This past year I have had the pleasure of seeing both Thor and Captain America in theatres! Thor appealed to me before I even saw it due to its connection with Norse mythology, and I must say I was not disappointed in the film. Both of these films turned out to be quite good though not for young children. Unfortunately both had swearing. Captain America is more graphic and there are a few scenes of girls dancing in short skirts (Ladies, have the remote on hand and tell your man when to cover his eyes). In Thor all the women are dressed fairly modestly, nothing too low or too short.
Both stories contain true heroism and the lead characters are sacrificial with their lives and their personal desires. Thor grows from a proud, cocky, and defiant "boy" to a humble, loving, self-sacrificing young man.
Captain America is the story of a scrawny, weak young man with great character, guts, and tenacity. With a serum he becomes very tall and strong. I feared that this change would be detrimental to his character but he doesn't become proud or cocky. He is meek, especially with women. He doesn't use his physic to attract women and abuse them. Instead he remains faithful in his love for one woman for all but one minute when this other gal comes up and kisses him.
Both films emphasize character in addition to strength and the portrayal of men as warriors. They show that being strong does not give one great character but that great character makes strong men better. Both men face the feeling of weakness and incompetency and through these trials learn lessons and develop character. When Thor could not lift his hammer because he was unworthy, he finally realizes that he had been wrong in his defiance of his father and becomes a real hero from that moment on. Captain America grew up a pip-squeak and a weakling but choose to persevere in his attempts to join the army despite his weak body. The German scientist chose to infuse him with power because he understood weakness and would then appreciate his power unlike some of the other candidates for the science project. Similarly, God takes our poor weak selves, teaches us lessons and infuses us with his strength to do what we would never have dreamed possible.
In my Survey of Mass Communication class this semester we have studied media's portrayal of men and women. Through media, girls are sadly taught that they should flaunt their bodies and portray themselves as sexual objects. Boys are taught to domineer, use, and abuse women as womanizers. They are not taught fidelity, chivalry, and protection of women. They are like the male lions in a pride whom the females cluster around and serve.
These films are a bright spark in the media industry, presenting strong attractive men with moral character who are not womanizers despite their physical attractiveness. (Plus, all the fight scenes and adventure are lots of fun and appeal to guys and gals alike!) I am looking forward to seeing these two heroes again in The Avengers! I hope Marvel maintains continuity and makes another great film with this same set of values.