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Thor: When Comic Book Movie Studios Give Up

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thor_posterThere was a time when I could say that I was a comic book nerd. I didn’t know I was one. From about 8 years old to 14 years old, I was just short of having a subscription, or, at least, having a store owner put aside a pile of issues for me. I just went to the comic book store at least once a week to either get another issue of Spiderman, Batman, X-Men, Deathlok, and The Punisher, to name a few. That later led me to Spawn, then Aliens VS Predator, then more explicit books like Faust.

Then I started getting laid and getting a car, and didn’t have the time, or money, to keep going. I’ll admit, I still enjoy a good comic book once in a while. Unfortunately, these days I need to get those combination anthologies and graphic novels, because I just can’t follow issue-based books anymore. Either that, or I am just too fucking lazy to get to a comic book store.

Like all good comic book nerds, I had a true fanaticism about comic book characters. This is atypical when you hear yourself saying things like, “That hero sucks. So-and-so could totally kick his/her ass.” It’s the fact that we’re hypothesizing about fights between fictional characters that makes comic book fandom so great. There was one hero that I could never stand: Thor.

To me, Thor is just a slap in the face of the creative process of super-heroes. Instead of imagining some new weird and awesome powers to give a human being so that they can kick major ass for years, Marvel got lazy one morning and said, “I can’t decide if I want our next hero to shoot cupcakes out of his ass or have him sodomize criminals. Hey, doesn’t Norse mythology have a character that does both?” Thus begins the birth of MARVEL’s Thor.

I know that super-heroes are, in a way, part of modern mythology. I can’t remember a time I didn’t hear the quote, “with great power comes great responsibility”, so super-heroes have helped shape our culture, hopefully for the better. Fine, MARVEL decided to adapt a pile of Norse gods into their universe. Great, they made Thor, god of thunder, a member of The Avengers. Why, besides money, did they go forward with this movie then?

thor1I know why they needed to do it. MARVEL is planning to release the most expensive movie ever made when they finally put enough super-hero movies together to build up to their eventual cross-over opus, The Avengers. The problem is that most of these movies after the first Iron Man feel more like half-ass spinoffs to set up for this huge combo movie, and less like their own movies.

That was one of the major problems about Thor. Half the screen time seems to be dedicated to SHIELD agent Coulson (played by Clark Gregg) and how SHIELD is still trying to put together this Avengers super-group. It seems to me like Samuel L., aka Nick Fury, knew all about Asgard and conspired to get Thor down here to Earth, and failed. It’s the only way this focus makes sense.

I don’t have anything against fantasy movies. I loved Lord of the Rings, I want to see Clash of the Titans even though most people I know disliked it, and Immortals looks pretty bad ass. What I don’t like is how everything slows down to a crawl and focuses on SHIELD when Thor gets to Earth. Maybe if Chris Hemsworth’s big acting break wasn’t just a short cry at the beginning of the new Star Trek movie, we would have had better character development than the few scenes of insanity while Thor runs around telling humans that he’s a god. Maybe if the writers read a few more pages of the comic book, they could have given Loki a more interesting attack presence. Maybe if they cut most of the SHIELD crap out, the amore between Thor and Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman) could have grown a bit more realistic. Maybe if we had a bit more of an epic battle between Thor and The Destroyer, it could have made the movie more interesting.

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I give this movie 1-1/2 out of 5 scenes from Adventures in Babysitting. I can only hope Captain America doesn’t disappoint in the same way.

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Patrick began collecting a library of VHS tapes, DVDs, and CDs when he was young, and continues to build a library that could easily double as a video store and/or a revitalized Tower Records.

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