Don’t Miss Thor

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It is a sunny San Francisco morning and hundreds stand in line at the AMC Loews Metreon 16 Theaters downtown. People have come to see the pre-screening of Thor in 3D, the newest superhero film by Marvel Studios. The auditorium is packed and I overhear one woman saying she arrived at seven in the morning so she could get a good seat. I grab a spot in the middle of the theater and listen to people sitting on either side of me anxiously munching on their popcorn. After a few moments an usher stands in front of the large crowd and announces the movie will begin in one minute. I rip open the bag containing my 3D glasses and throw them on. The lights dim and the audience lets out an excited little cheer.

The movie is complete with action scenes, witty one-liners, a love story, intense sibling rivalry and a topless scene of the buff Chris Hemsworth, which had many girls in the audience giggling uncomfortably. One of the most important relationships in the film is between Thor and his go-to weapon, a hammer called Mjolnir. Thor kicks butt with this hammer and it got me thinking about other superheroes and their individual powers, and what powers I would want to posses.

“I would want to be able to teleport so I could travel the world. Also, so I could be lazy and not have to walk everywhere or take MUNI,” says Nathalie Touboul, 21, a student at SF State, regarding what her preferred superpower would be.

Superhuman strength and speed, web-shooters, an impenetrable shield, mind-control, and the power of invisibility are just some characteristics a superhero from Marvel Comics might posses. Many wonder what it would be like to have superpowers and what they would be. You could have an accelerated healing process, the ability to fly, be able to run through walls, or maybe you would like to have telekinesis and move objects with your mind. Marvel Comics has given their superhero characters extraordinary powers that one could only dream of.

Thor, the God of Thunder, a Marvel Comics iteration of a Norse deity, first appeared in August 1962. He has many powers and abilities such as keen senses and a high resistance to injury, but his biggest power comes in the form of a hammer. Not your regular hammer one finds in a toolbox, but a massive sledgehammer he swings around effortlessly with one hand. In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder.

“I don’t think I would pick a hammer. My weapon of choice would be a sniper rifle so I could mess people up from far away and always hit my target. It’s also bad ass,” Cara Hefner, 22, a student as SF State, says. “I could just shoot from far away and it’s over. I win.”

Although a hammer might not sound like the most exciting weapon, it has some pretty cool powers. Mjolnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome weapons. With his hammer, Thor has the ability to control the weather such as wind, rain, thunder and lightning. It also improves Thor’s strength and ability and can produce devastating blasts when hit against something. Mjolnir acts like a boomerang and returns to Thor after he chucks it and it strikes his enemy.

Although Thor is a god, he is not immortal and must use the power of the hammer to protect himself and his friends. In both the comic and film, Thor is a brave war hero living in Asgard, but is sent to live on Earth by his father Kind Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins. Thor is a powerful god, but he reignites an ancient war and his father sends him away as punishment.  Odin believes that living on Earth will teach him a lesson in humility. All of his powers are taken away and he is cast out with only his hammer, which contains all his powers. Mjolnir is protected by a spell, cast by Odin that allows only those who are worthy to use it.

Marvel Publishing, Inc., also referred to as Marvel Comics, is an American comic book publisher founded in 1939. There are many films based on Marvel characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic Four, and now Thor, just to name a  a few. Characters live in a world known as the Marvel Universe and come to cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

In many superhero hero movies the protagonist develops powers after exposure to outside stimuli or energies, also referred to as a Mutate in Marvel Comics. Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man after being bitten by a radioactive spider, and Bruce Banner turns into the Incredible Hulk after absorbing massive amounts of radiation from the detonation of an experimental bomb. The X-Men are humans born with mutant powers, because they possess a genetic trait called the X-gene. These superhuman powers usually manifest at puberty.

Thor is a different kind of superhero because he is based on an ancient Norse god.  He was born with powers in an ethereal city called Asgard, where the Norse gods reside. However, since he is sent to Earth without any of his powers, he must get them back from Mjolnir only after proving that he is worthy. Thor cannot be a hero, and protect the people on Earth, without his weapon.

I won’t ruin the ending, so if you want to see what it will it take for Thor to prove his worthiness and retrieve his hammer, check out the movie, which hits the screen May 6. If you had to protect Earth and the fate of humanity, what would your superpowers be? Would you want to have a powerful weapon, such as a hammer like Thor’s?