Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Power of THOR

Yes, late I know, but life happened. Anyway, THOR is a great movie but not for the usual reasons one would think of in the Super Hero genre. Yes, the battles are great. Yes, the special effects are impressive. However, the real pull for me was the twist on the usual villains that would inhabit this genre. They are are not (completely) evil and their minions are not cannon fodder.

The plot is notable is it's lack of a traditional "Big Bad" villain. They are the best part of the film from a story telling perspective. There are two and neither of them is the 'pure evil take over the world and laugh evily' sort.

The first villain Laufey who is introduced as a villainous character but doesn't do anything until Thor invades his world and kills a bunch of his people. This makes him an anti-villain because he is justified in his actions. One cannot dismiss him as 'pure evil monster to be smitten by the hero'.

The second is Loki. He is Thor's best friend and truly cares about him. It's only after a certain mind-shattering Revelation that he decisively moves like a villain but even then one can argue that this action was secretly to help Thor. His motivation becomes increasingly complicated as the story progresses and even at the end it's hard to call him a true villain.

Both of them lack evil plans at the story's beginning and so any evil they commit is more 'take advantage of an opportunity' than pre-meditated villainy. What's more, one can (and certainly my fellow tropers have) argue that their actions are justified, or at least understandable, given the context. The villains and their minions too.

On TvTropes we have a trope called "What Measure is a Non-Human" that states non-humans will always be treated worse than humans and when it does happen it's alright. It's okay for the hero to massacre a group of monstrous looking creature because they're evil or something. One of the reasons THOR is such a great movie is because the hero thought this was the case and was exiled for being a 'vain greedy boy'. Thor spends a great deal of the movie learning the opposite. The Frost Giants look monstrous and did indeed invade Midgard (Earth) in ages past to create a new ice age but they are not at all threatening in the main story line.

On a lighter note, humor. There's great humor. Thor and Selvig get drunk and sing. Thor and Loki have amusing brotherly moments. Darcy's role is Plucky Comedy Relief. My personal favorite involves Agent Coulson, the Destroyer, and Iron Man technology.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "THOR" an A+.

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