I used to be a big comic book fan, and a Marvel Comics one at that. X-Men was my comic of choice, and for much of my youth, the comics and I had a wonderful arrangement going. Then came the spin-offs, the crossovers, the glossy paper and higher prices. Simply, economics forced me to check out of the realm of comic book fandom.
When Marvel started hitting the comics-to-movies hard over the last decade, my interest in comics was renewed, but in an almost flawed, nostalgic sense. My memory told me that my comics were brilliant and sacred, never sub-par, so I eyed the film adaptations with particular ire if they strayed even a little from what I thought I remembered as brilliant.
The reality, however, is that for all the brilliance I remembered, there were quite a few issues of the various comic titles that were simply awful. Filler issues, stories meant to hold my attention like the mid-week episodes of a soap opera (everyone knows you only need to watch Monday and Friday to follow the story). When I finally made my peace with the reality of my youth instead of my nostalgic gloss, I began to loosen up on the comic book films.
Why did I tell you all that? Because I really enjoyed Thor, and I enjoyed it because it was a fun film, that had a simple backbone covered with multi-layers of real conflict and emotion. I can’t tell you if it was entirely faithful to the comics, and at this stage, I don’t care. I want to see good movies, regardless of whether they’re faithful to their source material, and Thor delivered.
I don’t want to get too detailed, or spoilery, or the like, so I’m just going to lay out the basics: Thor (Chris Hemsworth), God of Thunder, is next in line for the throne of Asgard, but before he can attain the honor, he severely screws up in the eyes (err, eye) of his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and is banished to Earth, powerless.
While on Earth, Thor meets Jane (Natalie Portman) and her crew, who are studying the wormhole-like phenomenon that just so happens to also be the very way in which the Asgardian Gods travel the galaxy.
From there, it’s a combination of a fish-out-of-water story for Thor, until he comes to grips with his situation, and the continuing dynamics and conflicts in Asgard, where Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has a few doings a’transpiring.
On the surface, it’s a fun, popcorn film that dabbles in mythology and just so happens to be a set-up film for a much larger Avengers movie, but it also manages to fit in the tragedy and familial dynamics that occur when two brothers find themselves questioning whether their father finds either of them worthy, and the different paths they take to prove themselves.
Again, Thor is a fun film. It’s got some comic bits, huge action set-pieces, Chris Hemsworth is extremely charismatic, it doesn’t stay away from real emotional subtext and the movie does sprinkle in some comic book minutia for those interested in not only Thor, but how the film fits in with the upcoming Avengers film. I honestly felt it was way better than I imagined it could’ve been, and is quite an enjoyable time at the theater.