Film Review – Thor

Thor PosterDirected by Kenneth Brannagh

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston and Anthony Hopkins

When they announced the line up for Avengers Assemble there was only one hero I had no interest in, Thor. I had little to no interest in seeing the comic book Norse god come to life on screen. It just seemed like it was going to be taking the mythology very seriously and it might come off a little bit like 300. Then Kenneth Branagh signed on to direct, many people saw this as a beacon of hope, I just saw it as Branagh looking for a pay cheque; opera and Shakespeare may look classy but it probably doesn’t pay the bills. It is with all this in mind that I am surprised to say that Thor isn’t a bad movie, not at all. The film introduces us to the character of Thor (Hemsworth), the Norse god of thunder, son of Odin (Hopkins) king of Asgard and brother to Loki (Hiddleston). Thor is a war hungry god, who will take any chance to stride into battle, it is because of this Odin finds him unworthy of his title, he strips his son of his power and sends him to earth in the hope of teaching him some humility. Whilst Thor is out of the way, Loki decides that it is now his time to take the throne of Asgard.

The movie isn’t perfect, it starts of very slowly, with a lot of the scenes taking place on Asgard feeling very over played, the sets and effects are wonderful, but the way the plot movies just felt a little hammy. When the character finally gets to earth though the film picks up offering the fun that audiences have grown to love from big blockbusters such as Iron Man and Star Trek. It was at this point I had a friend describe as Enchanted with superheroes and he’s exactly right, the character of Thor comes off a lot like James Marsden in Enchanted due to his over the top arrogance amonst the humble New Mexico dwellers and that isn’t a bad thing at all, it makes the film feel far lighter than the Asgard scenes and shows us that once again it’s a comic book movie that doesn’t need to take itself too seriously. The plot gets a little barmy, the villains plan isn’t as villainous as one would like, in fact Loki was quite a dull villain, you’d expect more fun from a trickster god, but something tells me that this will be made up for in Avengers Assemble (don’t believe me, wait until after the credits to find out).

Hemsworth really carries this movie, after his strong supporting performances in A Perfect Getaway and Star Trek it is nice to see him with a leading role. It would be a fun role for anyone to play, the arrogant hero who thinks he’s better than everyone else who is actually the main character in the film, brilliant. He has the same amount of charisma that Robert Downey Jr. brought to the role of Tony Stark and it will be most interesting watching them team up next year. It really seems like Natalie Portman is just slumming it after her Oscar win, what with this, Your Highness and No Strings Attached, she clearly wanted a break after the physical pressure of Black Swan, this is definitely the best of her movies this year but she isn’t given a lot to do, she plays Jane Foster a scientist on earth who falls for Thor but her character isn’t developed much more than that all we know is that she is a scientist, I know Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t play an incredibly developed character in Iron Man but it was a lot better than this. The rest of the cast rounds out nicely, Hopkins comes in to class the film up a litte, whilst Hiddleston, despite not given the meatiest part makes the most of it. The actors portraying The Warrior’s Three and Lady Sif offer more entertainment than one would have expected from those characters and I’m pretty sure Idris Elba was stoned when making this movie, it seems to be the only way to look that bored but actually give an interesting performance.

The films plot does seem a tad rushed but since it runs for just under 2 hours, I’d say that’s a good thing, it means I wanted more. It would have been nice to let the mortal characters develop a little more and maybe give a bit more background to the mythology, the screenwriters really expect the audience to just take what they are given. I guess the main reason not to stay on earth with the human characters is that the filmmakers realised how terrible Kat Dennings is in the movie, if there was one thing they could have left on the cutting room floor, it would have been her, she seems to be form a completely different movie and offers very little of the humour she’s apparently supposed to be giving. Still the movie is fun and offers good action sequences with fun characters which is all you can really ask of a big summer blockbuster (or at least it was before Inception came along), it probably won’t be as memorable as Iron Man or Spider-Man but it definitely deserves a good spot in the Marvel universe.

3/5

p.s, see it in 2D

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