Dateline v. Thor

Thor (2011)

Rated PG-13: For Some Violence

Running Time: 165 minutes (1 hour and 55 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero

Released on May 6, 2011 (US Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures

"Thor" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby

Writers: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, J. Michael Straczynski, Don Payne, and Mark Protosevich

Director: Kenneth Branagh


  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
  • Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki Laufeyson
  • Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig
  • Colm Feore as Laufey
  • Idris Elba as Heimdall
  • Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
  • Anthony Hopkins as Odin Borson

Countdown to Avengers: Infinity War continues with the God of Thunder's cinematic debut, and boy, do we have plenty more to cover before it actually comes around.

This film has been accused of being a surprisingly bland origin story, complete with absolute filler moments that are only included just to get people invested on the then-upcoming Avengers movie. With All-Father's good grace, we will see if this mighty Avenger was given justice in his first movie, or if the film is just as corporate ice cold as the Frost Giants. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and movie court is open for the case of Dateline v. Thor!

Of course, you are worthy of a spoiler-free movie review to keep you informed. Unfortunately, this post is not one of them, so here is a spoiler alert for you!


What is the movie about?

Thor Odinson, played by Hemsworth (12 Strong), is about to be crowned the new king of the mythical realm of Asgard, but forces of the frosty ruler of the Frost Giants, Laufey, played by Feore (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), crash his day of coronation.

Seeing this as an act of war, Thor, with his friends, including his brother Loki, played by Hiddleston (Archipelago), and the reluctant approval of Asgard's gatekeeper Heimdall, played by Elba (Beasts of No Nation) decide to launch an attack on the Frost Giants homeland.

Thor and Loki's father Odin, played by Hopkins (Hearts in Atlantis), discover the deception, and for his arrogance, Odin banishes Thor to Earth. There, he encounters astrophysicists Jane Foster, played by Portman (Annihilation), Erik Selvig, played by Skarsgård (Our Kind of Traitor), and Darcy Lewis, played by Dennings (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist).

Thor must now prove himself worthy to reclaim the power of his hammer Mjolnir, in order to prevent a war with repercussions reaching an intergalactic scale, while also working to uncover Loki's mischievous machinations.

What we think of the movie?

The Defense:
  • Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston nail it at their first film!
The two main leads of the film are able to shine and show-off the things to come in later years. Re-watching Thor: Ragnarok will help you appreciate how far both Hemsworth and Hiddleston have come, and it is all thanks to this movie. For Hemsworth, in his first major starring role as the titular superhero, he absolutely does Thor justice. Even if Hemsworth is not really given that much to do, except being his charismatic self, you cannot deny that the actor is able to capture Thor boorish, yet somewhat endearing attitude, from his short-tempered nature, to his womanizing ways. The humor, in some cases, work in Hemsworth's favor, especially in scenes such as his confused trip to the local hospital.

Hiddleston, the only actor to portray a supervillain in the franchise and manage to live pass his debut film, does a wonderful job in portraying the God of Mischief. Hiddleston manages to make Loki one of the franchise's most emotionally conflicted, and arguably one of the most memorable antagonists so far. The scene that really won me over is Loki's discovery of his true parentage. Loki is actually the son of Laufey, and Odin brought him to Asgard as a means to unite both Asgard and Jotunheim in peace. Hiddleston's emotional delivery, and Anthony Hopkins' tragically underused talents as the All-Father made this scene the most powerful in the flick.

Also, with regards to Anthony Hopkins as Odin, I was really surprised when I realized that Odin's seemingly unintelligible hiss at Loki while the All-Father was confronting Thor for his treachery is improvised, making Hiddleston's terrified expression legitimate, and the moment particularly awesome! It really is too bad that we do not get to see more of Hopkins' portrayal.

I really do not know what to say about the other actors, since almost none of them really managed to make their roles memorable in just a handful of scenes, although both Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins do manage to make a splash in Thor: Ragnarok. Perhaps I can at least commend Natalie Portman's work here, since prior to actually abandoning the role of Jane Foster years later, she showed some decent chemistry with Hemsworth, while Skarsgård delivers one funny moment when his character states that Thor's strength is a result of steroids. The actors for the Warriors Three, composing of Volstagg (Big Game), Fandral, played by Josh Dallas (Once Upon a Time), and Hogun, played by Tadanobu Asano (47 Ronin), plus Lady Sif, played by Jaimie Alexander (Broken Vows) did the best that they could have, even if it feels like that they just kinda had to be there.


  • Loki is cited as the franchise's best villain, and this film proves it!
And speaking of Loki, him gaining the label of "the best M.C.U. villain" is quite a stretch, considering that the most recent antagonists are contending for the title. Despite that, I can totally see why a lot of fans would say that this is so, and the character's on-screen debut here is evidence of that claim.

By the time Thor rolled in theaters, audiences had already seen evil corporate figures in the forms of Obadiah Stane, played by Jeff Bridges (Tucker: The Man and His Dream), and Justin Hammer, played by Sam Rockwell (Mr. Right), a random military man drunk on power beyond his control in Emil Blonsky, played by Tim Roth (The Hateful Eight), and a typical guy out for revenge in Ivan Vanko, played by Mickey Rourke (Angel Heart). With Loki, we saw something that was slightly familiar. Something that nearly bordered on soap opera level. The character's appeal is from his decent characterization, which is strange once you realize that, in contrast to Loki, everyone else in this film is rather bland.

The antagonist's plans are also particularly interesting for me. At first, his plan, which involves having the Frost Giants and his biological father to attempt an assassination on Odin while he does his inconvenient power nap known as "The Odinsleep", and then double-crossing them in front of his adoptive father, then proceeding to destroy Jotunheim on behalf of Asgard, is complicated at first glance. But once you realize that all he really wants is to get out of Thor's shadow, because he feels that he still believes that his Asgardian family is one true family, despite the fact that his true parentage was hidden from him, you can truly see just how conflicted Loki truly is. You might see him as simply power hungry, but all he really wants is love from his family.

Fun fact, did you know that Tom Hiddleston originally auditioned for the role of Thor, which was also a role that Liam Hemsworth, Chris Hemsworth's brother, was originally gunning for? No? Well now you know.

  • While certainly a hit or miss, the humor does work, on ocassion.
Humor is definitely the M.C.U.'s double-edged sword. If it is done right, it could add depth to certain characters, or even give an unexpected upbeat emotional payoff for the audience. If it is done wrong, then audiences everywhere would most likely cringe at the out-of-place gags. Thor has some funny moments indeed, but it really would not be funny if you are the type of moviegoer who likes his or her films on the mature side of things, nor for anyone who is expecting to laugh out loud as much as they did at Thor: Ragnarok.

Much of the gags derive from Thor's "fish-out-of-water" reactions to his unfamiliar Earthly surroundings, and the moment when Thor is knocked unconscious by startled doctors due to his violent urges is absolutely hilarious. This, combined with his memorable "Another!", and that part when he awkwardly asks for a horse at a pet shop just goes to show on just how clueless Thor really is towards Earth's customs, which sort-of helps in developing Thor's character.

There is one other funny moment that I already mentioned, and that is when Erik Selvig used steroids as an excuse for Thor's surprising strength. It really does not add any layers to a character, but for me, the delivery, and the lines itself, is just so humorous.


The Prosecution:

  • It's attempts at realism really didn't work well.
Aside from Patrick Doyle's decent score for the film, and the eye-catching designs for the Bifrost teleportations sequences, and aside from  having a replay value that is limited in seeing where Thor and Loki started-out, before becoming much more developed characters in later films, the rest of the film's wow factor is unfortunately boggled down by everything else, especially its failed attempts at making things realistic.

By Odin's beard! For a movie with five writers, and a source material that revolves around cosmic threats and magical adventures, we spend about the entire second act of the film doing non-superhero things like talking, and even more talking. The film's attempt at making Thor realistic is already something that does not mesh well with a character like a guy who flies through the use of his magic hammer, and who gets around the universe on a rainbow bridge. That one exchange about science and magic "being the same" was interesting for me when I was younger, and it does a little bit to this day, but it is slowly starting to look like a sign that the movie does not know what makes Thor interesting.

There are also only a total of three fight scenes in this film, and one of them is just having a depowered Thor fight against non-superpowered S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Yes, I know Thor spent his earlier days in the comicbooks on Earth, but at least he did fight mythical threats during his time on this world, and not just wandering around aimlessly in a New Mexico town that looks like a set made for a movie (that is, unless it really is a set).

Granted, they were still trying to get used to the whole shared universe concept at the time Thor was being developed, Marvel Studios was not that rich enough back then to make even more engaging set-pieces, and The Avengers so soon that there was not enough time to truly flesh-out Thor's mythos. But come on, they had enough time to make decent designs for Asgard, and the Bifrost sequences, so why can they not make a decent Jotunheim that is not dark and impossible-to-see, and not make it look like it was shot in a warehouse?

Oh well, at least director Kenneth Branagh and the rest of the production team did the best that they could have back then.

  • Origin story cliches are afront. (And all other side-characters are so one-dimensional, you would forget that they were even here.)
This film is all about a hero learning humility, after realizing that his actions are causing more harm than good. Does it sound familiar? Yes, because it is basically the plot for Iron Man, this movie, and Doctor Strange. Like the latter film, there are just so many cliches and flat characterizations for all of the other seemingly important characters, that you would just be compelled to skim the rest of the movie through Wikipedia. I actually did that for this flick, and I managed to avert that in Doctor Strange for a variety of reasons, and I managed to enjoy Iron Man 2 a whole lot more, due mostly to the performances in that flick, and really nothing else.

All of the Earth-based characters suffer from this, since almost none of them have done particularly anything memorable outside of exposition-dumping the audience with the science of how the Bifrost works, or adding some worthwhile gags that add nothing to the story. However, Selvig has some shades of development in his moments of being suspicious towards Thor's claims of godhood due to his mentor-like instincts.

This also goes for Thor's longtime friends, the Warriors Three, and also Lady Sif. Fine, none of them even did anything remotely worth talking about in the comics either, except probably for Sif, and the succeeding Thor films really did not do any better in this field, but Thor could have at least given the audience something to remember them by, especially since now that the Warriors Three are killed-off at the early scenes of Thor: Ragnarok

All in all, Thor really lacks that punch to truly deviate itself from the rest of the origin story film crowd, but it really could have been worse though.

The Ruling: Not Guilty!

Despite only being a filler episode, complete with a surprising lack of magic the source material is popular for, Thor remains a passable, albeit bland, movie-viewing experience for everyone, thanks mostly to decent performances.

And there you have it, our review of Thor. Only two days left until the massive crossover comes around, and we are really cramming all of the films from Phase 2 in a handful of days. Fear not though, for we will make sure we reach that deadline, and end the countdown with Ant-Man. So while you wait for our next movie review, Captain America: The First Avenger, listen to this song by Foo Fighters that was used for this film's end-credits. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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