Is Loki a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants power for himself to do what his father and brother can't and won't or is he a petty tyrant craving adoration?
Is Odin a wise and just king who is simply trying to keep peace between the realms, or an overzealous tyrant who is desperate to hold onto his own power at any cost? Was his initial dismissal of investigating the Frost Giants infiltration simply wanting peace or did he realize he couldn't really pursue it properly due to the Odinsleep being so near? Additionally, how good a father was he really, if he never discouraged the Fantastic Racism Thor and Loki (and, implicitly, most of Asgard) feel towards the Frost Giants when not only is one of his beloved sons a Frost Giant but the person he hopes to rule over Jotunheim one day?
Was Thor a victim of Informed Wrongness for wanting to investigate the Frost Giants infiltrating the palace of Asgard? Was he really just being an arrogant hothead or was he actually justified in wanting to investigate the matter?
What If...? (2021) brings into question if Laufey actually abandoned Loki for being a runt, or if Odin just mistook him for such. As the Loki returned to his father in the Party Thor universe grew to be a full sized Frost Giant.
Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: For those not familiar with the comics, Hawkeye's cameo could be considered this. A fairly well-known, Oscar-nominated actor shows up for a couple of minutes as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who inexplicably uses a bow and arrow instead of a gun, and then completely drops out of the plot, never to be seen or mentioned again within the film. Comic fans got the significance of the scene and of course it ended up paying off in The Avengers, but it must've been pretty confusing for a large portion of the audience.
Continuity Lockout: Hawkeye's appearance. Non-comic fans are left clueless why the movie spent five minutes bringing in a big name actor to play a random wisecracking guy with a bow and arrow, who never appears in the film again, though this made sense when The Avengers came out.
Crack Pairing: A huge fandom emerged around Coulson/Hawkeye after they exchanged a handful of lines during this film.
Cry for the Devil: Loki. On the one hand, he's a conniving, power-hungry liar, willing to betray his brother and doom him to permanent banishment while he usurped the throne. On the other hand, he's a deeply damaged young man who's convinced he's The Unfavorite, especially after finding out he was not only adopted, but from an enemy race, and is desperate for his father's approval and affection. It's made even sadder because he already had his father's acceptance and fondness, but convinced himself otherwise.
Designated Hero: Odin could be considered one, since his less than desirable parenting is the reason that Loki has gone down the dark path. Thor at least tries to make Loki forgive him. Odin himself, on the other hand, refuses to admit that he's responsible for how misguided Loki is. For context, he tells Thor and Loki when they are children that "only one of you can inherit the throne, but both of you were born to be kings". Sure, that won't create any pressure, competition and resentment, Odin...
Draco in Leather Pants: Loki, and those pants might actually be leather. Tom Hiddleston even encourages this by frequently stating in interviews that his character is misunderstood, and that Loki needs lots of hugs and "I love you"s to heal from his psychological wounds.
Idris Elba's performance as Heimdall gets this. A classic case of Ability over Appearance, all but the most rabid of detractors enjoyed his performance and the hints that he's even more powerful than he lets on. He turned what would otherwise have been just Thor's ChevronGuy into a linchpin of the franchise.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Thor/Loki, by an overwhelming margin. Probably one of the few creative works in existence for which the majority of the fandom prefers to ship the protagonist with his brother rather than the protagonist with his established female love interest.
First Installment Wins: Though not a universal sentiment, a vocal portion of critics and fans consider the first Thor movie to be the best for balancing out the humor and drama better than the subsequent followups and for preferring the more Shakespearian take Kenneth Branagh adds to the story which makes this movie stand out from the others.
Foe Yay Shipping: There's a bit of Sif/Loki, if you look at their interactions a certain way. Probably only one-sided, though, and might be insinuated as to how Odin wanted the "joining of the kingdoms" to go. You could do worse than having your enemy's son marry into your own nobility.
When Thor becomes worthy to wield Mjolnir again and it takes off from its impact sight, the time it takes to fly from there to Thor's hand is correct almost to the second after it goes supersonic.
When Jane and Dr. Selvig get into an argument about whether Thor is really a Norse god, Jane cites Arthur C. Clarke's third law of science fiction ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"). Clarke's first law of science fiction is "When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; when he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong." Dr. Selvig, a distinguished but elderly scientist, claims that the ancient Norse legends couldn't possibly be true. He turns out to be wrong, of course.
Odin banishing Thor for being too bloodthirsty and arrogant takes on a darker light after Thor: Ragnarok revealed Odin sealed away his firstborn daughter Hela in the far past for similar reasons. Even after Odin had a change of heart and was determined to make sure his later children would become benevolent protectors instead of warmongers it seemed like Thor was heading down the same exact path anyway.
For the same reasons, Odin's facial expressions during Thor's supposed coronation: He has tears in his eyes and his voice even cracks when he calls Thor his firstborn.
Laufey yells at Thor that his father is a murderer and a thief. Ragnarok reveals that Odin used to be The Conqueror, and a brutal one at that, so Laufey's accusations are actually pretty warranted.
The entire film by the time of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War: with those two films in the books, everyone Thor cared for on Asgard save for Lady Sif (unaccounted for due to Real Life Writes the Plot, with Jaimie Alexander's TV schedule) is now dead, with only Odin passing away naturally and not brutally murdered, on top of Asgard annihilated from existence, most of the refugee Asgardians slaughtered by the Children of Thanos, and Thor no longer having a relationship with Jane Foster. When Thor wearily tells Rocket in Infinity War what more could he lose, this film is now a stark reminder of everything he has lost since the audience met him.
Odin proclaiming both of his sons as being born to rule is tough to watch after Loki (2021) where Mobius M. Mobius declares that Loki was never meant to be a king but was born to cause pain, suffering and death and to be a tool to help other people become better.
In one episode of What If...? (2021), an alternate universe is shown where Odin chooses to return Loki to Laufey instead of adopting him. The result is a Thor who is a Manchild and not even close to being as respected as a warrior, but somehow pretty much causes Asgard to have peaceful relations with characters and civilizations who they are enemies with in the main universe including the Frost Giants. Loki appears in this timeline as a fully grown Frost Giant who is the prince of Jotunheim, and while a Fair-Weather Friend to Thor he is much happier than his main universe counterpart. The fact the flashback showing Loki being returned had Laufey taking him back with a smile suggests that Odin had misinterpreted the situation when he found Loki, and since he is the same size as other Frost Giants in the episode that implies that Odin's magic was the reason Loki had a normal human's height. This means that because of Odin's Fantastic Racism Loki was robbed of the happiness he could have had with his own people and developed into the villain he was in this film.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: A Deleted Scene shows Thor and Loki talking to each other before the planned coronation, with the former being very nervous. Then Loki trolls a servant with illusions of several snakes. Thor: Ragnarok reveals that snakes are Thor's favorite animals.
During the fight in New Mexico, Volstagg gets launched at the Destroyer by Hogun and Frandral. Seems like that's a common Asgardian combat technique.
Loki tricking Thor with an illusion into believing that he's about to fall from the Bifrost and stabbing him when the illusion dissolves becomes funny after Thor: Ragnarok, where Thor tells a story about Loki transforming himself into a snake and transforming back into himself and stabbing Thor when he tried to pick up the snake when they were eight.
In Roger Ebert's review of the film, he criticizes Loki, asking his readers "will you be thinking of Loki six minutes after this movie is over?" Loki would go on to be THE Breakout Character of the MCU, eventually even getting his own TV series.
It Was His Sled: That the manipulative mastermind behind it all turns out be Loki comes as no surprise to anyone who's even vaguely familiar with Norse mythology and/or his role in pre-existing Marvel products. Or heck, if you even saw the trailers and promotional posters where he looks Obviously Evil.
Jerkass Woobie: Loki, in spades. Despite his flaws, it's hard not to feel bad for him. Especially when he keeps making those Puppy-Dog Eyes. Even his attempt to destroy Jötunheim with the Bifröst was only to please his father and prove to be as worthy as Thor.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go destroy Jotunheim.
One scene had Darcy wondering how Thor could still be hungry after devouring an entire box of poptarts. Cue the fandom treating poptarts as Thor's Trademark Favorite Food.
Pole dancing/stripper Loki, after a scene in the final battle where he plants Gungnir in the ground and swings around it.
Narm Charm: Half the fun of the movie is watching how dramatic all these big, goofy Norse god characters can get. In the comics, not only is the overblown drama half the fun, but it's also what makes Thor charming and different from the other Avengers.
Donald Blake as a separate individual was previously seen in the The Incredible Hulk (1977) television movie The Incredible Hulk Returns, except here Blake is The Ghost and briefly becomes an alias of Thor, which amusingly is still somewhat closer to the source material.
Colm Feore only has about two scenes as Laufey (one of them very brief), but he makes the absolute most of his screen time, making Laufey into a compelling and even tragic figure and proves with little more than a sinister word that he is a very threatening foe of Asgard. When he tells you to leave "while he still allows it," you'd better leave.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who sees Sif and the Warriors Three walk into town radios in the following: "Uh base, we got Xena, Jackie Chan and Robin Hood..."
Thor's classic winged helmet.
Ron the Death Eater: Odin gets this treatment from the fandom for how he treats both Thor and Loki.
According to this Crackedarticle, this film adaptation is a blatant rip-off of the 2003 Christmas film Elf. Of course, that article isn't meant to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt but the entire shaker due to the number of errors in it.
Could very well work as a film adaptation of Orion of the New Gods. Considering both comic books were created (or co-created in Thor's case), by Jack Kirby, this isn't surprising.
Strangled by the Red String: This seems to be a widely held opinion on the romance between Thor and Jane Foster, which really only serves to give Thor a reason to want to get back to Earth. Some have even labeled it a Romantic Plot Tumor, which is kind of funny considering that the same thing was said about Natalie Portman's character in the Star Wars prequels.
Kenneth Branagh must have realized this and says in the DVD Commentary that their relationship wasn't meant to be true love, but more a mutual crush and respect based around what they represent to one another, a statement that rings a bit hollow given the Big Damn Kiss (Thor kisses her hand directly prior, so stopping at that would have fit better), and the sequel takes the Strangled by the Red String to greater levels, though in all fairness Branagh had no say in that happening.
Many jokes have been made that despite the lack of romantic chemistry, there actually is a good reason Thor and Jane are attracted to each other... namely, because he's Chris Hemsworth and because she's Natalie Portman. They are hot. Even Honest Trailers got in on this, with the narrator saying that Jane was in love with Thor for no good reason - only to show the scene where Jane sees Thor shirtless, and correcting himself by saying she's in love with him for "six good reasons - abs!"
Win Back the Crowd: While The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 were by no means critical or commercial failures many fans felt that both films weren't as good as the first Iron Man film. Thor, while still not as good as Iron Man, was more warmly received by fans. What helped was the introduction of Loki, who would be the main antagonist in The Avengers and that the film as a whole had less tie-ins to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, keeping the story more self-contained.
There was an outcry over the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall by comic fans who wanted to stick as closely as possible to the material, and by a self-avowed racist organization. But as Bob Chipman put it, every scene Elba is in is a resounding "THAT'S WHY!" in response to those who asked why cast a black man as a viking. Although this has the odd consequence of creating a second faction who feels Elba was miscast because they wasted a perfectly good actor on a minor role.
For those who are not familiar with comics, it was confusing to see Jeremy Renner wasted in such a minor role. The idea of one of The Men in Black armed with bow and arrows added more confusion to the mix. And worse, the Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize trope would manifest later in the franchise (this small character of Renner would eventually turn out to be Hawkeye, one of the leads of The Avengers), but not in the Thor movie itself when it had just been released.