Does the "Thor" Ending Hurt or Help Your Anticipation of "The Avengers"?

by Christopher Campbell
May 9, 2011 5:43 AM
7 Comments
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The "Avengers" film franchise may not really be the equivalent of a Ponzi scheme, as A.O. Scott considers it, because the primary audience for "Thor" is also the primary audience for "Captain America" and "The Avengers" and so on anyway. They don't need the chain-linking of plot through each installment as reason to see the next. If anything many fans are more annoyed with the overlaying schematics of these movies, and it would even be a deterrent if this audience wasn't so completist in their consumption of comic and blockbuster culture.

As the most recent and most co-dependently dissatisfying of "Avengers" episodes yet, "Thor" should be the greatest harbinger of doom for next summer's culminating tentpole. The main offense is the film's ending. Not just its frustrating (and figuratively "ugly," according The Playlist's Kevin Jagernauth) post-credits sequence, but the climax of the film itself. Devin Faraci of Badass Digest points out how the story concludes incorrectly:

Leaving Thor in Asgard at the end of the movie represents a return to the status quo from the beginning of the movie, which is always the worst place for a story to go. While Thor has seemingly learned humility (or so we’re told – there’s very little action in the film to truly show this), he’s back at his father’s side, the heir to the throne again. Returning Thor to Asgard is only a satisfying ending if he ascends to the throne, but the mythology of the character won’t allow that. So Thor’s back to being a prince, just one with a better attitude. Loki being exposed and exiled isn’t that big of a change, especially as this film isn’t called Loki; everybody walking into the film knew he would go bad since the character is historically a foe of Thor.

I agree "Thor" would have made more sense with the title character returning to or, as Faraci would prefer, stranded on Earth. Not just for how it would work narratively as an independent entity. But because it completely feels like an ending serviced to the scheme of the franchise rather than a logical direction for the story. Faraci acknowledges that "'Thor' exists only as an introduction to the character for "Marvel's The Avengers," but he misses the likely reason for it to end as it does for the purposes of the series. My guess is that Thor only finds a way back to Earth and joins the Avengers team because S.H.I.E.L.D. (and Captain America and Iron Man) requires his help in defeating Loki, who we know -- confirmed by the post-credits teaser -- is the big baddie of the later movie.

To respond to Faraci's statement that "If even a minute of screen time is wasted on getting Thor from Asgard to Earth in "Marvel’s The Avengers" it’s a minute too much," I expect that much of the first act of "The Avengers" will indeed be wasted on devoted to such. I only agree that it's annoying because of "Thor"'s forced conformity to this course.

While I'm on the subject of both the "Thor" ending and my frustration with the whole "Avengers" enterprise, I'd like to branch out to one of the reasons I hate the long process of film production news (and rumor), as well. When i Googled the terms "Thor ending" many results that came up had a variation of the headline "Thor Ending Changed For Avengers," none of which turn out to involve anything relative to what "Thor" actually contains. All based on a story originally posted to IESB.net, which no longer exists, these posts claimed that the film was initially intended to be entirely set on Asgard but that Thor comes to Earth and becomes his alter-ego Donald Blake in the end in order to fit a set up for "The Avengers." They also reported that director Kenneth Branagh had an acting role in the movie.



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7 Comments

  • Grgtait | August 31, 2011 8:49 AMReply

    LOL - Shut up - there movies and comic books - NOT REAL PEOPLE....

  • RogueReven | August 1, 2011 7:36 AMReply

    The ending to the Thor movie, leaving him stranded in Asgard with the bridge broken could mean the Thunder god himself isn't in the Avengers movie. The beginning of the Avenger could see him understanding the threat Loki is on earth and keeping his promise to S.H.E.I.L.D by relinquishing his power by throwing his hammer to earth. So a worthy man can wield his power and help S.H.I.E.L.D in his place.

  • Lefty | July 21, 2011 2:39 AMReply

    Comics are written with endings that give clues to the next issue......

    Its kept the fans in anticipation and the journalists dumb founded because they always thought comics were juvenile.

    Well, read a comic from marvel written between 1075 and 1985 they all end with cool clues as to the next charaters to appear. It generates great banter.

    Chin up.

  • Vel | May 15, 2011 8:07 AMReply

    WE had a power outage right when Thor and Loki started fighting so didnt get to see the ending. The theater gave us our money back cause it was so damned hot in there, seems the only one to win that day was the god of fire.

  • Eric | May 11, 2011 8:38 AMReply

    ^you were looking for, "my curiosity (was) PIQUED" or even "peaked." and I'm willing to accept KNOW(rather than 'no') as a typo. if that's not the case, you're a moron.

    movie was ok. I wish there was more action. hell, there was more action in the Fast Five movie, but I digress. I liked seeing Renner as the eventual Hawkeye, this seems to be overlooked a lot since it was a very small part. the most annoying part about the movie was how Loki let go of the staff and fell into space. it looked so cheap and cheesy, not impressive at all... after-credits ending did nothing for me as well. Don't much care for Loki, and I consider myself a fan of the Marvel Universe, he's just not a big enough draw for a SUPER VILLAIN in an Avengers film that will bring iron man, hulk, captain america, and thor togther...

    Hopefully Thor will be MIGHTIER in the next offering.

  • Matt | May 10, 2011 11:44 AMReply

    While I agree that the ending did leave a little to be desired, I really like that the films are being all tied together.

    And by the way, just because Loki is at the end of the film in the post credits scene, I don't think that necessarily means he's going to be the big baddie in The Avengers. Thor pretty much proved he could handle Loki on his own so I doubt there's any need for a team to handle him on Earth.

    But we'll see!!! Good post though!!!

  • Thom Miller | May 9, 2011 6:04 AMReply

    SPOILER ALERT (well, sort of)

    I enjoyed THOR, but the extra footage at the end didn't do anything for me. I later found out from a comic book store friend what the cube was in the Marvel universe, so I guess THE AVENGERS will have something to do with that. It was so confusing, i had know idea what to expect. Nor was my curiosity peeked. Will people clamor to see the huge cast of heroes in THE AVENGERS? Only time will tell. If so, hopefully DC will take note for a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie.

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