Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Marvel, where I go through the Marvel movies over the next few months.
Thor is perhaps the most interesting out the Marvel set-up movies, since it’s the one that breaks away from the traditional superhero set-up the greatest to tell a story that really isn’t a superhero film at all. So is Thor really a superhero movie? Or does it change too many things to count? Well lets find out.
Firstly lets look at Thor’s origins when compared to the other two big characters, Iron Man and Captain America. The three of them perfectly sum up one of Shakespeare’s quotes: â€œSome are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.â€ Thor is very much a character that is born with his powers. He is already a superhero by the time the movie starts, at least when it comes to superpowers. Iron Man achieves his greatness since he’s a self-made superhero. He makes the Iron Man suits and his own powerful empire because that’s what the character does. Finally Captain America has his superpowers thrust upon him thanks to the super solider serum. He is given his powers by the scientists. Now the last two are films we’ve seen plenty of times. Batman achieves greatness, Spider-Man has greatness thrust upon him. But very rarely do we see the first. Oh sure we have the really big, obvious example of Superman… but that’s really about it. But Superman doesn’t start out the film being Superman. He starts out being Clark Kent, learning of his powers and becoming a hero. Thor is almost an inversion of this. He starts out with his powers and becomes a hero after losing them. So what about the X-Men, the only other characters who we meet with superpowers already established? Well they’re interesting, but it isn’t about a singular character, moreso the group of them. So more often than not the story of a being born with great power isn’t readily explored. Why is that?
Well lets take Thor as our main example. He is born with his powers and establishes them quite quickly in the movie. He manages to take down the Frost Giants with relative ease. He manages to beat up quite a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D agents even without his superpowers. He is already super… but the story arc decides to instead focus on his arc as a ‘hero’. It focuses on how Thor goes from being almost the villain of the piece to being the actual hero. It’s actually a rather refreshing arc, since while the story arc isn’t anything new it’s new for the superhero genre, it’s new for this generations worth of superheroes. Now you could argue that Iron Man goes through much the same arc, but here it’s different for a few reasons. One is setting. It’s very much a science-fantasy story that knows exactly what it’s trying to do. It’s one of the few times we see science-fantasy in cinemas. Two is the characters. Thor’s secondary cast is of an entire different breed of Iron Man’s cast. There’s essentially two casts, that of Asgard and that of Earth. While the Earth cast do end up getting the most screen time and development, the Asgardians all get a moment to show off their particular skill set. But the third is the most important part. Because it’s the thing that really changed the Marvel Universe.
Lets imagine for a moment that Loki wasn’t that good of a villain. They cast the wrong actor, or they didn’t give the character the proper amount of screen time. Lets imagine that he wasn’t as good as he was in this film. Who would the bad guy in The Avengers be? Iron Man killed all his villains, and the last we saw of Red Skull he was being teleported into the sky. So maybe Red Skull would have made a comeback, but it’s clear that they were banking on Loki being a good villain. It was a gamble that paid off fantastically, since Loki spends most of the film not being a villain. Oh sure he sells out Asgard to the Frost Giants, which is a bad move. But his intentions are wholly good. He wants to be king over Thor because Thor has proven himself to be such a terrible leader. He’s angry at his father because he felt used and it’s hard not to agree. He betrays the Frost Giants but the end goal is to wipe them all out… and would they be all that missed? I mean Thor kills all the Dark Elves in the second movie and he’s hailed as a hero, why is it when Loki tries to do it in the first movie it’s seen as the bad thing? I mean yes, Loki’s motivation exists mostly as a way to contrast how far Thor has come as a character, but there’s very little difference in it really. But Loki works as such a great character for the simple reason that he is not a villain. Not really. Sure he does some bad stuff, but on the whole he has the best of intentions. If anything it’s almost a betrayal when it comes to The Avengers, changing the character into something different to what we see in this film. Still it’s not hard to see why the fan girls love him.
So there you have it. My disjointed look at Thor. If you disasgree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.