I just finished watching a movie that everyone else has already seen, last year’s comic book adaptation Thor. I have to say that I’m not really a comic reader; I’ve picked things up here and there from other people who are comic fans, but I’m coming at this mostly as a mythology buff. I have to suspect, and in many cases know for a fact, that a lot of the changes from traditional Norse mythology are products of the comic. Some of the main differences I noticed include:
- Loki is Odin’s adopted son rather than his honorary blood brother, and Laufey is his father (and King of the Frost Giants) rather than his mother.
- Sif apparently isn’t married to Thor (she certainly had no problem with his kissing Jane Foster right in front of her), and has brown hair rather than her dwarf-made blonde wig. Speaking of hair color, Thor isn’t a redhead either.
- The Warriors Three, while from Asgard, have no basis in mythology.
- Odin is seeking an heir even though he’s not supposed to die until Ragnarok, at which Thor and Loki will die as well.
- Not a change, but an interesting sidenote is that Freyja’s chariot is said to be drawn by two cats, so perhaps Thor’s request at the pet store for a cat or dog big enough to ride isn’t as stupid as it seems at first.
I remember when the movie came out there were some complaints about Heimdall being black, but these were from racists and I’m not sure why they were publicized. Attention is exactly what those people WANT! Then again, I guess I’m just giving them more here, aren’t I? I’m sure the Norse didn’t think of him as black, but who really cares? The comics and movie have, as we’ve seen, ignored pretty much all physical description from the myths anyway.
Despite the changes, I think they still got the mythological characters right. Odin is old and wise, Thor good but reckless, and Loki a trickster who works both for and against the gods as is his wont. And I have to say I quite enjoyed the film. The focus on Thor adjusting to life on Earth was amusing, and the battle scenes were impressive to watch. The way the frost giants crumbled into ice when they died was a nice touch. I do have to wonder why, with the high budget and fancy effects, everyone from Asgard wore costumes that looked like they’d been purchased at the local Halloween store. That’s comic adaptations for you, though, I guess. There’s no way to bring the designs from the comics to the screen without their looking rather silly. I understand Jane Foster was originally a physician in the comics, but Natalie Portman played her as an astrophysicist, which made sense for the plot. And thanks largely to Tumblr, I’m a fan of Kat Dennings, who played Foster’s intern Darcy Lewis. I did notice a few references to other Marvel characters, including Iron Man and the Hulk. I haven’t seen those movies either, and I have to wonder if it would be worthwhile to do so. I’ve been wanting to see The Avengers while it’s still in theaters, but I haven’t gotten around to it, and it might be too late now. If it is, I guess I’ll catch it through Netflix at some point.