Well, it’s one of the most recognized ancient mythologies known to mankind alongside Greek mythology. The Scandinavian Norsemen of the Middle Ages knew it solely as their unique religion. Despite it being eventually replaced by Christianity, it has found new life in modern fiction beyond the Norse borders amongst comic book and film enthusiasts courtesy of the Thor/Avengers comics and T.V series as well as the M.C.U.
For this edition of Movie Moment Tribute, I will be focusing on Thor’s father; the ‘All-father’ of Norse mythology, and a fantastic piece of acting in 2011’s Thor from the actor who portrayed him in the film i.e. Anthony Hopkins.
In the MCU, Odin is an Asgardian King who is mindful of preserving piece in the 9 realms of the universe at all costs; he’s been there and done that as far as war is concerned and he’s had enough. In fact, his resolve is so strong that he refuses to act on the vicious Frost Giant race of Jotunheim after a few of them sneak into Asgard during his son’s coronation and kill Asgardian soldiers in the process. His main principle in Kingship is that “A wise King does not seek out war but is always prepared for it”.
It’s a principle that he had tried to impart on his son but Thor is too hungry for war particularly after the coronation incident; so much so that he goes to Jotunheim and starts one with Laufey and his subjects. Upon saving Thor, Loki and the warriors from the vengeful hands of Laufey, Odin holds a very tense and emotive conversation with Thor and well, here’s what happens…
Just on arrival in Asgard after the rescue, Odin isn’t shy to show his frustration and disappointment in Thor and his actions. For a moment, however, you’d think Odin would just give Thor a slight punishment in Asgard or forgive him if he admitted to his rash actions and apologized; that’s until Thor calls him ‘an old man and a fool’. And this is where Hopkins’ performance kicks into new gear. Upon being talked back to, you could almost feel Odin’s heartbreak and how regretful he is to think that Thor was ready.
The menacing growl that Odin gives Loki as he ‘tries’ to come to Thor’s defense is quite powerful, don’t you think? Apparently, the reply wasn’t scripted. Hopkins simply snarled in character, and Hiddleston’s stunned reaction – also in character – is just as improvised. That growl, accompanied with how Hopkins executes the banishment sequence, is one of my biggest if not my biggest takeaway from the movie.
I’ve always thought highly of this actor; he always goes the extra length to bring out the best out of the characters he plays. Aside from the chillling ‘fava beans and chianti’ scene as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, I think this is one of the better performances I have seen in his movies and I bet it’s yours too. Isn’t it?
(Visuals courtesy of Marvel Studios)