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Thursday Treasures

November 7, 2013

Thor in Film

By Kelvin Cedeno

Thor posters

With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the studio had many challenges to face. The biggest, of course, was laying out the groundwork for what they called phase one: giving origin films to each superhero that both worked on their own and also formed a cohesive whole before climaxing in The Avengers. One challenge, though, was handled so effortlessly, one would think it was easy to conquer: the character of Thor. Out of all the Avengers, Thor's story stands out the most due to its supernatural elements. The other entries and their sources are effectively science-fiction, but the Thor comics were always fantasy. Marvel needed to find a way to bring Thor to the screen in a manner that not only fit with the surrounding films, but also wouldn't be seen as campy or unintentionally amusing. The studio took the approach of making Thor and his Asgardian supporting cast aliens from another realm equipped with advance technology rather than gods with mystical powers. For the origin film, it was decided that the majority of it would be a fish-out-of-water story that takes place in our world, with characters pointing out the potential ludicrousness of Thor's claims. The approach was a success, and the character was able to slip in with the other Avengers easily enough to warrant his own sequel. In honor of that release, what follows are refresher summaries of Thor's exploits on screen thus far.

Thor (2011)

Thor

In the realm of Asgard, a young prince named Thor Odinson has his coronation day interrupted when Frost Giants attempt to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters. This casket was the source of the Frost Giant race's power before Thor's father Odin defeated them in war. Although the giants are dealt with swiftly, Thor wants to use this security breach as an excuse to rekindle a war with the icy beings. Thor, along with his brother Loki and comrades Sif and the Warriors Three, travels to the Frost Giant realm of Jotunheim to get to the bottom of things. A battle ensues, and while this ignites the war Thor so desperately wanted, Odin is furious. He banishes Thor to the realm of Midgard, also known as Earth, and strips him of his powers.

Loki discovers that he's actually a disguised Frost Giant Odin had rescued as a baby during the old war with Jotunheim. In fact, his father is Laufey, king of the Frost Giants. The combination of Loki's rage over this news and Thor's recent banishment causes so much strain on Odin that he goes into the Odinsleep: a comatose state he periodically succumbs to to recharge his powers. Loki is made the temporary king of Asgard, and while Sif and the Warriors Three petition to him to lift Thor's banishment, he refuses.

Thor, meanwhile, meets an astrophysicist named Jane Foster along with her assistant Darcy Lewis and Erik Selvig, a scientist friend of Jane's deceased father. When Thor finds out Mjolnir, the mystical hammer his powers emanate from, has also landed on Earth, Thor convinces Jane to take them to the landing site. The area's secured by the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (otherwise known as S.H.I.E.L.D.), and though Thor manages to fight his way through security, he is unable to lift the hammer. A spell had been placed on it by Odin so that only he who is worthy shall possess its power. A defeated Thor is taken into custody and questioned by Agent Phil Coulson.

Loki pays Laufey a visit and offers him and the Frost Giants passage into Asgard. He later visits Thor to tell him the false news that Odin's dead and that their mother Frigga wishes for Thor's banishment to be permanent. Thor is devastated, and when Erik manages to free him from custody, Thor attempts to make a better life for himself on Earth. Sif and the Warriors Three manage to travel to Earth despite Loki's orders in order to bring Thor back. They reveal to Thor that Odin still lives and Frigga wishes him back. Loki sends the Asgardian protector known as the Destroyer to destroy the earth, but Thor offers his life instead. With his sacrifice, Mjolnir comes back to him, and his powers are restored.

Thor leaves Earth with the promise that he'll return for Jane and confronts Loki. Loki kills the Frost Giants who invade Asgard, including his own father Laufey. It turns out Loki is set on annihilating all of Jotunheim in order to prove to Odin what a worthy son he is. The only way Thor is able to stop him is by destroying the Bifrost: the method of travel between Asgard and the other eight realms. Doing this awakens Odin from his sleep, and he manages to rescue Thor and Loki from the wreckage. Loki, however, chooses to fall through a wormhole upon finding out Odin's displeasure at all he's done. Thor grieves over the loss of his brother and is unable to return to Jane who still waits for him on Earth.

In an end credits scene, Erik is summoned by S.H.I.E.L.D. to inspect a cosmic cube known as the Tesseract. It's revealed that Loki still lives and can now control Erik's thoughts and actions from an unseen locale.

The Avengers (2012)

Avengers Thor

Loki has formed an alliance with the Chitauri race to take over the earth. The Tesseract that S.H.I.E.L.D. has found opens a wormhole allowing Loki in. He uses a scepter to control several members of S.H.I.E.L.D., including Erik Selvig, in hopes of obtaining the Tesseract. He's captured by Tony Stark (a billionaire who created an elaborate defense suit known as Iron Man) and Steve Rogers (a World War II veteran known as Captain America who was frozen in ice for over 60 years), members of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Avengers Initiative. Thor arrives on the scene, retrieves Loki, and tries to convince him to give up this mission and return home with him to Asgard. Tony and Steve get into a fight with Thor before they all accept their common purpose of protecting this world.

Thor allows S.H.I.E.L.D. to place Loki in custody while they figure out what to do. Agent Phil Coulson assures him that Jane Foster's safe. S.H.I.E.L.D. arranged for her to hide in Norway as soon as Erik was taken by Loki. The hypnotized S.H.I.E.L.D. agents place an attack on the helicarrier everyone is traveling in. During the chaos, Thor engages in a fight with Bruce Banner, a scientist affected by gamma poisoning who turns into a green monster known as the Hulk whenever he's angry. Loki kills Phil, traps Thor in the ejectable prison meant for himself, and escapes the helicarrier with the Tesseract in tow.

Erik creates a device that unleashes the Tesseract's power at full blast, creating a wormhole for the Chitauri to invade Earth through. Thor manages to escape from his prison and joins Tony, Steve, and Bruce in the battle against the alien race. In the midst of it, Thor continues his plea for Loki to back down but to no avail. Bruce in his Hulk form beats Loki to a pulp, and Tony launches a nuclear missle through the wormhole that destroys the Chitauri and their home base. Erik awakens from his spell and aids in closing the wormhole. Thor and a defeated Loki use the Tesseract to travel back to Asgard.

In an end credit scene, we find out the titan known as Thanos is the leader of the Chitauri and continues his plan of overtaking the earth.

Thor: The Dark World Prelude (2013)

Thor Prelude

A two-part comic was published by Marvel that ties the events of Thor, The Avengers and Thor: The Dark World together. In part one, Jane is busy working on a device that'll create a wormhole and allow Thor access back to Earth. Upon testing it out, though, it proves to be a failure. Meanwhile, back in Asgard, Frigga uses her powers to seek out Loki and discovers him with the Chitauri. She tells Thor and Odin of the plan to overtake Earth, and Odin uses dark energy from the heart of Asgard to transport Thor to Midgard. The usage of this, unfortunately, leaves both parties weakened, and Odin warns that there are further consequences to be had.

In part two, Thor and Loki's story in The Avengers is retold and then continued. Jane discovers Thor was on Earth during the Chitauri attack and is hurt that he hasn't come looking for her. Thor brings Loki back with him to Asgard, and Odin disowns his adopted son. The Tesseract is used to repair the Bifrost. Now that Asgardians can travel between all nine realms again, Thor, Sif, and the Warriors Three set out to rescue other realms that are being terrorized by outside forces.

Out of all the Avengers, Thor was probably the character who could've proven the most disastrous if mishandled. Thankfully, Marvel proved they knew what they were doing when translating the Norse mythology-influenced comics to the screen. While the character's adventures are laced with a sense of self-awareness and irony that makes the outrageous elements easier to swallow, they're also filled with something else: heart. It's that crucial element that makes the god of thunder resonate with readers and audiences alike, and if the tales of him and his colleagues are any indication, Thor: The Dark World will be another winner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

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