Halloween week at JoBlo.com had us face-off two devilish movies in last week's article
as THE OMEN
battled ROSEMARY'S BABY
and came up the loser.
With the release of THOR: THE DARK WORLD tomorrow, it was a no-brainer for this week’s piece to feature the God of Thunder so we decided on THOR (2011) vs. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011). This gave me an excuse to re-watch a Natalie Portman movie and also try to figure out how to get that ‘o’ above the ‘a’ in Stellan Skarsgård’s last name before this article gets posted. All in all, it was a very productive afternoon.
A mighty warrior named Thor (Chris Hemsworth) whose bravery and power is matched only by his arrogance gets banished to earth by his royal pop, Odin (Anthony Hopkins) to learn to be humble and wise and to hopefully meet a babe that looks exactly like Natalie Portman.
Once he is on earth, Thor learns that his brother Loki is cuckoo and has gone power-mad on his home “realm” of Asgard. Soon after, Thor finally gets his shit together, learns a lesson or two, falls in love and regains his powerful hammer to make things right again in the universe.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) just wants to do his part and join the army to fight Hitler and his cronies during WWII. The problem is his puny physique keeps getting him rejected until a brilliant scientist (Stanley Tucci) notices his heart and his patriotism are both in the right place and admits him to a secret experiment where he is transformed into a super soldier – Captain America! Now “Cap” is ready to give it his American best as he races against the leader of Hydra, the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving), who is plotting to take over the world! And you thought Hitler was an a-hole...
The God of Thunder landed on earth in May of 2011 and scored some big bucks domestically as it tallied $181 million at the box office ranking it #169 all time (which sadly was not enough to beat out that junk WHAT WOMEN WANT
). THOR’s total earnings across the globe was $449 million which was more than enough to score us tomorrow’s sequel!
Two months after THOR was released, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER hit the silver screen in the U.S. of A. and pulled in almost as many bucks as the blonde Norse God as it cashed in a total of $176 million which ranks it at #182 all-time. It didn’t fare as well overall though as it managed to accumulate “only” $370 million worldwide which is $79 million shy of his fellow Avenger Thor.
Chris Hemsworth was hardly a household name when THOR was released but that problem was solved by inserting big name movie stars like Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman in the film to help him get the kinks out.
Rene Russo (sneeze and you’ll miss her), Stellan Skarsgård (I ended up just copying and pasting his last name from the Internet) and the always great Idris Elba are a few notables also surrounding the blonde warrior God. Considering he hadn’t had much experience directing adventure movies, Kenneth Branagh does a great job behind the camera and proves once again that he can do no wrong. All in all, this is a great cast with names, newcomers and Colm Feore looking real ugly as evil King Laufey.
Chris Evans was a little better known in 2011 than Chris Hemsworth having already starred in three comic book movies: FANTASTIC FOUR
and FANTASTIC 4: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER
. That being said, he also needed to be surrounded by acting heavyweights which is where Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci and Hugo Weaving step into the picture.
Joe Johnston did a solid job as director and comes in with pretty much the same experience as Ken Branagh does behind the camera. THOR may have the bigger ‘stars” but the supporting actors in this movie had a bigger impact on me. This category was too close to call so I’m chickening out and going with a draw.
1) Thor: “So Earth is lost to us...”
Heimdall: “No. There is always hope.”
Thor: “Can you see her?”
Thor: “How is she?”
Heimdall: “She searches for you.”
2) Clint Barton: “Do you want me to take him down, or would you rather send in more guys for him to beat up?”
3) Thor: “Once I retrieve Mjolnir, I will return to you the items they stole from you. Deal?”
Jane Foster: “No. You think you're gonna just walk in and walk out?”
Thor: “No. I'm gonna fly out.”
4) Thor: [walking into a pet shop] “I need a horse!”
Pet Store Clerk: “We don't have horses. Just dogs, cats, birds.”
Thor: “Then give me one of those large enough to ride.”
5) Jane Foster: “What happened?”
Thor: “He's fine! We drank, we fought - he made his ancestors proud!”
Jane Foster: “Put him on the bed.”
Erik Selvig: [to Thor] “Oh, I still don't think you're the God of thunder. But you ought to be!”
1) Nick Fury: “At ease, soldier! Look, I'm sorry about that little show back there, but we thought it best to break it to you slowly.”
Steve Rogers: “Break what?”
Nick Fury:“You've been asleep, Cap. For almost 70 years.”
[Steve is silent with shock]
Nick Fury: “You gonna be okay?”
Steve Rogers: “Yeah. Yeah, I just... I had a date.”
2) Red Skull: “You are failing. We are close to an offensive that will shake the planet yet we are continually delayed because you cannot outwit a simpleton with a shield.”
3) Abraham Erskine: “Do you want to kill Nazis?”
Steve Rogers: “Is this a test?”
Abraham Erskine: “Yes.”
Steve Rogers: “I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from.”
4) Abraham Erskine: “Whatever happens tomorrow you must promise me one thing. That you will stay who you are. Not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”
5) Senator Brandt: “Geez! Somebody get that kid a sandwich.”
We’re served up with a super ugly race of icy Frost Giants, Thor’s nutty magical brother Loki and a massive fire-breathing suit of armor named The Destroyer. This is a fun assortment of goons that keeps things interesting but none are really a match for our hero at any point.
The Red Skull is Captain American’s nemesis and his actual red skull-head, cool threads/car/logo and menacing attitude easily beats out Loki who, by comparison, comes off more like an annoying prick with a dumb helmet. The Red Skull makes Hitler look like a pussycat and Hugo Weaving’s portrayal of this legendary villain gives the movie a little bit more oomph and a few more wows.
Although both stories are very original and well executed, I personally preferred the time period that CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER was set in as well as the nice mix of the occult (got a great HELLBOY
vibe from this movie) and advanced weaponry that it had. It was a little more “realistic” (no other planets or realms to deal with) and had a more intimidating villain which are two elements that are important factors for me in comic book movies.
I’m not American and yet I loved and felt the patriotism behind ‘CAPTAIN’ and thus felt a more emotional connection to it than I did towards THOR. The ultimate way I usually decide which movie I prefer when it’s such a close race is I ask myself which movie would I easily want to re-watch in a day or two after seeing it and the answer in this case is CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.