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Thor

September 1, 2015

ThorViking myth blends with comic book culture and messianic hope in a spectacular superhero adventure. And with Kenneth Branagh as director it mixes Shakespearian gravitas and self-knowing…

heroism and courage; pride and humility; temptation and evil; love and sacrifice

When should warriors go to war? That topical issue is confronted in this condensed history of Asgard. Odin tells the story of the ‘realm eternal’ to his young sons Thor and Loki. He makes it clear that Asgard should use its immense power to keep the peace, not to conquer other races. When little Thor expresses his enthusiasm to vanquish their enemies, Odin responds by saying, ‘A wise king never seeks out war, but he must always be ready for it’.

The film may or may not be making a statement in the wake of then current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Whatever the scriptwriter’s intention, the underlying message is not one of pre-emptive strikes, but only to engage with the enemy if and when attacked.

How should a people group or nation defend itself? And how should a family or individual protect themselves? Is there really such a concept as a ‘just war? Is meekness the same as weakness?

What a difference a friend makes. Thor’s friends — both on earth and in Asgard — rally to support him when he faces his biggest challenge. In particular, the Asgardians continue to believe the best for their friend, even after he has been banished from the ‘realm eternal’. They risk everything to help Thor, even defying the ancient laws of Asgard. Love and faithfulness to a friend override their loyalty to a set of regulations.

How far should friendship go? If a friend suffers a fall, do we continue to believe the best — even if the evidence indicates they were being deceitful? Can one still be friends, while being hesitant about trusting the person completely? After a fall, what is the best pathway to recovery for both sides?

their example affect or inspire us where we are? Are there areas of our lives where making a stand on behalf of others could cost us?

Compare Thor with the Old Testament hero Samson? There appear to be many similarities, particularly as both had superhuman strength and tried to do the right thing, yet gave in to temptation.

Despite his buffoonery and brute force, Thor chooses well in the end. In the film, his love for his friends causes him to make the ultimate sacrifice for them. Similarly, Samson follows a life of blessings and curses, and falls heavily from grace. Yet at the end of his days, he chooses to do the right thing. His power returns to him, and he defeats his enemies once and for all. The Bible offers such advice as to ‘act justly’, to ‘esteem others’ and ‘deny yourself to have a healthy lifestyle. We should overcome the demands of the ‘ego’. This is against the self-focused world around us

Odin: I have sacrificed much to achieve peace. So too must a new generation sacrifice to maintain that peace. Responsibility! Duty! Honour! These are not mere virtues to which we must aspire! They are essential to every soldier, to every king!
Odin: You are a vain, greedy, cruel boy!
Thor: And you are an old man and a fool!
Odin: Yes… I was a fool, to think you were ready.
Loki: Father…
Odin: [to Loki] NAY!
Odin: Thor Odinson… you have betrayed the express command of your king. Through your arrogance and stupidity, you’ve opened these peaceful realms and innocent lives to the horror and desolation of war! You are unworthy of these realms, you’re unworthy of your title, you are unworthy… of the love of those you have betrayed! I now take from you your power! In the name of my father and his father before me, I, Odin Allfather, cast you out!
Odin: Once, mankind accepted a simple truth: that they were not alone in this universe. Some worlds man believed home to their Gods. Others they knew to fear. From around the cold and darkness came the Frost Giants, threatening to plunge the mortal world into a new ice age. But humanity would not face this threat alone. Our armies drove the Frost Giants back into the heart of their own world. The cost was great. In the end, their king fell, and the source of their power was taken from them. With the last great war ended, we withdrew from the other worlds and returned home at the Realm Eternal, Asgard. And here we remain as the beacon of hope, shining out across the stars. And though we have fallen into man’s myths and legends, it was Asgard and its warriors that brought peace to the universe.

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