THOR: A Review

THOR (3 & a Half Stars out of 5)

The super-heroes of summer have arrived with the release of THOR, which starts the season's series of comic book adaptation off in grand style. The upcoming comic-based movies have a hard act to follow, because THOR is pure escapist fun. The best thing about it is that it has the sort of humor and innocence that a super hero film should have. Much like IRON MAN, SPIDER-MAN and the Richard Donner's SUPERMAN : THE MOVIE, this movie does a great job mixing adventure, humor and character. It avoids the excessive grimness and angst of Christopher Nolan's "Batman" franchise and remembers that comic books are family entertainment.

Seeing as THOR is directed by legendary Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh, you might expect this to be a talky drama, but it's not. Branagh indulges the sense of fun he's displayed in films like MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and LOVE'S LABORS LOST. A light-hearted tone runs through the proceedings, with an occasional detour into the kind of Shakespearean royal family intrigue of RICHARD THE THIRD.

The plot concerns two superhuman races who were once worshipped as deities on Earth. The Norse Gods of the realm of Asgard have a strained truce with their ancient enemies, the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. These two realms, along with Earth, are part of the "nine Worlds" an inter-dimensional solar system connected by a "tree" of energy. Mini-black holes connect the nine realms. The portal to cross the nine-worlds, known as the Bifrost the Rainbow Bridge , is guarded by the all-seeing, all-hearing, never sleeping sentry Heimdall (Excellently portrayed by Idris Elba.)

As our story begins, the ailing king of Asgard Odin (Played with authority by the great Anthony Hopkins) is about to name his headstrong eldest son Thor (Well portrayed by Chris Hemsworth) as his successor, much to the chagrin of envious younger brother Loki (Brilliantly played by Tim Hiddleston.) The ceremony is interrupted when a trio of Frost Giants sneak into Odin's castle in order to steal back an ancient artifact that Odin won from them in their long ago war. The thieving giants are quickly dealt with but the easily angered Thor isn't willing to forgive and forget. He wants to go to war with the giants. When Odin refuses to attack, Thor defies dad by leading a raid on Jotunheim, along with Loki; shield-maiden Sif (Jamie Alexander); and the Warriors Three--Fandral (Joshua Dallas), Hogan (Tadanobu Asano) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson). The Frost Giants, led by Laufey (Col Feore) are prepared to repel intruders. The disastrous raid leaves the two nations poised on the brink of war. Odin is so furious with Thor--who further aggravates his father by calling him an "old fool"--that Odin strips Thor of his Godly powers and his magic hammer, exiling Thor to Earth, powerless and unarmed.

On Earth, Thor encounters a pair of Astro-physicists, beautiful Jane Foster (the busy Natalie Portman) and her mentor Professor Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) and their ditzy college student assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings). They literally run into him in the night, hitting him with their car. At first they think he's crazy and Darcy Tasers him, but they soon realize that he's more than just a delusional homeless guy. Jane is bewitched by the handsome stranger, Eric is befuddled and Darcy is bemused. Some of the film's best moments revolve around Thor's comical fish-out-of-water experiences on earth, such as when he marches into a pet shop and demands a horse to ride into battle on.

Thor seeks to regain his hammer, which has been found by government SHIELD agents, led by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) last seen in IRON MAN 2. Meanwhile, things are happening back in Asgard. Loki has performed a clever coup while the ailing Odin is in a regenerative coma called the "Odin-sleep", and become the new king of Asgard. Loki sends the powerful Asgardian mechanical man known as the Destroyer to Earth, to live up to it's name and eliminate the competition before Thor can regain his power.

There's an amusing homage to King Arthur films like EXCALIBRE, when people come from all around to try to pull Thor's lost hammer from the stone it is imbedded in, much like the Arthurian sword-in-the-stone legend. Can Thor get his hammer back and regain his power before the Destroyer finds him and his friends and crushes them? Will Loki succeed in his plans to eliminate his father and brother and rule Asgard forever? Will Asgard go to war with the Frost Giants? What Does SHIELD want with Thor's hammer? There's no big surprises in store, but it's fun getting to the climax of it all.

Chris Hemsworth is a relative unknown (probably best known as Capt. Kirk's doomed father in the recent STAR TREK movie) but he acquits himself well in his first starring role. He carries the film on his sturdy shoulders, convincingly portraying Thor's transformation from a glory-hungry, reckless Prince to a self-sacrificing hero. He has a future as an action star.

Natalie Portman doesn't have all that much to do here except to act as Thor's love interest, but she makes the most of her under-written role. Her doe-eyed infatuation and awkwardness around Thor is very reminiscent of Margot Kidder's smitten Lois Lane in SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE. Anthony Hopkins is every bit the noble king as Odin, while Hiddleston is wonderful portraying a refreshingly complex villain, whose motive aren't as black-and-white as they seem at first. Idris Elba is a scene stealer as the enigmatic Heimdall. Rene Russo is completely wasted in the small role of Odin's wife Queen Frigga.

There are a number of inside references to other Marvel comics films here, as when Coulson confuses Loki's Destroyer for one of Tony Stark's armored inventions. (A reference to IRON MAN) Jeremy Renner (THE HURT LOCKER) has an amusing cameo as Clint Barton, who comic fans will known as Hawkeye the Archer. He's the only SHIELD sniper to use a bow-and-arrow. (Renner will be appearing as Hawkeye in the 2012 AVENGERS film) There's a bonus scene after the closing credits which connects Thor to the upcoming CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER film. There are some loose ends which are left deliberately loose because Thor's story will be continued in the now-filming AVENGERS movie.

The worst part of the film is the poor 3-d effects. The movie was filmed as a traditional 2-D project but was converted to 3-D to jump on the current trend. The 3-D here is not very good and it detracts from the film. If possible, I suggest you see it in 2-D somewhere.

THOR isn't great art but it is grand entertainment. It's fun from start to finish, despite a high level of predictability. Chris Hemsworth is a star in the making and I'm looking forward to seeing his Thor interact with Robert Downey's Iron Man in THE AVENGERS. It will be interesting to see where Hemsworth's career goes from here. It's off to a strong start with THOR. This is one of the best-ever comic book adaptations.


More by this Author


Comments 27 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I am not familiar with the comic. Interestingly my father was named Thorie which is obviously derived from Thor who was the god of thunder in Scandinavian mythology. It should suggest a strong person as such. It seems it got mistaken for a female lame because of the ie and he never used it. He went by a nickname or used his initials.

The movie sound interesting.


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 5 years ago from L'America

Great critique Rob- Sibling rivalry- brother against brother it's a winning plot- I had a feeling you'd catch this at the theater.

Along with Turok, Thor was in the top three 10cent comic books i looked forward each month.

Nice job here Rob- i'm going to see this when it hits our little theater in key west.

Religious Myths such as Thor flourished around the globe. Cain and Able wouldn't make make comic books, but the story line is familiar-.

Peace Rob- thanx for the heads up- voted UP- a fine job!

greg


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Dahoglund; I'd never heard of anyone with the name Thorie before. I like it. It's an interesting name.

Thanks for reading.

.

Hi Greg; Sibling rivalry is always a winner, especially when you add thrones and crowns. "Thor" was one of the comics I looked forward to also, when I was a lad. I was the only Thor fan I knew. All my friends liked Batman and Spider-man and Hulk, but I was a Thor reader. That's why this movie has sentimental value to me.

Thanks for reading,

Peace,

Rob


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Thanks for the very detailed review. I am so tired of all the 3-d movies. So I will take your advice and avoid the 3-d version and watch the 2-d version. I am glad you liked the movie and I look forward to watching it myself very soon. Thanks for the tidbit of were I had seen this actor before.....voted up


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Cogerson; I don't like the current 3-D trend either. I've attached a link above that gives my reasons.

I hope you enjoy the film when you see it, preferably in 2-D.

Peace,

Rob.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 5 years ago from Ohio, USA

Great review. Thor was one of my favorite comic books -- er -- graphic novels. Anything can be solved with a big enough hammer.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Walk softly and carry a big hammer, that's what I always say.

Thanks for the comment.

Rob


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

Very nice review, but I highly disagree about this film being one of the best comic adaptations out there, as you put it. After all, a great film is one that will stand the test of time, and I doubt seriously fifty years from now that people will even remember this movie like they do with Christopher Reeves' Superman franchise.

then again, I doubt fans of today's generation really care about that, as it's all about escapism anyway, right? Anyways, thanks a lot for writing this, as I always enjoy reading other people's analysis on films, as it's very educational for me. keep up the good work.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

There's really no way to tell today which films will stand the test of time. "Thor" may or may not be well regarded fifty years from now. Who knows? I agree that it wasn't as good as "Superman:the Movie", which still stands as the finest ever comic adaptation, but I think "Thor" is better than most others.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Rob


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Since I went on the internet I am loosing touch with the outside world. Thank you for keeping me updated and I mean it.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

I tend to disagree with that statement again. Not to sound like a jerk, and I apologize if I do, you can tell which films will and won't stand the test of time if you research into it enough. Two things that always help me is reading thousands upon thousands of user comments on various sites, and analyzing and studying the history of film itself. Typically if you look hard enough, you can tell which films will redefine it's own genre and stand the test of time, and decipher which ones are just popular right now. It's fairly easy to tell if you ask me.

Then again, I have been wrong before on a few films, but not too often though, as my predictions are usually spot on. lol. Anyways, I'm sorry if I sound conceited or somewhat of a jerk right now, as I can assure you that's not my intention.

However, I do agree with you that "Thor" was a highly entertaining film, and I just hope the next Marvel film, "Captain America: The First Avenger", will be just as good. If not, then better.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi HH. thanks for reading.

..

Steven. I never claimed that "Thor" was great art or was going to redefine its genre. Just that its better than most comic adaptations. I know it isn't "The Godfather" or "Pulp Fiction". It's just good fun.

As a film reviewer for the site JustPressPlay.net, I did a comprehensive article on the history of Super Hero films from "Superman: the Movie" through "Iron-Man 2", and most of them weren't on par with Thor. A few were, but not most.

It's hard to tell what people will think of a film in the future. There are films which won Best Picture that aren't well regarded today (Such as "Around the World in Eighty Days") and there there movies like "Citizen Kane" or "Duck Soup" which were financial and critical disasters when they came out but are now considered classics.

I know "Thor" is no classic but it's fun and that's what I liked about it.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 5 years ago

Well you do have a good point there. And you're right. In hindsight, majority of the superhero films released often stink, with great and good ones being far few and between. Therefore, I can see you're point. I apologize if I came off as rude, as I meant no disrespect. However, I think we both can agree "thor' was a lot of fun to watch. Sure, it's not shakespeare, but it's definitely entertaining, as I did agree with you on that one.


trusouldj profile image

trusouldj 5 years ago from Indiana

never been a Thor fan, but i still want to see this movie. I always liked the sense of respect he had for his mortal partners in crime, Captain America and Iron Man. Hope that is evident in the Avengers movie.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Steve. No problem. I like a lively debate. In the end, we both thought the movie was fun.

Rob

..

Trusouldj; I'm looking forward to the "Avengers" film, too. I also enjoyed Thor's interactions with his mortal teammates. I want to see how Hemsworth's Thor interacts with Downy's Iron-Man and Evan's Captain America.

Thanks for commenting.

Rob


myi4u profile image

myi4u 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Nice review. I watched the 3D version but I was not impressed by it. I am not quite sure about the buzz but it seems that Thor has got some good ratings in various review sites. However, after finished watching, it was no better than spiderman or iron man. It's just an average movie and I can't believe they are making the second instalment already! But these are just my opinion... Hope that I am not putting off people who like Thor! :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi mi4u. I agree that 'Thor' wasn't better than Spider-man or Iron Man, but since I enjoyed both Spider-Man and Iron Man, I was happy with that. I'm sure there will be a second Thor film but that won't happen until after Thor appears in 'the Avengers' movie, which is currently being filmed.

Thanks for reading;

Rob


lukeuk profile image

lukeuk 5 years ago from United Kingdom

I saw this film , i really liked it , it combines so many aspects of a good film in one, personally I think 3D wasn't all that though


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi lukeuk; Yeah, it was fun. I agree that the 3-d wasn't worth it, and it'd be better in 2-d.

Thanks for reading.

Rob


Matt in Jax profile image

Matt in Jax 5 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

Good review. I saw it and felt very similar, but missed the fact that Renner was Hawkeye. Nice pickup.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Matt; I think Renner's a good choice for Hawkeye. I look forward to seeing him in "The Avengers".

Thanks for reading,

Rob


=Regis= profile image

=Regis= 5 years ago

I would like to disagree with most and say i didn't really enjoy this film. i do feel they added the humor in nicely and the affects where good (like all modern movies) but the plot seemed a little dry. Acting was very well done for most characters. But simply without the Avengers backing Thor the movie deserves minimal praise.

Im new to hub, so im sorry if this is too much. please tell me. i just thought i should add in.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Sorry you didn't enjoy it, Regis. I did. I think Thor is one of the most unique comic characters and I look forward to any sequels.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Rob


izettl profile image

izettl 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

My husband wants to see this and I'll tell him about your review- I'm not really interested in it though. I do like the idea of comic book heroes and adaptations.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Izetti; It's not everybody's type of film. It's just a fun action movie. If you like comic book heroes and adaptations, this is a good one, mixed with a bit of mythology.

Thanks for commenting,

Rob


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

Thanks for the great review. Can't wait to see it.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I hope you enjoy it, suzie.

Rob.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working