Thor: Tales of Asgard (2011 [but the film was made in 2009], 77 minutes)
Plot: A teenage Thor joins forces with Loki and the Warriors Three to find the sword of Surtur, setting off a war between the Frost Giants and Asgard.
Source Material: The title suggests this will draw from the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stories and it kind of does but there’s an equal sense this drew from the forgettable Son of Asgard series by Akira Yoshida and Greg Tocchini. It’s also hard not to think of the 2011 Thor movie, though this was made first. Really it’s best to see this as a loose adaptation of the young Thor mythos.
Animation: This is the strong suit by far. This is honestly a really great looking animated film. The characters have distinct looks. The settings are lush and detailed. Colors are bold and bright. Everything is fluid. This really is on a theatrical level animation wise.
Script: This is a decent script all things considered. It’s a competent take on the hero’s journey. The problem is it’s generic as all get out. Thor and his universe really aren’t the most unique characters in the Marvel universe, a fact reflected in the live action films’ status as the less attended outings. Thor needs a strong writer and Greg Johnson, who worked on 6 of the animated films, and Craig Kyle, who worked on all 8, aren’t those writers. They’re TV writers and only mediocre ones. This is a perfectly fine YA fantasy story but it didn’t really hit me as anything more.
Voice acting: As usual anonymous voices play the roles and they do decent work. I wish I could say more as I like voice actors getting work over names but I’ve never been all that roused by Marvel’s voice work. I feel like that’s due to how TV the films feel. Just nothing that inspiring.
Final verdict: I hated writing this review because this really isn’t technically a bad film. It’s honestly not. It’s just so very familiar and cliched. The trope of the arrogant young man who has to be humbled is done to death. The animation is really strong and others can overlook the blandness so I’m going to give this a 3/5 on that basis. Look elsewhere if you want something fresh though.