Countdown To Avengers Endgame: Thor
We’re in the Endgame now. Just 17 days to go before Marvel Studios unleashes the biggest theatrical event in a generation (if not ever), capping off a story that is 11 years and 21 films in the making. There’s no denying that what Marvel has done here is unprecedented. As we approach the big day lets take a look back at the films that lead us here.
Thor is really when Marvel went all in on this comic book movie thing. Everything coming before it was still, at its heart, a grounded story in which the most “realistic” version of these heroes in our world was represented. Then came Thor which introduced an alien planet, the first glimpses of magic and characters/creatures that were decidedly not human, etc. Hell, it even introduced elements of “ancient alien theory” to the Marvel universe. What’s arguably the most impressive is that Marvel didn’t really bat an eye at the idea of spending the first 30 some minutes of the movie running around Asgard. This is truly the first time Marvel took the “world” of the MCU and made it a universe – literally.
Thor also has the distinction of being the only Marvel film I didn’t see in theaters and for a long time, my least favorite of the Marvel films. Repeat viewings have made me enjoy the film far more (Ragnarok is still the best Thor) but the initial reaction I had to the film was indifference bordering on dislike. For a long time I wasn’t sure why but with the hindsight of Ragnarok the reason seems a bit more clear; Thor is incredibly dark (both visually and thematically), features some of the worst action sequence editing of any MCU film and many of the supporting characters just don’t work.
The opening action sequence on Jotunheim (Frost Giant planet) for example is so dark that it can be literally hard to see what is going on. Further, the editing of this sequence is terrible. While re-watching Thor I briefly thought to myself, “Well at least Thor gives us a the only real scene with him and the Warriors Three in the franchise,” but the editing is so choppy that you generally have no idea what is going on. There are more edits in 5 minutes in this scene than the entire film Clerks. Thematically the entire film feels more like a Shakespearean drama than a fun super hero romp.
Outside of Lady Sif (who is awesome and I really hope they find a way to bring her back someday) none of the Warriors Three are really developed characters and Thor’s human counterparts (namely Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster) just don’t offer much to the story. There was never really much chemistry between the two in the first two Thor films and there’s no denying that Ragnarok was right to trim that fat.
Thor is also a lot of fun though. Chris Hemsworth starts to prove his comedic chops in many of his “fish out of water” scenes on Earth and while it took a couple films to really get it right they did eventually nail the character. Thor also introduces us to the fantastic dynamic between Loki and Thor that became a backbone for every Thor move that follows (and an Avengers film to boot). In the end Thor is most exciting for all that it set up rather than it what it actually delivered on but was still a fun and pretty wild departure from what the first three films of the MCU had given us.
Next we look at the last phase one solo MCU film but The First Avenger.