While Thor might not be the first Marvel superhero to grace the pages of comic book, he’s definitely the oldest. Hailing from Norse mythology, the son of Odin’s regality makes him the perfect Marvel character. Who better to direct the royal Thor on the big-screen than Shakesperian master Kenneth Branagh? 2011’s “Thor” is loaded with Marvel lore and hidden treasures worthy of an Asgardian king.
Marvel films are chock full of foreshadowing, and Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) treasure vault is a prime example. As a group of Frost Giants sneak in early on, there’s a shot down the hallway which shows assorted relics. Noticeable among the loot is the Infinity Gauntlet. In the comics, Thanos obtained the Gauntlet, a glove which, with all six Infinity Stones, yielded immense power. Thanos, portrayed by Josh Brolin, pops up in an “Avengers” post-credits scene, as well as playing a key role in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” “Avengers: Infinity War Part 1” and “Part 2” are slated for release later in the MCU, so expect to see the Infinity Gauntlet, and Thanos, assume larger roles.
The backdrop is littered with various treats. A sign read “Home of the Vikings,” a nod to Thor’s origins as a Norse deity. A nearby billboard says of New Mexico “Land of enchantment…Journey into Mystery.” This is of course a throwback to “Journey into Mystery,” the comic series in which Thor first appeared. Spanish speaking viewers will recognize that Thor conveniently lands in Puente Antiguo, which means “Old Bridge,” an apt description for the Bifrost. There’s a picture in a children’s Norse mythology book depicting Odin crossing the Bifrost, and he’s carrying a small blue box: the Tesseract.
The Tesseract eventually becomes a central artifact in Marvel lore, and it’s shown in “Thor’s” post-credits scene. Stan Lee has a cameo as an old man trying to pull Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, out of the ground, and instead ripping the bed off of his pickup truck. “Babylon 5” story creator J. Michael Straczynski shows up as the finder of Mjolnir. Straczynski wrote the story for “Thor,” and also wrote several comic series, including Thor and Spider-Man. Once again, Marvel delivers hidden gems fit for a king.
Next up: “Captain America: The First Avenger.”