Movie Review – Thor

The summer movie season is upon us and this is the time where I finally start going out to see movies in force.  It has been a while since I have written another movie review, with Hanna being the last movie I saw.  So as both a comic book nerd and film lover, Thor was right up my alley.  One of my biggest apprehension for Thor was how Marvel was going to handle the story of Thor and it’s involvement into the upcoming Avengers movie.  Marvel basically butchered the hell out of Ironman 2 with the massive amount of side stories involving SHIELD and the Avengers Initiative.

So knowing that Marvel is wanting to set this movie in the realm of the Avengers storyline had to be taken into account when I saw this movie.  As fan of Marvel comics and film in general, I was excited to get to see how they handled the origin and grandiose scale of Thor.

Plot Synopsis (I will avoid spoilers if possible):

The movie starts out with a grand telling of two different factions: The noble Asgardians (good guys) and the monstrous Frost Giants and their conquest of the Nine Realms, starting with Earth’s destruction.  We get to see the early rise and fall of the Frost Giants and the eventual defeat and banishment to their world.  Odin (Anthony Hopkins) strips them of their power source, thus leaving their home world in ruins.  Back at the home world of Asgard, we view a young Thor and Loki being told about the grand story of the battle between Asgard and Frost Giants.  Now moving ahead several years, we view Thor (Chris Hemsworth) being ready to ascend to the throne to Asgard, much to dismay of his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston).  But the ceremony is cut short when 3 Frost Giants enter into the armory where their power source is stored and are subsequently destroyed by the guardian Destroyer.  Thor wants revenge but Odin forbids the act of retaliation since it will mean war between the two worlds.  Thor defies him (naturally) and takes Sif and the Warriors Three and fights the Frost Giants.  They are overwhelmed and Odin saves them from destruction, but destroying the truce.  For Thor’s arrogance, Odin banishes him to Earth and strips him of his mighty hammer Mjolnir.

On Earth, Thor is found by scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard).  Jane Foster is scientist who is fascinated with the other earthly circumstances of Thor’s arrival.  Mjolnir is also shown to be on Earth and the local populace and agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are there to recover the artifact.  Thor attempts to retrieve the hammer but is unable to do so and must make peace with his time on Earth.  He then develops a relationship with Jane Foster.  Back on Asgard, Loki stumbles on to some information that makes him rethink his purpose on Asgard, which eventually leads to his plot to overthrow Asgard.  Now not only is Asgard in the balance, but also the Nine Realms.  Thor must find a way to return back to Asgard and set things right.

I will end the plot on that note, considering some people might have not seen the movie and want to.  Really go see the movie now.

Actors:

I honestly don’t know where to begin with the actors and actresses that are in this movie.  This is like the Ocean’s Eleven of comic book movies for the assembly of actors alone.  I will talk about the main attractions of the movie being Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman.

For Thor, the casting crew and director get a huge thumbs up for their selection of Chris Hemsworth.  I could not believe how amazing of a choice he was for the Norse God of Thunder.  Playing the arrogant God of Thunder, Chris did an amazing job portraying Thor when he was both an arrogant fool of a God and also humanized figure-head.  Seeing him change direction in the way that Thor acts through each scene of the movie is stunning.  Arrogance, confusion, contempt, and evenutally redemption, all these emotions and themes each portrayed very well by Hemsworth.  Considering this is his third movie he has done, you would think that he is a season veteran action with Hopkins and Portman.  Hemsworth embodied what Thor was and is, taking the mythos and making it his own.  I would have never though that the man who played Kirk’s father in the latest Star Trek movie, as brief as it was, could be the God of Thunder.

Loki is played by Tom Hiddleston who is adoptive brother and nemesis for Thor.  The God of Mischief is one of my favorite villains as he uses his cunning, rather than strength to his advantage.  I thought Hiddleston was a perfect Loki, being built up and then his eventual crumble into villain needed that little touch of emotion that Hiddleston brought to the role.  If you know the back story of Loki, you will know how tragic his life has been.  Hiddleston played off Loki’s mysterious nature and made the evil figure both fearsome and tragic, given the nature of his downfall from grace.

Anthony Hopkins plays the main man of Asgard, King Odin.  Odin in the comics really built up Thor to be this great leader, but in doing so, he created a son who became arrogant in his ways, ,which made the eventual banishment all the more tragic.  It pains Odin to do what he did and in the movie you can see this emotion very well from a seasoned actor like Hopkins.

Last is Natalie Portman who plays the love interest, Jane Foster.  Personally, although she is very important to Thor in the comic books, her character on screen is just there to look pretty and flutter her eyes.  Honestly, nothing against Natalie Portman, but every scene she is in made her look like she just got done shooting a Maxim photo spread.  Jane Foster is both a brilliant scientist and the one that humanizes Thor and gets him to be Earth’s primary guardian.  Natalie did a great job playing Foster’s character, but I still felt like she acted like love struck teen when Thor was around.  To be fair though, one can get lost in that golden mane of hair that Chris Hemsworth has.

I don’t want to make it seem like I am neglecting the other characters and actors in the movie, but this is just a huge list of stunning actors.  I will say that Sif and the Warriors Three get some much deserved recognition playing Thor’s companions, although very underutilized and fleshed out.

Story/Direction:

Having Kenneth Branagh direct a comic-book movie is a weird choice to be honest.  Given Branagh is most known for his stage plays of Shakespeare, makes him an interesting choice to direct a Marvel movie that is going to tie in to a much bigger story.  You know what, he did a fantastic job bringing the story of Thor and world of Asgard to life.  Everything look incredible and opulent, but also getting the diverse cast of actors and actresses to cohesively portray their respective characters in sync with each other is a difficult.  The end results is a well-directed movie that made for an enjoyable summer movie experience.  I hope that he gets to direct the second inevitable Thor movie once the Avenger’s film is all said and done.

Now we get into the fanboy side of my review, which is the way they handled the character and story of Thor.  Everything about the movie and storyline seemed rushed.  I mean very rushed.  The time that Thor spent on Earth is relatively trivial in terms of how the movie portrayed his stay and character development.  The story and action really just stopped once Thor entered Earth’s realm and he must learn to cope with the thought of being stuck on Earth for the remainder of his life.  The relationship between Thor and Jane was stilted and more of a grade school affection than anything else.  Very little time is given to Loki, who kind of gets the shaft in terms of back story.  Thor’s arrogant nature is hammered into our mind again and again only to have it build up to the inevitable time where Thor will see the error in his ways and change.

The story of the movie played second fiddle to special effects and action set pieces of the movie.  I loved the actors and actresses of the movie and they did a great job with the script that they had, but his was just filled with a bunch of superhero one-liners and it felt empty a lot of time.  I mean I got more enjoyment out of seeing the grand special effects than I did with the story.  I think the writing is what dragged the movie down ultimately, but as a summer movie blockbuster, it’s sad to say that this was expected.

Visuals/Music:

I should note that I saw Thor in 3D, more or less by mistake, but since it was a summer movie, I expect the effects to be the center piece.  Well, costumes looked great and the ethereal realm of Asgard and the Bifrost Bridge looked amazing, but that is all I can say.  Asgard, while looking utterly stunning and magic/tech like, had no life to it at all.  I mean every shot of Asgard was filled with no people.  Nothing to denote life or busyness.  It looked empty at every turn except for the times when there is a gathering in the great hall or during the crowning ceremony.  Give me something to show me that this hub of life has actual life and isn’t just run by 4 people.

One thing I will say that is impressive is the costume work.  There was so much potential for the costumes to look, well like costumes and cheesy looking.  Every costume looked very Nordic and viking like, which is fantastic since this is about Norse Gods.  I loved Loki’s look and Thor’s outfit looked better than the comic books portrayal.

Overview:

For summer movie release, I think Thor gets more of a pass than it should.  The story was just not engaging and the visual took the center stage.  I will say that they handled the S.H.I.E.L.D and Avenger’s tie-ins well and it didn’t weigh down the movie like Ironman 2 did.  It is still an enjoyable movie if not for the great acting coming from the strong ensemble cast and hey, it’s a summer movie after all.  The movie also has a lot of little easter eggs and cameo’s in the movie, so if you are fanboy like myself, then you will get a kick out of seeing such items as the Infinity Gauntlet (look real hard and fast at the Asgard armory room).

For a rating out of 5, the movie scored a solid 3.  The story is what ultimately dragged down the movie, but still a fun ride.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

One Response to Movie Review – Thor

  1. Pingback: Movie of the Day – Tokyo Zombie « Another Plot Device

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