Weretoad and I saw “Thor” today. We’ve been anticipating this movie for awhile now. My husband has actually read some “Thor” comics and has this strange little agnostic crush on the God. I, of course, am a practicing Pagan and wanted to see some Gods on the big screen! Finally, we’ve both been enjoying the “Avengers” movies and the buildup to the whole gang’s film. (I can’t wait to see the chemistry between Thor and Stark.)
For months I’ve been reading about the drama surrounding the casting of Idris Elba as Heimdall. For months I’ve been reading the blogs of fellow Pagans who were worried about how the beloved Norse God of thunder would be portrayed. Everyone knows the film is based on the Marvel comic series which deviate from the Poetic Eddas. Still, there was a hope that this movie would portray the Gods that many know and love in an honorable, Pagan-friendly manner.
In my opinion? “Thor” succeeds.
Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, the same actor who played Captain Kirk’s father in the Stark Trek revamp. We hardly saw him in that role so when I heard who would be playing Thor, I was a little … underwhelmed? Let me tell you, that trepidation vanished immediately. Hemsworth is perfect as Thor (ok, I imagine Thor with red hair, but otherwise…). He acts as I imagine Thor would – with courage, humor, and eventually honor and the desire to protect humanity. He is a bad ass with Mjöllnir in hand. And let me just say – Weretoad and I love that this film’s Thor has a beard. A clean shaven Thor, Marvel? Really? Norse Gods are HE-MEN! (Even if they sometimes go in drag…)
The whole racial issue with Heimdall? That didn’t bother me at all. Elba acted exactly as I’d imagine a gate keeper deity would. He was spectacular! What’s funny is that, although Heimdall’s skin color didn’t bother me, the fact that Sif didn’t have golden hair made my eye twitch a bit. Yes, I know there was talk about Heimdall being “the whitest God” in the mythology, but to me his main feature is his job – guarding the bridge. How do we recognize Odin? He has one eye. How do we usually identify Sif? Golden hair. A small thing, yeah, but it was the most annoying to me. I have since read that there is an explanation for it in the Marvel comics so I guess it’s one of those deviations from the mythology. Artistic license, the evolution of mythology, etc etc…
Comic book Sif aside, I absolutely adored the film. I thought it was really respectful to the ideas of polytheism and magic – laying out a possibility and aligning magic with science. There was no talk of Christianity in comparison. The only slightly annoying thing was a remark that a “primitive” culture like the Vikings would have believed that these Otherworldly beings were Gods. The extraterrestrials as Gods theory is nothing new and I can live with that, but the use of the word “primitive” could be construed as insulting anthropologically and religiously. Otherwise, the possibility of Gods being aliens was hardly pressed and the film allows them to be very Godlike. There is beyond human magic. There are unexplainable spiritual phenomena – Heimdall and Odin’s ability to see and hear things from very far away, for example. The Norse cosmology is intact. I very nearly choked up while Thor explained Yggdrasil. Beautiful.
I definitely recommend seeing “Thor.” I think most Pagans will like it. Remember to stay through the credits, especially if you’ve been following the other Avenger movies!