As we get closer and closer to the opening of Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’ in theaters everywhere on May 4th, our Avengers spotlights are starting to wind down. In this installment, we’ll be taking a look the God of Thunder and the mightiest warrior in all of Asgard, Thor Odinson.
Based on the god found in Norse mythology, Thor was created during the Silver Age of Comics by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance in ‘Journey Into Mystery #83’ in 1962. Besides starring in his own ongoing series and a number of limited series, Thor is also a founding member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, The Avengers.
In order to teach his son humility, Odin, the All-father, placed his son Thor into the body of partially disabled medical student Donald Blake without any memory of his former life as a god. After becoming a doctor and journeying to Norway, Blake stumbled upon an alien scouting party who chased him into a cave, where he found the hammer Mjolnir and transformed back into the Asgardian God. From that point forward, whenever the world was in peril, Doctor Blake would strike is walking stick to the ground and become the mighty Thor.
Thor led a double life practicing medicine with his nurse Jane foster and protecting the Earth from evil like rogue beings from other realms or his own brother, Loki. His natural affinity for Earth stemmed from the fact that he was the eldest son of the Elder Goddess Gaea, but he had grown to make many allies there, as well as eventually find love with Nurse Foster.
When Thor’s father Odin died in battle against the fire demon Surtur, he and Donald Blake separated into two beings again. Blake informed Thor that although Odin had died and Asgard had fallen, the Asgardians were still alive and they inhabited the minds and hearts of mortals. Once the citizens of Asgard were all found and released, Thor ascended to the throne of Asgard to become it’s ruler, while still being a part of The Avengers whenever he is needed.
Shining Moment on the Page
Thor has done so many courageous things in his time in the Marvel Universe. He’s saved many people by defeating Frost Giants, dragons, demons, and countless other threats. He’s charged into battle many times and emerged victorious, and any one of those instances could be considered a shining moment on the page. Even his short time as frog in Central Park thanks to Loki can be considered a pretty interesting shining moment, but I’m going to talk about Civil War again.
During Marvel’s Civil War, Thor was busy rebuilding Asgard above the state of Oklahoma and restoring his fellow Asgardians. However, when he discovered that Tony Stark and others used his DNA to create a clone called Ragnarok to battle the anti-registration forces, he took a break to whoop Stark’s ass for using his likeness to battle his friends. After easily defeating Stark, Thor cut a deal with him, since Stark was the acting Secretary of Defense, for Asgard to be considered a foreign embassy with diplomatic immunity granted to its citizens.
Yeah, I could have picked some heroic act, but any time that I can talk about Tony Stark getting his smug face slapped around for abusing his power, I will.
Shining Moment on the Screen
When I first heard that Marvel Studios was adapting Thor into a movie, I was very skeptical. Bringing a Thor movie into a post-Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man world would be extremely tricky since gods, other realms, and magic could have had disasterous and extremely corny results.
However, director Kenneth Branagh proved me wrong by providing a stunning vision of Asgard and Midgard (Earth) that walked the line between too corny and too serious with ease. Working form a wonderfully written script that forgivably diverted from the origins of Thor and brought the character into our world in a very believable way, Branagh lead Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins in the Thunderer’s best appearance on a screen to date.
Sure, the post-converted 3D was a bit dark, but the visuals were still great and the essence of the character was captured very nicely. It wasn’t the best Marvel movie to date, but it was certainly entertaining and much better than a lot of other superhero movies that get put out there. To put it simply: If put in other hands, it could have been a whole lot worse. Instead, Marvel was careful with what they did with it and delivered something delightful.
Since he and his world are based on existing mythology, Thor’s world contains a whole cast of characters, a storied history, and many different adventures that would be too difficult to explain in this short spotlight, but I did my best to provide with a good base to build on top of. If you think I missed something or want to share your own Thor shining moments, hit up the comment section.
For more Thor, make sure to make your way to the theater this weekend to see him in Joss Whedon’s ‘The Avengers’. But to prepare yourself, check out all of our Avengers coverage, including the other spotlights, like the one on Hawkeye or the one on Maria Hill and Agent Phil Coulson. And stay tuned for more Avengers Spotlights here on ScienceFiction.com because the biggest guns are yet to come!