I Say Thee Nay — Thor

When I was a kid I’d have given my front teeth to see a movie like Thor. But back when I was a kid teeth were replaceable. One fell out and another would grow in, kind of the way comic book movies are today. So even though Thor was a little disappointing I still have X-men and Captain America to look forward to later this summer and Spider-Man and The Avengers next year.

Last year when reviewing Iron Man 2 I came to the same conclusion. Just as the newsstands were littered with so many different comics that the quality went from amazing to blah, we have now been treated (and/or abused) with so many comic book movies, that just seeing a faithful adaptation of the characters I grew up with is no longer enough.

It’s great to see Asgard and The Rainbow Bridge come to life. It’s fascinating to see Thor’s red cape and his hammer swinging at a thousand miles per hour just like those old Ron Frenz comics, but I wanted something more. When Thor first walks on to the screen in full regalia with a shit eating grin I thought we’d be treated to an interesting, funny take on this character just as Robert Downey Jr. did for Iron Man. But so many kitchen sinks are introduced in this movie that it has no time to truly explore any of them.

It’s a tricky balance. I want both the things I’ve seen in the comics coupled with something new and exciting that will keep me interested in the movie. But one of the problems with Thor is that as hard as the filmmakers tried to cram 50 years of comic book (and centuries of Norse) mythology into the movie, the things it got wrong seemed more glaring. Since when does Thor have a Mom? Why does Loki, the God of Evil, need motivating factors to commit treachery? Why doesn’t Thor say any of his catchphrases like “I say thee nay”? How are characters that all looked to be of Scandinavian origin now seemingly from Africa and Asia (especially offensive since they didn’t include any Jewish Gods of nitpicking)?

To be fair a major problem with the movie stems from the source material. While artist Jack Kirby gave Thor striking visuals, Stan Lee never really came up with a credible, clever origin for Thor the way he did for Spider-man and the Hulk. And since this movie is a origin story it doesn’t have much to draw upon (although Stan Lee makes up for it with a great cameo).

So even though the movie breezes through at a good pace and there are a couple honest laughs I would have expected more.

It reminds me of those Star Wars prequels that came out a decade ago. I hated them (and don’t worry Thor is far superior to any of those movies). I remember thinking they were lazy, boring, and characters were introduced just to sell toys. I was shocked at the time to learn there was a similar reaction to Return of the Jedi. How dare they question the Ewoks integrity!

But maybe it’s just a matter of perspective. What seems lazy and cynical to experienced eyes, is fresh and fun to young eyes. To someone who hasn’t seen fifty superhero movies and read fifty thousand comics, Thor is an awesome, fun movie. But I refuse to consider that possibility. Because that might mean that at thirty-two years of age I might have outgrown comic book movies and that might mean I’d have to reevaluate my life, and I’m just not ready to do that. At least not until I see Captain America.

 

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8 thoughts on “I Say Thee Nay — Thor

  1. Thor is not a movie I would have been interested in seeing regardless of this post because, frankly, I’m sick to death of all the comic book movies! Obviously the last decade+ has been a geek paradise with just about every possible comic book hero and villian coming to life on film. However, I was not into comic books, so the only way I would ever see these characters is in a movie. For that reason, I might entertain Thor on Netflix later this year…but that brings me to the real reason I posted today:

    What is the deal with people hating on the Star Wars prequel trilogy?

    I would really like a response to that, because I want an honest to Lucas answer as to why those three films are so hated, other than Jar Jar Binks (who honestly, made the films better, at least the first one). Just curious…

    …because for me, having grown up just after the last of the original trilogy films came out and not remembering the first two, I was ecstatic to see any NEW Star Wars film coming out way back in 1999. I was literally partying like it was 1999 in fact! And after the last one came out in 2005, I still LOVED the trilogy. The reason? You got to see how Anakin became Vader. You got to see Luke and Leia’s mother and what her role was. You got to see Yoda kick some serious tail and all the other Jedi. You got to see everything that you had only heard about in the first three films. My feeling on the subject of the prequel trilogy is this:

    So many years passed with so many people coming up with their own scenarioes for how Anakin became Vader that everyone and their uncle thought they had it all figured out….and were wrong….and got pissed….never thinking about one small detail….Lucas makes the films and comes up with his own stories, in his own style, with his own plot, incoporating nothing of what others think, suggest, or send in manuscripts of. I mean, am I wrong in thinking that, because that is what I believe is the case here.

    What’s lazy about it too? I’ve actually heard you say that quite a bit about films and I would like to know what do you mean by a film being lazy, particularly big time action summer extravaganzas? You said this about the ending of Lost as well, so I’m curious.

    To me, lazy is implying that there’s not enough interconnectedness to tie up every loose end and dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ so that no one can decipher plot holes that take away from the story itself. But again, I may be wrong here, because when you use lazy I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about….I find it hard to call someone or something lazy that has been worked on for years with dedication from hundreds if not thousands of people just to get it right. To me lazy is a whole bunch of films out there like Judd Apatow’s films, anything with that fat guy from Superbad in it, Jonah I believe is his name, and an often occuring series of films that there appears to be no end in sight for the foreseeable future, but they just keep getting made because someone will come see it (see Saw Series, Final Destination, Resident Evil, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah).

    I’m not going off on you, Pablo, I’m truly asking a question…I just consider lazy a very, very harsh word when it comes to filmmaking, but again maybe I don’t understand it clear enough. Lazy in my line of work is pretty self-explanatory, so please do tell.

    • Jason,

      To me lazy filmmaking (or TV making in the case of the Lost finale) has nothing to do with special effects or sound, which most of these 200 million dollar extravaganzas have down, but is rather lazy storytelling. Instead of putting some thought and giving us something different, they go with the cliche.

      A lot of it might have to do with managing my expectations. Lost kept pronising us they had an ending that would answer all our questions, and I guess they did, but it lacked the imagination and brilliance that they spoiled us with in the preceding six seasons. The ending came across as lazy to me since the creators showed themselves to be capable of so much more.

      I might be biased on the original Star Wars trilogy. I grew up on them so my opinions on them are slanted, but I don’t think the prequels had the fun or whimsy of the original. They took themselves too seriously, without taking the characters or dialogue seriously. It answered questions, but Star Wars, like Lost, (andperhaps like life) proves things are more interesting when we don’t have all the answers.

      But point taken on me overusing the word lazy. I have become the pot who calls out the kettle.

      • I have to admit the more I think about Lost, the more the ending really does kinda tick me off. I would have liked to have known what the island was, why it was even there, where did it come from, but instead it became all about Jack, which was nice, and basically said that life is full of unknown, unexplainable thinks, but you still have to live it. Well, great thanks Lindelof and Cuse, but I would have liked to have seen something more…like you said.

        I think I was just in high gear over how awesome the series had been to that point, I didn’t stop to think how duped I had been.

        I think that’s been the hardest thing to do in writing is trying to come up with someone no one has ever seen before. I wanted to avoid those cliches, but I probably ended up using them a lot anyway. It’s probably somewhat unavoidable because honestly so many people write these days it’s truly overwhelming the market. Supply is substanitally exceeding demand, which is why so many publishers are struggling, even the big ones. Electronic media is helping with some of that, BUT there’s still something to be said for holding a book in your hands and feeling the pages turn one by one.

        But Hollywood, these days, is all about the cliche as long as it sells. Not much originality at all, just pick a formula, slap a bunch of juicy special effects or young hotties in it, don’t forget 3D, and watch the dough rake in.

        That’s one thing you and I wholeheartedly agree on…we’re tired of the gimmicks, it’s time to get back to real storytelling and having some fun, rather than making some money. Speilberg and Lucas were not trying to make 300 million a picture with Star Wars or E.T., they were just trying to make something they loved….needs to get back to that and quick.

  2. 1964 the series began a long and definitive run by writer and co-plotter Lee and penciler and co-plotter Kirby that lasted until the by-then-retitled Thor a.k.a. ..This article needs that appear in reliable third-party publications. Thors natural affinity for Earth was eventually revealed to be due to the fact that he was the son of the .

  3. I liked Thor, but I agree for the most part, it certainly wasn’t life changing. Have you ever done an article on your five (or ten) most favorite superhero comic based movies?

    • Here’s a rudimentary list….
      1) Spider-Man 2
      2) Incredible Hulk (the Ed Norton one)
      3) Iron Man
      4) X-Men: First Class
      5) Batman Begins
      6) X-men 2
      7) Spider-Man
      8 ) X-men
      9) Batman
      10)Batman Returns

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