Thor Movie Review: By Odin’s Beard, T’is a Thor-ough Treat!

If you are reading this, then you’re probably a big Thor fan like me. The God of Thunder has hit Philippine cinemas straight from the pages of Marvel Comics. I am an avid follower of Thor for various reasons. But primarily, my fondness for this character is rooted from the fact that I really enjoy reading Norse Mythology in all its forms. Besides, unlike other favorite comics superheroes, the Thunder God’s story is the only one oozing with godly essence. Here’s my take on this year’s Thor movie, directed by Kenneth Branagh with screenplay by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stenz, and Don Payne and based on the comics story by J. Michael Straczynski and Mark Protosevich.

Thor Movie (2011)

I Hate Spoilers, But Thor Told Me to Write Anyway

If you’re not familiar with Marvel Comics’ resident superhero god, here’s the rundown.For centuries, the realm of Asgard – led by the All-Father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) – had waged war against their sworn enemy, the Frost Giants. These monstrous walking popsicles, led by Laufey, wanted to conquer all of the nine realms under the World Tree, also called Yggdrasil. Finally, in 970 A.D., a big battle between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants ensued. Needless to say, the Asgardians (also called Aesir) won the day. As a trophy, Odin seized the Casket of Ancient Winters which provided the power (think of it as the freezer coolant) to the Frost Giants.

Fast forward to the present, all of Asgard was about to witness the ascension of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as successor to Odin. But this most glorious of days was interrupted by a small band of Frost Giants who had deviously entered the city of the gods to retrieve the Casket. And they almost succeeded in obtaining their target had they not been fried to bits by the Destroyer, an indestructible suit of armor created by Odin himself and intended to be the last line of defense of Asgard.

After the dust had settled, the young arrogant Thunder God wanted to know why and how those Frost Giants were able to sneak into the weapons hall of Asgard. Thor proposed an attack on Jotunheim (home world of the Frost Giants) to show the frosties who’s the boss in all the Nine Realms. But Odin ordered Thor to do no such thing as it could ruin the current truce between Asgard and Jotunheim.

Thor stubbornly disobeyed his father’s orders and went to Jotunheim anyway, accompanied by Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), Fandral (Joshua Dallas), and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). In Jotunheim, Thor’s party engaged the Frost Giants in a skirmish, which quickly snowballed into a full-blown battle involving six Asgardians against hordes of frost giants. Armed with his hammer Mjolnir, Thor is simply unbeatable. In the last minute, Odin arrived mounted on his eight-legged steed called Sleipnirthe. The All-Father stopped the fight, brought Thor and his company back to Asgard, and ultimately banished Thor to Midgard – that’s Earth. And that, my friends, is where the Thunder God’s – and Earth’s – troubles have begun.

The Bottom Line

The essence of the story is Thor’s human element. Here’s an arrogant, selfish, vain god cast down to Midgard by his own father Odin who wanted to teach his boy a lesson or two. In short, even gods need some spanking. One isn’t born into whatever he wants to do in life. Oftentimes, we have to lift our own hammers and fight for what we believe is ours for the taking – just watch out for government guys and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents!

I must admit, Thor movie has exceeded my expectations. For the past few months, I was worried that my favorite comicbook character’s jump on the big screen will be the cause of his downfall. Also, it didn’t help me a bit to know that director Kenneth Branagh, while he is a great great actor (remember Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets), is best known for his directorial works that focus mainly on Shakespearean plays.

Sure, the way that Asgardians talk to each other would have big similarities to many of the characters in William Shakespeare’s theater pieces, but we’re talking Norse legends here not some cross-eyed lovers or English kings. But after watching Thor movie, I take it all back. All my doubts about Kenneth Branagh’s ability to bring to life one of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe are all without substance.

The film was able to seamlessly combine the worlds of gods and mortals into one kickass story. Sir Anthony Hopkins as the All-Father Odin is just phenomenal. Even Hollywood newcomer Chris Hemsworth truly embodies the physical features of the Thunder God and was exceptionally extraordinary as Thor. The supporting cast also delivered. As for Loki, it would seem that Tom Hiddleston was conjured by the gods themselves to play the role. He’s just so convincing.

In terms of visual effects, Thor movie also got everything right. The rendering of the Bifrost bridge was just plain awesome. Plus, the Destroyer armor is truly alive. Costume design is also very impressive. Overall, avid fans will find an instant sense of endearment to this Thor movie adaptation.

On the downside, I think Volstagg was not as huge as he should have been. And I still prefer Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as nurse or medical doctor rather than an astrophysicist. Also, I can’t help but ask where Balder and Tyr are? Perhaps, we’ll see these characters in the sequel. Yes, shameless as it is, Thor is one of those flicks that I would love to have a sequel.

Comic Book Review: Thor for Asgard #6 – Asgard Conclusion

Cover Art for Thor for Asgard #6

Story: Robert Rodi
Art: Simone Bianchi
Inks: Simone Bianchi and Andrea Silvestri

In a Nutshell

Thor for Asgard #6 is a downer. The problem with this issue is its failure to work out the problems that have beset Asgard right from the beginning of the series. This is supposed to be the finale, but the Asgardians are still beleaguered and about to suffer Ragnarök. We started this storyline with the Aesir facing the biggest threat of their lives and, six issues later, they are in a far worse predicament. Odin is still lost in his quests while Balder is dead and Thor can’t seem to do anything concrete about Asgard’s troubles.

What's Cool

  • If there was one thing that changed in Thor, it was his newfound power to inspire his fellow Asgardians, particularly those who were already in Valhalla. Thor’s death and resurrection has given hope and revitalized the tenacity among the citizens of Asgard.
  • Art by Simone Bianchi is one of the reasons why I kept coming back for each issue of Thor for Asgard. His work evokes a larger-than-life feeling that befits Asgardian gods.
  • The scene in the last page of the comicbook, where at last Thor held his hammer Mjolnir, is a classic. The Thor fan in me can’t help but shed a tear.

What's Crap

  • As the finale, this issue reconciled nothing. Unless they come up with a follow-up mini-series, Thor for Asgard is nothing more than a dangling storyline.

The Bottom Line

This series gives readers a glimpse of Thor as Lord of Asgard. For the longest time, Odin has been the top honcho until Balder took over. But this time, it’s Thor’s turn. In the beginning, he felt that he was not capable of being Asgard’s king. In fact, he refused to take hold of his powerful hammer. But along the way, Thor learned to accept his destiny – that of being Asgard’s leader, as shown by his readiness to lift Mjolnir once again.

Comic Book Review: Ultimate Comics Thor #3

Cover Art for Ultimate Thor #3

Story: Jonathan Hickman
Pencils: Carlos Pacheco
Inks: Dexter Vines
Colors: Edgar Delgado

In a Nutshell

The Nazi Army joins forces with Frost Giants to destroy Asgard. Before they attack, the Nazis are persuaded over by the giants to drink the blood of fallen Heimdall, supposedly to give the humans more strength and power. The young Loki murders Balder. Odin meets his doom. The end of the Asgardian gods is at hand. Again!

What's Cool

  • The Nazis and the Frost Giants breaking into Asgard’s walls.
  • The Final(?) Stand of the Warriors Three in 1939 – Volstagg, Fandral, Hogun.
  • The surprising fall of Odin during the attack of the Nazis and the Frost Giants.
  • A flashback to the younger days of our favorite Asgardians gives readers yet another look at Loki’s cunning, not to mention his murderous intents.
  • Loki as the man behind Baron Zemo’s hood – I still can’t get over this twist.
  • The artwork, particularly the colors, is impressive. I just do not like Thor’s and Fandral’s look in 1939.

What's Crap

  • Well, obviously this is another Thor storyline in preparation of his upcoming movie. Talk about milking the cow dry.
  • The story in each issue of Ultimate Comics Thor is split into three eras or ages – the present day, the Nazi Era in 1939, and the age when Thor and the boys were still young. The reader basically has to shift through these periods and risk muddling up the timelines. I think it would have been more convenient for the readers if the story ran on a straight timeline from the past to the present. I still don’t know if the constant time-shifting serves a bigger purpose, like in Justice League Generation Lost were time travel is actually a central theme of the storyline.

The Bottom Line

Ultimate Comics Thor #3 offers solid action scenes that comic book readers will surely enjoy. I particularly like the 1939 Nazi-era and the Ages Past portions of the storyline. For hardcore fans of the Thunder God, this issue, nay, this series is a must have.