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It's all connected part 4: 'Thor' (an 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' retrospective)

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Thor (2011 film)

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Thor, son of Odin, hailing form the realm of Asgard, is certainly one of the more unique Marvel superheroes. Accordingly, his debut movie follows suit. Directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh, best known for his Shakespearean adaptations and acting, fittingly directed Thor’s cinematic inauguration. Oozing with a stiff regality, it hammers home another Marvel blockbuster.

“Thor” introduces, well, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), to the Marvel universe. Complete with Asgardian armor and a flowing, thick red cape, the hopeful king of Asgard assumes a testosterone-fueled warrior mentality. Although his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), once reined in a similar manner, the nine realms are now at peace. Now being until Thor unleashes his rage upon the Frost Giants for sneaking into Asgard in search of the Casket of Ancient Winters, once the source of the Giants’ power.

Banished to earth as punishment by Odin, Thor teams up with Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who also becomes his earthbound love interest, along with sidekicks Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings).With Thor absent from Asgard, Thor’s brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes advantage of the opportunity to assume the throne himself. He enlists the help of the Frost Giants, and through a number of feints and double-crosses wreaks havoc on a small New Mexico town.

S.H.I.E.L.D. is present throughout “Thor” much more so than the previous Marvel Studios’ flicks. From the onset, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and company feature prominently. Interestingly, several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and associates including Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) make debut appearances. Their characters aren’t elaborated upon much, but each evolve as the Marvel universe expands. During “Thor,” S.H.I.E.L.D. seems rather antagonistic, initially confiscating Foster and Selvig’s work. However at the film’s conclusion, it’s obvious when they return the research and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows Selvig the Tesseract, that their motives are altruistic.

“Thor” is an appropriate depiction of the Norse god, and director Branagh paints the elegant formality in much the same manner as his Shakespearean adaptations. Frequent collaborator Tom Hiddleston, who also appeared in the Branagh headlined BBC series “Wallander” steals each scene in which he’s featured. While “Thor” starts out a bit slow, there’s a necessary introduction to the realm of Asgard which isn’t really needed in the terrestrial “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.” What’s most prominent however is S.H.I.E.L.D.’s involvement in the story. The organization was intrigued by Iron Man, held a distant interest in Hulk, and was heavily involved in the Thor saga. With this in mind, the dream team collectively referred to as the Avengers shouldn’t have been terribly surprising. Additionally, the introduction of the Tesseract is a brief snippet of an enormous chunk of Marvel lore. This small, glowing blue box evolved into a key element in several future Marvel productions. A dazzling film, “Thor” brought the Norse god to the big-screen while further developing this dynamic organization called S.H.I.E.L.D.

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