The MCU Countdown #9: Thor

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The first outing of Thor was one that you either liked or did not like when it hit theaters. Thor was very different than what had came before it. Iron Man was still a hero grounded in reality and The Incredible Hulk was a character that audiences were familiar with. What Thor did was teleport movie-goers to the world of gods and heroes. This was a comic-book film that nobody had ever seen before. Thor was enough of a box-office success to continue Marvel on the path towards The Avengers and the film needs to be recognized for what it did to the MCU as well as what it setup for the future films to come. 

Thor starred Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, and Idris Elba. After years of being the protector of Asgard, the time for Thor (Hemsworth) to become king has come. During Thor's ceremony, Odin (Hopkins) senses an ancient enemy known as the Frost Giants attempt to steal the tesseract. Their failed attempt and his father's lack for retaliation leaves Thor enraged and takes matter into his own hands. Thor's anger leads to a mild skirmish with the Frost Giants and these actions force Odin to strip Thor of his powers. Thor is banished to the realm of Earth where he will live out the rest of his days unless he learns to become worthy of his own powers. 

The first thing that always grabs my attention when watching this film is the cinematography and how unique it is compared to other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While many films in Phase One use more earthy color pallets and generic cinematography, Thor sets itself apart being the first colorful film in the MCU. The film's treatment of color along with it's plentiful use of close-ups and slanted cinematography gives Thor a unique image that completely sets itself apart from the early films in the MCU as well as future film. No other film in the Thor series or other films have tried to replicate this style. I do wish Marvel would put more effort into some of their camera framing to help differentiate their solo films to help make these adventures more unique. 

We must also remember that without Thor, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be without one of it's best villains of all time, Loki. Tom Hiddleston as Loki is one of the largest stars in the MCU and quite possibly one of the best comic book antagonist in the history of film. Hiddleston's ability to convey mischievousness, anger, wrapped up in a sense of wit allows audiences to gravitate towards his charisma. I would be interested to see how the MCU might have shaped without the success of Loki. Maybe they miscast the role or Hiddleston receives pore direction but if Loki doesn't succeed, The Avengers might not have been the classic we know it as. Maybe if the MCU failed with Loki, the writing team over at Disney might have doubled down and invested more in their villains. There are tons of what-ifs when it comes to Tom Hiddleston's performance of Loki.   

While the film succeeds in many areas where it should not, it still finds a way to mess up some of the core basics of filmmaking. While the film does a great job at humanizing Thor and explaining Loki's ideologies, Thor's primary failure is the romantic plot line between Thor and Jane Foster. I'm not going to fault Hemsworth or Portman on their romantic chemistry but their love for each other doesn't feel genuine. Foster only seems to fall for Thor just on looks and being a strong male figure and not for his core beliefs and characteristics.  

Looking back at Thor, I always enjoy myself but the film is one of the least Marvel-esq films in the MCU. The film seems more mythological than superhero but that is completely the point of the film. Thor is not a film about superheroes fighting corrupted villains who are two-dimensional in their intentions. Thor is a story about gods and how they interact between themselves as well as other lesser creatures around them. The original Thor is the only true film that heavily-focuses on the mythological aspect of these characters. Thor: The Dark World tries to mimic its predecessor but fails with the villain. Thor: Ragnarok is a hell of a fun time but is more about connecting Thor to other cosmic beings in order to get him closer to the Guardians of the Galaxy. Thor is a film that is funnier than you expect and more important to the grand scheme of things than you think. While it might be one of the weaker solo-films, Thor is still a fun time.