Quick Thoughts on Thor

I just got back from seeing Thor in 3D, and I have many thoughts. Only a few of them are fully-formed enough to share right now, but maybe I’ll be able to go into more depth later. In the meantime…

One, why did I think it would be awesome if there were more 3D movies? Headache, I has one (ouch!). Two, fun to watch, but that plot was a mess. Three, Sif.

I think this bit from the film sums my delight in Sif up pretty well:

Thor: Who was it that proved that a mere maiden could be one of the mightiest warriors of Asgard?
Sif: I did!
Thor: True, but I supported you, Sif.

The line is played for laughs, a silly bit in a short, mostly light-hearted sequence, but the humor is not at Sif’s expense. Jaimie Alexander’s delivery made it clear that Sif isn’t shy about taking credit. And Thor immediately acknowledges that it was her own work that made her reputation. It’s a tiny moment, and a small detail, but one that I really liked.

I also dug how she really was a mighty warrior, that though she had a shield she wasn’t relegated to defensive-only behavior (always a favorite for female fighters in movies), and that her armor looked about as functional as everyone else’s. I could have done without the heels on her boots, though.

What did you think?

Comments

  1. says

    I really liked the line you pointed out, too.

    Also, something I noticed was that it–I believe–bucked the trend of women being sexualized more than men in the movie. None of the women were scantily clad–Sif didn’t get a battle bikini, she got armor like the others. The most revealing outfit she had was a sleeveless dress at the feast at the end, as I recall. Jane and Darcy were fully dressed the whole time, too (heck, they often wore two or three layers of clothing–a jacket atop a flannel button-up shirt atop a t-shirt). The only time I recall someone being undressed, and their physical attraction commented on, was Thor himself. When they brought him back to their lab, he was walking around shirtless, and Darcy commented that he was “cut”, or something.

    So, I thought that was good.

    (Or maybe I’m wrong and just didn’t notice.)

  2. says

    Mordecai – Yeah, I dug how she totally just picked up a sword right away when the frost giants burst in. No freaking out, just “Woops, time to fight people!”

    Skemono – No, I think you’re right. And that’s interesting! I totally hadn’t noticed until you mentioned it.

  3. says

    Liked it–and agree with Skemono about the men being sexualized. I am all in favor of this trend.

    I also liked that Jane and Sif, while they didn’t interact much, didn’t do the stupid jealousy dance. They’re both attractive, they’ve both got some affection for Thor–Sif apparently gets together with him in the comics, and is his wife in mythology, though there wasn’t much sign of that in the movie–and both of them are eligible from his point of view, but they seem to respect each other fine. Also, neither of them dies or turns evil, which is good.

    All the female main characters seemed to have fulfilling non-guy-centric lives, actually. And Jane had a breakup that doesn’t seem to have left her ZOMG SCARRED FOR LIFE or anything, which is both realistic and something I’d like to see more of.

  4. Maria says

    I LOVED DARCY! I also loved that Jane was passionate about her research even BEFORE it became what might bring her and Thor together again. I gotta say, Natalia Portman is growing on me — something about her body language is just really great at suggesting deep passions that aren’t necessarily shallow or only physical.

    I’ve been seeing some comments on the internets about Thor being one of the first unabashedly pagan movies, and others saying that it was dismissive to pagan belief systems. Here are some of those links;

    http://www.themarysue.com/pagans-split-on-thors-depiction-of-norse-gods/

    http://www.patheos.com/community/paganportal/2011/05/06/thor-a-pagan-review-of-the-film/

  5. says

    Maria,

    Yes! Darcy was great! I frankly couldn’t stand Jane, but Darcy was wonderful. I particularly liked this bit:

    Jane: I’ve never met him before.
    Darcy: Until she hit him with her car.
    Jane: I grazed him! … But she tased him.
    Darcy: *smugly, proudly* Yes, I did.

    And I liked that a lot more when you contrast it with Jane’s bizarre willingness to get into a car alone and drive into the middle of nowhere with a stranger who’s shown himself to be delusional and violent.

  6. Anna says

    I really liked Sif, but I liked mos the women, specially Darcy! Jane was a bit of a bore, but good as a character.
    I do disliked how some reviewer pointed that “She [Sif] was a warrior, but clearly female* because she was more sensitive than the guys…” yada,yada. Ugh.

  7. Maria says

    Skemono: And I liked that a lot more when you contrast it with Jane’s bizarre willingness to get into a car alone and drive into the middle of nowhere with a stranger who’s shown himself to be delusional and violent.

    Oh, see, I just saw that as grad student logic. There’s…. a lot I would do if it would involve SAVING. MY. DATA. It’s… kinda serious.

  8. Maria says

    Anna: I do disliked how some reviewer pointed that “She [Sif] was a warrior, but clearly female* because she was more sensitive than the guys…” yada,yada. Ugh.

    They ALL were sensitive to Thor’s moods because he is their friend!!! Gah.

  9. says

    I really enjoyed the movie, but I was a bit miffed by the fangirly attitude of Jane and Darcy evey time they were around Thor. I wouldn’t have minded if they had aknowledged the disarming effect while chatting in private, but it was like yeah, tough girls, scientists, blah blah blah but show them a fit guy and they go all giggly like they were 13.

    I liked Sif, and agree with Sakemono and Isabel about the points they make.

  10. Azzy says

    Nuria: I really enjoyed the movie, but I was a bit miffed by the fangirly attitude of Jane and Darcy evey time they were around Thor.

    Darcy didn’t seem that fangirly, actually. Asides from the “I totally know CPR” scene, and noticing how “cut” Thor was, she seemed mostly curious and astounded by some of his odder mannerisms. TBH, I think she’s my favorite character in the movie. There’s a scene where Jane says they need to find Thor again, and you can see Darcy checking on her taser in the background. It cracked me up. Jane, on the other hand, yes, turned into a giggly, awkward schoolgirl around Thor in some scenes, but I think we usually see the opposite more often: the nerdy dude getting tongue-tied around a hot woman (whom he usually ends up with).

  11. says

    Nuria, I don’t know.

    I’m a professional woman, and I think of myself as tough, but put me on a beach with a couple of friends and there will definitely be some commentary on the lifeguards. And I think most of us get a little awkward around people for whom we have the hots. Hard to multitask sustaining a coherent conversation with picturing someone naked. :)

    And as Azzy mentioned, we see a lot of the opposite case: any Hugh Grant movie from the eighties, for example.

  12. Megan says

    I agree with Marie. If the feds had stolen all my thesis research, and a dude who proved he could kick major ass promised me he could get it back, I would be highly tempted to take him up on the offer. PLUS, as soon as Thor entered the compound and started whooping ass, Jane called Dr. Selwig and said something like, “I did exactly what you told me not to, if you don’t hear from me in an hour come and save me!” Smart move, and I cheered her for it.

    I also agree with Isabel about giggling over hotties. It’s not anti-feminist to have strong professional women characters who giggle at a man built like a brick you-know-what. It acknowledges the fact that they have a sexual side without making that their ONLY side. Jane chases after Thor because he’s integral to her research, and because he’s extraordinarily polite and courteous to her (did you notice that? I kept expecting him to jump her in an “I will reward your help by boning you” kind of way, but he DIDN’T). His hotness, while she acknowledges it, seems to be pretty low down on her list of priorities.

    On a side note – for those who don’t like to watch movies in 3D, they make glasses you can wear to 3D movies that render them into 2D for you…. so if Thor is only playing in 3D you can still go see it without puking: http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/looflirpa/e8be/

  13. Kylroy says

    Probably redundant, but *SPOILER WARNING*.

    Frigga only took out a single jotun before being swatted aside, but the swatter was Laufey, one of the most powerful beings in the film.

    And Sif came across equal to any of Thor’s posse, who had to occupy a narratively tricky level of competence – fearsome warriors in their own right, but much less potent than Thor. And Anna, who was the reviewer who called Sif “clearly female”? Did they comment on the fact that she was the one Thor had to talk down from dying a glorious, futile death?

    For my part, I really liked how Loki was handled. Adoptee betrayal stories always rub me the wrong way, seeming to contain a moral of “only trust blood relatives”. But the movie developed Loki such that…I can’t really describe why, but such that his being adopted wasn’t the problem. I was really afraid that when he found out his frost giant heritage, the writers would use it as an excuse for him to more or less go “Well, guess that means I’m evil.” Instead, he starts a plan that culminates in him telling Laufey “you will know that you died by the hand of the son of Odin.” That bit both really surprised and really touched me; I’m wondering if anyone else was as affected by it.

    • Maria says

      @Kylroy

      I was — I loved that it so fit in with my love of Loki-the-trickster-who-loved-his-family and that it bore out how throughout his childhood he and Thor had struggled SO HARD to be worthy of their father’s esteem and lineage. I loved that he felt “caught between two worlds” like you get with tragic mulatto stories, and that his magic powers seemed to be the result of work he’d done (studying!!) vs. what he was (like how Anita Blake’s magic necromancer skills are her genes, and how Sookie is part fairy and that’s why vamps can’t read her).

  14. Maria says

    Megan,

    Haha I’m MARIA! :)

    But yeah, I whooped when she called Dr. Selwig because … well! Who else would you call in a science-related emergency??

    The advisor/advisee relationship is like intellectual parenting… and your research is like the really heavy baby you never WANT to put down. She felt SUPER believable to me.

  15. SunlessNick says

    I also agree with Isabel about giggling over hotties.

    Especially when said hottie has a day named after them (tm Douglas Adams).

  16. Dani says

    I actually wasn’t a fan of how Loki was handled. It kind of struck me as “studious, skinny, not-really-“manly” guy = bad guy, and “big, muscular, physically strong, SUPER MANLY!!!!” guy = good guy, on top of the adoptive betrayal thing. Plus, while I liked that you couldn’t always tell what was going through his head, there was just something missing to really make him *Loki* to me (though, this could have to do with it being an origin story, and the writers were showing how he became the way he was).

    BUT, I was pleasantly surprised by how the female characters were handled! I saw this movie begrudgingly (I was desperate for social interaction and a break from grad work), and I expected there to be ONE female character – the love interest – who spent the movie doing nothing but needing to be rescued. I was very wrong, and I really liked how all four women were portrayed. I love that Jane was a scientist, I love Darcy’s personality, and Sif was awesome! None of them were objectified, and none of them were damsels in distress. Sif held her own in battle, something I was worried wouldn’t happen. It was just all around awesome.

  17. Megan says

    Sorry, Maria. I am made of fail.

    SPOILER

    Loki, it seemed to me, was trying his best to do what was right for Asgaard…. but what he thought was right wasn’t exactly in line with the rest of the universe. He set up Thor to be exiled, but considering Thor was such an impulsive twerp in the beginning, I’m not entirely unsympathetic. Did anyone stay to see the scene at the end of the credits? I am looking mighty, mighty forward to seeing what they do with Loki in the Avengers….

  18. Kylroy says

    Megan,

    That’s what I liked about Loki – he was selfish, but not malicious. Like you say, his spoiling of Thor’s coronation was self-serving but ultimately a good thing because it saved Asgard from the rule of pre-exile, fratboy Thor. Loki’s setup and killing of Laufey was intended primarily to make him look like a hero, but it meant his homeland’s greatest enemy had been killed in circumstances that unquestionably called for it. Loki only unquestionably goes too far when he decide to wipe out all the jotun – which is exactly what Thor had intended to do before his exile and personal growth.

    Dani: Short of making Loki another beefcake (no way they’d make Thor slight), how could they possibly have gotten around the big-good, skinny-evil issue? Two of the Warriors Three seem to be built more for agility than strength, and the jotun are all power with no finesse. I guess Loki just indefinably worked for me (i.e. skirting the adoptive betrayal hangup for reasons I can’t articulate) in the same way he indefinably didn’t work for you.

  19. says

    I enjoyed Thor, as well (and actually liked Loki’s looks better than I did Thor’s). Also, Odin claimed to not play favorites, but at the beginning of the movie, Thor was a total asshat and Odin was _still_ going to let him be his successor. Um, yeah, right (_see_ Dumbledore, the Magical Gryffindor Effect, don’t get me started). Loki actually gave excellent advice, which was not followed at all.

    Sulks. Yeah, Thor got better as he went on, but why didn’t Loki have any girls chasing after him? (he was married in legend; and even when he was disgraced, he had a wife who held a cup to keep the venom of the Midgard Serpent off him. Ok, he sucked the wax tadpole over Baldur, etc.).

    But in the movie he had several chances to put Thor over the bridge and didn’t take any of them.

    Ok, I’m a Loki fangirl…

    Oh, and I loved Darcy too. (can see a scene where she teaches Loki how to use a computer and a smartphone. So wrong, and yet so right…besides, she’s darn good with that Taser).

  20. Azzy says

    Re: Loki, I think being the skinny, studious guy worked well for his character arc. He wasn’t the manly warrior that his brother was, especially in a society that seems to appreciate warriors quite a bit, and it’s clear that Sif and the Warriors Three aren’t Loki’s friends, but Thor’s. There’s that scene with Heimdall where someone says “silver tongue turned to lead, huh?” and you can see in Loki’s posture and expression that he’s had to deal with many such barbs from them before. Later, when they walk in the throne room and see Loki on the throne, their “oh shit” expression speaks volumes. They probably only tolerated Loki for Thor’s sake until now, and when their appeal on behalf of Thor fails, none of them are good enough friends to make a personal appeal. Sif, in particular, seemed not at all shy in her dislike of him.

    Which is not to say Loki doesn’t have faults of his own, but it’s hard to say if those flaws come from being an outsider, or if he’s an outsider because of them. When he found out he was jotun, it must have been particularly devastating for him, because it confirmed that he really, really was different. It made him MORE of an outsider. In fact, most of his actions in the later half of the movie can be attributed to his need to belong: he wants to eliminate Thor to become his parents’ only child, and he wants to eliminate the jotuns because they represent the other world he belongs, and he only wants to be Asgardian. Hell, he orchestrated it so he gets to kill his biological father in front of his adoptive father! There’s some symbolism for you right there.

    So I liked how they handled Loki. Even though he’s the villain, you can empathize with him.

    Also, something that bugged me: towards the end of the movie, Thor says that Odin was “a great father”. It kind of puzzled me: one of his sons turned out a belligerent meathead (before character development) and the other a scheming, genocidal despot. So forgive me if I’m slightly skeptical of his parenting methods.

    (Oh, and Frigga was the boys’ stepmother, yet both of them seemed to adore her: Loki held no resentment towards her for not telling him he was adopted, and Thor did not collapse into despair until Loki told him that Frigga supported his exile.)

  21. says

    Azzy –

    Also, something that bugged me: towards the end of the movie, Thor says that Odin was “a great father”. It kind of puzzled me: one of his sons turned out a belligerent meathead (before character development) and the other a scheming, genocidal despot. So forgive me if I’m slightly skeptical of his parenting methods.

    Hah! That is almost exactly what I said when one of my friends and I discussed this on AIM. TERRIBLE FATHER IS TERRIBLE. (The part where he says something pretty much guaranteed to make Loki let go when his sons are dangling over an abyss was some particularly shitty parenting, imo.)

  22. Nathanael says

    Skemono,

    Yow. You’re absolutely right about the sexualization. I hadn’t caught that. There are a *lot* more male characters than female characters, the male characters are more well-rounded and fleshed out, which made me feel not so great about it — though I guess the source material is more to blame for that than the movie adaptation But you’re absolutely right that the only repeatedly sexualized character was *Thor*, and the director, Kenneth Branagh, can take full credit for that!

  23. says

    Nathanael: But you’re absolutely right that the only repeatedly sexualized character was *Thor*, and the director, Kenneth Branagh, can take full credit for that!

    Branagh??? Oh, I didn’t realize it was him. He’s been sexualizing male actors for decades, so not only can he take credit, but whoever hired him or backed him as director would also have known he’d do that. That’s kind of cool!

  24. Megan says

    I’d like to sexualize Kenneth Branagh….

    …Oh, I’m sorry, was that out of line? Forgive me, that scene from “Frankenstein” when he’s naked and covered in oil….

    Ahem. Er… Yes. Odin = terrible father. Great king does not equal great dad (and since I just woke up, I can’t really debate whether he was a great king or not. Why the heck did he want to steal that glowy blue box in the first place?)

  25. Azzy says

    Megan: (and since I just woke up, I can’t really debate whether he was a great king or not. Why the heck did he want to steal that glowy blue box in the first place?)

    I don’t think he did, really, he just took it in order to cripple the jotuns. From what I figured, it was basically the power source that kept their entire planet running (I think it’s the Casket of Ancient Winters? I don’t know if they referred to it as such, but I assumed it was, because what else could fuel an ice planet?). A bit hard to wage war when you can’t even turn on the lights.

  26. Megan says

    I just got back from seeing Thor a second time because I like to mainline my movies. (Please don’t tell anyone I saw The Phantom Menace seven times in the theater. I was thirteen!)

    The first time I saw Thor I missed the first five minutes, coming only at the very end of the scene with Young Thor and Young Loki. So we missed the whole explanation for the Little Ice Age and the first war with the Jotuns. The blue box makes more sense, now. They were being jerks first. Got it.

    I am getting increasingly more sympathetic for Loki the more I see the movie and mull it over. Thor was a jerk right from the beginning, it seems. Someone above mentioned the way Thor’s friends were always picking on Loki (“Silver tongue turned to lead”), and I definitely got more of a sense of that the second time around. Also, Loki’s manipulations all led up to him committing the same act that Thor was ready to – the annihilation of the Jotuns. Which, to me, makes him very similar to Thor in a lot of respects – except he uses Slytherin methods to get himself the glory, rather than Thor’s Gryffindor “Smash Everything With a Hammer” routine.

    I also came away from the second viewing with a greater agreement with the poster who thought Jane was a bit obsessed with Thor. But, to give Branagh credit, Thor was just as STUPID over Jane as Jane was over him. Which, I think, helps balance it out (to quote Brody, “You’re both stupid for each other!”

    Finally – has anyone here read Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”? I have Gaiman’s characterization of Odin plastered in my brain, and I had a difficult time letting that go. Hopkins’ Odin was indeed tricksy, but I kept expecting him to be even moreso…. Then he winds up just doing what he needed to make Thor grow the hell up, and I’m like, “What? That’s it? Not turning over any banks today?”

  27. Keith says

    “I am getting increasingly more sympathetic for Loki the more I see the movie and mull it over”

    I was doing that as well, until I thought “two guards are dead because he wanted to upset his brother a little bit.” Not cool, man.

  28. says

    Damn, I loved Darcy and her Taser. The proud “Yes, I did”, checking it in the background, in the final scene she asks the old guy where it is…

    The movie proved to me that I’m so over the golden boy trope. In the fight scenes, I wanted more teamwork and just more general badassness from everyone involved, not only Thor shining. Oh well, he is the eponymous character so I guess I should have expected it.

    I did notice that Thor was sexualized, walking around shirtless and almost losing his shirt in one of the fight scenes (though sadly, it stayed on). I didn’t notice that the women weren’t sexualized, which is much appreciated. There were a lot of pretty people in this movie, male and female, but Thor was really the only one who was sexualized. The others were pretty in full clothing.

    I really liked Loki. He was much more interesting than Thor. It was nice to see the adopted child trying to be part of his adopted family instead of his biological one. (And damn, he was hot in his jotun mode. Mmm.) Odin was a shitty father. In the very first scene we see him telling his sons that they’re both born to be kings but only one can get the throne. The fuck? How does that not foster sibling rivalry? And telling Loki “no” after he worked so hard for his approval? What a dumbass.

    One more thing. Why was everyone so up in arms over Idris Elba, a Black man, being cast as Heimdall, but I didn’t hear a single whisper about Tadanobu Asano, a Japanese man, as Hogan? What sort of fucked up racism is that? “Oh, we have to stay true to the source material as long as the Blacks want in, but the Asians are just fine”? Because if we’re going by proximity to the Vikings, I would think Africans would have a lot easier access than the Japanese. There were Africans trading across the Mediterranean but European trade with Asia was a lot more difficult and for centuries even non-existent (except through Arab middlemen.) Then again, I’m expecting logic from racists, so…

  29. drolefille says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    the only people I saw complaining were white supremicist groups, some of whom have adopted, real or symbolically, the Norse pantheon as true ‘white’ gods. Hence their far stronger concern over a black god than an Asian god.

    I must say that I have many pagan friends, one I know worships the Norse pantheon and for her watching the movie was the equivalent to a Christian watching Jesus Christ and the Superfriends! But her concerns were not about race, but religion.

  30. says

    Sylvia Sybil,

    Possibly because Hogun actually is Asian in the comics. They might rationalize it as “Well, this is based on the comics, so that explains that, but even comics-Heimdall is still white!”

  31. says

    drolefille: the Norse pantheon as true ‘white’ gods. Hence their far stronger concern over a black god than an Asian god.

    But that doesn’t make sense. Why would they think a Black god was more “impure” than an Asian god? They’re both not White. Unless White supremacists are more racist against Blacks than Asians?

    Skemono: Possibly because Hogun actually is Asian in the comics.

    Enh. Lazy excuse, as far as I’m concerned. The whole thing just smells of racism and stupidity.

  32. Keith says

    Dani:
    It kind of struck me as “studious, skinny, not-really-”manly” guy = bad guy, and “big, muscular, physically strong, SUPER MANLY!!!!” guy = good guy

    I see that, but the way it played in my head was that it was the other characters subjecting Loki to that, not the writers subjecting the audience to it. I felt like Loki was saying “are you guys so blinded by the whole ‘big strong blond guy’ thing that you don’t even see what an arrogant lunkhead Thor is?” To me, what made Loki a bad guy wasn’t that he let the Jotuns into Asgard to try to steal the casket of winter at the start of the film, it was that he didn’t care that doing so got the Asgardian guardians (see what I did there?) of the casket and the Jotun thieves killed, just so he could tweak Thor’s nose. Thor was an arrogant lunkhead, but Loki was an arrogant narcissist. Thor could learn; Loki, not so much.

  33. Keith says

    drolefille:
    Sylvia Sybil,
    I must say that I have many pagan friends, one I know worships the Norse pantheon and for her watching the movie was the equivalent to a Christian watching Jesus Christ and the Superfriends!

    I would so watch that. But I’m an atheist, so they’re all kind of cartoon characters to me.
    Now I’m wondering what the disciples powers and costumes would be…

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