By: Dan Marshall
“Thor: Tales of Asgard” tells the story of a young Thor before he raised his Mighty Hammer. A young naïve Thor who wants to prove himself to his father.
The story starts with Thor’s training fight against Asgard’s greatest warriors. After he is victorious, he finds out that his training, which he has put into the public view is fixed to ensure he wins. After confirmation of this from his father Odin, he sets out on an adventure to prove his worth, stowing away on boat marshalled by the Warriors Three with his brother Loki. After convincing the reluctant threesome, they set out to find the Last Sword of Surtur held in frozen wastes of Jotunheim. The adventure leads them all on far more dangerous journey than they expected. Leading to a grave mistake by Thor which threatens an all-out war by the Ice Giants on Asgard. Can Thor get back to Asgard in time before its destruction?
I think this is the best that Marvel have produced so far, with the help of the music, the sense of action and adventure was there to draw you in for the ride. The travelling bands escape from a bar brawl induced with the quality musical score brings the story to life and made me start to pay a little more attention. I have generally found myself switching off during previous Marvel animation films but this scene started what was going to be an enjoyable remaining hour. The previous 20 was setting up the story.
Along the way there are plenty of flashy battle scenes, so if you’re an action junkie like myself I think you’ll find a lot to entertain you here. While the first half is your standard coming-of-age story, the second half becomes a more dramatic affair with an epic feel, which is only added to by the character dialogue.
There is also plenty of character development for Thor and Loki and you start to see how they end up on the paths that we have come to know them for.
Come the finale of the film, I was changing my opinion on whether Marvel could produce an entertaining film. After watching previous animated features disappoint, I had little expectation but was pleasantly surprised.
This isn’t going to be for everyone but if you like action and adventure this could be an entertaining 80 mins, you’ll just have to forgive the animation, especially if you’ve been watching the DC Universe efforts.
You can never help but compare Marvel animation against DC’s and whilst DC are producing some of the best you’ve ever seen in American animation, Marvel still have some way to go to match that. This does however seem to be an area that Marvel hasn’t taken as seriously as its rival and it shows time and time again.
In terms of how it stands up in today’s market, all I can say is this… It isn’t good enough. If Marvel want to be muttered in the same breath as DC without it being a negative comment then they have to start taking animation more seriously. I found this was a back step from the standard of the Ultimate Avengers movies, which shouldn’t be happening. It was more on a par with Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes, which is fine for a Saturday morning cartoon but not a feature-length film.
I want to see depth in the cheeks, shadows on the faces. I feel this would also help you relate to how a character feels, as it would seem more lifelike than a flat featureless face. How can you truly see a characters expression when he has no facial features?
This was a real strong point for me and drew you into the scenes, which helped with overall feel and flow of the story. From the slow harmonies of delicate scenes and the thumping beats of the marching Frost Giants, to the occasional Lord of the Rings style choir moments. It added so much. Without it this animation could have been a forgettable effort.
Generally good without being great. Odin voiced by Chris Britton was stand out voice for me. I didn’t like Thor’s voice to begin with but I did get use to it and by the end I actually liked it. However I did also notice that his tone slightly changed towards a more mature voice come the final scenes, indicating that it was intentional to give him a more immature, if not annoying voice early in the production. Basically to show a boy becoming man or at least a young man.
A good effort by Marvel to put out an entertaining animated film but they have a long way to go, if they want to compete with DC. A better story would probably please more and better animation is a must.
Overall Grade: 7.5/10