I have a love/hate relationship with Thor. At first a friend phrased it as “The Best Weekend In New Mexico Ever!” And after watching it for a third time I have decided it is completely unbelievable! Don’t get me wrong, I will more than happily accept the story of a Norse god visiting New Mexico, finding himself, discovering love and thwarting his brother’s plans to rule over their home of Asgard. Now, what I find unbelievable is that in this New Mexico small town that an S.H.I.E.L.D. agent can find a Whopper! I grew up in small towns and let me tell you the local diner exists but you won’t find a major fast food franchise in a town this small. Clearly Thor’s adventures happened in Product Placement, New Mexico. Those living in Product Placement wash down a Whopper with a Dr. Pepper while reading USA Today followed by a Budweiser chaser. As often as we hear that New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment, Marvel had to have taken some funds from the state budget! Maybe John Carter could have performed better financially if Dr. Pepper was available on Mars!
With that aside Thor has really grown on me. The Son of Coal, Agent Coulson, is heavily featured and in many ways steals this movie. Though the biggest scene stealer is clearly Jeremy Renner as he introduces his Avenger Hawkeye to the Avengers Initiative. Thor is a action romp through New Mexico and the beautiful Asgard that will satisfy one’s need for escapist fiction. And, there is a touch of the mouse in there:
· Hammer in the Stone: The basic premise is that the Norse god of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is bad tempered and makes poor choices. After breaking a treaty with the Frost Giants, Thor’s father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) casts him out of Asgard and exiles him without powers on Earth. Good parents discipline their kids! Thor’s trusty weapon the hammer Mjolnir is also cast out awaiting the day that Thor is worthy. Many attempt to pull the unmovable hammer from its resting place including Stan Lee! One of them is Drunk Townie played by the very familiar Joel McCrary. The goateed McCrary instantly struck me as a guy I knew. And it’s because he is a very active actor. Disney fans may not be aware McCrary voices Baloo in Kinect Disneyland Adventures. But they may recognize him as Bobby Wasabi on Disney XD’s Kickin’ It. McCrary is not the only familiar face from Disney television productions. Isaac Kappy plays Pet Store Owner in Thor is also seen in the Disney Channel’s Lemonade Mouth as Mel the owner of an organic lemonade company.
· Dead Men Tell No Tales: Stellan Skarsgård plays Dr. Erik Selvig the friend and mentor of Thor’s love interest Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Selvig has some doubts that the Norse god of thunder has really decided to spend a restful weekend in the Land of Enchantment. It’s kind of strange for me to see a Skarsgård character doubting after playing Bootstrap Bill Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. For heaven’s sake Bootstrap bill was part of the boat! Skarsgård must have enjoyed this role which requires a lot less makeup because he is part of the cast for The Avengers and has been announced for Thor 2.
· Prince Charming: Every good Disney movie needs a dashing prince. Admittedly Thor is a prince, but we tend to think of fine gentlemen with swords not brutish men with hammers for our Disney princesses. Josh Dallas plays the dashing, and well groomed, Fandral in Thor. He is the master swordsman with that romantic look that could easily fit in a Disney animated classic. Currently Dallas plays Prince Charming on the very Mousey Once Upon a Time on ABC, further showing Dallas’ princely virtues, or lack of on occasion.
· Beware the Maelstrom: Thor opens in Tønsberg, Norway as the Gods battle the Frost Giants on Earth. This of course takes me back to Epcot and the Norway pavilion! I personally enjoy meeting not Thor but the princesses at Akerhus Royal Banquet Hall. It’s not as pricey as eating in Cinderella’s Castle, though the view is not the same. I recommend the open-faced beef sandwich. And the deserts are always a hit with the family. It’s a feast that Thor’s friend and fellow warrior Volstagg would give his stamp of approval to. And the Maelstrom is one of the few rides you will find in the World Showcase.
· The Walt Disney Parade: When using the high tech tools of the Product Placement, New Mexico library, Dr. Selvig picks up a book that reminds him of the childhood tales he heard and read about the Norse gods as a child. The book appears to be Iain Lawrence’s The Giant-Slayer, a book that does not seem to have anything to say about Thor and his fellow Norse gods. But you have to admit the title sounds cool. In fact it’s a story about one child telling stories to another who is forced to use an iron lung! Thor’s name does not even appear in the book, or Odin or Loki or the word Viking. But why do I even bring this up? Next to The Giant-Slayer on a book truck are three books in the “Walt Disney Parade” series. They are Great Moments in Fiction with the Duchess from The Aristocats on the spine, Adventures in Fact with what appears to be a Buddha, and Fantasy on Parade decorated with a castle. You cannot escape the Mouse!
Though this movie is directed by Kenneth Branagh who has helmed many Shakespeare plays for the modern audience, don’t confuse Thor with a timeless classic. It is fun and action filled. You will enjoy your adventure to New Mexico. And it’s a vital piece of The Avengers story, a building piece you cannot ignore if you want to understand the background of the villain Loki! Enjoy…Enchanted New Mexico!