Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review: Thor: Tales of Asgard

Thor, in my mind, has never been a standout character on The Avengers roster. It’s not his fault, the man IS the God of Thunder but he still has to compete with Captain America, Iron Man and The Hulk (way more interesting characters).Then, here comes Marvel, which did something amazing with their live-action Thor film; they made me care about the character.

It is with this newfound interest that I went into ‘Thor: Tales of Asgard’ with high expectations. I had been wondering when this film would be released as it was teased on the ‘Planet Hulk’ Blu-ray about a year and a half ago. Now mind you, I’m a Marvel guy but even I have to admit that DC has far surpassed them in the animated feature department. Thor: Tales of Asgard is not Marvel’s best feature, nor is it their worst (I’m looking at you Next Avengers) and it stands up to DC’s efforts admirably.

The film is not so much an origin story as it is a coming-of-age one. We get a teenage Thor, full of ego, who learns that his weekly duels in the arena with Asgard’s soldiers are routinely swung in his favor. This fills him with the need to prove himself, so he and his brother Loki stow away on the ship of the Warriors Three intent on tracking down the Sword of Surtur. They stop in a pub which sets off a chain of events that eventually leads to the breakdown of the peace treaty between Asgard and the Frost Giants.

Thor’s journey plays out amazingly well. Even with the short running time, you get to see the full progression of the character that will eventually become the Thor we know (something that Smallville failed to do over the course of ten seasons). The biggest disappointment is the missed opportunity with the development of Loki. He’s not only Thor’s brother, but his greatest foe and it’s not until a brief scene towards the end that we get a hint of what the character will become. Beyond that, there also seems to be (and this may just be my opinion) a mismatch between the voice of Thor and his look/dialogue. Overall the film is a solid and enjoyable effort from Marvel that should satisfy old and new fans alike.

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