Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 04 – Thor

Revisiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe Part 04 – Thor

Throughout the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I remember Thor being the first film that I wasn’t necessarily all amped up about.  As a younger comic reader, while I was a pretty avid fan of Captain America and Iron Man’s individual stories, the Avengers as a group never really appealed to me.  I was much more in tune with the “real world” as a comic fan, and the frequent side trips into Asgard and Norse mythology really did not appeal to me.  I fully expected to not care much for Thor as a film, but was willing to sit through it go get to the good stuff.

In my mind, Captain America was certainly the “good stuff”.  Besides Daredevil, he was my bread and butter as a comic fan in the 80s and 90s, and if I had to suffer through 2 hours of Thor to get to him, I could do it.

A funny thing happened, though.  I really ended up enjoying Thor, and looking back at it now, it’s easy to see why.  Not only was it a really entertaining film that perfectly aligned Norse mythology with a more real world story, but it also put together some serious building blocks for the MCU as a whole.

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Rewatching that film this week, I was really surprised at the level of humor, which is something that somehow I’d forgotten along the way, not to mention the ingrained charisma between the lead actors.  Not only did Chris Hemsworth do a fantastic job, but as with most Marvel movies, the supporting cast of Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kat Dennings was fantastic.

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Forget the fact that amazing actors like Anthony Hopkins and Idris Elba did their part, too, not to mention Ray Stephenson and Jaimie Alexander.

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It’s almost unfathomable to consider the fact that at this point, nobody even really knew who Tom Hiddleston was, and at this point, he’s one of the lynch pins of the entire Marvel Universe.  His subtle trickery, and effortless playing of both sides is just amazing here, and even though he’s utterly evil he ends up being almost likeable, too.  You feel sorry for him, almost as if Loki is reaching through the screen and tricking the viewer as well.

As for the MCU as a whole, there’s a lot to love with Thor.  SHIELD agent Jasper Sitwell makes his first appearance, working throughout this film as a pure good guy (though he’ll turn nasty by the time Winter Soldier is released), and Coulson is sprinkled heavily throughout the entire movie.  SHIELD as a whole is a constant, pretty much from beginning to end, a huge progression from where they were in the first Iron Man film as barely a footnote.

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Of course we can’t forget Hawkeye who makes his first easter egg appearance (though Coulson just calls him “Barton”) and it’s a blast going back and watching all of this slowly come together as the world builds.  I’m just as fascinated by the Asgard angle as I am the Earth angle, which is amazing for me, someone who has always been somewhat dissuaded by the more outlandish and supernatural aspects of the Marvel comics universe.

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Thor holds up, without a doubt.  Funny, engaging, action-packed with some spectacular set design and really fun costumes.  Loki is great, and I truly enjoyed going back and revisiting this one.

Ongoing rank:

#4 – Iron Man 2
#3 – Thor
#2 – Incredible Hulk
#1 – Iron Man

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