Week one for EW’s 2011 Summer Movie Body Count begins with Marvel Studios’ Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins. Click here for a reminder of our highly scientific guidelines for what counts as a death, and how we’re counting them. And since we’re going to be talking about deaths here, the requisite spoiler alert should almost go without saying, but we’ll say it anyhow: SPOILER ALERT!
Frost Giants are not, we can all agree, a very agreeable species. They are tall, blue, and ugly. They appear to have no hobbies besides fighting and refrigeration. Possibly because they live on a world that resembles a less tourist-friendly version of Hoth, they spend their bleak sunless days sneering and plotting the conquest of other realms. Thor, the first official film of the summer blockbuster season, begins with a Frost Giant sneak attack on a kindly Viking village. Eight villagers, including women and children, were flash-frozen before our eyes.
Fellow moviegoers, this was a moral travesty. There is no doubt in my mind that the Frost Giants responsible for the Viking Village massacre should have gone before some sort of Intergalactic War Crimes Tribunal. Certainly, Odin was justified in staging a counterattack, resulting in 12 onscreen Giant fatalities. But I ask you: Could the cure for the Big Blue Men be worse than the disease? For in the ensuing 90 minutes of Thor, no less than 76 of the Unjolly Blue Giants suffered onscreen fatalities, compared to a mere 4 normal-sized deaths.
And the vast majority of those azure fatalities occurred in the first major action sequence of Thor. The Thunder God and his Asgardian cronies started small. Loki memorably staged the ol’ “Astral projection standing in front of a cliff” gag, thus causing one Frost Giant to accidentally commit suicide. Nine other Frost Giants lost their lives at the swords (and mace) of the Warriors Three and the Lady Sif.
But this was mere prologue. The real mass homicide started when Thor hurled his hammer through seven Frost Giants in one toss. (He killed seven with one blow!) Then the “hero” used his thunder god powers to electrocute a whole squadron, collapsing various glaciers on the survivors — 19 Frost Giants met their end in that one show of force. Then the ground began to cave in, sending 10 Frost Giants to a presumably horrible death at the icy center of their soulless world.
Basically, if you’re a Frost Giant, the first half hour of Thor is exactly like the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan, except that your side doesn’t end up winning. Just to provide a final knee to the Big Blue groin, Thor wrapped up his day of deathdealing by flying hammer-first through the mouth of the Frost Giants’ pet monstrosity. That death doesn’t count, because animals are stupid.
By comparison, besides that opening Viking Village massacre, there were only four non-Giant fatalities. Two Asgardian watchmen were killed by a stealth attack squad of Frost Giant espionage agents, and two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents were exploded by the initial attack of the Destroyer. Of course, all four of those fatalities were really because of Loki, who allowed those Frost Giants into the Golden Realm and unleashed the Destroyer. And there was instant retribution for the Asgardians: The Destroyer burnt the three espionage Giants to a crisp.
In the closing orgy of Frost Giant murder, Heimdall memorably decapitated one and sliced another off the Rainbow bridge. Rene Russo reminded everyone that she was in the movie by killing one Giant with a sword. Loki staged a double-reverse double-cross, shooting the Giant King in the back. Finally, Loki turned the power of the Rainbow Bridge on the Frost Giant planet. We only actually saw 11 Frost Giants variously crushed or incinerated, but one can only imagine the offscreen devastation.
All told, there were 88 total onscreen deaths in Thor: 8 Viking villagers, 2 SHIELD agents, 2 Asgardian guards, and an incredible 76 Frost Giants. In short, you don’t want to be an innocent bystander or a tall blue person in the Marvel Universe.
Since there were no reported fatalities in Jumping the Broom or Something Borrowed, that brings our current Summer Death Toll to 88. Not bad for Week 1! But let’s get the voting going here, PopWatchers: What’s your favorite death of the summer so far?