MCU In Daughter Order – Thor
I’m rewatching the Marvel Cinematic Universe with my daughter in whatever order she feels like. Up next, 2011’s Thor. No love. And no thunder. Ragnarok? Nope. Not even a Dark World. Just Thor, Thoring about, as only Thor can.
Our Progress So Far
Before Thor (bethor, if you will), we watched Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Black Panther. After that side quest to Wakanda, my daughter asked to watch “the next one”. Of course, given the order we’ve watched the MCU in so far, I had follow-up questions. Ends up, she did mean the next one in order from the beginning.
I think the Black Panther post credit scene motivated her to get back on track. She hadn’t even seen Bucky yet, let alone his Winter Soldier alter ego. So seeing him hiding in Wakanda and getting a new arm? It confused her more than anything. We returned to the release order with the introduction of Thor.
The Thor That I Remember
I remember Thor feeling backwards. It hit epic heights early with Thor’s coronation (Thoronation, if you will. By the way, if you won’t, you’re in for a long blog post). Then, the biggest fight scene comes 10 minutes into the film. The climactic battle against The Destroyer in a small town backlot pales in comparison to Thor, Loki, Sif, and the Warriors Three fighting a bunch of frost giants in Jotunheim. And Thor’s conclusion, with the destruction of the Rainbow Bridge and Thor seemingly stranded in Asgard, left me with the same feeling as Iron Man 2: It did the opposite of get me excited for Avengers.
That said, Thor beat my low expectations, and in surprising ways. I went in with a general dislike for the character, tapered slightly by the Hulk Vs Thor animated film from a few years earlier.
For those who don’t remember, Marvel released a double feature DVD of original animated films to tie into the then new The Incredible Hulk and the upcoming release of Thor. People know and remember Hulk vs Wolverine better since it featured Deadpool’s animated debut. However, Hulk Vs Thor explores Asgard and Thor’s support cast, serving as an excellent primer for the Thor film.
What it didn’t prepare me for was how funny Thor would be.
People talk about Ragnarok like it invented funny Thor, and I remember leaving Ghostbusters 2016 feeling like we got to see Chris Hemsworth’s comedic chops for the first time. And yet…
Thor is funny. The character. The movie. Director Kenneth Branagh crams a lot of comedy between the Shakespearean dialog on Asgard and Jane Foster’s technobabble. Thor constantly getting hurting? Funny. The fish out of water moments? Hilarious. Watching Academy Award for Best Actress winning Natalie Portman swoon over Chris Hemsworth? Adorable. And relatable.
Speaking of Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth.
Thor has the strongest and most credible cast of any MCU installment up to this point. Audiences may not have known two of the three leads -Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston- but this film established both as future stars. And Portman rounded out the leads with experience and charisma.
Then there’s the supporting cast. Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Idris Elba, and Ray Stevenson handle the classical drama on Asgard. On the villain’s side, Canada’s own Colm Feore gets typecast as Laufey, king of the Frost Giants. Sadly, he’s the first in a series of amazing actors who don’t get to do much as villains in Thor movies.
Meanwhile, Stellan Skarsgård and Kat Dennings hold their own with Portman and make the Earth scenes fun. We continue to slowly fall in love with Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson. And we get our first sniff of Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.
On Target Cameo
Name an MCU introduction better than Hawkeye’s scene in Thor.
Colson calls for eyes up high with a gun. We see the hands of a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative in the armory, no indication that this is someone special. But then he grabs a rifle, pauses, and chooses a bow instead. I remember the knowing chuckles in the theatre the first time I saw this.
His lines are all great, with a dryness that separates him from a Tony “Quipmaster” Stark delivery. “You want me to slow him down, or are you sending in more guys for him to beat up?” and “I’m starting to root for this guy” are underrated jokes that elevate this movie.
Hawkeye stands out as (and gets made fun of for being) the most grounded Avenger. He’s Green Arrow with less absurd trick ammo. Still, before Thor got Hemsworthy, I knew more Hawkeye fans than Thor fans. I wonder how strategic Marvel was being when they decided to introduce the team’s most mortal hero in the most supernatural Phase 1 movie.
My New Conclusions
My complaints about Thor peaking early are minor and technical. This film handles an over the top and lore heavy character with zeal and wit. After 2008’s The Dark Knight, super hero movies could have embraced their serious dramatic potential. Fortunately, the film went a different direction. It’s not self-important, which would have made it a bore. But it’s not completely self-deprecating. It finds the right balance to create a fun experience with characters and in a world we care about.
My Daughter’s Thoughts
When Thor comes up, my daughter talks about how funny he is. Not his powers, or his mythology. Thor, god of thunder, makes her laugh. But, not in the way Iron Man is funny. According to her, Iron Man tells jokes, but Thor is funny. No one gets hit by a car like Chris Hemsworth.
Also, funny enough. she asked the fewest questions during Thor. I think it’s because she grew up watching She-Ra, Dragon Prince, My Little Pony, and other series that combine magic and royalty. Thor’s a prince unworthy of the throne, and Loki’s his jealous brother with a secret? Tale as old as time for her.
By now she’s all in on the MCU. The connective tissue between the movies form a larger picture that intrigues her. It helps that whenever a character looks like they died, she asks if they’re really dead. And, in Loki’s case, I got to tell her “Loki will return in The Avengers”.
Just like the MCU in 2011, after Thor comes Captain America.