Marvel Studios’ first real risk was Thor. How do you take this world you have created with Iron Man that feels grounded in reality and then throw this other worldly element into it? It’s a big task because you have to make it feel like it’s part of the world you created while also introducing a new world.
Thor took us to a visually stunning world known as Asgard. We were introduced to a wild and arrogant prince ready to be king. However, his crowning day becomes one of tragedy as an old enemy attempts to break into King Odin’s vault. Thor is furious and wants to strike revenge. He views it as an act of war while his father views it as an isolated incident. We can tell from the start that he has much to learn about true leadership.
We also see right away what his brother Loki is all about. The god of mischief lives up to his name in this film as he brilliantly plays puppeteer with his brother. As many know, Tom Hiddleston is a rock star as Loki, bringing to life a villain that is charismatic and cunning. He carefully crafts a plan that not only gets Thor banned from Asgard but also gives him the opportunity to take the throne for himself and destroy his heritage while at it.
What Thor does is weave two plots together well. First, you have Thor who is like the parable of the prodigal son. His pride and arrogance leads him to a place where he loses everything. He was a prince in his father’s kingdom but instead of heeding to wise council, he listened to bad council. He needed to reach a place of brokenness and humbleness. It wasn’t until then that he was able to be restored to the prominence that he once knew. My only problem with the film is that we didn’t get enough of that. I was hoping to see Thor be more human, but the only thing that happens is that he is able to reach for his hammer. That broke him, but it’s hard for me to understand how he goes from not being worthy of his hammer Mjolnir to now having this new found love and care for Earth. Still, it’s this brokenness that he displays and the sacrifice he gives that allow him to be restored. His father welcomes the new Thor back and restores him.
The other story in this film is the relationship of Thor and Loki. It is similar to Issac and Ishmael. One is the birthright son while the other isn’t. In this case, instead of the brother being sent away to start his own nation while the other stays to inherit the promised one, Loki tries to pull off a Cain and kill Abel (and his father as well). It’s a tale of two brothers going separate ways. One is led to humbleness and brokenness while the other is blinded by his pride, hate, and lust to rule so that he fails to see how privilege he is. He also fails to see how well his father and mother have taken care of him even though he is adopted. This was the element of the film that really stood out.
As far as Thor: The Dark World goes, overall the film was good but the villain was lacking. When I first heard it would be Malekith the Accursed as the villain, I anxiously awaited it. If you want to do the research, read Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder for the Malekith storyline. If that Malekith was in the film, it would have been so much better. However, this Malekith was just a vehicle to bring in an infinity stone. The Malekith from the comics is like the Joker to Thor’s Batman, and would have provided a much better film.
However, what the film does is bring a humanity factor that tugs at the heart. It takes these so called gods and brings them down to a level that we can relate to as humans. They are no better than humans, and that is displayed well in this film. It’s about family, love, and sacrifice, which allows it to be a parallel story to the gospel. The road to redemption found throughout the Bible is similar in that sin and the devil are out to plunge us into darkness. But thankfully, God loved so much, that even in our brokenness and rebellious ways, He sent His son to take the burden of death for us.
Overall, the Thor films may not be the best in the Avengers franchise, but they do provide the best villain. Along with stunning visuals, they provide stories that bring family, love, and a grace element that really make them worth watching.