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A fun flick, even if not for the reasons you'd think
Thor isn't really a superhero movie, at least any more than Disney's Hercules is. The movie is about a god having to prove himself worthy of his powers, rather than a regular person receiving superpowers by chance and having to decide how to use them. Even the film's use of the Three Act Structure is uncommon for its type, since the second act is the slowest and most character-oriented, while the others are the loudest and most bombastic.

The movie is a good introduction of the comic-Thor to new audiences. I don't know if it's actually loyal to he comics, but whether it is or isn't, it's a great stand-alone production for those who have no preconception about the story and characters. The only thing from the comics which is never explained is the concept of "Odin-sleep", which comes out of nowhere and seems like a cheap plot device.

The beginning is really weirdly paced, and over all, badly handled. After a cold open on Earth, there's a twenty-minute flashback to Thor's life on Asgard. The fact that there is a flashback at all, especially one so needless, was really distracting to me. The opening infodump isn't helped any by the fact that Sir Anthony Hopkins (as Odin) refuses to act, and sounds utterly uninterested in what he's narrating about. Hint for moviemakers: Get someone who cares to introduce the audience to your setting.

The movie picks up in the second act, when Thor arrives on Earth. There's some genuinely funny comic relief and interesting character moments. The human sidecast is mostly likeable, and the love interest manages to come off as a real person, even if she does fall for Thor all too quickly. The sideplot in Asgard is a bit wonky, but but luckily it doesn't drag on for too long. The third act is surprisingly minimalistic, with focus on personal drama and special effects rather than minion-smashing.

Loki's character annoyed me. Everyone who knows anything about the comics knows he'll be a bad guy, and all the newbies recognise his archetype the moment they see him. The movie manages to play with the audience for just a bit about whether Loki is actually a bad guy, but in the end they forsake all ambiguity. Would have been great to make him more tragic, rather than just whiny.

Overall, it's a good movie. Worth seeing for the second act. 3D was badly applied. See it without.
I don't understand your comments about Loki at all. I thought his manipulations at the beginning were shockingly subtle, and some people really did question whether he was going to be a bad guy. He even managed to pull the rug out from under the viewer with his real motives - and that proved he was quite a tragic character indeed. So yeah, I kind of have to disagree with you about him forsaking all ambiguity.
comment #7547 BornIn1142 6th May 11
They started out promisingly enough with that "tragic villain" characterisation, but they pissed it all away when they made him rant about how he's always been jealous of Thor and wanted to ruin his coronation.

He would have been much more effective if he'd been reduced to villainy by circumstances, which seemed to be the case at one point.
comment #7549 Kerrah 6th May 11 (edited by: Kerrah)
I got the impression that he wanted to ruin Thor's coronation in large part because he was, well, the God of Mischief. And jealousy certainly doesn't run contrary to his characterization being tragic.
comment #7572 BornIn1142 7th May 11
I agree with Born In. I thought Loki's characterization was spot-on perfect for a trickster god. Watching the movie, I couldn't honestly tell how much of what he did was an act, how much was a manipulation, and how much was luck. He says that he only ruined Thor's coronation for petty reasons, but if you watch, he also definitely goads Thor into attacking the Frost Giants. You cannot trust a single thing that comes out of his mouth. Even his argument with Odin ended on a suspiciously convenient note for him.

And yet, it's not simple 'mwahaha!' evil, because there does seem to be something more than mere jealousy or wickedness going on with him. After all, his cleverness and planning also conveniently managed to ensure that Thor became the man he needed to be, while screwing Loki himself over in the process. He's still an inarguable villain, BUT you kind of wish he wasn't, too. It makes sense that this is the guy who Odin and Thor keep granting inadvisable second chances to, and also that this is the guy who keeps turning around and stabbing everyone in the back anyway.
comment #7588 Ogres 8th May 11
You say subtle and nuanced, I say indecisive. I got the feeling that the writers really couldn't decide whether Loki was just a selfish monster or a misled, tragic figure.

Here's the thing, though: I totally enjoyed Loki for 90% of his screentime. This is just one of those things that bugs me AFTER the movie, rather than really reducing my enjoyment during it.

It could have been better, but it wasn't bad.
comment #7589 Kerrah 8th May 11
I thought Loki had perfectly well done characterization. His true motivations being unclear until the very last moments. His petty ruining of the coronation has excellent justification given that, at the time Thor was an enormous idiot child douche. Of the two of them pre-earth Thor and Loki, Loki is hands down the better choice for king. Imagine playing second fiddle to that enormous ass for thousands of years. A little jealousy is not only understandable I might even go so far as to say it is warranted.
comment #7632 Shrimpus 9th May 11
Is it inconsistent writing, or is it that not even Loki really knows why he does what he does? Is he doing it for the Lulz or the Evulz? Is he jealous of his brother or does he hate him? Does he want to usurp his brother's throne or help him become the king he should be? Does he want his father's approval or does he want his real father to kill him?

Loki's actions could be read both ways depending on the scene, and even flipping back and forth within the scene. I think maybe Odin's experiment was a tragic failure in that Loki is both a Frost Giant and an Asgardian at the same time and his desperate attempts to allow the two aspects of his self to work in harmony means he's acting on the worst impulses of each.
comment #7653 surgoshan 11th May 11
They started out promisingly enough with that "tragic villain" characterisation, but they pissed it all away when they made him rant about how he's always been jealous of Thor and wanted to ruin his coronation.

He is jealous, but he isn't just jealous. He also cares about the fate of the kingdom and the fact that Thor would have been a disastrous king, knowing the stupid thing Thor would do if such-and-such circumstance came up would show Odin the same. He made allowances to prevent serious consequences and obviously didn't expect Thor's banishment. Loki is, in spite of the childish and arrogant disregard his plan showed for the servants and the Frost Giants which mirrors Thor's, reasonably justified and well-intentioned in everything he does for the entire film up until he goes to earth.

He snapped because of the massive emotional trauma of discovering his heritage and then being handed the throne in quick succession, but he was still tragic and misguided. It's not ultimately about his jealousy, it's about his wanting to truly belong in Asgard and in his family: he does what he does to that end. He's complex, because there were issues before that (many of the same ones Thor had, but manifested differently and without Loki getting the opportunity Thor did to grow up), but he's not inconsistently written. There's a very solid emotional through-line for his whole descent (it's clearer and more obvious with the deleted scenes, but it's still there in the finished film).
comment #17495 LlamaRamaDingDong 30th Dec 12
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