5/07/2011

If you're planning to see Thor, here's a summary of everything you need to understand about the movie before you go including explanations of the characters, why you've never heard of him and how he fits into the rest of the Marvel films leading up to the Avengers.

Many people have told me they're not going to see Thor because they don't know the character and would feel left out. I'll try and answer some of the common questions I've gotten.

Who is Thor?
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a superhero based on a Norse god named Thor "God of Thunder". He lives in the mythical dimension of Asgard along with others who act like "gods." He is cast down to our world because his father, the king Odin (Anthony Hopkins), thinks he's too egotistical. There he learns humility, falls in love and saves the world. He has a big hammer.
The movie is based on a cool long-running comic book character.

There's a "Thor" Comic Book? Never Heard of It.
There's a reason 98% of people have never heard of Thor.

The character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 in 1962. Lee said he tried to think of who'd be more powerful than a superhero and came up with the idea of basing it on a mythological god. Amazing idea.

While he's had a very long run in comics he's barely mentioned outside of the comic books. Even then, his comic sales were so lousy Marvel planned on cancelling the series last year.

His only live-action appearance to date was an unimpressive TV movie The Incredible Hulk Returns in 1988. That was before M.C. Hammer started wearing parachute pants.

He's appeared in a few animated shows as far back as the 1960s, but he's always been a guest character and never a headliner. Today, he appears in the kid's show The Super Hero Squad and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series.

Despite his impressive description he's considered a third-string character by most comic book readers. He backs up the big superheroes like Spider-Man and Captain America. He's the Yoko Ono of superheroes.
What Can Thor Do Besides Flex His Muscles?
Chris Hemsworth packed on the muscle to play Thor, so he's got huge muscles to flex. When he came back after working out, they had to redesign his costume because he got too big for it. The dude is huge.

He's super strong and carries a massive hammer called Mjolnir (pronounced Mee-Yol-Narr). The hammer is the source of many of his powers. It allows him to channel the elements like lighting, rain, wind and thunder. If he throws it hard enough he can fly. Its indestructible and will always return to him when he throws it.

It remains to be seen how much of this will be in the movie, but, you get the idea.

What Can I Expect from the Movie?
The movie was considered a side-line project based on a weak character until Shakespearean director Kenneth Branagh came on board. He brought the film credibility and people to started taking it seriously.

His involvement directly led to the casting of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, the scientist he falls in love with, saying "Kenneth Branagh doing Thor is super-weird, I've gotta do it."

His work with Tom Middleson, led him to cast him as the evil half-brother of Thor Loki. Branagh's directorial experience led Anthony Hopkins to join saying, "It's a superhero movie, but with a bit of Shakespeare thrown in".
So, we can thank Kenneth Branagh for the excellent casting in this film. Thank you Kenny.

Expect an epic feel, impressive visuals and earth shaking action scenes.

The romance between Jane Foster and Thor are the romantic core of the movie. The actors Chris Hemworth and Natlaie Portman talk often about their natural chemistry on set. This, plus Hemsworth massive body is supposed to bring in the women. The promise of superheroes fighting is bringing in the men.

Should I Know What "Avengers Assemble" Means?
You may have heard the name "The Avengers" thrown around in connection with the movie and wondered what it meant. Basically, "The Avengers" are a comic book superhero team kind of like Superman's "Superfriends." They're a team of superheroes that save the world from really, really big problems. They're the F.E.M.A. of superheroes, but without broken levees.

All the films being produced by Marvel are interconnected now. Starting in Hulk, Marvel decided to connect their super-hero movies together through the films. Think of them as sequels to each other leading up to the final film The Avengers.

In Incredible Hulk, Hulk (Edward Norton) meets a super-villain, Abomination, that is created using the "super-soldier" serum that created Captain America (Chris Evans).

In Iron Man the background of one scene showed Captain America's shield. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) met with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who said they wanted him to be part of the "Avenger Initiative."

Iron Man 2 shows more of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Stark talks to Hulk's tormentor General Ross. At the end, we see a hammer in the desert. The hammer belongs to Thor. This is where the next film picks up. How that connects to The First Avenger: Captain America remains to be seen as well.

Here's the roster of the upcoming Avengers film:
  • Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Samuel L. Jackson)- The leader of an elite military team called S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division).
  • Iron Man\Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) A superhero who wears a powerful set of high-tech armor.
  • Thor (Chris Hemsworth) - A superhero wth incredible strength and a powerful hammer that controls weather.
  • Captain America\Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) - A superpowered soldier from World War II who returns to fight for America.
  • Black Widow\Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson)- A female Russian superspy.
  • Hulk\Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) - A scientist who transforms into a super strong green giant when he gets mad.
  • Hawkeye\Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) - An archer who can hit any target.
You don't need to know the detailed comic book history. The point is that you should at least know the characters since you'll be hearing a lot about them.

So, now that I know all this how can I enjoy the film?
The film is about a superstrong Viking who has a big hammer. He's in love with a beautiful scientist and has to save the world. He's going to be in a team called "The Avengers." Try and forget it's "just another comic book movie" and try and watch it as an epic fantasy film. With a big hammer.

Update: A reader pointed out that the article I linked to did not reflect the overall comic book sales.
Are you ready to watch Thor now?
[Image Source: Collider, MustUsePowers, scifimania]

2 comments:

outdoor lantern string lights said...

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Anonymous said...

This is a bit inaccurate when your're referring to the potential comic cancellation. The main series sold well and is still published, the series you linked to was a new all-ages title that is separate from the main Marvel titles.

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