In which the Mighty Thor fights the Conspicuously Unarmed Humans.
2) Thor vs SHIELD agents
- Thor, now depowered by his father Odin as punishment for his arrogance and exiled to Earth. The movie is a tad sketchy on just how powerful Thor is at this point– in a short period of time, he undergoes two glancing hits from a car and a zap from a taser without any lasting ill effects– but he’s at least as strong as a really buff human. Played by Chris Hemsworth, who is coincidentally also a really buff human. Not that I noticed.
- Armed with: Nuttin’, honey.
- SHIELD agents and security guards, maybe eight or so of them. No names and not played by anyone of note, though if you weren’t paying attention you’d swear the last one was Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP). Thor doesn’t kill any of them, but they’ll definitely be really thore in the morning.
- Armed with: Presumably most or all of them have sidearms, but they never get used; see below.
This is also the first movie appearance of agent Clint Barton aka Hawkeye, but he doesn’t take an active part in the fight, even though he was ready to.
The Setup: Despite the quality of Midgard’s coffee, Thor is finding mortality not to his liking, and when he gets word that his hammer has been found in the desert, he’s keen to get it back and with it, his powers. Which is odd for him to know, considering that Thor wasn’t around when his father put the “whosoever holds this hammer…” enchantment on Mjolnir, but whatever. The Odinson gets his googly-eyed caretaker Jane to drive him to the hammer’s location, but by now the US government has gotten wind of the mystical item, and created an ad hoc lab facility around it. The whole place is crawling with SHIELD agents and Thor only has approximately the superpowers of Chris Hemsworth (not inconsiderable), so he can’t quite charge right in.
The Fight: Basically, a series of small fights/beatdowns spaced out over a moderate-sized infiltration segment. Thor is a poor man’s Solid Snake, and gets extremely lucky as he sneaks around the dark facility in a poncho. Some of this not quite luck, though: an impromptu rainstorm gives the thunder god some extra cover, and the camerawork/Thor’s reaction implies that it’s his loyal hammer lending its assistance. Either way, his luck doesn’t last forever and soon the authorities are alerted to the man Die Hard-ing his way through their facility, especially as he rips through the cloth tubing walls while beating up more government goons.
Thor ditches his poncho soon enough (this may have been unintentional, but at a few points the poncho’s movements seemed to recall the cape he wears in his godly outfit) and quickly works his way closer to Mjolnir, beating up more guys on the way. One can’t help but notice that not a single agent draws a weapon on the intruder; this is papered over somewhat by the fact that Thor keeps getting the drop on his adversaries by either sneaking up on them or getting to them just as they’re rounding a corner, but come on– there’s only so many times that trick can work. Anyway, silly or no it’s still fun to watch Thor muscle his way through so many opponents.
Just before he can reach his objective, though, he has to face the mini-boss: a hulking security guard whose facial expressions seem to indicate he’s enjoying this as much as the cocky Asgardian is (presumably that excitement is the reason he too fails to draw a gun, despite having ample time). Thor even seems to accord this huge opponent a measure of respect, as their battle spills out of the facility again and into the mud. This is less homoerotic than it sounds, even with all the slow-motion. The hero takes out his adversary with a jumping double kick, and returns to his hammer… only to find that not only is it not restoring his godliness, he’s not even considered worthy enough to pick it up. When the realization sets in he goes all blue screen of death, and doesn’t even resist when the few agents he hasn’t knocked out arrive to arrest him.
Some interesting stuff is happening on the sidelines. There’s some cuts back to Jane as she realizes that she’s in over her head, and (in a handful of shots & dialogue probably added in post-production) facility head honcho “His Name Was Phil” Coulson deploys Hawkeye to a perch above the whole place as a sniper, to keep things from getting out of hand. Barton watches with arrow nocked, snarking out some of the funniest lines of the movie (“You want me to take him down, or would you rather send in more guys for him to beat up?”) as he waits for the kill order. Another nice touch is that not only does Thor’s tenacity win Hawkeye’s grudging respect, but it’s clear that Coulson can tell that something is special about this viking intruder, and eventually is even curious enough to keep off Thor’s back while he sees what will happen when blondie finds the hammer. A federal middle-manager with an actual brain, initiative and curiosity– what is this, some kind of wacky fantasy film?
This fight’s a decent change of pace from the movie’s opening bid. No more gods, monsters and magic; just ordinary fists and feet. This provides a good bit of action diversity, and it also demonstrates that even without his supernatural strength, Thor is a force to be reckoned with; he’s a warrior with skill as well as raw power, and has adapted quickly to his reduced circumstances. He even pulls a couple martial arts-esque tricks, such as binding one opponent with his own jacket. Demerits are due for the credibility-stretching contrivances necessary to make it so that not a single government agent draws on Thor, and for just how easily he’s able to get into even this impromptu federal fortress. It’s kind of like a video game, and not in a good way.
Still, it’s entertaining for what it is, even if it doesn’t aim all that high.
Coming Attractions: DESTROY DESTROY DESTROY