So the movie Thor posits that these immortal aliens from Asgard visited Norway a little over a thousand years ago to wipe out the Frost Giants of Jodenheim. They were consequently viewed as gods by the ignorant mortals, thereby passing into the Norse legends we know today.
But the film also claims that both Thor and Loki were babies at the time of the big battle, so how is it that they have earned reps among the Edith Hamilton types as the gods of thunder and mischief, respectively? They even point out that Thursday is named after Thor – Thor’s Day – but there’s no way the world would know of Baby Thor’s exploits and celebrate them with one day out of seven, is there?
Plus, if Wikipedia already knows Loki is the god of mischief, why haven’t the Asgardians figured it out?
And what’s with constantly referring to Thor as a kid, a boy, a wayward youth? The guy’s at least 1,000 years old! How long does puberty last on Asgard?
And why is Odin abdicating his throne if all he needs to do is get his body replenished by napping in some kind of force field called the “Odinsleep?”
And if these guys are immortal and everything can be healed in Asgard’s “healing rooms,” why is Odin walking around with a big ol’ hole where his right eye used to be?
These were some of my passing thought that make absolutely no difference in how much you’ll enjoy Thor, the latest prequel to the upcoming Avengers movie. I was pretty sure this would be the film that would sink the whole onscreen Marvel universe, and darned if it isn’t the best of the lot, or at least tied with the first Iron Man flick. (No, come to think of it, it’s not as good as the first Iron Man flick. But it’s a good sign that I had to think about it.)
The Marvel movies have tried very hard to make their world similar enough to our own that their heroes seem grounded in reality, and I didn’t think it was possible to do that with a Norse thunder god who has a big magic hammer and speaks in King James English. In the end, I can’t be sure that they did, exactly, but they came closer than anyone could hope to expect. As it is, I can now imagine Robert Downey’s Tony Stark and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor hanging out together, which means the Avengers movie might not suck.
What Marvel is trying to pull off here is really pretty amazing, if you think about it. Each of these stand-alone hero movies is really little more than a setup for the shared universe movies they’re starting to make, and there are a lot of moving parts involved in something like this. So many actors, directors, egos! So much backstory, fanboy baggage, shared plotlines, and continuity crap! One dud, and the whole thing could spiral out of control. (Actually, they’ve had one dud – the Hulk movie was pretty lame, all things considered – but it wasn’t a bad enough dud to derail the whole enterprise. And Iron Man 2 kinda stunk out loud, too, but there’s enough good will left over from the first movie that I don’t think anyone’s gonna hold a grudge.)
It makes me sad that DC isn’t following suit. The upcoming Green Lantern movie, which may succeed despite having a woefully miscast lead, will have no relationship to The Dark Knight Rises or the Superman flicks on the horizon. That’s fine, all things considered, but in the shadow of what Marvel is attempting, it seems timid. That’s especially true when you consider that they’re planning on making a Justic League movie that will exist in its own universe, with its own Superman and Green Lantern and Batman that will have no connection to the heroes in the standalone stories, and that doesn’t fill me with confidence.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. I’m just waiting for the day when someone is drunk enough to greenlight a Flaming Carrot movie.