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Thor: The Prodigal Son

movie review by Dr Alex Tang

 

I watched the movie twice. The first time in a normal theatre and the second time in another theatre showing the movie in the 3D format. The 3D format appeared as a multi-layered 2D movie as the cinematography try to fool my mind into perceiving it as three dimensional. Sadly, my mind rejected that and I find that for the rest of the 3D version of the movie, I was watching it like a normal movie. This did not distract the movie from being highly entertaining and enjoyable.

The Mighty Thor is one of my favourite Marvel comic characters though not among my top ten. I enjoy the comic stories because it deals with gods and Norse mythology. I always regard Thor as being not too smart with his ‘God complex’ and placed his role in the Avengers as a ‘hard hitter’. He is good in smashing things like the Incredible Hulk. The other interesting attraction in the Mighty Thor comics is the fantastic landscapes which serve as the backdrop for his adventures. My favourite story arc is Ages of Thunder in which Thor applies his usual solution to the cycles of time.

 

CAUTION, the rest of this review contains spoilers.

Thor is a 2011 American superhero film based on the comic book character of the same name published by Marvel Comics and is the fourth film released as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, and Stellan Skarsgård with Kenneth Branagh directing a script by Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, and Don Payne. Wiki. Read the plotline here.
I always imagine the mythos of Thor as epic and Asgard the home of the Norse gods as something of a grand scale. Here the movie did not disappoint especially in the opening scene and the closing credits where the panoramic grandeur that is Asgard is revealed. The painstaking work that is done is evident as Asgard did not look bizarre but a fitting abode of the gods. Here I must also observe that the painstaking effort to translate the costumes of the characters from the pages of a comic book to a real person movie is successful so that the helmets and clothing of the actors and actresses do convince rather than being ‘cartoonish’. I especially like Loki’s helmet with the double long horns and the way he sits and stands which is an exact replication of the Loki in the comics.

Amid all the fanfare, the plotline is simple involving fatherhood and sibling rivalry. Odin Allfather, ably portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins, is not a good father. There is a hint of favouritism even though he outwardly declared that he loves his two sons, Thor and Loki. Thor grew up to be arrogant, cruel and self-centered while Loki is cunning and manipulative. It is this favouritism that created a sibling rivalry in which each son tried to earn favour in their father’s eyes. Thor, in trying to win favour with Odin invaded Jotunheim, the realm of the Frost Giants against the explicit orders of his father. For this, he was stripped of his god powers and banished to Midgard (earth).

Loki, in a more convoluted plot thought that he would win the favour of his father if he prevents an assassination attempt by the Frost Giants (which he orchestrated) and save his father. Unfortunately further revelation that he is an adopted son (his real father is King Laufey of the Frost Giants) drove Loki to desperation. He sent the Destroyer to Midgard (earth) to kill Thor who is vulnerable in his mortal form and aimed the power of Bifrost, the rainbow bridge to destroy Jutenheim. His plan to murder Thor failed when Thor, having learned humility and humanity, willingly sacrificed himself to save his friends and earth. Thor’s self-sacrifice restored his godhood and powers.

The relationship between a child and his or her father is a complicated relationship. All children seek to please their parents especially their fathers. They seek approval, affirmation and love. This seeking is especially acute when there are other siblings and the father seems to favour one over the other. Whether we acknowledge it or not, many of us spend most of our adult life trying to win our father’s affirmation or favour. An example is when a father withholds his affirmation from a child who did not do well academically but favour the sibling who is academically successful. The child may grow up to be an overachiever while despising the other sibling. Many of our hangups and personality quirks may be due to a dysfunctional relationships with our fathers. Loki, though cast as a villain, is actually the victim in this melodrama of the gods.

Of the four movies released for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I believe this is the best one so far. As in all Marvel movies, I spotted Stan Lee and also another character whom I suspect is/will become Hawkeye.

 

|posted 20 May 2011|

               

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 "spiritual forming disciples of Jesus Christ with informed minds, hearts on fire and contemplative in actions"  

 

     
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