When “Huk Vs.” hit way back in 2009 it had a teaser for Marvel’s next film, “Thor: Tales of Asgard.” Then “Planet Hulk” came out instead, and though it was very good, I was confused as to where the Thor film went. There was a look at the opening scene of the film included on that disc, and it had promise. Then nothing…until a few months ago. With the big budget “Thor” film beginning to gain some steam, “Tales of Asgard” was finally being talked about for release. And though two years was a long time, I would have to say that if this is Marvel’s last animated film with Lionsgate, it was a very good one.
“Tales of Asgard” actually takes viewers to a time that hasn’t really been explored much in the comics, Thor’s teen years before he became the hammer wielding icon we all know, or are getting to know in theatres. A pre-adult Thor itches for some real adventure after being kept within the safety of the palace walls his entire life. He’s a spoiled, egotistical prince, with his younger brother Loki only adding to the situation by praising him so much. I know what you’re thinking…wait isn’t Loki Thor’s archenemy. Well they weren’t always at each other’s throats. Quite the opposite, here they’re portrayed as loving brothers. And it really works well, and sets the stage for the complete change in relationship that they have later on.
Thor and Loki stow away aboard the ship of the Warriors Three and embark on a journey of self discovery, and thrills. There is no big bad in this film, and almost everyone has a sympathetic aspect to them, making them all the more interesting as characters. Other Thor mainstays and characters include Sif, The Enchantress, and of course Odin. The art is absolutely gorgeous and the mythical/fantasy aspect is expanded upon in this film moreso than I’ve seen before. They really went the distance with this world and it feels truly believable.
The voice cast was also very good. It’s actually mostly the same voice cast from “Hulk vs Thor,” with Matthew Wolf returning to voice a younger Thor, and Brent Chapman, Paul Dobson, and Alistair Abell voicing Volstagg, Hogun, and Fandral again. Fandral is hysterical. Rick Gomez voices Loki, and Tara Strong (she of many voices) plays the young Lady Sif. I really liked the cast for this as they were all very endearing and fit the characters to the letter.
This was a very well done film, and it’s a shame they waited the two years to release it, as they could’ve done a sequel to it that took place a few years later showing the progression of the characters. But I digress. The film is definitely worth a shot. Anyone worried it’s more kiddie fair like “Next Avengers” needn’t worry, as this was definitely going for a PG-13 vibe with some of the subject matter. As it stands the film is unrated.
The DVD/Blu-ray combo comes with some great extras, and both discs are exactly the same, containing the same contents for both DVD and Blu-ray.
- Audio commentary with Supervising Producer Craig Kyle and Screenwriter Greg Johnson
- Audio commentary with Supervising Director Gary Hartle, Animation Director Sam Liu and Character Designer Phil Bourassa
- “Worthy: The Making of Thor: Tales of Asgard” featurette
- The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Bonus Episode “Thor, The Mighty!” from the new hit TV series
Also included are trailers for the past Marvel Animation releases. Overall I think this was a decent way for Marvel to end their run, or at least take a break on. It’s something familiar yet different and it’s an endearing and engaging story, with great action, characters and humor. Definitely check it out.
Sam Liu (director) / Greg Johnson (screenplay)
CAST: Matthew Wolf … Thor (voice)
Rick Gomez … Loki (voice)
Brent Chapman … Volstagg (voice)
Chris Britton … Odin (voice)
Clancy Brown … Frost Giant (voice)
Tara Strong … Sif (voice)
Paul Dobson … Hogun (voice)
Alistair Abell … Fandral (voice)