I have additional problems with the Thor movie. I will expound on them here for no other reason than I want to. Much of this article is classified as giant spoilers for movie. If you don’t want the movie spoiled do not read this article.
I have a pretty high tolerance for silliness in movies. My capacity to suspend my disbelief is only surmounted by the size of my belly. But there are three elements in this movie that really through me out of my enjoyment and back into my head. This was not a thinking movie, but I’m stuck thinking about it.
- The timeline lacks internal consistency. The Asgardians are aliens. Check. The frost giants used the casket of winter to attack the nine realms a long, long time ago. The Asgardians fought back, led by Odin. This gave rise to the Norse mythical cycle. Check. Thor did not take part in that battle and Loki was born at the end of it. Check. In the present, Thor is portrayed as a youth just coming into his inheritance. And yet, the same Norse mythical cycle portrays Thor much as he is at the start of the movie. It is like Thor was born, grew up, and did great deeds in mythical times. Then time stopped for all Asgardians – they don’t age, change or mature for several thousand years. Then they start again and Thor has a coming of age story in the present. It makes no sense to me.
- The modern anti-war stance of the Asgardians – The Norse cycle gave rise to Valhalla, Valkyries, and berserkers. It must have been the inspiration for the Vikings. But Odin shows a very modern stance on war – to wit – “Only wage it if you must.” Thor’s main shortcoming is shown as he likes to solve problems with violence. Now this isn’t horribly different from how the Asgardians are often portrayed in the comics. But in the movie it was incongruous that a warrior culture should dislike war so much.
- The overall plot – Thor is banished for being warlike, impetuous and disobeying his father. At first he thinks it is permanent, but later everyone finds out that Odin’s plan is for him to regain his power when he proves himself worthy. In a big fight with the Destroyer armour, Thor proves himself worthy by not fighting and offering to sacrifice himself to prevent the armour from following others. Gah! First, this hits my previous point again. Second, how is this the opposite behavior of his previous actions? It is not showing fealty to his father. It is equally impetuous and ill-advised. It is not warlike. I’ll give it that. But I’d argue that Thor had always been willing to lay down his life to protect others. Note how he stayed behind in a delaying tactic while the others retreated in the initial Frost Giant fight. The idea that martyrdom is the opposite of war is very nice, but it hardly seems the lesson THOR should need to learn.
Hopefully if you’ve read this far, the concept above don’t bother you. This is still an entertaining movie with lots of funny bits, interesting characters and some epic smashing of bad guys.