Thor is one of those heroes that’s always felt like a B-player next to other, more popular comic book heroes. Compared to Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain America or even Iron Man, Thor has never quite had the same allure, even way back in the comic books. With an inspired Chris Hemsworth injecting the God with a wonderful dose of charisma, Marvel effortlessly blends Norse Mythology with the Marvel Universe to deliver an enjoyable, but highly predictable, superhero flick.
Thor begins with a brief prologue involving our Norse God of Thunder, Thor. After his arrogance almost costs him, and Asgard, their livelihood, his Father Odin banishes him to live on Earth and learn the true meaning of being a hero. With a powerful spell cast upon his hammer Mjolnir, allowing only the worthy to wield it, Thor stumbles upon Dr. Erik Selvig and Darcy Lewis, before engaging in a romantic relationship with Jane Foster, where he learns to live as a human. Meanwhile, Asgard sees Odin fall into a deep slumber to recover his power, prompting Loki to rise up and seize power.
Of course, in true Marvel fashion this all leads to a rather predictable showdown, both on Earth and Asgard, but Thor peppers its run-time with enough Marvel humour to keep things lighthearted and well-paced. The dual perspectives across both areas offer some nice variation in colour and production design, with the costumes and sets in particular, brilliantly realized. Ultimately though it’s the humour that works so well here and seeing Thor attempt to adapt to human customs – including smashing plates and drinking everyone under the table – really stand out as the more memorable moments of the film.
As an outright action flick though, Thor pales in comparison to others in this Universe. The film feels very much like a set-up for the upcoming Avengers film, with an open ending and plenty of set-up for the project that’s been teased for the past 3 years. As a stand-alone title, Thor does okay but is one of the least memorable films in Marvel’s illustrious history. It does what it needs to do – set up Thor and the threat for The Avengers to face – but beyond that there really isn’t a whole lot else to get excited about here.