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Copernicus -vs- The Science Of THOR!!

I never would have guessed there would be so much science (and astronomy in particular) in THOR.  And I was further astonished to find out that I know two of the science advisers on the film.  Not only, that, but they had a great experience and were actually listened to and helped improve the film.  So this week, in addition to my usual shameless self-promotion of my TV show, KNOWN UNIVERSE, I thought I’d tackle the Science of Thor!



As a comic book, Thor exists in the realm of imagination and legend.  Different worlds are parts of a magic tree, populated by immortals, frost giants, and serpents, and bridged by rainbows.  In this world the laws of physics take a backseat to enchantments and magic artifacts.

But a direct translation of the full operatic, color-saturated glory of the comic page to film often goes off the rails, because while in comics the reader is helping with his or her imagination, movies are a medium much closer to the real world.  And there is an additional constraint for THOR.  Thanks to the upcoming AVENGERS film, the lead character must coexist in a cinematic universe established by Jon Favreau’s relatively grounded IRON MAN.

Realizing this, Marvel and president of film production Kevin Feige, have eased audiences into their universe one “buy-in” at a time.  For IRON MAN it was that one rich bastard could invent a flying, weaponized suit of armor.  For THE HULK it was that gamma rays could turn people into monsters.  For THOR it would have to be that there are different realms populated by nearly godlike beings.  That meant that everything else about THOR had to be relatively grounded in reality.  To achieve this significant feat, Marvel consulted not just one, but four science advisers:  Sean Carroll (Caltech), Jim Hartle (UCSB), Kevin Hand (JPL), and Kevin Hickerson (Caltech).

In preparation for this article, I talked to the two of them I already knew:  Sean Carroll and Jim Hartle.  Sean is a cosmologist at Caltech, and contributes to one of the most popular blogs in astronomy, Cosmic Variance.  Jim Hartle is emeritus faculty in my own department (UCSB physics), and an expert in general relativity, quantum mechanics and many other things.  They are both top-notch scientists, and by all accounts were consulted widely and actually listened to on the development of THOR.  It is clear to me that they really improved the film.

Carroll, Hartle, and Hand were brought in early, even before a script was completed, and met in LA with director Kenneth Branagh and some of the film’s creative team.  The group brainstormed ideas to literally and figuratively bring THOR “down to Earth.”   The filmmakers already had some notions of character and story, but together with the scientists they decided on a few ground rules for the universe and ways to achieve their story goals with as much plausibility as possible.  They made some bold decisions, including the ideas that the nine realms would be physical places (essentially planets) set in a universe much like our own, and connected by wormholes, that the apparent magic would be achieved by advanced artifacts, and that the character of Jane Foster would be changed from nurse to astrophysicist.  As the story was developed, some of the scientists were then consulted on how to turn these ideas into reality.  Finally, later in development, Kevin Hickerson was brought in to consult on the creation of some of the artifacts.

In this article I’ll cover some of these bold decisions, including the reasons they came about and add my own commentary about the scientific plausibility of how they worked out in the finished product (after a certain point the scientists didn’t know what happened to their ideas and had to watch the finished film to see).



One of the decisions I like best in THOR was to set the nine realms in something approximating the real world.  In the mythology they are something like different planes of existence, akin to heaven or hell (one actually is Hel).   But in the film, it seems that at least some of the realms are planets.  The Bifrost Bridge is no longer a rainbow you can walk on (though the energy-gorged path leading to it kind of is) – instead it generates wormholes, allowing Asgardians to travel from planet to planet.  This is a wonderful idea.  I love that the Bifrost is this giant piece of machinery that has its own observer, guardian, and operator, Heimdall (played perfectly by Idris Elba).  This is Heimdall’s observatory as well as portal.  It isn’t too different from real observatories – complicated pieces of machinery that let us see far into the universe, staffed by astronomers and telescope operators.  Of course, we don't get to dress like this:


And I love the idea of a planet of frost giants.   Such a place might be farther from its sun than Earth (or around a less luminous star), so it is colder.  And it might be smaller, so it has less surface gravity, allowing humanoids to grow taller.  We know about several ice-covered moons a lot like this in our own solar system, like Europa and Enceladus, and it seems to me that images of these moons were used as the inspiration for establishing Jotunheim, the planet of giants.

False-color mosaic of Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, taken by Cassini. 


The filmmakers almost went a bit too far interpreting the realms.  According to Sean, they were thinking of making Jotunheim a disk instead of a sphere.  Then when Thor smashes them and sends them flying, they would fall off the edge of the disk.  That might have looked cool, but then you have to ask, “Where is the gravity coming from?”  This is a great example of how consulting scientists can help prevent a film from losing all credibility by stumbling into absurdity.

But are all the realms planets?  This went right past me, but Sean said Asgard is represented as a mountain on top of something that looks like a galaxy.  This is something close to the mythological version of it (Gods, like the rich in Santa Barbara, love to live on mountains).  He says it is so far out there that it reads as artistic license.  Maybe, but why make it look like it is on a galaxy, which is silly?  Galaxies are mind-boggling enormous.  Maybe there is another explanation.  I grabbed this screen shot of Asgard from the first trailer:


Notice the planets in the daytime sky.  One is a gas giant.  That would make the other one a moon of the gas giant.  The only way for Asgard to have such a planet so large in the sky is if it is a moon of it.  If moons are large they get crushed down into a sphere by gravity.  Asteroids can be oddly shaped because they are small.  But the biggest one, Ceres, is actually so large that it is spherical (it was considered a planet in the later part of the 1700s).   Deimos, a moon of Mars, is a captured asteroid that is small enough that it isn’t spherical.  Asgard, with its mountainous form, must be a small-ish moon of the gas giant.  Of course, the problem with that interpretation is that it would have very low gravity.  But surely the advanced Asgardians can solve that.



Like most asteroids, Gaspra, left, is too small to be crushed into a sphere.  But the largest asteroid, Ceres (center), is spherical like a planet.  Meanwhile, Deimos, one of the moons of Mars, is clearly a captured asteroid.   It is so small it can remain nonspherical.


The filmmakers did cram lots of cool stuff in its night sky of Asgard, inspired by real astronomical observations.  I need to see THOR again to catch exactly all they put in there.

Are these planets that make up the nine realms in our galaxy, the Milky Way?  Normally, you’d think so.  Of course all the planets we know about are in our galaxy.  And when Thor draws a picture for Jane of Yggdrasil, the world tree connecting the realms, I took that to mean that they were spatially somewhat close together.  But there is conflicting information.  At the end of the film, they show worlds connected together by what looks like a web.  This is meant to evoke the large-scale structure we see in the universe.  Galaxies are not dispersed randomly in the universe – they are actually grouped together in what looks like a web, with large voids in between.  It seems the filmmakers are trying to equate Yggdrasil with this cosmic web.  If so, it implies that the planets of the nine realms are located in different galaxies.  But there are billions and billions of galaxies.  Why only nine realms?  Maybe they are the only ones that are interesting or important. 


 Galaxies aren’t distributed randomly, they are arranged in filaments around voids, and the structures almost look like the branches of a tree.  Here each point is a distant galaxy.  The blue quadrants are real data from galaxy surveys, while the red quadrants are from the Millennium simulation (see below).


A frame from the Millennium simulation of the large-scale structure in the universe.  The scale bar is 140 million light-years.  This shows the mass, not the light, in a cluster of thousands of galaxies.  Sky surveys of galaxies have shown that galaxies are aligned in filaments like a cosmic web.


Jim Hartle said he recommended that the realms be associated with D-branes.  Branes are basically groups of dimensions embedded in a higher dimensional space. This essentially amounts to the realms being in other dimensions.  That would certainly better explain why there are nine realms.  But it wouldn’t have related Yggdrasil to the large-scale structure of the universe. 

At least part of the time, the wormhole is traveling through out galaxy.  Check out this shot from the trailer:

Notice those nebulae.  They are quite similar to Hubble Space Telescope images of gas clouds in our own Milky Way, like this one of the Omega Nebula (M17). 



Maybe the treelike structures shown at the end of the film are supposed to be gas clouds in our own Milky Way.  Here’s an example of  “the spire,” a giant pillar of gas that is forming stars, associated with the Eagle Nebula. 

Image of “the spire” in the Eagle Nebula (M16), as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.


Ultimately, Sean, Jim and I agreed that the film is ambiguous about where or how the realms are arranged.  That’s fine with me.  Branes (an extension of string theory) may be as fanciful as Asgard itself.  But part of me feels like it is a missed opportunity.  Sean and I were imagining what we’d say to Thor once we realized he was not from Earth.  Can you imagine Jane the astrophysicist geeking out when she realizes where Thor is from?  If he’s from another part of the Milky Way, or a distant galaxy he could tell her about the different perspectives and different stars he can see from there.  Or if he’s from another dimension, or could have verified braneworld cosmology, he could have instantly handed her a Nobel prize by explaining it to her.  Thor explaining cosmology to an astrophysicst would have been worth the price of admission alone.  He’s supposed to be kind of brutish and headstrong, whereas she’s the intellectual, yet he knows infinitely more than her by virtue of being from an advanced civilization.  I know they had that scene where he sketched Yggdrasil but it was lame compared to what it could have been.

Incidentally, if the Asgardians are interplanetary travelers that were mistaken for gods when they visited Earth in the past, then it is perfectly reasonable that they don’t all have to look Norse.  That sure makes these people criticizing the casting of Idris Elba for not looking Scandinavian, before they’ve even seen the film, look silly.




To avoid magic as much as possible, THOR invoked Arthur C. Clarke: “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The premise is based on the idea that Thor and company aren’t gods, they just have much more advanced technology than we do.   When I first heard that this is what they were doing from Harry, I was a bit skeptical.  Why not just leave a bit of magic in the world?  With the LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER, audiences have shown they can get behind magic in a big way.

There are good story reasons for avoiding magic here though.  Aside from the ones mentioned before, we now know that the crossover between Marvel films, at least AVENGERS-related ones, is going to be extensive.  Loki is apparently going to be a villain in the AVENGERS.  The Cosmic Cube will play some role (summoning the Skrulls?), and apparently it shows up in CAPTAIN AMERICA as well.   CAP is another film that needs to be fairly grounded in reality to work well, so having the Cube as an artifact is the only way to go.

Thor also needed to lose his powers at one point in the film.  Having them tied to his hammer made sense for that.  There is some precedent for this in the comic, when an alien, Beta Ray Bill, proves worthy to lift Mjolnir, and suddenly is granted Thor’s costume and powers.

They key to making this work is not explaining things too much, i.e. avoiding “the midichlorian solution.”  It may seem silly to us that Odin can say something to the hammer and it can know whether Thor deserves to wield it.  Or that Thor’s costume magically flies onto him when he’s in possession of a hammer.  Or that there is a hammer that can give you superpowers.  But, as this Cosmic Variance post (not written by Sean) points out, that’s the point!  It is so advanced that it looks like magic to us.  If it wasn’t, it would just be technology.  Imagine how an iPhone would look to someone even from the 17th century.  Magic.

There is only one science-related clue about Mjolnir in the film.  They say it was “forged in the heart of a dying star.”  That sounds cool, but doesn’t tell us much.  Actually, all elements heavier than iron were forged in what could be called dying stars.  About half were formed in massive stars on their one last hurrah before they die (when they are on the asymptotic giant branch), and the other half are formed only in a supernova explosion.  That is the only place they can be created.  So if you have some gold jewelry, that too was “forged in the heart of a dying star” -- in a supernova.  At least we know Mjolnir is heavier than iron.


Incidentally, Mjolnir has some pretty serious power requirements.  I know this is over-analyzing, but I can’t resist throwing in a little science.  Mjolnir gives Thor the ability to call storms and lightning.  This is no joke.  In a typical thunderstorm, about a billion pounds of water vapor is lifted to great heights. When the water condenses it releases as much energy as a city of 100,000 people use in a month.  Then again, maybe Thor can only influence weather patterns that already exist.




In the comics, Jane Foster was a nurse, but now she’s an astrophysicist.  I love this change.   Comic book characters are a product of their times, and sometimes they need some freshening up.  In 1963, when Thor debuted in Journey Into Mystery, nurse was one of the few “acceptable” professional positions for women.  One need look no farther than STAR TREK to see this bias in action.  When the STAR TREK pilot was delivered in 1965, Majel Barrett played “Number One,” second in command to Captain Pike.  However, executives didn’t like, or didn’t think audiences would accept, a woman in such a strong position, and her role was converted to Nurse Chapel when the series went into production. 

In 1963 there weren’t many women in astrophysics.  But today a quarter of the membership of the American Astronomical Society are women.  This doesn’t tell the full story though.   As you go to younger and younger levels in the profession, the percentage of women increases.  Around a quarter of young faculty members in astronomy are women, but around a third of astronomy PhDs awarded are to women, and about 40% of bachelor’s degrees go to women.  It takes some time to go from Bachelors to PhD to professor, so this says that things are changing fairly rapidly. 

But what has changed in the last 40 years?  Attitudes.  Women are less often discouraged from going into the sciences.  And girls now have role models to show it is possible.  So I’m happy to see Marvel changing with the times.  It better reflects reality today, and provides a great role model for girls aspiring to study astronomy.

So how is Jane Foster as an astrophysicist?  She’s fairly well done.  The character is a hell of a lot better than the Bond version of a scientist, slapping some glasses on Denise Richards and calling it good enough, as Natalie Portman herself pointed out.  She’s serious, driven, and enthusiastic about her research.  She, and the writers, got the tone, and her dialog down nearly perfectly.  This is partly because Marvel consulted real scientists.  Sean Carroll said they asked questions like, “What kind of position would she hold?”  “Could there be tension with her academic supervisor?” and even, “What kind of posters does a young physicist have on her apartment wall?”  She even uses a lab notebook, just like a real scientist.  Why would scientists be using pencil and paper in this digital era?  When I was at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, I think it was George Smoot (now a Nobel Laureate), who convinced me of their importance.  They are often consulted in court cases over intellectual property or patents, and sometimes even to determine credit for Nobel Prizes.  Indeed, national labs today still encourage their scientists to keep hard-copy notebooks.

This isn’t to say there aren’t a few nitpicks I have about the Jane Foster character.   One bit of dialog sticks out like a sore thumb.  When describing how the stars look through the atmospheric disturbances, she says she sees stars, “but not our stars.  See this is the star alignment for our quadrant this time of the year, and unless Ursa Minor decided to take a day off, this is someone else's constellations.”  First, astronomers would always say “constellation,” not “star alignment” – it isn’t like they are moving relative to each other.  And secondly, no astronomer would ever say, “quadrant” when talking about the Milky Way – that is pure scifi-speak.   Sean says that dialog was added after he was done consulting on the film.  Jane also insists on calling wormholes, “Einstein-Rosen bridges.”  While that is technically correct, every scientist I know calls them wormholes.  But you can see the reasoning for the wording change here.   While these things are a dead giveaway to a scientist that this is only a movie approximation, I think mainstream audiences wouldn’t have any idea that the jargon isn’t perfect.

When one of my female astrophysicist friends, Haley Gomez, saw Thor, she tweeted, “Next time I'm in my office ’looking at particle data’ I will make sure I'm wearing false eyelashes like Jane the Astrophysicist.”  I must confess this went right by me.  Indeed, there is a fine line between “looking Hollywood” and ringing true as a scientist, but as far as believable portrayals go, I’ll take Natalie Portman in false eyelashes over Denise Richards in glasses any day.

As I touched on before, another thing Sean pointed out is that one missed opportunity is that when Jane figures out that Thor is from another planet, in addition to swooning over his biceps, she should have been peppering him nonstop with questions about advanced physics, which clearly his people has mastered.  Even if he was a bad student, he’s likely to know much more than she does.  Imagine even a high school dropout of today talking to someone from the stone age.

So all in all, I enjoyed THOR, and especially its dedication to making things as plausible as possible within a fanciful universe.  By consulting scientists, the filmmakers avoided disaster, elevated the film with clever ideas, and even gave their characters more depth and made them more believable.  And in the process they might help inspire the next generation of scientists.  If only all movies could do the same.

Now the question is:  what’s next?  Are we going to get to see some cool new alien worlds in THE AVENGERS?  (Sean says the script is awesome, but didn’t leak any details).  And is Marvel’s aversion to magic specific to the story requirements for THOR?  Surely Doctor Strange have magic (he has to, right?).  At any rate, Marvel is doing a great job of building an interesting, plausible, and interconnected universe.  Maybe it isn’t so bad that Fox and Sony have the rights to so many of their characters.  SPIDER-MAN and X-MEN are like licenses to print money – even bad versions make a mint.  But without them, Marvel is forced to go deeper into their repertoire and explore lesser-known characters to make films.  And they spend more time getting them right.  So far they are doing a pretty good job. 


- Andy Howell  aka Copernicus

Email or follow me on Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • May 26, 2011, 7:47 p.m. CST

    I reflect your feelings on the film. Thanks for posting this.

    by Squinty CGI Flynn

    I like science, go figure.

  • May 26, 2011, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Thor is my fave of the year so far...

    by john

    Xmen next week tho

  • May 26, 2011, 7:56 p.m. CST

    I like teh science.

    by Simpsonian

  • May 26, 2011, 8 p.m. CST

    One of AICN's best posts ever.

    by Edited_Out

    Thank you for the interviews and insight. The article confirmed much of what I suspected, while adding new *ahem* dimensions to the topic. Reconciling science with science fiction and magic makes for great reading. More posts like this, please.

  • May 26, 2011, 8:08 p.m. CST

    Good read

    by Cagliostro

    Reminds me of Enochian physics

  • May 26, 2011, 8:17 p.m. CST

    Cool post! A couple of nickpicky things though

    by ltgalloway

    I thought that when they say the hammer was forged in a dying star, it means they actually shaped it into a the form of a hammer. What metal was used or where it came from is besides the point. I think they were trying to say it was crafted there, which I would guess is a lot more difficult. That's the definition of "forge" as far as I've been able to find. Second, when you say, "And when Thor draws a picture for Jane of Yggdrasil, the world tree connecting the realms, I took that to mean that they were spatially somewhat close together." Why would you think that? Wouldn't the use of a wormhole as a means of travel render their relative position meaningless? Great article! I always enjoy reading your insights.

  • May 26, 2011, 8:39 p.m. CST

    I loved THOR

    by AssyMuffJizz

    How about you do an article on JAR JAR ABRAMS' BREWERY TREK. I'd *love* to see the results of that real science-massacre.

  • May 26, 2011, 8:59 p.m. CST

    Really good stuff Copernicus

    by dahveed1972

    Havent seen Known Universe yet, but i will definitely check it out. Its too bad you have a day job, because AICN could really really use a decent movie reviewer. I hate to be so blunt, but this site used to have several good people writing reviews. anyhoo, keep up the good work!

  • Asgards universe seemed as logical as any Star Wars world that uses the same technologies for thousands of years;) wormhole societies fighting "serious" wars with arrows and swords... oh and one magic hammer that has a fragment of a black hole inside of it... its cool.. we live in a universe of JJ abrams trek science as well now... luckily 365 days equals 2 years in it;) like Thor, look forward to Avengers, America, and Lantern.

  • May 26, 2011, 9:02 p.m. CST

    I really liked this piece

    by beane2099

    As far as Thor explaining the 9 realms more explicitly, just because Thor is from a more advanced species, it doesn't necessarily follow that he knows all the finer points of how things work. If someone asked one of us how an I-Pod worked we'd only be able to give the most perfunctory of explanations. Be that as it may, I was left scratching my head as to whether or not the nine realms were other galaxies, dimensions or planets. Reading the comics I always assumed they were dimensions. But who knows?

  • May 26, 2011, 9:12 p.m. CST


    by Mo_Rephus

    "Actually, all elements heavier than iron were forged in supernovae (dying stars). That is the only place they can be created. So if you have some gold jewelry, that too was “forged in the heart of a dying star.”" Prove it.

  • May 26, 2011, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Am I the only one...

    by blackwood

    ...who thinks the wasn't a fair fight? FOR SCIENCE!

  • May 26, 2011, 9:39 p.m. CST

    Thanks again, Copernicus!

    by Carl XVI Gustaf

    Another great read, keep em coming!

  • May 26, 2011, 10:09 p.m. CST

    The worst line if Dialog in Thor.

    by cookylamoo

    Was at the end when Sif told Frigga, "I'm sorry for your loss." Obviously the screenwriter couldn't tell Sif from Lt. Sifowitz.

  • May 26, 2011, 10:13 p.m. CST

    to korkie70 Cancer already got cured

    by jeremy nordstrom

    Cancer was cured on may 12th by some Canadian Scientists in Edmonton Alberta... so good ole Copernicus can go on to use his noggin for something even more productive... like curing aids or something

  • May 26, 2011, 10:17 p.m. CST

    Great article Copernicus ,thanx for writting it.

    by KilliK

  • May 26, 2011, 10:18 p.m. CST

    stormnnomn2017 - thanks - that news didn't reach Regina

    by korkie70

  • May 26, 2011, 10:22 p.m. CST

    stormnnomm2017 - interesting,hmm

    by korkie70 thanks - go a head Copernicus, carry on as you were. or maybe invent a time maching that Manfred Jonek could use

  • May 27, 2011, 12:09 a.m. CST

    Another good read.

    by veritasses

    Beta Ray Bill, eh? That's -5 Charisma. Welcome to level 2. <BR><BR> I'm not so sure about the high school dropout/caveman thing....

  • May 27, 2011, 12:32 a.m. CST

    dying stars

    by copernicus

    mo_rephus -- I didn't want to explain the difference between s-process and r-process, so I glossed over that. Technically, some elements heavier than iron are produced in AGB stars (not gold though). These are still "dying stars" though. But I should be as accurate as possible. So I updated the text to say: "Actually, all elements heavier than iron were forged in what could be called dying stars. About half were formed in massive stars on their one last hurrah before they die (when they are on the asymptotic giant branch), and the other half are formed only in a supernova explosion." Anyway google r-process if you want to know more. It is why alchemists were doomed!

  • May 27, 2011, 1:12 a.m. CST

    Discussing the science of Norse gods...

    by PorkChopXpress


  • May 27, 2011, 1:33 a.m. CST

    This was a triumph

    by CT1

    I'm making a note here, huge success.

  • May 27, 2011, 3:11 a.m. CST


    by Be_a_zed

    ...great article, thanks! At just the right time too. There's been LOTS of shit on this site recently.

  • May 27, 2011, 3:48 a.m. CST

    I was under the impression they used "UncleEinstein-Rosen Bridge"

    by Dennis_Moore

    instead of wormhole so as to draw a parallel to and give an excuse for the term/feature "Rainbow Bridge," hence Tjhor's quip in the movie. It was a storytelling technique, something science can't put in a jar or figure into an equation.

  • May 27, 2011, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Also, astronomers should be required to dress like Heimdall.

    by Dennis_Moore

  • May 27, 2011, 3:50 a.m. CST

    I would have preferred mythology to science

    by Chuck_Chuckwalla

    Having more of the actual mythology would have been much better IMHO. I know Marvel's idea is to make Thor happily coexist with Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers in their nascent "realistic" movie universe but doing the magic is science angle seemed like a cop out to me. So what if he's a magical being? Works fine in the comics, especially the Simonson run. They could have made it work in the same way that the Jedi exist in the Star Wars universe. Jedi wield godlike powers fit in quite nicely with that technologically advanced civilization (and don't give me that "but George introduced midi-chlorians and that makes it science" bullshit).

  • May 27, 2011, 3:53 a.m. CST

    Kind of insulting to present day female RN's.

    by Dennis_Moore

  • May 27, 2011, 5:36 a.m. CST

    Magick vs. Science

    by Cagliostro

    So now how is Marvel going to deal with the eventual Doctor Strange flick?

  • May 27, 2011, 5:38 a.m. CST

    So this means Thor was a good movie right?

    by Diagnostic

    You dont see Copernicus challenge the science of Fast and Furious or Priest.

  • May 27, 2011, 6:16 a.m. CST

    Count me in the "love Thor" camp

    by BeatsMe

    It really did make me feel like a kid again, in the best possible way. First Marvel flick where I'm actually really excited for a sequel - who knew Branagh would be so good at this kind of stuff?

  • May 27, 2011, 6:39 a.m. CST

    After 3 viewings, my only scientific beef w/ Thor is:

    by deelzbub

    why would an Asgardian God speak with a thick Japanese accent?

  • May 27, 2011, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Would have preferred Mjolnir to have been forged from Uru

    by deelzbub

    fashioned by the hands of a troll

  • May 27, 2011, 6:42 a.m. CST

    hope they don't explain Dr Strange's magic as "science"

    by deelzbub

    that would suck

  • by the astophysicists. Kat Dennings could have originally been the serious scientist. Thor could have fell in love with the nurse who attended to his needs whilst strapped down on thine gurney.

  • May 27, 2011, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Asgard is actually a SPACE STATION!

    by Killah_Mate

    It's not an asteroid. It's an artificial structure with its own artificial gravity in orbit around a gas giant. Those are commonly referred to as space stations. It's just REALLY BIG! Asgardians are clearly advanced enough to be able to build it from scratch (or modify an asteroid so much that it makes no difference). But it's entirely artificial and self-contained. Nanotech bubble, forcefield or some trick with the artificial gravity keeps the atmosphere in, and the water falling off the edge evaporates into the cloud formations underneath the disk where it is recycled. Bet you ten bucks it's fresh water, not seawater.

  • May 27, 2011, 7:08 a.m. CST

    But what about the timeline?

    by menacingphantom

    In the movie Thor and the other's are seen as gods by the Norsemen. Thor's hammer is seen in the movie in a book of Norse mythology. But the Norsemen only know about these "gods" because they defended earth from the Frost giants long ago. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't that way before Thor was born in the movie's version of the mythology?

  • May 27, 2011, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Copernicus..... AICN's best contibutor.

    by Nomoredirtyanything

    mo_rephus.... maybe you should read some more.

  • a Dyson Sphere, or an Orbital, or a Ring. Only it looks like a mountain, and for whatever reason, is surrounded by a gaseous medium that looks superficially like a galaxy.

  • May 27, 2011, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Good example with the iPhone and Mjolnir.

    by V'Shael

    Just imagine how that would look to a primitive 17th century man. Or even someone of the 1940's for flip sake. You can show him anyplace on the globe, down to street level. Scan for magnetic fields. Talk to almost anyone in the world. Take photographs. And when he suggests something it CAN'T do, you mutter the mysterious words "There's an app for that" and move your fingers over the screen. And in a few minutes, the iPhone can do something that it couldn't do just moments before. HOW? What did you do? All you did was move your fingers across the glass in some arcane shapes. You didn't open the phone. You didn't add anything to it. You didn't speak to it, and teach it something new. You'd have to explain things like radio, the internet and the app store, which all exist but are invisible to the average iPhone owner. Compared to things like that, muttering to a hammer is practically sensible.

  • May 27, 2011, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Faster Than Light

    by menacingphantom

    Wow you really let Thor off easy! I guess because your friends were advisors. Don't get me wrong, I liked Thor, but this article could have been improved by more discussion of what physics the writers ignored. To me the worst thing was the never-explained ability to instantly watch and influence events many light years distant, often without any special equipment. People in Asgard were frequently aware of events on Earth as they happened. Yeah I get that they travelled "faster than light" with some kind of wormhole created by a giant machine, but that's very different. So I think ultimately using the lame standby "another dimension" instead of distant planets would have been better.

  • May 27, 2011, 8:08 a.m. CST

    either an incredibly long childhood or else

    by deelzbub

    time is distorted by travelling via Bifrost

  • May 27, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Then where is Olympus?

    by AdamWarlock

    If this is the real Marvel Universe, there is the son of Zeus tooling around on Earth. Just how does the Greek Pantheon fit in then?

  • May 27, 2011, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Maybe Dr. Strange will be just a good magician

    by menacingphantom

    Like Doug Henning or David Blaine. "Where I come from, illusion and magic are the same thing! How'd this quarter get in your ear?"

  • May 27, 2011, 8:42 a.m. CST


    by Killah_Mate

    I don't get the galaxy thing. It's clearly a spiral formation of gas clouds (water vapor most likely), it only superficially resembles a galaxy.

  • In space suits?

  • May 27, 2011, 9:18 a.m. CST

    SUCH a great article!

    by offroadcamry

    Hey Copernicus, thanks for writing such a great and interesting post! I LOVED your POV on the Green Lantern trailer and, after this, am eagerly anticipating the next time you weigh in with on science of a film! Keep up the good work! BTW, I don't remember you posting on Avatar! So I'm going to read that one today!

  • May 27, 2011, 9:41 a.m. CST

    To those who might argue that scientific explanation sucks out the fun...

    by TheNotoriousDRB

    ...I used to be in that camp. That is, until someone far smarter than myself told me something that will always stick with me: "You have to learn the rules in order to be able to break them." Sounds simplistic enough, to be sure. But it is absolutely true if you think about it. The average human's understanding of science and scientific reasoning is not that high. The level of scientists, physicists and the like is only that much higher, and that is only because they have studied it, even for a time. The concept of the "known universe" is only but a portion of what is truly out there. Articles like this (and especially the Green Lantern article) by Copernicus frustrate me because it challenges me with what I don't know, and it is our innate desire to know EVERYTHING, which we will never get to in at least 1,000 lifetimes. But having said that, it's the grounding that science provides that actually serves to unlock the DESIRE to know more. Sure, magic doesn't exist, not in the scientific world, but one thing that science doesn't do is deny that which is magical. Science IS magic. It is all that exists, and yet all that we have yet to find out. Not to put too fine a point on it, but THAT IS ADVENTURE.

  • May 27, 2011, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Maybe you should analyze the science or LOTR now?

    by jhlusk2

    Just about as relevant considering this is a fantasy story in a fantasy world. You know the same fantasy world that Spiderman and X-Men exist in.

  • May 27, 2011, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Excellent article, Andy!

    by pizzatheface

    Entertaining and enlightening at the same time.

  • May 27, 2011, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Great article. One other bit of "science" dialogue that bothered me...

    by aeternitatis

    When Jane says early in the movie - while still thinking thor was a crazy person - something like "that storm we saw looked like an einstein-rosen bridge!" (roughly) That struck me as a highly unlikely thing for a scientist to be able to say: how the heck would anyone know what a wormhole would "look" like, given that it's presently a theoretical construct no one has ever measured - let alone "seen" - before?? Or am I wrong and there's some reasonable basis for believing that an astrophysicist would be able to see a wormhole and instantly recognize it as such?

  • May 27, 2011, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Anybody see the new GL clip?

    by Scott

    Features Kilowog, looks pretty good

  • May 27, 2011, 10:26 a.m. CST

    I think they're taking baby steps to "real" magic

    by rev_skarekroe

    Each Marvel movie has been slightly less grounded than the one before (except Iron Man II, which has more or less the same tech as Iron Man I). So you start with no magic at all, move on to super-science that acts like magic, and then if they ever make Dr. Strange they can do real magic and it won't seem as jarring. This approach will also let them get away with adding other elements in the future that would've seemed outlandish in the first Iron Man, but could now conceivably fit in, like Fin Fang Foom or Beta Ray Bill.

  • May 27, 2011, 10:29 a.m. CST

    awesome man... great article


  • May 27, 2011, 10:30 a.m. CST

    There is no reason Doc Strange needs to be real magic...

    by jgsugden

    You could - and probably should - give Doc Strange the same treatment of 'magic is advanced science'. It works in film, and giving him 'real magic' while giving Thor fake magic would seem inconsistent. In Marvel universes, magic follows rules - just like science. We may not understand those rules - and they may appear inconsistent, but they've made it clear there are rules. Accordingly, Magic as science works well. Where it falls apart is when you start to combine different types of advanced science. If you put Kang, an Asgardian, Doc Strange and a Kree in the same room, shouldn't their technology all be similar? Or do they all develop different types of technology that don't relate to each other? That doesn't make much sense to me... Regardless, it is a series of movies - and I just need it to hold up 'enough' for me to be happy with it. And it seems to be holding up enough so far...

  • May 27, 2011, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Hail Copernicus

    by AsimovLives

    It'd always good to see some science talk in here.

  • May 27, 2011, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Thor is a soldier, not a scientist

    by AsimovLives

    He's like the jet pilot, who can pilot it but can't build it. Or evne repair it, for that matter. That's what the technical support are there for.

  • May 27, 2011, 10:47 a.m. CST

    mo_rephus, really, you ate taking he piss, aren't you?

    by AsimovLives

    It's easy to prove it, but you would also need to understand the mathematics. I'm certain that Copernicus would be happy to provide you with the formulae and literature.

  • May 27, 2011, 10:50 a.m. CST

    "astronomers should be required to dress like Heimdall"

    by AsimovLives

    Wouldn't that be badass?

  • May 27, 2011, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Cool article.

    by David Cloverfield

    When I read comics "MAGIC!" just seems like as the collection of yet unexplored scientific rules, that are too chaotic to understand today. I don't see "MAGIC = TECH" as such a giant change.

  • May 27, 2011, 11:11 a.m. CST

    When Odin speaks to the hammer he uses technology

    by UltraTron

    that only royalty possess. It's a key-coded encantation that no other asguardian can undo. The tech is so advanced that it does your will. It can turn an ice giant human or make Thor superman strong. Here's how it works: Energy based quark-nano machines channel the power cosmic from the ether. They self replicate and direct energies as needed. Odin's will is interpreted by their cloud Ai and implemented. When Odin wills Loki to be human. It is not a mere cloaking effect provided by the energy nanites but instead they fundamentally resculpt Loki's molecules to appear human. They do this by manipulating his very molecular bonds. In addition whenever someone dies their conscious is backed up in the cloud Ai that has now replicated to form a vast intergalactic network that blankets all known conscious beings. This is how characters that die in the Marvel Universe often come back.

  • May 27, 2011, 11:16 a.m. CST


    by The Hand Of The Choppah

    'twill please our Lord Choppah for certain. The addition of beauteous paintings of our cosmos has earned you an extra whore for your evening pleasure.

  • May 27, 2011, 11:21 a.m. CST


    by The Hand Of The Choppah

    You are hereby summoned to stand trial for heretical expression. And bring the whore to the whorecheck counter.

  • May 27, 2011, 11:23 a.m. CST

    More grounded Avengers work better

    by Beezbo

    Iron Man and, I anticipate, Captain America, work better on film than Hulk and Thor. While I appreciate the efforts to "ground" all of these characters, the Hulk (my favorite as a kid) just comes off as silly, and Thor isn't far behind. I'm still hopeful, however, that the juxtaposition of these very different characters works half as well in the Avengers movie as it does in the comics. At least Thor and the 2nd Hulk weren't the disasters they easily could have been!

  • May 27, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Ok so the science of this

    by UltraTron

    superman comic on the stand here- superman is talking to a CIA guy and there's a sniper with a kryptonite bullet trained on superman. Ok so there ya go. It's now the adventures of CIALAPDOG MAN. Or the adventures of some little bitch that could be punked down by the gov at any second. He can swim in the sun and battle gods but we can turn him off like a light switch. They just bought the kryptonite at 711. After batman took years and a fortune to synthesize it with every resource available to waynetech- he just sold the formula to 711. Now any time the gov needs some kryptonite they go down to the 711 and get some. Then they make some more bullets.

  • May 27, 2011, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Yawn! I don't see THOR for its science.

    by onezeroone

    This is just the self-wanking this site has always indulged in and now they got another [full-time] recruit in Copernicus. Count on "nerds" to make watching a movie sound like homework.

  • May 27, 2011, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Television Seems Like Magic to Me.

    by cookylamoo

    I can't believe that Bob Denver and Tina Louise are being transmitted through my body.

  • May 27, 2011, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Mjolnir as Interface...

    by zinc_chameleon

    makes good sense. We're already moving out of the keyboard era in computers, and that's a good thing, because tools like swords, hammers, and spears make much more effective techno-interfaces. Why? Because they use much more of the super-fast part of your brain, the cerebellum, rather than the slow thinking part, the cerebrum. Any humanoid stock will have the same pathway, also: movement and emotions first, then rational thought.

  • May 27, 2011, 2:14 p.m. CST

    What science made Odins horse disapear?

    by Knobules

    Odin showsup in frost giant world and rescues everyone on a big horse. They all zip back to Asgard, all are back, except the horse?

  • May 27, 2011, 3:11 p.m. CST

    What's wrong with magic???

    by DeckardB26354

    I don't understand what's wrong with magic or Gods or any of that. Nothing in superhero films is very plausible, why does one have to try to make them "realistic", there's nothing realistic about them! I'm happy with comic books and comic book movies having magic, Gods, etc. in them because it's all fantasy anyway. Do we need some reboot of LoTR to show that Gandalf is really some high-tech alien with nanobots or something?

  • May 27, 2011, 3:15 p.m. CST

    EPR bridge

    by Db

    Very cool article. One question though: when I first read about wormholes a long time ago, I always heard the name as "EPR bridge," or Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen bridge, sometimes with the R and P inverted (e.g., "Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky bridge"). What happened to Podolsky? Did he get kicked out of the wormhole club? Was the name too long? Was his contribution to the theory just not substantial enough? Not enough matter with negative energy density to thread the mouth of the wormhole to make it large enough to fit Podolsky? I hear Podolsky's mama's so fat, she has mass whether the Higgs boson exists or not.

  • May 27, 2011, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Don't know how "uncle"got in there. I blame this crappy

    by Dennis_Moore

    PS3 predictive text.

  • I would hope that all of their technologies would be dissimilar, since they all developed independently from one another.. I want to hear the punchline to this one, though

  • COULD NOT AGREE MORE. This could have been such an important and interesting scene, getting into some great concepts AND really showing these two characters starting to fall for each other. Cool science/mind-trippy shit and critical character development. Text and subtext. Instead, we just got that fucking ludicrous "Tell me more" line for poor Natalie and then a fade-out. AAARRGHGH! So frustrating. Anyway, LOVE these articles; fascinating and well-written! Thanks so much and keep 'em coming!

  • ...that it makes my brain hurt.

  • May 27, 2011, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Great work, but ...?

    by Jesper Molbo

    Really, when digging into all this stuff, speaking of what is likely and plausible and scientifically accurate.... Why would an advanced species speak American English? I know, I know - no one in america wants to read subtitles, but for me all sorts of logic or science drops to the floor right there... Still a good movie though

  • May 27, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Heimdall (played perfectly by Idris Elba)

    by brobdingnag

    Overcompensate much? This role was completely unremarkable in the film. Wasn't bad, wasn't good, it was just a non factor.

  • May 27, 2011, 6:12 p.m. CST

    A lot of credit has to go to the casting dept

    by Corwin_X2

    OK, Tony Hopkins was probably the first guy they called when they got the list of characters - right, that's Odin sorted, who's next? But Idris Elba as Heimdall - that's just inspired! The guy can do Attitude with a Sahara-dry sense of humor like no-one else. And aside from Kat Dennings, who I found a little irritating, the rest of the cast were I think note-perfect for their roles. And serious props to Chris Hemsworth - who I suspect spent some valuable time with Ken Branagh the Shakesperian actor, as opposed to KB the director of the movie. Even watching it the second time, he goes from stuck-up arrogant asshole to hero seamlessly. Most movies like this have a single "moment/revelation" where dick suddenly becomes hero. But here it's by degrees - even in the first act he gradually goes from throwing things around to remembering how a warrior/knight of honor should address and treat people. It's a damn fine subtle performance for a comic-book blockbuster.

  • With (ignoring the later books) exactly the same amount of explanation as in B5 - ie none at all! The universe being pulled together by the various movies around the eventual Avengers possibly doesn't have room for true magick. Though personally, if they did a standalone Doc Strange I'd prefer magick over technologly. But there's really no reason to explain the details in an Avengers movie. "Meet Doc Strange, does stuff that looks just like magick. We think it's probably advanced tech but ... we're not really sure - and he's not talking."

  • May 27, 2011, 7:18 p.m. CST

    Star Trek analogy...

    by AnarchyWorldsEnd

    I'm suprised no one has brought up the similarities between Odin and the Q in Star Trek._____ When Favreau first wondered aloud how the "magic" of Thor would fit in with the "tech" of Iron Man, John de Lancie's ultrabeing came to mind. The Q "evolved" to manipulate space/time and one of "Q"s interests in humanity is that they may at some point evolve past the members of the continuum and posses an even greater understanding of existence it self._____ Merge the science fact of today (Large Hadron Collider discovering possible God Particles) merged with the fiction of the Q continum and I think you could see the Asgardians as kind of a middle ground. Manipulators of matter on a subatomic level for their "magic" and increased longevity or "immortality"._______ Even riding the horses can make sense from a story and aesthetic view. Why uild a hover car when your atomically perfect animal can go even faster? Anyway just something I hope adds to a fun thread!

  • May 27, 2011, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Star Trek analogy 2...

    by AnarchyWorldsEnd

    I also noticed that even the more psychic powers that Loki exhibits are not to far from the Vulcan/Betazoid mental powers exhibited throughout Star Trek lore. Yeah, I really think this is a cool subject LOL!

  • May 27, 2011, 9:12 p.m. CST


    by Larry Sellers

  • May 27, 2011, 9:13 p.m. CST

    The Science of Kat Dennings

    by Larry Sellers

    tits. "Meow meow? What's meow meow?"

  • May 27, 2011, 10:01 p.m. CST

    that meow-meow shit was funny

    by deelzbub

  • he uses hand gestures, incantations, transcendental meditation, a cloak of levitation, and a big 70's eyeball medallion. Not one laptop in the house.

  • I get that a 1:1 conversion of 98% of comics wouldn't work well on a movie screen, some rough edges would need to be smoothed out in even a well written comic story but was it really necessary to make the Asgardians aliens instead of gods/immortals? To overanalyze their culture to the point that they become, even to a small extent, less magnificent than they're supposed to be? One of the things that are interesting/cool about groups like The Avengers and the JLA is seeing heroes from different walks of life and different levels of the same universe working together and co-existing. How they react to and play off of each other. How they learn from one another. When you take an aspect of one of these characters and dumb it down for "the mainstreamers who don't follow the source material but just wanna have a good time" you lose some of that. Maybe not everything, but you do lose something. What makes Thor a great character isn't that his hammer was forged in the heart of a dying star or that he's the Norse God Of Thunder (though those aspects of his character are quite awesome indeed), it's that he has so much respect and affection for the people of Earth/Midgard that he's willing to put his own life on the line against threats and foes that can kick his ass/kill him. And in fighting to protect the people of Earth, he's willing to check, at least most of, his ego at the door to follow the orders of, and respect the authority of "mere mortals" like Iron Man and Captain America to fight for the greater good. This is why Thor kicks ass. This is why he's an awesome Avenger. This is why he's considered part of the "Holy Trinity" of The Avengers along with Cap and Iron Man. The movie may not have conveyed that sufficiently enough, like Angry Joe said in his review "Thor has eggs and toast with Jane Foster and now he's not a dick anymore" (not verbatim but you get the point) but based on the movie's overall reception I think most people get it. Would these same people not get it if the magical elements of Thor's world had remained more magical and less technological? Honestly I doubt it. A better written script could have handled the whole "magic exists" thing just fine without talking down to the audience. Like was stated earlier in the review, Harry Potter has done just fine, and that's a world where magic and technology exist right next to each other without trying to tie the magic in with technology to avoid frightening non-Harry Potter book series fans off. I got into Harry Potter through the movies and moved onto the books. Pretty sure I'm not the only one. I get the whole "advanced science would seem like magic to lesser people/cultures" idea. But this movie did not need to do that. Why does Asgard use medieval melee weapons? It's their culture, plain and simple. Whether you want to call it pride or tradition, they've chosen to embrace it, and continue down that traditional path. And between their more than formidable natural abilities and the power/abilites they can infuse into their weaponry and devices Asgard is more than a match for damn near anything you can throw at them. I don't get what's so hard to understand/accept about that fundamental fact of Thor's world. Thank God taking at least some of the magic out of the magic didn't kill the flick or make it unwatchable to people who care about the source material. While I enjoyed Thor, and the dumbing down of the magical aspects didn't completely take me out of it, I don't get why this was necessary in the first place. What is so hard to comprehend about a world of Gods/Immortals existing in another realm of the Marvel Movie-verse? For the people who've been screaming at the top of their lungs how "dumb" the idea of Thor is because of how he dresses, and speaks, and his powers, and why he doesn't make sense next to Cap and Iron Man, the people who have been saying this since this film's first been announced and claim that this character just doesn't work; I honestly don't get why you want to see this movie in the first place regardless of the fact that stuff was changed to appeal to you. I realize concessions generally need to be made to get mainstreamers interested in films like this but there's such a thing as "if it ain't broke don't fix it". Seeing as the film's attempts to de-magic the magic are fairly easily ignored I don't get why the producers wasted brain cells doing so in the first place. Like others have said, what's going to happen if a Doctor Strange flick is made in this universe? Is the Doctor going to go from being the baddest sorcerer in the Marvel Universe to a guy who just manipulates the world around him with nanites?

  • May 28, 2011, 1:51 a.m. CST

    love these articles, Copernicus!

    by drave117

    Please keep doing them, and ignore the anti-intellectuals who are bitching about them. Power to the nerds! *gives Copernicus a sci-five*

  • May 28, 2011, 10:34 p.m. CST

    "hope they don't explain Dr Strange's magic as 'science'"

    by Voice O. Reason

    I guess you didn't see the Dr. Strange TV-movie from the 70s.

  • May 28, 2011, 10:36 p.m. CST

    I did see that

    by deelzbub

    but I was about 9 yrs old and it was terribly boring.

  • May 28, 2011, 10:37 p.m. CST

    "But what about the timeline?"

    by Voice O. Reason

    In the movie, there's a line where they say Thor liked to travel to Earth, conjure up a storm, and get worshiped as a god. Thus, he was included in the Norse mythology by Scandinavians.

  • May 29, 2011, 1:23 a.m. CST

    the asgardians are obviously a kardashev level 3 civilization at least

    by Ye Not Guilty

    They are probably about halfway to level 4

  • May 29, 2011, 4:26 a.m. CST

    Honestly? Loved this article!

    by RobertoInfinite

    It's good to know that so much care and forethought was put into this movie and it wasn't just slapped together like a lot of other so called Blockbusters. Thanks for the insight!

  • May 29, 2011, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Another gem. Great stuff

    by u.k. star

    Seriously I look forward to these almost as much as the movies! Now just figure out how I can make a real Hellicarrier by the Time The Avengers is out.

  • May 29, 2011, 3:45 p.m. CST

    People accepting magic and science

    by u.k. star

    I think one of the ways to see the concern is to look at the fuss so many people made of Indiana Jones 4. Now I, like many, had no problem with their being Aliens (pan dimensional or whatever) in Indiana Jones. We'd already had both Hindu deities and Christian / Jewish / muslim deities Both (all) being "real" so what's the problem. But people caused a bi stink about it and those that hated it really hated it. So having established science as the main force in the MCU through Iron Man and the science created monsters Hulk and Abomination; as well as the science of super soldier formulae in Incredible Hulk and Captain America it does make sense for the producers to fear a reverse of the Indiana Jones outcry. People have accepted the not quite possible, perhaps not quite impossible sci-fi world of iron Man, Cap & Hul and are now meant to believe there are gods? Zeus, Thor, Poseidon, and co with magical powers? I can see how they would worry about that? Besides not ALL Marvel characters have ot exist in the same Cinematic Universe. If they regained the rights to Blade then sure, Blade and Dr Strange could exist in the same Universe, fighting demons and Dracula etc, but would we really want Blade on The Avengers? Would that lessen the "believability" of Iron Man as a movie character? I like the science take on the Asgardians and I think it was well handled. I also think it does make for a more rounded MCU and magic, just magic would have weakened the whole, not strengthened it.

  • one guy they could consult and team-up with would be Blade. That, my good sir, is the beauty of the Marvel Comics universe.

  • May 29, 2011, 8:45 p.m. CST

    The Mummy was on TV last night

    by deelzbub

    and Brendan Frasier aside, I really appreciated how they handled the magic in that movie, in light of this thread. No silly explanations, no science apologetics, it just - was. I hope that will be how they approach the "magicks" in Dr Strange.

  • May 29, 2011, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Man-Thing cameo in Dr. Strange, please

    by deelzbub

    my campaign begins here

  • May 30, 2011, 3:06 a.m. CST

    Saying "magic is advanced science" removes

    by Dennis_Moore

    dramatic opportunities. Recall the comic book storylines regarding Nightcrawler's faith in the 1980's. Imagine being a devout Catholic who regularly encounters and fights god-level beings, and resembling something out of the torments of hell, the enemies of your belief. A better tack to take would be to handle it in the manner of the Venture Bros.: The magic in their universe seems to work just fine, despite Dr. Venture not believing that it is real (as if his "super-science" is any more plausible).

  • When Doctor Strange fights alongside Doc Doom to retrieve doom's mom from hell- they must compete for the rank of scorceror supreme or whatnot. Only one can win but because Doom's black magic is aided by his technology(through his visor he can see an infra-light signature a moment before another scorceror's magic attack hits) he is able to tie doctor strange and both are declared supreme badasses. I say they left everything in Thor ambiguous enough to introduce all these marvel concepts.. Er, uh.. I guess they're just regular concepts actually. But they're MARVEL! If you say it with gusto

  • May 30, 2011, 2:09 p.m. CST

    "magic is advanced science" in Thor's bit if the Marvel world that is.

    by Carl XVI Gustaf

    It doesn't mean that Dr Strange won't do magic. And if you really think about it, does it matter if it's magic or science if the results are the same? The Necronomicon could be a juiced up iPad in a human skin cover... The whole point is that it's so advanced that is seems like magic to us. To us IT IS magic.

  • May 30, 2011, 5:47 p.m. CST

    This is why I'd love to see a Warhammer 40K movie...

    by some dude

    You get super advanced human technology gone backwards and treated with religious fervor. AI's are treated as machine spirits that need to be worshipped otherwise they wont work. There is actual magic of course, even the human's use it but it would be awesome to see a Dreadnought fighting a demon. That's just me though...

  • May 30, 2011, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Why magic is different than advanced tech

    by steve

    Advanced tech indicates that with some amount of education/training, anyone could gain control/have acess. Where as magic is magic. Dr Strange could try to explain how a magic rock or hand gesture works all day, but if you don't have magic powers it's a moot point.

  • May 30, 2011, 6:25 p.m. CST

    You Dorks...

    by vettebro

    I love science too, but for crying out loud, Thor is not real. The Thor movie was just that, a fictional movie. So much time and effort with this article and for what? Sheesh...

  • May 30, 2011, 9:05 p.m. CST

    I want Heimdall to have more lines in the sequel.

    by SmokingRobot

    Idra Elbas is awesome. Catch his BBC show 'Luther' on Netflix streaming.

  • May 30, 2011, 10:11 p.m. CST


    by Carl XVI Gustaf

    And with some amount of training anyone could come up with their own E=mc2, paint a Mona Lisa or create a website where people can waste their time talking about movies.... ;) If you don't have the talent to operate Advanced Magi-Tech(C) you will never learn to master it. It's almost like those ungodly midichlorians that Lucas Force fed us... See, kinda science there! And it could be that the technology in Thor is controlling magic. Dr Strange however has the "magic gene" and don't need silly super-advanced tech (unless you count his iPod-amulet). I should be working...

  • May 30, 2011, 11:35 p.m. CST


    by BSB

    Like in the comic books.

  • May 30, 2011, 11:58 p.m. CST


    by clever

    They kinda missed the point... Entirely.

  • May 31, 2011, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Stan Lee created Heimdall, bsb

    by Hipshot

    And if he doesn't mind Heimdall being black...I guess you're shit out of luck, aren't ya?

  • May 31, 2011, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Loki as a complex character

    by Scaramouche

    Am still blown away by the fact that this was a cool, cool movie that was *clean* enough to take my little kids to, yet had a complex villain & a believable character arc. Wife wants to see it again (This may be her way of getting me to do more pushups).

  • May 31, 2011, 9:40 p.m. CST


    by BSB

    Stan Lee didn't create Heimdall, you ignorant tool. He's a god from Norse mythology. Stop dreaming about sex with white women for one minute and Google shit before you flap your lips.

  • June 1, 2011, 1:41 p.m. CST

    False eyelashes?

    by JediDotFunk

    dunno about this....every pic I've ever seen of Natalie Portman, she always had big gorgeous eyelashes...even on David Letterman... I have seen more hot science ladies doll it up lately on the science channel ;)