There’s certainly a large amount of pain and suffering that comes along with trying to fulfill your dreams. The blood, sweat, tears and toll on an individual is often overlooked and that’s an unfortunate fact. Some people face the hardships that come with territory and throw in the towel, and some endure and keep it going, using the defeats and troubles as mere catalysts to continue. The Ryan Wise helmed rock and roll doc, I AM THOR, is not only a film that shows more of the latter, illustrating that there are simply some human beings who refuse to give up and give in, but also shows how the human spirit can triumph even under odds that are stacked against it.
Focusing on longtime musician (and star of the 1987 b-movie classic ROCK ‘N ROLL NIGHTMARE) Jon Mikl Thor and his near hits and few misses, I AM THOR shows Mikl’s early beginnings as a child with dreams of being a superhero, his obsession with bodybuilding and his eventual career in music, fronting the metal band THOR in the ’70s and ’80s. Mikl’s larger than life persona and desire to put on an epic live show, complete with hammers and bending steel, helped he and his band in a series of near breakouts, with each one unfortunately never quite working out. Whether it be managers who were a bit too spiritual and didn’t see eye to eye with Thor, or even the smallest of circumstances, the band never quite hit the level that they and their over the top (in a good way) front-man dreamed of reaching.
In the doc, Mikl recounts those experiences, and leads the viewers into the history that followed, including a suicidal mental breakdown, an eventual divorce and a series of events that would make even the toughest man crumble,..but like the mythical character he adopted as his persona, we see that Mikl refuses to give up. Staging an attempt at a comeback, it follows year one all the up to year eleven, with more than his share of a few ups and more than a few downs…yet the man keeps going, all the way to three European festival shows that makes the film’s viewer almost misty-eyed, seeing his work have the potential to finally have the possibility to pay off.
What is so great about the film, is how inspiring it is. We see Mikl’s refusal to call it quits, even following his breakdown, a stroke that leaves him partially blind, and an ever changing lineup of bandmates. At no point do we see an egotistical wannabe rock star, instead we follow a genuinely kind and nice man who has had dreams since childhood and his rise, fall and attempts to rise again. It’s a doc that shows how powerful the human spirit can be, a film that shows that dreams are worth struggling for and a film that inspires and entertains on a grand level. Much like Sacha Gervasi’s ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL documentary, Wise’s I AM THOR shows how very important it is to not give up on what you’re passionate about and while telling you the story of a true rock and roll legend, inspires you as a person as well. Kudos to Mikl and Wise for giving viewers such a wonderfully unique and enthralling doc.