet Darcy was still considered an essential character in this movie.
It is decisions like these that distracted me from enjoying the interesting magic and lore of Norse mythology. Elba is criminally underused, and an unconvincing arrogance from Hemsworth and an infatuation with bad flying effects almost deal the final blow to cripple Thor for good. Yet, by the end of the movie, I still look back and remember the moments that build up the essential goodness of the God of Thunder. This goodness is enjoyable, and a bold difference from the qualities MCU stalwart Tony Stark exhibited up to this point. This necessary addition begins to produce a variety that is refreshing, both independently and within the context of the team that it is working to build.
Post-Credit Scene Power Ranking
By this point, we have seen 4 post-credit scenes from Iron-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron-Man 2, and Thor. This calls for a celebration of the Marvel movie calling card – the post credit scene. Here is the current ranking.
1. Thor – The Tesseract’s Reveal
This is everything you want to see in a post-credit scene. Behind-the-scenes characters doing behind-the-scenes things with behind-the-scenes objects. An impending sense of doom. Setting up conflict for a future movie without just showing Cap’s shield. The tesseract is an object that remains in play for more than one movie and we already see SHIELD being the shady organization that we love so dearly. It throws in a sense of mystery and even teases Loki’s further involvement. No complaints on this one at all.
2. The Incredible Hulk – The Assembly Begins
3. Iron-Man – Introducing Director Fury
4. Iron-Man 2 – Thor’s Hammer
Check back in tomorrow as we review that last movie leading up to Avengers. What did Captain America do for the MCU and how did it set up for the most successful super-hero movie ever made?