Thursday, April 30, 2015


Score Technician: TJ Geise

With the success of Iron Man creating a hype train for The Avengers (which, spoiler alert, totally lived up to expectations), Marvel turned their gaze on other Avengers to capitalize upon for entertaining the masses.

With his iconic flaxen locks, winged helmet, and mighty hammer Mjolnir, Thor, God of Thunder and Rock ’n’ Roll, has been a staple of the Marvel universe since the early ‘60s. Though a founding member of The Avengers, he’s had little mainstream success outside of nerd culture (and ‘80s culture if you count Adventures in Babysitting and The Incredible Hulk Returns). As such, it’s shocking that a Thor live-action movie was ever greenlit, let alone directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Starring two actors new to Hollywood, Australian soap star Chris Hemsworth as Thor and English theater actor Tom Hiddleston as Loki, alongside big names such as Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Selvig, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Thor seems like the perfect blend of fresh and familiar. But just how does fresh-familiar stand up to the unwavering gaze of science? The nanobots yearn to bathe in the handsomeness of the Thunderer, so who are we to stop them?

  • Opening a movie about the Norse God of Thunder with three scientists doing science out in the New Mexico desert. = -3pts
  • “I am not dying for six college credits!” = +4pts
  • Running over a blonde space man with your Jeep. = +3pts
  • Not only are gods and aliens real, but they’re one and the same. They also all have English accents (except for the inexplicably Japanese guy played by Ichi the Killer’s Kakihara). Coast to Coast AM is gonna have a field day with this one. = +8pts
  • Anthony Hopkins as Odin doing battle against an army of Frost Giants. = +3pts (Not as amazing as it sounds.)
  • Asgard looks like the start of a Paramount Pictures film. = -2pts
  • Rene Russo disapproves of Thor’s showboating. = +3pts
  • Anthony Hopkins switches to “just reading my lines” mode when talking about Mjolnir. = -5pts
  • Summoning The Destroyer, a weapon designed to fight the most powerful forces in the Marvel universe (including this guy), to evaporate Jotun burglars seems like using an atomic bomb to rid your house of mice. = -7pts
  • Odin yells at Thor for being too brash. Immediately cut to Thor flipping a table. = +4pts
  • Getting your supporting cast of friends to accompany you on a fool’s errand is as simple as jovially reminding them how useless they all are without you. = -6pts
  • Whenever you think of a badass space Viking, you’ll think of Idris Elba as Heimdell. = +15pts
  • Bifröst is significantly more awe-inspiring as a rainbow laser death cannon that transcends the boundaries of space and time than as a rainbow bridge. = +8pts
  • When the king of the bad guys is gracious enough to let you escape with nothing more than wounded pride, doesn’t it make you a bad guy to joyfully slaughter his people? = -9pts
  • Yeah, alright, who cares about moral quandaries when there are guys fighting with cool weapons. = +5pts
  • Not only does Thor continue fighting while his friends desperately try to escape the clutches of an ice monster, but he inadvertently makes their escape harder by crumbling their escape route with his super moves. = -8pts
  • After vanquishing dozens of Jotun, Thor kills the ice monster with a single blow from his hammer. That sounds badass until you remember Thor could have done this at any time instead of letting the monster nearly kill all of his friends. = -11pts
  • Kenneth Branagh directorial signature: people going from talking normally to DRAMATICALLY SHOUTING. = -3pts
  • Just when you think Thor’s not going to face any repercussions for being a 1000-year old douche canoe, Odin strips him of his magic powers and exiles him to Earth. Talk about getting grounded! (Cue laugh track). = +6pts
  • Tasering the God of Thunder. = +5pts
  • Having your berserker rage suddenly halted by a needle in the ass. = +7pts 
  • Hitting a blonde spaceman with your Jeep...again. = +3pts
  • Having a tailgate party to pull a magical space hammer from the ground. = +4pts
  • Stan Lee cameoing as the good ol’ boy using his pick-up to unsuccessfully pull Mjolnir out of its crater. = +5pts
  • Thor walking around shirtless, presumably to justify licensing Shirtless Thor merchandise. = +6pts
  • Telling your adopted son that he was nothing more than another bargaining tool in your truce with the Jotun and then falling into a coma when he grows understandably upset. = -7pts
  • Thor’s love of coffee is unrivaled. = +6pts
  • Posting a photo of the God of Thunder to Facebook. = +2pts
  • Pronouncing Thor’s hammer as “Meow Meow.” = +6pts
  • Having research, equipment, and the iPod you just downloaded 30 songs to be “borrowed” by SHIELD. = -3pts (But don’t worry… they’re the good guys.)
  • Loki’s first act as the new king of Asgard is to tell his friends to feck off. = +5pts
  • Walking into a pet store to buy a horse (or a bird, dog, or cat large enough to ride). = +8pts
  • Thor fails his stealth check, but rolls natty 20s on every SHIELD agent within punching range. = +4pts
  • Hawkeye shows up just long enough to develop a man-crush on Thor after watching him mud wrestle a big burly guy in the rain. = +5pts
  • Humanizing Thor just enough to make us feel sorry for him when he can no longer lift his own hammer. = +3pts
  • If Thor’s shirtlessness didn’t do the trick, Loki rocking a suit-and-scarf combo certainly will. = +5pts
  • Dr. Selvig gets blotto with the deity his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather feasted on sacrificed meat in honor of. = +4pts
  • Natalie Portman’s happy sunshine man t-shirt. = +2pts
  • This exposition scene brought to you in part by Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! Kashi GOLEAN Crunch!: giving vegans uncontrollable flatulence since the early aughts. = -3pts
  • Having your years of astrophysics analysis undermined by the God of Thunder showing you that the universe is all just part of Yggdrasil. Heavy stuff, man. = +5pts
  • Heimdell giving zero fucks about Thor’s friends disobeying Loki’s orders and rainbowing themselves to Earth. = +8pts
  • Hanging a lampshade on how silly Thor’s friends look... = +6pts
  • ...but in doing so calling a Japanese guy Jackie Chan. = -4pts
  • That moment when Thor realized that Loki lied about Odin being dead. = +2pts
  • Freezing a badass space Viking in place as he was scant inches from cutting your head off. = +4pts
  • Automatically assuming that a walking suit of armor was created by Tony Stark. Way to sell the brand! = +4pts
  • This scene of The Destroyer wading through the flames of an obliterated 7-11 brought to you in part by 7-11. = +4pts
  • Not only can The Destroyer shoot lasers out of his face, but he will mollywhop you at Twister. = +3pts
  • Thinking that stories will be told of the day that you died defending a tiny desert town from a suit of laser armor. = -2pts
  • Thor missing the opportunity to shout, “I have the power!” after regaining his godhood. = -3pts
  • Thor proving that a big metal man is no match for a thunderstorm. = +4pts
  • Joining the Avengers on the contingency that SHIELD give your girlfriend her lab equipment back. It’s the simple things. = +2pts
  • Going from murdering the king of the bad guys to unleashing Armageddon upon the planet of the bad guys all to impress your dad. = -5pts
  • Thor pinning down Loki by setting Mjolnir on his chest is the ultimate act of sibling dickinessness. = +4pts
  • Loki fulfills every emotional teenager’s fantasy by letting himself fall into the endless chasm of oblivion rather than deal with his father’s disapproval. = -3pts
  • Not only will Thor return in the Avengers, but so will Dr. Selvig’s sinister subjugation showcased in the stinger. = +2pts
Total score: +103pts

Available: Amazon, Asgard, Avengers movie marathons

Despite a kaleidoscope of scenes featuring Thor being a self-centered jerkface, Thor stands as one of the better non-Iron Man Marvel movies. Though the plot and action are pretty standard fare, the character interactions and dialog are a cut above what one would expect from a superhero action movie.

As for developing Thor’s character, it’s satisfying to watch him transform from a brash show-off to a guy who’s just trying to deal with being a regular schlub to the hero we all knew him to be. He’s come quite a long way from since his days in Twisted Toyfare Theater, that’s for sure.

Last, but not least, you get to see Chris Hemsworth without his shirt on. Science likes that. Science likes that a lot.

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