Monday, May 23, 2011

Thor: Tales of Asgard

Hi everyone! So the other night I treated myself to the new Marvel animated feature “Thor: Tales of Asgard.” First off, I have to say that this is one I had been looking forward to since I watched the first glimpse featurette that was attached to the studios previous animated offering “World War Hulk.” (very cool for those who have not seen it.) The plethora of interesting characters involved, the stunning renderings of Asgard in all of it’s Nordic glory, and the promise of a good heaping of swashbuckling adventure got me excited for this dvd to hit the racks and I was frustrated when I learned I would have to wait nearly a year and a half for that day to come.
Well, last week Tuesday marked the end of my wait and after work, and a checkup on the cat I bum rushed it to my local Best Buy to pick up my copy of this new Thor adventure. My thoughts? It was good. Not run around the apartment in a bed sheet pretending to be Thor good, that would be giving the movie too much credit not to mention a little weird too lol) but a fun ride nonetheless.
In the beginning, we are introduced to Thor, not the storm commanding titan we all know from the comics mind you, but a younger, untested Thor who fights with a sword for having not yet possessing the experience, not to mention muscle, necessary to heft his destined weapon, the mighty hammer mjolner. Imbued with more than a hefty dose of the undeserved pride typical of many young people born into a life of status and privilege, Thor fancies himself the greatest warrior in all the kingdom though not once in his life has his father, king Odin, allowed him to venture outside it’s walls. Thor’s inflated ego is enabled by the indulgence of pretty much all the citizens in the kingdom, including the royal guard who purposely lose to the young prince during public sparring sessions even though he is obviously overmatched. It is only Thor’s friend Sif who is not afraid to tell him like it is and she easily bests him in combat during a scene in a stable when he quickly becomes offended by her blunt honesty.
Determined to prove himself worthy of the people’s admiration, Thor stow’s away aboard a ship helmed by The Warriors Three, Fandrall the fair, Hogun the grim, and Vostagg the valiant who are off on their latest campaign or so they say. Accompanying him is his brother Loki, a precocious adept of mystic arts and not yet tainted by the jealousy and malice that will lead him down the path of villainy later on. Setting sail across the rainbow bridge which connects Asgard to all the other nine realms the trio stop for a pint at the middle earth equivalent of a seedy roadhouse patronized by trolls, wolf-men, and all manner of brothers grimm riff raff. Thor and Loki follow them in and, upon revealing themselves, much to the shock and horror of their involuntary cheuffers, incite a massive brawl after taking a few too many liberties at the other pub goers expense.
Escaping from the melee by the skin of their teeth, the gang decides to sail to Yoddenheim at the behest of Thor who believes his mettle will be confirmed if he can retrieve “the sword of suttor,” a powerful weapon imbued with dark magic that was wielded by an enemy of his father in an epic battle that resulted in Odin ultimately emerging victorious and the sword being displaced somewhere in the mountains. Descending into the heart of a mountain near were the the battle took place the group discover the infamous sword and free it from its age long rest. Trophy it hand, Thor and his crew commence on their journey home, but it is not long before they get a cold reception (no pun intended) from Yoddenheim’s native inhabitants, the massive frost giants. Reacting with his characteristic brashness and overconfidence, Thor overestimates his ability to control the malign forces seeping from the mysterious helm and accidentally kills two frost giants in what is meant to be an act of self defense. thus shattering the tenuous peace treaty preventing Asgard and Yoddenheim from plunging into war.
It is really here that we glimpse a the major turning point in Thor’ s character arc as, after having lived up until then as a spoiled palace brat, Thor learns the hard way of the serious consequence his choices out in the real world entail. With his innocence tarnished, a humbled Thor relinquishes the sword to Algrum, a trusted advisor and friend of the family who is the last surviving member of his race of dark elves. This proves to be a terrible mistake as the weapon’s evil siren song influences Algrum into believing that Odin was partially responsible for the decimation of his kind due to his uninvolvment in an earlier confict with the Frost Giants that also ties in closely with how the sword of suttorw wound up lost for generations amidst the frozen wastes of Yoddenheim. Bent on revenge and armed with one of the most feared weapons in all the nine realms, Algrum races off to cook Odin’s goose while Thor and his companions rush home to stop the bloodthirsty elf while also having to quell the hordes of frost giants that are mobilizing against Asgard for Thor‘s earlier transgression. So how does it all turn out!? You ask, teeth biting nails. Well, as Thor would surely put it, “Nay! Thou must watch it for themselves!” Haw! Haw! Suffice it to say Thor takes some definate steps into becoming the hero he is destined to one day become.
All in all I thought “Thor: Tales of Asgard,” though not on par with “Planet Hulk” and many of the gems DC’s been churning out in terms of animated features, is a fun ride and definitely worth a watch if you are interested in the character and the truly distinct world he inhabits.

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