After spending over forty years in the business and releasing a couple dozen albums, Jon Mikl Thor is in the spotlight (deservedly so) once again. The hard rock icon and cult film star is now the subject of the documentary I AM THOR from director Ryan Wise. Along with producer Alan Higbee, they followed the icon for an astronomical fifteen years, joining him during the low points in his career and being there for numerous triumphs. The thing about Thor is he always seemed to be one of those guys who were always on the verge of hitting it big but it always escaped him in the end. There’s no one more deserving of the attention this documentary will potentially bring him than Jon Mikl Thor.
Wise spends the first thirty minutes of the film exploring Thor’s backstory, his humble beginnings as a child with dreams of becoming a superhero. It’s not every day you hear a life story involving bodybuilding, being a nude performer, being kidnapped, and eventually creating a rock and roll hero. Thor’s life is filled with ups and downs, several of them captured for the picture. A very small portion of the film focuses on his film work and I personally would have enjoyed learning more about it. Wise chooses to focus the story on Thor’s personal and professional comebacks which was the right choice. During the course of the picture, Thor speaks so candidly about himself and career you quickly get a sense of who he is, you like him, you care about him, and he wears his passion for rock on his sleeve. He survived two nervous breakdowns, a stroke, and various other ailments but he somehow manages to overcome adversity, eventually sitting at the top of the heap. When Thor performs in front of ridiculously small crowds, it’s painful to see. His never ending devotion to his craft never falters and it will infect you too. We also get to spend time getting to know his long time band mates, guitarist Steve Price and drummer Mike Favata. Both men contribute insight into their career from the 70’s to the present. It’s Favata though who ends up being the emotional core of the film, driving home the essence of what this documentary was meant to be, a showcase for legends who will never be forgotten. Since it’s a rock documentary, there isn’t a shortage of great music from the band to bang your head to.
Some folks will never take him seriously no matter what and that’s fine they’re entitled to their opions. You also don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this film, you just need to let yourself open up and enjoy the ride. Fifteen years of filming means there’s a wealth of footage in existence we may or may not have the opportunity to view but I bet there’s more amazing stuff we could possibly see some day. It’s no secret I’m a long time fan of his music, his films, the man himself, and this documentary is a fully satisfying experience for the hardcore. Jon Mikl Thor is rock and roll’s unsung hero, a living legend, and he’s a super rocker. I AM THOR is the culmination of four decades in the business for the musicians and close to two decades for the filmmakers. The dedication and passion on screen and behind the camera is infectious, we all have dreams and this film should be our calling card to defy the odds and just follow them.