With The Avengers movie a year and change away, Marvel Studios is churning out the origin flicks this summer with movies featuring two of the team’s big names. The first one up is Thor.
Hollywood had a difficult task here; how to have audience connect with the character? Thor is not like other superheroes, as his powers are innate (not unlike Superman), being that he is a god. He’s not Iron Man or Spider-Man, he isn’t flawed, so how to render him like one of those fellows?
Make him a fish out of water.
Thor begins when astrophysicists (played by Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, and Stellan Skarsgard) notice an odd sort of sky warp protruding from the sky. They go to check it out, only to knock into a blonde haired bearded man, who has seemingly come out of nowhere.
The audience is aware that it is Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth, whose only well known appearance in film was a bit part in J.J Abrams Star Trek reboot), but how did he land on Earth? A little bit of back story explains. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is the king of Asgard, one of the worlds in space connected by the nine realms. Odin explains to both his children, Thor and Loki how he and warriors fought the evil frost giants of another world, taking their power. Fast forward to the present day, where Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) await to be chosen as future king. Before the crowning, frost giants invade the premises, and take out two of Odin’s men. Thor, being a strong-headed man of action, invades the frost giants lair with friends and his brother, only to be rescued by Odin who banishes Thor to Earth as a consequence of his irrational thought.
Thor is unaware of his new surroundings and acts accordingly-he damages hospital property, beats up nurses and doctors, smashes coffee mugs when finished with the drinks-all to the eyebrow raising of his founders. When he hears word of his hammer, Mjölnir, being imbedded deep in hardened mud, he goes to seek it out, finding opposition lead by S.H.I.E.L.D. There is a cameo in this sequence that will make fans of Marvel squee, but I won’t reveal it.
Thor’s biggest challenge on Earth is to recognize passion and empathy, even for his opponents. But through a twist that we discover on Asgard, his home world changes for the worst. As he races back to help we are given two epic battles right on top of each other, making for a satisfying conclusion.
Thor is the second Marvel Studios production to initially provide a character to us through film (Iron Man being the first, not including The Incredible Hulk, as he had a movie already, albeit crappy). Going in, I had heard good things about the film, but was seeking out my own interpretation of the mythical heavy text and how it would find a general audience member in me, because while I know of the basics of the character, plot wise I had nothing to go on.
As a beginning to my summer movie season, Thor really delivers. The action is fast, fierce, and furious. When Thor starts bringing down the house with his hammer, spinning it around and pummeling enemies, the fan boy in me grinned from ear to ear. Also, the movie has a good dose of humor, not to the point of super cheesy, but a good chuckle here and there. The special effects are also spectacular, the scenery is breath taking, and the score is very good as well. However, my first gripe (one of the few) is that this movie did not need to be in 3-D. Some shots do look great in the format; however, the key word is some. Overall, it was not needed.
The acting in the film was top notch for the most part. Hopkins is great as Odin, and he brings an overwhelming sense of power and compassion to the role. Tom Hiddleston really steals the show as Loki, Thor’s troubled brother, and he owns the screen alongside Hemsworth’s Thor. On that note, Hemsworth was the PERFECT choice as the titular character. There are scenes where he looks like the comic book character in an “almost too perfect” sense, but that’s never a bad thing. Despite being an unknown actor for the most part, Hemsworth brings it all and more.
On the Earth side, Kat Dennings is pretty funny, actually the only one of the scientists who is so. Skarsgard plays a “fatherly” role to Portman’s Jane, and he does a good job of that. However, my biggest problem is casting was with Portman. While I have grown to enjoy her (thanks to Black Swan, mostly), her role really was just filler, and could have played by anyone. It might have been bait for movie goers to see “Oscar winner Natalie Portman” in a comic book movie, but whatever the case, the love story is semi weak in my opinion, and while I thought that Jane and Thor were just going to be friends, sharing a kiss made me scratch my head. It kind of comes out of nowhere.
Finally, Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson … well, dude owns the role pretty much now, but I have no problem with that. Moving on …
Despite my minimal gripes, Thor is definitely an awesome comic book movie. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the man knows Shakespearean-esque material (as he’s directed a slew of films based on the author’s text), which Thor has, but the guy knows how to direct action too. Perfect choice to helm the film.
I really enjoyed Thor. The pace was great, the action was packing, the acting was overall very good and well cast, and of course, having a Foo Fighters song over the end credits (stick around for a post credits scene, too) never hurts. The rest of the summer be warned; the start of it has the bar set by Thor. Verily.
This review was written by SuperMarcey.com’s newest contributor Logan J Fowler.