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Reviews Comments: It is what it is, and a little bit more. Thor film/book review by surgoshan

One thing I do with movies is that I don't just watch them, I rewatch them. First impression: Thor is an entertaining summer film. Second impression: an entertaining film in which one can find subtext and subtlety with some effort.

The director's willing to let the camera find the significant details rather than tell you what's going on (the voiceover backstory intro notwithstanding). A shot of Thor on his knees looking at Mjölnir shows you why his Heroic BSOD goes from bad to worse, and is the only explanation for his character development in the second half of the movie. In a Michael Bay flick, this is a weakness; in Thor it works both for the "film" and the "summer flick" features. If you're not going to look for detail, you don't need it; the scene works perfectly because his failure is all you need. If you do like detail and do want the explanation, it's provided. In short, this film has something for everyone (But no Male Gaze. Though there is a shirtless scene for the ladies. And gay men.)

And for character arc, the three act structure sets that up fairly well. Thor spends thirty minutes proving he's a god, then thirty earning the right to be a god, then thirty proving he's a king. If you're here for action and messianic archetypes, look no further; the film hands them to you on a silver platter and you've got a fun evening. If you want to explore the character development wherein an old testament god becomes a new testament god by way of discovering his humanity, then it's right under the surface.

A theme of the movie is that Right Makes Might. A deeper theme is at Thor's aborted coronation: Mjölnir holds the power to create or destroy. It's not that you can fight, nor that you want to fight; it matters why you fight. To prove you can be a god, first you have to prove you can be a man. If you want to take a life, you should be prepared to give it.

As always, the most confusing (interesting) character is the villain. Why does Loki do what he does? Is it for the Lulz or the Evulz? Is he jealous of Thor or does he want to help him? Does he want to protect Asgard or destroy it? Whose approval does he seek? I suspect not even he knows, and that another film will explore it in depth. Mjölnir's duality is also embedded in Loki's conflicting inner selves.


  • Aralar
  • 12th May 11
I truly think that Thor has been a fine movie, and probably the best one since Iron Man. Loki's development was very interesting, and it goes with the three act structure: Thirty minutes being a cunning guy with some envy issues -weaker than his brother, who was also the first-born, in a warriors' society, so Thor was almost for sure the next king, and so on; I really was able to sympathize with Loki, even when I couldn't approve his acts-, thirty minutes of Heroic BSOD that started when he couldn't get frozen by the ice giants -by the way, weirdest Despair Event Horizon I've seen- , thirty minutes of a progressively deeper Face Heel Turn.

A pretty good review!
  • surgoshan
  • 3rd Jun 11
Thank you for the kind comment! I like the notion that there were two sets of three acts; Thor had his three acts wherein he subverts the notion of the hero, and Loki has his own three acts where he inverts the notion of the hero.

Like a Shakespearean play, it's full of dirty jokes and a shit-ton of deeper themes.
  • mikke
  • 26th Jul 12
I like your review, but I didn't think Loki's motives were that hard to understand. It's obvious that it's Odin's approval he craves and that he wants to protect Asgard. The only confusion in that arc comes in the middle when he goes to cut a deal with Laufey to invade Asgard and murder Odin — but that wasn't his true motivations at all. It was a trick, a lie designed to lure Laufey in — standard modus operendi for a trickster god.

The real tragedy of Loki's character is that his heart is in the right place — his goals are good — but his nature is such that he takes dark, perverted routes to get what he wants.

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