My first association with Thor began when I was just a kid. My comic-book loving brother had Marvel characters galore coating his walls and I used to stare at them, with zero comprehension of who they all really were. Probably the best that I’ve really known Thor, though, was in Adventures in Babysitting. Don’t judge, Thor has a pretty big impact on bad-A car dealers, too.
I’d watched the trailer for Thor over a dozen times at my job. They play the. same. commercials all day long. Excitement turned to boredom, boredom turned to mockery, and mockery turned to WTF Kenneth Branagh is directing this??? And then back to excitement. Needless to say, I was anxious to see what the distinguished English actor/director of Henry V would bring to the table.
Thor. The god of thunder. The son of Odin, king of Asgard. So basically once upon a time, like a billion years ago or whatever, Asgard and the Frost Giants were at war. Those snowy dudes wanted all-ruling power over the nine realms, including our blessed Earth. When Asgard blew them over, the Asgardians took their little ice trophy, the Casket of Ancient Winters.
Flash forward to present, and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is about to assume the throne – even over his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Those same, frozen, frisky sonofaguns went and ruined his big day by trying to steal back their power…thing. Thor is kinda pissed, thinks he’s king already, and decides to take matters into his own hands and kinda starts up some war again with those frosty idiots. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) realizes that, oh wait THOR can’t be king right now. He should probably go grow up a little bit. On Earth. Without powers. And kinda without his hammer, too. Things get worse upstairs when Odin has some kind of stressed-induced heart attack thing and falls into his get-better “Odinsleep.” Loki takes over as king and he wants to run things a little differently…
First of all, does anyone else feel like laughing every time the name “Thor” is used in casual conversation? Because I do.
I also have to give credit that it was exactly what I was expecting. A good story, good action, some cheese, and a lot of great stranger in a strange land moments (which I applaud for being highly entertaining, but not overbearing and distracting). As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t been too exposed to the Thor-verse, so I wasn’t sure how Marvel would mesh with Norse mythology. After this movie, however, I’m definitely jumping on the bandwagon and I’d call myself a Thor-fan. While I don’t consider it up to par with the Spiderman movie franchise nor Christopher Nolan’s Batman(s), it does have some surprisingly deep facets to the story – all thanks to Loki. Loki’s character was the best developed out of anyone else in the ensemble (especially compared to Thor, who became a good boy remarkably quick). His disturbed countenance and spark of evil are perfectly portrayed, as well as his deep confusion. I was half rooting for him. He sold the movie for me and I’d recommend it if only for him.
I think my main complaint was the lack of character development in Thor. Maybe I’m just not buying the I-am-a-better-person-because-of-a-woman-even-though-I-just-met-her-yesterday plot device anymore. (Speaking of which, Natalie Portman is in freaking EVERYTHING this year!) I actually really enjoyed Portman’s performance as the storm-chasin’, researcher/scientist Jane Foster. Even if I were a science nerd, though, I don’t think I’d be head over heels for some larger than life specimen from nowhere just because I wanted answers. I thought that Chris Hemsworth played the two extremes well, but there just wasn’t enough script in the middle to fully appreciate the leader that he turned into.
And how ’bout that Asgard? The rainbow bridge was as beautiful as I could have imagined it. Good on ya, folks. The towers, waterfalls, castles, and landscapes were all breathtaking and god-like. If I had their kind of power, that’s where I’d live.
We’ve also got things to get us more pumped for The Avengers – Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) played a bigger role than in previous Avenger-precursors. SHIELD was all over the place trying to figure out that goshdarn hammer, stuck in the ground like Excalibur. The intrigue builds for the mega-mashup coming in 2012. But I don’t think of Thor as simply an extended trailer for The Avengers. I think it’s a great stand-alone flick and I’d welcome a sequel.
The screenplay was fine, but somewhat cliché. The CGI and action were fantastic and entertaining and the costumes made them gods look awesome. The secondary characters were good too for the most part (Kat Dennings was getting on my nerves a little bit) with good performances by Stellan Skarsgard, Rene Russo and Colm Feore.
Branagh, you da man. Thor is a popcorn flick well-worth the popcorn and the price of the movie ticket, too. 7/10