The Good: Decent costuming detail, Not overly expensive.
The Bad: Terrible animated look, The “hook” is lame, Balance issue.
The Basics: The 2012 Thor from The Avengers Hallmark ornament plays off the popularity of the new film in name only, resulting a poor ornament that is more likely to leave collectors annoyed than thrilled.
There are many things I find myself saying, repeating, a lot. One of the mantras I have is that if you are going to tie merchandise in with a major motion picture, the very least you should do is make sure the characters look like the actors playing them. That can be difficult, admittedly. Sometimes, studios are cagy about casting or do not want to release images of the actors in their movie garb. I get that. At the same time, there are often very safe bets. In the case of The Avengers, the blockbuster film of this summer, knowing that Hallmark ornament sculptors usually need years of lead time, three characters jump instantly to mind as safe bets for the ornament sculptors: Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Iron Man. Why those three? All three have been in prior Marvel universe films unchanged. Hallmark sculptors had at least two years since Iron Man 2 to get sculpts of those three right.
Instead, for their big The Avengers ornament push, Hallmark went with Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America. As I sit inspecting the Thor ornament with nothing but disappointment (though maybe a little disdain for the capitalist elements that pushed this substandard ornament out to exploit enthusiasm over the film release and forthcoming DVD release of the film), I have glanced at the promotional photos for the Captain America ornament hitting stores in October and I suspect that will have a similar problem. Thor looks nothing like Chris Hemsworth in this ornament. This is somewhat baffling to me because last year, Hallmark created a pretty decent Thor ornament. For The Avengers, though, Thor is largely disappointing.
Thor is a common-release, mass-produced Hallmark ornament that is one of three The Avengers ornaments and one of four Marvel comics ornaments produced by Hallmark this year. The base helps indicate that it is designed to coincide with the theatrical and DVD release of The Avengers (reviewed here!), but this is basically identical to the character who appeared in Thor (reviewed here!), so it should look like it. Alas, it does not.
The Thor ornament recreates the godly hero in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2012, is an poor recreation of the heroic character as he appears in the cinematic rendition of Thor from The Avengers. Most notably, the beard on the ornament is far too dark and the facial sculpt looks nothing like Chris Hemsworth (though the outfit is colored and modeled after the movie version of the character).
Thor is the blonde warrior of Asgard with his powerful hammer raised in a two-handed grip as he runs forward. The ornament, like the character, is dominated by red, navy blue and silver, with limited fleshtones. Thor is armored with his arms covered in what appears to be chain mail, while the rest of his armor appears to be a plate mail. Around his waist, Thor looks like he is actually just wearing a Spandex type costume for armor! The back of the ornament is dominated by the vivid red cape that hangs from the character's shoulders with a slight bounce, creating a sense that it is flowing behind him as he runs forward.
It is not enough to make it worth the $14.95 original issue price, at least for fans of the cinematic Thor. The Hallmark Thor ornament is made of a durable plastic and has him in an action pose, but on a detachabe stand so those inclined to set the ornament on a desk or the like will find it can stand up when on the stand. This Thor ornament measures out at 3 3/4" tall, 3 1/2" wide and 2 1/4" deep.
The coloring for the ornament is done in monotones. In other words, Thor’s hair is all one color, as is his skin. Between the lack of realism to the sculpt and to the coloring, the Thor from The Avengers ornament is an immediate disappointment.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Thor could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a low-cost (comparatively) option for those who might not want to shell out for the more expensive ornaments. This Thor simply hangs or stands on a desk thanks to the base.
The base detaches from the ornament and connects to the bases from Iron Man and Captain America, both ornaments are also being released this year. They create the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo and have the slogan “Avengers Assemble” on it, but it’s a pretty cheap looking base (at least the two parts I have assembled so far) and it looks pretty silly on its own.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Thor ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Marvel Universe Christmas Tree, Thor is essential, but not this version. The ornament has a brass hook loop embedded in the top center of his cape. From that hook, the Thor ornament hangs at a 25 degree angle relative to the ground. There, the base makes it impossible to cheat for the ornament; it does not hang level! The ornament sways when rocked, but otherwise sits stabl, slightly off balance, looking like Thor is running or really planting his foot!
Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for my review of that!). Since then, Hallmark has gotten into every major franchise from Disney to Twilight to the Marvel Comics universe. This Thor ornament was not at all limited. I would not bet, given how the other Marvel ornaments have met demand without leaving a lot of people wanting, and how little it looks like the cinematic version of Thor, that this will not be an incredible investment piece.
When I first heard that Hallmark would be releasing ornaments based upon The Avengers, I was excited. But, unfortunately, the execution of the first one I got my hands on, Thor, made for such a big disappointment that I am no longer excited about completing the set.
For other Marvel Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 The Amazing Spider-Man ornament
2011 Spider-Man ornament
2011 Thor ornament
2010 Defender Of Justice Iron Man 2 ornament
For other ornament reviews, please check out my Ornament Review Index Page!
© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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