“The Avengers” is already set to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters and it’s easy to understand why. Superhero films already do well at the box office and this one has an outstanding cast with more Academy Award winners than any other film of its genre. It’s also helmed by a worshiped (though polarizing for some) director. Most importantly, this is a film that we’ve basically been watching two hour-long trailers for since 2008. Yet as excited as many are, “The Avengers” is a bit of an overwhelming prospect for some average moviegoers. So you haven’t seen all the other Marvel movies leading up to this film and you haven’t read the comics. Will you still enjoy this film? The answer is yes, but it might help to do a little brushing up on these heroes before hitting the theater. That’s why we’ve put together this handy article to help you learn about the characters and movies leading up to this film and their end scene teasers. Here’s a guide to how Thor fits in.
If you’re somewhat familiar with Norse mythology, you probably know a bit about “Thor.” The comic book character’s story is fairly similar to his mythological counterpart’s. True to mythology, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) lives in Asgard. He is the God of Thunder and the son of Odin. He wields a mighty hammer, known as Mjolnir. As the son of Odin, he is poised to rule the realm after his father. Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), is known as a trickster (a trait which is important in “The Avengers”). As a god, Thor is a bit arrogant, his father knows this to be a flaw for an aspiring ruler, so after Thor slips up and opens war on the Ice Giants, an old enemy of the Asgardians, Odin decides to teach his son a lesson in humility. He strips Thor of his power and banishes him to Earth. When he does this, he also throws Thor’s hammer down to our planet, binding it with the magical rule that only the worthy will be able to lift the hammer and have the power of Thor.
On Earth, Thor encounters a team of scientists, which includes Jane Foster (Natalie Portman and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard). These humans find Thor to be a crazy man, rather than the god he is and we’re then provided with a hilarious sequence where Thor gets his ego knocked down quite a few notches. Over at the crash site of his hammer, some redneck humans have turned trying to lift it into a bit of a contest…that is until the government group S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) work on trying to free the hammer from the Earth. When Thor gets wind of where his beloved hammer is, he goes barging into the site, fighting his way past many government agents to retrieve it and his hammer. Much to his devastation, he is not yet deemed worthy enough to wield and resigns himself to capture by the government. While in captivity, his brother, Loki appears to him and lies to Thor saying Odin has died and Loki has become king in the aftermath. Loki also tells Thor that their mother blames Thor for Odin’s death and he will not be allowed to return. Loki has been struggling with his own inner demons after recently learning that he is adopted from the Ice Giants. Since Loki is a trickster and liar he hatches this crazy plot to break Thor and ensure the Asgard throne remains his. Poor, trusting Thor is further devastated and humbled by Loki’s visit and upon being freed from the government, he has resigned himself to life on Earth. Meanwhile, we learn that Loki continues his schemes and is now plotting with the Ice Giants. Fortunately, some of Thor’s Asgard friends know that something suspicious is up, so they sneak off to Earth to try to get Thor to return. Enraged, Loki sends a robot-like creature to take out the currently mortal Thor. What Loki doesn’t forsee is Thor sacrificing himself to save all his friends. It is in this moment that Thor is finally worthy enough to wield his hammer and Mjolnir returns to him along with his godly powers. He makes a quick example of the robot-like creature and before Agent Coulson has a minute to spit out an invite to “The Avengers,” Thor’s rushing back to Asgard to save his people. Loki and him clash, and in yet another sacrifice, Thor breaks the bridge to his beloved Earth to stop Loki from destroying worlds. Loki seems to fall to his death. Thor returns to his father and is made ruler of Asgard, but our hero is saddened by his separation from Earth. Though we know he’s to return in “The Avengers,” this film ends without a clear path back for our hero.
There is an end credits scene that reveals Dr. Selvig working with S.H.I.E.L.D. It also shows that not only has Loki survived, but he has already begun his next manipulative plot. Thor’s jealous brother is set to return in “The Avengers” to continue his manipulative tricks and to best his brother.
Uniform: Shirtless? Jk, I wish that was his uniform. For the most part, Thor’s uniform in the films is a chain mail-based outfit with a red cape (very medieval/old timey). His main accessory is his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.
Key Powers: He’s a god, so he has the immortality thing going for him, not to mention he’s specifically the God of Thunder, so he can do some impressive things with lightning and thunder. Also, he’s incredible strong – even among his own people. A lot of his key powers though come from his formidable hammer, Mjolnir. When wielded by Thor, the the thing is practically unstoppable once in motion. He can even use it to fly. Only one worthy of his power can wield this hammer, so even the mighty Hulk can’t lift it. Oh, and I’m pretty sure his abs are a super power. Those abs can make all the ladies melt like butter.
Weaknesses: Like Iron Man, Thor can be a bit arrogant (he is a god, after all). As a non-human, he can lack empathy. Also, since he isn’t from Earth, he’s not the most dependable – you can’t ever be sure he’ll show up when you need him to. Also, if you take away his godly powers, he’s just an average buff guy that’s fairly easy to beat (but you’d have to get his dad to help you take those powers away).
The Avengers Tie-ins (this is not definitive, but shares some key notes): The main tie-in here is a big one: Loki. Thor’s brother, Loki, is the main antagonist in “The Avengers” film, so though the “Thor” film is supposedly all about Thor, it’s really a big villain origin story to set up “The Avengers.” “The Avengers” does reference their brother relationship and the fact that Loki is adopted from a race called “The Ice Giants.” You’ll also hear references to the rainbow bridge, Bifrost Bridge, and plenty of references to the Tesseract in “The Avengers.” “Thor” also introduces Agent Barton, better known as “Hawkeye” in “The Avengers.” Hawkeye is the world’s best archer and he is the only other Avenger aside from Black Widow not to currently have his own movie. A few other characters from “Thor” have parts in “The Avengers” as well. Agent Coulson (who also had a big role in the “Iron Man” films) is helping with the government operation in “Thor.” And one of Thor’s earth friends, scientist Dr. Erik Selvig, plays a pivotal role in “The Avengers.” Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, though not present, is addressed in “The Avengers” as well. “Thor” also has one of those wonderful credit teaser scenes in which Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) talks to Dr. Selvig about the Tesseract (which we’ve also seen as part of the plot in “Captain America” and briefly referenced in “Iron Man 2″). “Iron Man 2″ crosses back to “Thor” during its end credits scene, which reveals Agent Coulson discovering Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. “Thor” also alludes to “Iron Man” when its robot-like villain creature is questioned by a government agent as “is it one of Stark’s?” The agent thought maybe it was another of Stark’s Iron Man spin-off designs. “Captain America” loosely reference’s “Thor” by describing the Tesseract as “the jewel of Odin’s treasure room.” Even though on Thor’s world his time is well before any of the other Avengers were even born, his time on Earth takes place after most of the others, so he has fewer references to the other movies, but it’s also why so many of his allusions are simply to the upcoming “The Avengers.”
Stan Lee Appearance: This is a little Easter Egg in many of the Marvel movies. Stan Lee, a primary creator of many of these characters in the Marvel-verse, likes to make little cameos in the films. In “Thor,” Stan Lee has a cameo as a pick-up driver during a scene where the locals try to lift Thor’s hammer.
Sequel Alert: Thor 2 is anticipated in Fall 2013.
Watch the Trailer:
Watch the Hidden Credits Scene/Avengers Teaser:
*Black Widow and Hawkeye, while a part of the Avengers team, do not currently have their own movies.