As Marvel fans, we’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment over the last decade with introducing our kids to these stories; first watching at home, then as they got older, seeing them in theatres and witnessing them flip out with giddy excitement at character reveals and plot twists. But recently we realized: we’ve never watched all of them as a family, and certainly not in release order. And that’s left some gaps in their understanding of the relationships between all these heroes.
Thus, as a family, we pledged to embark upon an epic MCU rewatch before we see Avengers: Endgame in the theatre, and answer the all-important question: should you watch these with your kids?
Oh, Thor. Often derided for its pretentious and clunky dialogue, and rightfully so, this origin story introduces us to an Asgardian demi-god who’s a bit of a douchey bro. Played with swaggering charm by a very buff Chris Hemsworth, Thor is banished to Earth by Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for rashly reigniting a dormant war with the frost giants of Jotunheim.
Thor lands in New Mexico, where he encounters Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard), who seem to be doing research on wormholes? I’m not really sure, but it doesn’t matter for long. SHIELD has found Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, in the desert, and confiscates Jane’s research. Thor sneaks into the SHIELD compound and tries to retrieve his hammer, but he’s not worthy of wielding it, and therefore can’t pick it up.
Thor is released from SHIELD custody by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and seems resigned to a mortal life on Earth. But! His loyal friends back on Asgard convince Heimdall (Idris Elba), keeper of the Bifrost Bridge, to allow them to go to Earth and bring Thor back. Odin has fallen into the deep restorative Odinsleep, and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has seized the throne; he sends a Destroyer – a seemingly indestructible automaton – to kill Thor and foil his friends’ plans.
Oof, this all sounds ridiculous as I type it! This is real high fantasy, with a portentousness that’s frankly bordering on campy. Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the rest of it, but suffice it to say, Thor redeems himself and Mjolnir returns to him (I mean, obviously, he’s in several more movies).
So, should you watch it with your kids? Yes. Hemsworth is charming, It’s fairy-tale fantasy, it’s fun, and it introduces the Thor-Loki dynamic that pays off so well later in The Avengers and Thor: Ragnarok. Just be prepared to explain what an “ipod” was.
Bottom line: Watch with the family, and revel in the glorious ostentatiousness of Asgard, which has more gold trim than a Trump casino.