Tuesday, September 3, 2013

'Thor' Review -- Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1

(Photo Source: Marvel)
With only three weeks to go until the premiere of ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's time for me to continue my blog series where I review every Phase 1 film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- today's it's Thor!

(Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 1 -- Avengers Assembled)

I'm going to admit something, so don't tell anyone. (This is the Internet, so no one will hear about it anyway, right?) Before starting this franchise, I really had no previous knowledge or awareness of Thor as either a superhero or from Norse mythology. I came in completely blind--okay, maybe not completely, but pretty much: all I knew was what Thor looked like and that he had a hammer. That's all! So I had no preconceived notions of how this movie might turn out.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let me get right into it. The casting--talking about how little I knew about the character or the movie, the only bit of casting I was aware of was that Chris Hemsworth played Thor. I had no idea that Natalie Portman of all people was in this movie until she showed up on the screen while I was watching it. Both of these were strong casting decisions on the part of the filmmakers, and I don't see any particular weaknesses from either actor.

And then along comes Kat Dennings, who is now on 2 Broke Girls. The way she plays her character here and the way her lines are written, it's very comedic, and I found myself looking forward to any time she was on screen and had lines to deliver.

Sif. For a while, I went, okay, I know her from somewhere. So I went on IMDB and there it was: Jaime Alexander played Jesse, the female version of Kyle on Kyle XY. I was a fan of that show when it was on the air, and loved her character. And I've never seen her act in anything else, so it's nice to see her in another role.

As the movie progresses, there are a few moments where I'm like, that music sounds awfully familiar. Have I heard it before? (And yes, you'll read that quite a bit in this review, whether it's about the music or the actors.) And then it clicked: it sounds like some of the themes from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. So I went back to--again, where else?--IMDB, and lo and beyond! Patrick Doyle provided the music for both.

Now, GoF came out first--six years earlier, in fact. So it seems like Doyle took some music from GoF and pretty much just copied it for Thor. I don't know what all he's done besides these two, so I'm not aware of if this is something he normally does--copying his own music on other projects, that is. I don't know. Even though it seems kind of strange that he would this that, the music is still good, nonetheless.

Iron Man 2 Review -- Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 >>>

What I find most striking about Thor is the special effects: the look and feel of Asgard, where Thor and Co. are originally from. Everything about it is beautiful to look at. I could go on and on, but there's still much more to discuss.

Speaking of Asgard: how about Loki? When is name is first mentioned, my ears perk up because I'm like, I've heard that name before. And I think, if I'm not mistaken, I heard it being talked about when The Avengers came out. And at that time, I had no idea Loki was Thor's brother. But knowing that now, I'm interested to see how he plays into the storyline, especially after the post-credits scene, which I'll get to in a little bit.

And now for Agent Coulson. He's popped up in every single one of these MCU films. But this one's a little different. In Thor, he's actually got a bigger presence than in the previous ones. I guess that maybe shouldn't come as a surprise--Thor is just two movies away from The Avengers, and not just here, but as with everything else, it's all building up more and more for the big one to come.

The post-credits scene of Iron Man 2 showed Coulson looking down on the crater in the desert with Thor's hammer sticking out of it, and we get to see that scene again in Thor, but in context this time, which is fantastic.

Speaking of Coulson, at one point, some evil fighter guy (it's a nice name I gave him, right?) comes to earth, and a man says to Coulson, "Is that one of Stark's?" to which he replies, "I don't know, that guy never tells me anything." I know I've said this many times throughout all these reviews, but I just absolutely love the fact that there are these little additions that tie every single movie to each other as a whole, that we know it's all in the same universe and not separate from each other. Whether it's Stark's cameo at the end of The Incredible Hulk or a mention of Stark in Thor, it's great--I love it.

Finally, the post-credits scene. Dr. Silva and Nick Fury are talking together, and it looks like Loki has invaded Silva's body or mind--or something like that? Obviously, the climax of the movie has Thor defeating his brother. But as this scene shows, it's not the end of Loki, definitely not. Which takes me back to what I mentioned before about hearing that he's the villain in The Avengers. I'm interested to see how they handle this, how it will be explained that he's not gone after all; how was he able to come back? Are his powers that spectacular that he can't die? How can he be defeated? All questions that I hope will be answered in The Avengers. But before I can get there, next up is Captain America--onward!

Next week, I'll be only one movie away from The Avengers, and then on to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. See you next time for Captain America: The First Avenger.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1 Reviews:

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