Marvel Movie Marathon: Thor: This is really a pretty straight-up enjoyable movie.
Given my recently-discussed inherent level of dubiousness regarding Iron Man, you will perhaps be surprised to hear that the character I absolutely thought they *could not* make work in a cinematic universe was Thor. I thought—honestly, I *still* think—that introducing gods into a superhero world was asking too much from the audience, and the fact that they went to a mild degree of trouble to ensure everybody that no, these are technically aliens, not gods, did not, IMHO, improve matters. I truly felt that accepting superheroes was enough of an ask and that adding aliens to the mix was just too damn much.
(I mean, yes, by the time they get to GotG, okay, yes, sure. They had a dozen movies behind them at that point, and a wildly successful franchise/universe. I was okay with bringing aliens/space opera in then, because it was all solidly *established*. (This is why I cringe at the apparent alien storyline in the upcoming Dark Phoenix film: they’ve flopped around so much with the X-films that I don’t feel like there’s enough *established* to bring aliens in without making it Too Much. It’s why I was *so thrilled* that they weren’t going the alien route with Jean in the first two films, and I will always be a little sad that we didn’t get Bryan Singer’s third X-Men movie, even if Singer himself turns out to be problematic. :p ANYWAY.))
The point of all this is that my expectations were lower than the bottom of the bucket, so Thor would have had to have to have been *excrutiatingly* bad to disappoint me, but I went to it the first time quite grimly, really not expecting to enjoy it at all.
I was wrong. They pulled it off. They managed to bring aliens (or gods) in successfully and in an entertaining fashion, in part thanks to the in-film skepticism presented by Stellan Skarsgard’s Eric, who is a man who wants to believe. But mostly—who are we kidding—it succeeds because Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are wildly charismatic, and because the script is funny, occasionally poignant, and just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek.
It is no wonder Tom Hiddleston rocketed to superstardom on the strength of playing Loki. He’s both angularly, sullenly beautiful and capable of whipping out the most suppressed-wounded gaze imaginable, and Loki himself is such a snake. It’s such a solid part. My memory is that it was a brilliant part, and possibly the first time around, it was. Now the actual brilliance is from the evolution of the character across, what, four? films; he starts out good and by the time you reach The Hug We Were Cheated Of, it’s this magnificent embodiment that retroactively colors my perception of the character from good to amazing in the first movie. So I was kind of surprised to feel that he was only *good* this time, but he was, in fact, very good.
I HAD FORGOTTEN THEY BLEACHED CHRIS HEMSWORTH’S EYEBROWS, THO. THAT WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA! :) Thor is…such a dick, really, in the first half of the film. A good-natured huge lunk of a dick. He’s a total bro, which is diametrically different from Tony Stark’s total assholery in the first part of Iron Man, and, like RDJ, without the actor’s inherent charisma (and, of course, the advantage of story structure meaning we know he’s going to go through a redemptive arc) it’d be easy to just loathe the character. And, you know, I’d…all the previous times I’d seen it (all 2 or 3 times, max), I’d felt that his character arc was too easy? That it didn’t…I didn’t really feel like it..*took*? Except this time, watching it, I really felt for him as he learned Odin was dead and he realized it was all on his shoulders and that he’d screwed up his and everybody else’s live irrevocably. I believed it for the first time, like. So that was interesting!
One of the *great* things about Thor is that the women get to be funny. Natalie Portman does not often get to be funny, but she has both situational comedy (hitting Thor with her car) (twice) and a couple of funny line deliveries, particularly “Oh. My. *God*,” with the up-lilt in ‘god’, and “It’s a *good* look.” And Kat Denning’s Darcy is just the best and I would love to see some kind of MCU movie built around, like, her and Rosario Dawson’s Claire. They would just savage the whole MCU. :)
Oh, also. *laughs* I’d never seen Idris Elba in anything before, at least, not to my aware knowledge. I honestly thought he had gold eyes. I mean, I’ve seen a handful of people in my life who did, so I just…honestly thought he had gold eyes. To the point that, the next time I saw him in something, I thought, “Oh, aw, man, they decided to color his eyes brown in this!” And then sort of slowly it occurred to me that, um, nooooo, they hadn’t… :)
The other best part about watching Thor again is we decided Young Indiana was old enough to watch it now, and he loved it SO MUCH. He was narrating and shouting questions and going, “OOOOOOH, they LIIIIIIIKE each other” at Thor and Jane, and it was completely magnificent. I thought he was going to swell up and explode with pride when Thor went to face the Destroyer on his own. “Mommy! Mommy, he doesn’t have his powers! Mommy, what’s his plan? What’s he going to do?” “He’ll have a bad plan, honey, Thor’s plans are always terrible.”
Dad forgot we were going to watch it today, so he’d gone out and only came home for about the last third, which kinda meant he got most of the best bits (he did miss the White Room scene, which is terrific), and he enjoyed what he did see of it, and now he’s got Thor and Loki established (I mean, he did anyway because he’d seen Ragnarok) and we can watch Avengers!