All Thor Movies Ranked: We all know about Thor, right? The dude originated in Norse mythology. He wields the hammer, Mjölnir. His belt is called Megingjörð, his iron gloves are called Járngreipr, and he has a staff called Gríðarvölr. He is the son of Odin. After that, things get a little complicated as he is apparently married to Sif (with whom he had his daughter, Thrud), and he has children (Magni and Ullr) from various affairs. He has several brothers (because of Odin’s affairs) in the form of Baldr, Víðarr, and Váli. He has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, and he rides a cart/chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. The most popular literary interpretation of all this is the one by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby. And the most popular cinematic interpretation is the one by Marvel Studios.
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Thor debuted in Marvel Comics all the way back in 1962 and made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in 2011. He has also appeared in The Incredible Hulk Returns (1988), the mockbuster film Almighty Thor (2011), the Netflix series Ragnarok (2020-ongoing), and Mortal (2020). He is in games like Age of Mythology (2002), God of War (2018), and God of War Ragnarök. But I am not going to wade into all that. Instead, I’m only going to focus on the stand-alone films where the God of Thunder (also known as Lord of Thunder, Sparkles, Point Break, and Big Lebowski) is portrayed by the one and only Chris Hemsworth. He is the son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and Frigga (Rene Russo). His siblings include Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Hela (Cate Blanchett). And he is famously in love with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman).
4. Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
The latest outing of Thor is directed by Taika Waititi and written by Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. This takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), with Thor seemingly going into the great beyond with the Guardians of the Galaxy. But, right at the beginning of this film, they part ways after learning that Gorr, The God Butcher (Christian Bale), is massacring, well, gods all over the universe, and he must be stopped.
Gorr is seeking vengeance because the god he worships, Rapu (Jonny Brugh), didn’t save his daughter (played by India Rose Hemsworth), and he is being “manipulated” by the Necrosword. Jane Foster is back with cancer and an upgraded version of Mjölnir. Valkyrie and Korg are in too. And after Gorr attacks Asgard and kidnaps children, the heroes band together to get him before he kills the kids and/or ends all life in the universe.
Taika (and co-writer Robinson) introduce themes of love, revenge, and queerness (it’s the type of corporate LGBTQ representation that doesn’t exactly count) and draws parallels between Gorr’s Necrosword killing him and Jane’s Thor transformation aggravating her cancer. And then he does nothing with it. The heroes frolic around from one place to another while Gorr sits in one place, waiting for Thor to come to him.
Yes, the god-butchering happens off-screen, and you are told about it via boring exposition. And the only thing that’s possibly worse than the boring exposition is the jokes. I didn’t exactly keep count, but I am sure that some gag or quip follows every single line. A joke follows cancer. Deaths are turned into frivolous jokes. Mass panic? Joke. Fighting for love? Joke. Dying for love? Joke. If you somehow miss out on a joke because you are zoning out. Don’t worry. The joke will be repeated until every person in the theater gets it.
Well, if the writing is so bad, maybe the visuals and the action must be good. Nope! The entire movie looks horrendous. Everything from the costume (Thor’s getup is an eye-sore) to the sets to the use of The Volume (it’s a form of rear projection) is incredibly poor. There’s one location where it seems that Waititi is going to do something very inventive with the black-and-white setting and rotational light source. He doesn’t. Apart from a few shots here and there, due to the absurdly messy action choreography, it sucks big time.
Even the conversation scenes are shot so incompetently. Shot-reverse-shots are the most basic form of crafting a dialogue-heavy scene. But you can still do so much with the composition and the angles. Yet, somehow, Waititi and cinematographer Barry Baz Idoine manage to make it look like a made-for-TV movie. No shade on made-for-TV movies which look better than Thor: Love and Thunder. Also, Christian Bale as Gorr is Jared-Leto-as-Joker levels of bad.
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3. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Directed by Taika Waiti and written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher L. Yost, this film follows Thor as he, apparently, successfully prevents the titular destruction of Asgard. But things slowly start to spiral out of control as he learns that Odin isn’t in Asgard. Then, after landing in Asgard (and securing Surtur’s crown), he learns that Loki is, in fact, alive and ruling the place disguised as Odin.
They meet Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who directs them to Odin, who tells them that he is dying. And his death is going to free their sister and his firstborn, Hela, who draws her power from Asgard, the place. While dying, Odin tells Thor (who is hellbent on saving his home) to understand that Asgard is not a place but a people. Since Hela draws her power from the place, he must let Ragnarok destroy it, save the people and rebuild Asgard elsewhere.
I am aware of the fact that a lot of people love this film to death. They think the Immigrant Song sequence is the best thing in film history. But, personally speaking, Thor: Ragnarok absolutely sucks. As always, credit where credit is due, the movie introduces a lot of good character arcs involving loss. Thor and Loki lose their father. Thor loses his hammer. They lose their home to Hela. Hela starts making up for the time she has lost in imprisonment by becoming a fascist ruler. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) realizes that he has lost two years of his life imprisoned in the cage of rage that’s Hulk. Also, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) realizes how she corroded herself because she is too afraid to face Hela. What does the movie do with it? Absolutely nothing. There’s no contemplation on this. There are thought-provoking conversations on it. Only action sequences after action sequences. And jokes. The absolutely horrible, terrible, borderline putrid jokes!
For the sake of clarity, action and jokes can be emotionally poignant. Films like T2 (1991), John Wick (2014), and Top Gun: Maverick (2022) have proven that action, if done with passion and purpose, can hit you in the feels. However, the visuals and action choreography in Ragnarok are so horrible that it’s painful to even look at.
There’s no intent behind anything, and apart from a few frames, everything looks so flat and weightless. As for comedy, there’s a literary term for jokes elevating the emotional quotient of films. It’s called bathos. Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Edgar Wright, Shane Black, Anurag Kashyap, and The Coen Brothers are masters of this art. Hell, Taika Waititi uses it in spades in Jojo Rabbit (2019). But in Ragnarok, he undercuts every single emotion and every single beat and eventually kills the intensity of the aforementioned character arcs with annoyingly bad slapstick jokes. You don’t need to make people laugh to keep them engaged!
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2. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Alan Taylor directs Thor’s second standalone outing. It’s written by Christopher L. Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Don Payne, and Robert Rodat. Just like the first Thor movie, the stage is set by Odin as he tells the story of Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and the Dark Elves. They had something to do with the Aether, and Bor (Tony Curran) imprisoned them and hid the Aether. In the present day, the Nine Realms are about to coincide. This causes some kind of anomaly, which causes Jane Foster to get access to the Aether and ingest it via osmosis(?). Thor returns to her (after putting Loki in an Asgardian prison due to his crimes against humanity in The Avengers) and takes her to Asgard to cure her. While all this is happening, Malekith awakens, frees himself from the prison, and starts making his way to Aether.
Twitter dot com, fan cams strewn across the internet, and Loki (Season 1) will convince you that this is one of the best (and one of the most important) movies in the franchise because Frigga died in it. So did Loki (it’s a fake death but one that’s not revealed until the very end of the movie). On paper, that’s true. But here’s the thing: the intensity of the reaction to those deaths is as hot as water taken out of the refrigerator. The anger level between Thor and Loki (until he bites the dust), and Odin should be so high that it should scald your skin if you sit too close to the screen. What do you get instead? Some stupid plot about the Convergence of the Nine Realms, gravity change, and Malekith’s intention to destroy them? Why should I care about all that? Why shouldn’t I care about the deaths?
A lot of the movie’s tonal whiplash can be chalked up to the post-Avengers syndrome because the one thing that Marvel and Kevin Feige learned from that movie is that there should be one gag every five-to-ten minutes. Or else the audience will lose it. The effect is quite the opposite. It’s possible you won’t realize it when the laughter track (from people) is hitting your eardrums in the theater. You’ll see how unfunny it is when you watch it on your own. And, oh my god, is it so uninventive. The final fight takes place on the blandest-looking planets with the most basic environments, even though the plot device allows the characters to travel anywhere in the universe. However, credit where credit is due, Thor: The Dark World is so boring that you zone out after the one-hour mark. It’s not annoying. I will take boring over annoying any day.
1. Thor (2011)
The character’s MCU debut is directed by Kenneth Branagh and written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne, J. Michael Straczynski, and Mark Protosevich. The film opens with a team of scientists, Jane, Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), and Darcy (Kat Dennings), crashing into Thor while trying to chase an electrical storm. Then we learn that there’s another realm called Asgard where Thor, Loki, Friga, Odin, Heimdall (Idris Elba), Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the Warriors Three, Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) and Fandral (Josh Dallas), reside. At Thor’s crowning ceremony, the Frost Giants, led by King Laufey (Colm Feore), infiltrate Asgard. Despite Odin’s orders to stay put, Thor attacks Jotunheim. This leads to his banishment to Midgard (Earth) and de-powering, which forces him to reflect on his arrogance and lust for war.
I clearly remember disliking this movie very much. I don’t remember the precise reason, but it largely had to do with the overall grandeur of the film. Yes, I didn’t quite vibe with the Shakespearean aesthetic. That said, over the years, I have grown very fond of this film because, unlike a lot of the recent Marvel outings, it looks incredibly cinematic. Maybe even a little too cinematic due to Branagh and cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos’s overuse of the Dutch angle. But since it works, I personally do not have a problem with it. In addition to that, the texture in the movie pops. You do notice everything that the production design, costume design, and set design teams have put in there, and they appear colorful as ever (something that can’t be said about every Marvel movie).
The narrative is really a fish-out-of-water story that we have all watched a thousand times. That’s kept afloat by the chemistry between Hemsworth and Portman. Seeing them find it difficult to utter words because they are too lost in each other’s eyes is magical. But it’s the film’s over-the-top, majestic and Loki-filled half that makes it so damn watchable. I think I have watched this film many times, but I don’t know how it always manages to make me forget about Loki’s second twist. And I end up being surprised when he kills Laufey so that he can pretend he saved Odin from being killed in his sleep. Hiddleston is so amazing and his diabolical nature is what elevates Hemsworth’s performance. They are like oil and water but the kind of oil and water that works together.
Also, Read – Thor: Love and Thunder Movie Ending, Mid-Credit, and End-Credit Scene Explained
Where to Watch Marvel’s Thor Movies?
Disney bought Marvel Cinematic Universe for $4 billion way back in 2009, securing rights to Marvel Entertainment’s plentiful realm of superheroes, including Thor movies. You can watch all the Thor movies on Disney+ streaming services and Disney+Hotstar in India.