Doom and Doomer: Thor

thor movie posterJIM DOOM: So Thor.

I’m not sure what to say to open this other than that I didn’t read much of anything Thor related ever except for when he’d show up in big crossovers and get killed or something.

So I feel that my thoughts are solely based in reflections on Thor: the movie and not Thor: the comic book adaptation.

What’s your Thor background going into this?

And feel free to be long-winded because I need another beer.

DOOM DeLUISE: Very limited. I read some Mighty Thor comics back in the early 90s, when he had a big beard. Also, I remember him being really cool in the Return of the Hulk, the made-for-TV movie that was an extension of the Incredible Hulk TV show, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferigno.

I knew about the Bifrost Bridge, and I knew most of the characters from the movie, but I can’t say I’ve ever been an avid Thor reader.

That said, I think his movie is super fun.

JD: Oh I remember him from Adventures in Babysitting.

But yeah, I really dug this movie.

DD: Oh yeah, me too.

JD: When people would ask me, “What did you think of Thor?” I would say the following things:

Better than Iron Man 2, but not quite Iron Man 1.

A good mix of action, characters and humor, without the type of self-deprecatory “I’m embarrassed to be in a superhero movie!” type humor that sometimes plagues superhero movies.

And a good advancement of the Avengers storyline.

DD: When people have asked me what I thought of the movie, I’ve said the following:

“They tried to make a Shakespeare adaptation in Thor’s universe, but instead, they just made a pretty entertaining superhero movie.”

My only disappointment in the movie is that they sort of forced the relationship between Thor and Natalie Portman. I never really bought that they were in love.

I wonder if she’ll be in the Avengers. If not, that’s stupid.

JD: Thor totally should’ve gone for her assistant.

I don’t know why, but I thought the intern or whatever was awesome.

DD: The dude from Good Will Hunting?

JD: No the girl, dumbass.

I feel like 9 times out of 10, I would have hated the wisecracking otherwise insignificant supporting character, but something about that girl was awesome and made me laugh out loud almost every time she said something.

DD: Oh, the annoying girl who made stupid Fabian Niceiza-esque pop culture jokes? Yeah, I don’t get why people think she’s cool.

JD: Really? She was that bad?

DD: “This is goin’ on Facebook.”

Come on.

JD: Like I said, I don’t know why I enjoyed her. But I really did.

DD: Fair enough. I hated her.

JD: I liked when they were like “Aren’t you a science major?” and she said “Political science.” For some reason that cracked me up. But now I’m four IPAs deep and even now that doesn’t seem funny.

But yeah, all I can say is that after the movie, I thought to myself “I wonder why I didn’t hate her.”

DD: As a guy with a really expensive paper weight, I mean political science degree, I didn’t find that joke funny.

JD: Well, as a journalism major, I enjoy any opportunity to pretend that someone else’s degree is more useless than mine.

Well anyway, let’s move to other topics.

DD: Whatever, man. You could put that to good use researching about a Congressman’s dong.

JD: Hold on, it sounds like my dog might be eating with dishes and utensils. I’ll be right back.

Ok I’m back.

So anyway, I’m kind of going stream of consciousness here but I’m going to try to assemble this into a cohesive point.

One of my fears with Thor, when I heard they were making a Thor movie, was that it was just going to be hokey and stupid because Norse god crap is inherently stupid in a spandex universe (fact).

But then as I was watching the movie, I was like duh — even though Norse god crap is inherently stupid in a spandex universe (fact), they made this more of a straight-up fantasy movie, more Lord of the Rings than anything superheroish that predated it, and I think that’s what made it work. They went all-in on the gorgeous fantasy scenery and whatnot.

DD: Totally. I was expecting them to gloss over Asgard and shy away from the more fantastic elements, since they clearly have to make Thor fit in with Iron Man and Captain America, but, nah. They whole-hogged it, and I think that it makes it work even better when Thor gets thrust into “our” universe.

JD: Definitely. Some may see it as a gamble, but I see it as rainbows.

I hope you’re as drunk as I am.

DD: I’m on my sixth beer. I had to retype that twice.

I think that Thor’s even better if you take it out of its current context. Let me explain.

JD: Ok!

DD: We’ve sat through some real terrible comic book superhero movies. They’ve been all over the place, from awesome stuff like Spider-Man and The Dark Knight and Iron Man to awful, awful crap along the lines of Ghost Rider and The Spirit and Punisher: War Zone.

Now, when Iron Man came out, it announced to the world that they were going to be building to an Avengers movie, and suddenly the “bar,” so to speak, was set at the quality level of Iron Man.

Thor is not as good as Iron Man.

But if you take that pressure off, that comparison that HAS TO BE drawn between the two because of their upcoming crossover, I think it comes across as way, way better.

Better than it would otherwise, I mean. Not better than Iron Man.

JD: I really like how these movies are playing out as Avengers prequels, but it’s almost effortlessly.

I think Thor functioned extremely well as Avengers buildup, but it’s not as if you need any other movies to enjoy it.

DD: I agree. By the way, how amazing is the guy who plays Thor? I’m a straight man, and I was constantly stunned by how goddamn attractive that dude is.

JD: Eh, he wasn’t really my type. I felt like he was a little too textbook attractive.

DD: I could seriously get lost in those eyes.

JD: You know, I’ve never really been a Natalie Portman fan, but I thought she was kind of adorable. I was a sucker for both of those ladies.

Nerds, man.

Nerdy girls. Hott.

I kept wanting the blonde guy with the dumb mustache and beard to be that guy from the Princess Bride.

DD: Who? Thor?

JD: No Thor’s buddy. Who got shot with ice.

DD: Oh Fandrall.

Er, Fandral.

I’m gonna go grab another beer. Come up with another question or something.

JD: Okay.

I realize we hit on this topic earlier, but I am kind of curious as to how well this held to the comic books. I think I remember buying some Thor comics where Thor was a crippled doctor named Donald Blake, and he had an actual secret identity, and he had to smack his cane on the ground to transform into Thor.

I could be totally making this up, but I was wondering — when Thor was identified as Donald Blake in the movie — if the movie was kind of accurate in how it depicted the Donald Blake persona, or if the movie simply used the name “Donald Blake” in an inauthentic way as a nod to comic readers as sort of an inside joke.

That wasn’t really a question.

At all.

DD: It’s the latter. You’re right about Donald Blake being a crippled med student. They took the name and re-used it in the movie as a nod to comic fans.

JD: And what the hell is Beta Ray Bill? I’m glad he wasn’t in this movie.

DD: Beta Ray Bill is one of, like, three other people who has ever wielded Thor’s hammer.

Wait, one last thing. Did you stay after the credits?

JD: Is Loki half ice person in the comics? Or in mythology?

I did stay after the credits. Tell me if you got the same impression I did, but my feeling is that the Avengers movie is going to revolve around Loki’s mischief on Earth.
Is that your sense too?

thor movie poster lokiDD: Well, that’s possible. He’ll definitely be one of the villains, but I’m guessing he’ll be more of a “henchman” type of role to a bigger bad guy.

And, really, when I think “cosmic cube,” I think Thanos.

JD: Oh, that was the cosmic cube?

I really wasn’t following what was going on.

It looked too techy. I wasn’t even thinking “cosmic.”

DD: As soon as the scene ended, in a crowded theatre, I said, aloud, “Holy shit, was that the Cosmic Cube?”

I since looked it up, and, yes, that’s supposed to be the Cosmic Cube.

JD: It made me want to re-read volume 1 of the Ultimates.

Loki played a big part in that, right?

DD: In volume 1? I thought volume 1 was all about the formation of the team and the fight with Hulk.

I think he played a big role in volume 2.

JD: Oh yeah.

I have no idea. That was so long ago.

Back when comics were good.

DD: Whatever, dude.

JD: Back when Doomkopf published two or three posts a day.

DD: Comics are good.

JD: I keep trying to think if I have anything profound to add about this movie.

DD: Look at it this way: We did a really good job of writing a long review that, summed up, would read, “Better than Iron Man 2, not as good as Iron Man 1.”

JD: I think one of the only Asgard-related comics I ever read in any depth – and by that I mean read over and over and allowed it to fuel my imagination as an impressionable young comics reader — was some X-Men / Alpha Flight crossover where some Asgardian nonsense happened in Canada or something.

And then the New Mutants got involved at some point.

I’m doing a poor job of paraphrasing.

But anyway, I really enjoyed that book. I remember reading it over and over because it — along with the Dark Phoenix Returns saga — were like the only X-Men trade paperbacks I could find in the late 80s.

And the point of all that is that this movie — and especially its visuals — really tapped into that excitable part of my imagination in a way that totally reminded me of being a kid and reading that story.

And I think that kind of gets to what made this movie great — it didn’t try too hard to be anything it wasn’t. It was a pretty straightforward heroic adventure with big characters and fantastic scenery. And for what it tried to be, I think it did an amazing job.

DD: The hallmark of every quality superhero movie.