Thor: Tales of Asgard, 2011.
Directed by Sam Liu.
Featuring the voice talents of Matthew Wolf, Rick Gomez, Tara Strong, Alistair Abell, Paul Dobson, Brent Chapman, Christopher Britton, Ron Halder, Cathy Weseluck and Ashleigh Ball.
The young Norse god Thor embarks on a quest with his brother Loki to find and recover a legendary sword.
As we gear up for a live-action return to Asgard courtesy of Marvel Studios’ Chris Hemsworth-headlined Thor: The Dark World, Lionsgate has taken the opportunity to give us a look at the formative years of the God of Thunder with a timely budget re-release Thor: Tales of Asgard, the eighth and final animated feature from Lionsgate and Marvel Animation, which originally hit shelves back in 2011 to coincide with Thor’s first big screen outing.
Taking inspiration from the comic book series Thor: Son of Asgard, Tales of Asgard sees Thor as a cocky, arrogant and over-confident teenager who is yet to taste adventure, swing the mighty Mjolnir, or learn any of the life lessons that will see him take his rightful place as the God of Thunder. In an effort to prove himself to the Allfather and the people of Asgard, Thor recruits Loki and the Warriors Three to aid him on a quest to recover the legendary Sword of Surtur, a weapon of unlimited power. The journey takes them to Jotenheim, the home of the Frost Giants, where Thor’s actions threaten the fragile truce between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants. With Jotenheim and Asgard on the brink of war, a new threat emerges from the House of Odin, with the Dark Elf Algrim the Strong seeking to harness the power of the Sword of Surtur to avenge the Frost Giants’ genocide of his people.
Although Marvel has never quite managed to reach the heights of DC when it comes to animation, the Marvel Animated Features line is the closest the company has come to matching their rivals, and while Thor: Tales of Asgard is certainly one of the weaker entries of the series, it’s still a far cry from Marvel’s post-Lionsgate offerings (see, or rather don’t see, the absolutely dreadful Iron Man: Rise of Technovore). The anime-influenced character designs are a little too far removed from the traditional Marvel style for my liking and I wasn’t sold on Matthew Wolf’s voice work as Thor, but aside from that Tales of Asgard is a fairly entertaining yarn, with plenty of humour (Fandral in particular gets some great lines), decent action, and enough twists, turns and nods to the wider, more-established Thor mythos to keep things interesting for its 77-minute running time.
If you’re looking for something to get you in the mood for Thor: The Dark World or to keep the kids occupied for an hour and a half pre/post viewing, then Thor: Tales of Asgard is worth a punt. It’s certainly aimed more towards the younger viewer, but it’s an entertaining enough watch nonetheless and definitely worth picking up when you can get it for the price of a small popcorn.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.