Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thoughts on Thor 2: Would I rather be Thor or Iron Man?

A week ago, my lovely wife and I saw Thor: The Dark World. We also saw Iron Man 3 back when it was in theaters, and seeing both films brought back a question I have asked myself from time to time: who would I rather be, Thor or Tony Stark?

Both films are similar: the main character has grown as a person since we first met him, has established a romantic relationship with the other main character, and, perhaps most significantly, has recently saved the Earth from an alien invasion. I also find the differences between the characters fascinating. I can compare the two of them, but it's hard to pick a favorite, except for in one definite area where the leader clearly emerges.

Let me explain.

(Contains spoilers for both movies)

Thor is a god. Tony Stark is a genius inventor. Thor has his hammer and his natural godlike powers. Tony has his mind and his suit of armor. Thor learned how to take responsibility. Tony learned how to be more selfless. Thor is likable in a slightly goofy, good-humored kind of way. Tony is likely in a somewhat snarky, charismatic kind of way.

Just based on those traits, I think I would be leaning toward picking Thor as my favorite, but then you have to consider one more thing: Thor is dating Jane Foster, while Tony is dating Pepper Potts. It's not even close. Call it what you will: a spark, chemistry, a certain je ne sais quoi, but Tony and Pepper have it, while Thor and Jane don't.

Which isn't to say that Jane is a bad character. She is smart, dedicated, brave, and quick-thinking. And she and Thor certainly seem to like each other: they both smile when they see each other, smooch a lot, etc. But their relationship is lacking something that makes Tony and Pepper so much fun to watch. I think maybe it's the fun give-and-take between Tony and Pepper: Pepper knows that Tony isn't perfect, but she forgives his flaws, while still giving him a hard time. It's fun for them, and it's fun for us as an audience to watch.

As for Thor and Jane, maybe it's because the two of them have spent so little actual quality time together. For the entirety of their time together, Thor was either confused and in exile, or Jane was infected with the Aether. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops after The Dark World, when Thor learns that Jane has smelly feet and Jane learns that Thor snores.

Since this is a post about Thor 2, I should add that I really enjoyed the movie. Like Iron Man 3, this is action-packed superhero entertainment that deserves to be seen in theaters. The writing was funny and dramatic, the action was fast-paced and exciting, the villains were villainous and the heroes were heroic. Christopher Eccleston got to speak Dark Elvish with added bass, and Tom Hiddleston has grosser hair than ever.

It wasn't perfect: some of the pacing felt uneven, and while the fights had a lot of magic effects flying around and people yelling, it was hard to tell who was winning and how well they were doing. Still, I went to be entertained, and I was entertained.

And of course, based on how the movie ended, I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens next! But before Thor 3, we have The Avengers 2 coming up, when I will get to see the whole team reunited again. I can't wait!


  1. I think the key to the relationship between Tony and Pepper is that they need each other. Tony doesn't work without Pepper's intelligent, even-keeled, slightly eye-rolling presence, and they bring out the best in each other. Thor, on the other hand, has been Thor forever, and just now he's fallen in love with Jane Foster for reasons the characters tell us rather than show us--that she has something the women of Asgard lack, something that's an escape from being Thor, etc. But what exactly that is, I haven't seen. This is also, I think, why they had to make her in Thor 2 to give her an interesting part in the movie. That whole trope stinks of "we're bad writers, and we need to make this bland female character interesting". Pepper Potts, on the other hand, is just interesting because of who she is. She is an integral part of the Iron Man story.

  2. To be fair, they did give Pepper a timebomb superpower in the third movie, too, but I agree with your point. It makes me sad that they're not bringing in Gwyneth Paltrow for the second Avengers movie!