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Thor Movie Review
Thor Movie - Drops The Hammer!!
Well, Summer may not have started yet, but the Summer movie season has officially arrived. With the arrival of "Thor" in theaters this weekend, we have our first of at least three, highly anticipated superhero Summer blockbusters (with "Green Lantern" and "Captain America" waiting in the wings). While I was excited to see this film (and thought the trailers looked promising), of all the Marvel comic films heading our way in the coming years, given its basis in Norse mythology and magic, I thought "Thor" had the greatest chance of striking out and rating high on the cheese meter. Fortunately, I was wrong, as "Thor" does not disappoint.
Thor - One Sheet
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig
Idris Elba as Heimdall
Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
Rene Russo as Frigga
Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson
Colm Feore as Laufey
Written by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz and Don Payne
Directed by: Kenneth Branagh
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Run Time: 130 minutes
Thor Movie - The Review
* * * WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD * * *
The film begins with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) being banished to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins), without his powers and enchanted hammer (Mjolnir). Thor's banishment is punishment for defying Odin's orders and traveling to Jotunheim, the realm of the Frost Giants (in violation of a long standing truce), to seek revenge following a sneak attack by the Frost Giants, on the day Thor was set to ascend to the throne of Asgard.
Upon arriving on Earth, Thor meets, and of course, eventually falls in love with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Thor later learns that Mjolnir was also sent to Earth by Odin, but with an enchantment upon it, allowing it only to be lifted by someone worthy of wielding its' power (which, at least initially, Thor is not). This leads to some humorous "sword in the stone" type moments, as beer guzzling rednecks from all over New Mexico show up to try to pry the hammer loose, including a very funny attempt and cameo appearance by Stan "the Man" Lee.
Meanwhile, back in Asgard, Thor's brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who not surprisingly, manipulated many of the events leading to Thor's banishment, takes advantage of Odin falling into a weakened state, and takes the throne of Asgard for himself. Knowing that his rule will never be secure as long as Thor is alive, Loki sends The Destroyer, an unstoppable enchanted suit of armor that is used to protect Asgard's treasures, to kill Thor. Thor, of course, eventually proves himself worthy (after learning some humility and sacrifice) and regains his powers and Mjolnir, and is able to defeat The Destroyer, and finally returns to Asgard for a climactic showdown with his treacherous brother Loki.
Thor Graphic Novels
THOR MOVIE - THE GOOD
Directing & Acting
The direction and performances were great from top to bottom. Director Kenneth Branagh succeeds by showing respect for the core material and staying true to the comics. He manages to deliver a fun and entertaining Summer popcorn flick, without sacrificing plot and character development. Branagh's Shakespearian background serves him well here, especially in the scenes shared by Hemsworth, Hiddleston, and Hopkins. In fact, Loki's backstabbing plot to ascend to the throne of Asgard has a bit of a Julius Ceasar feel to it. Branagh also manages to strike the right story balance between the mystical world of Asgard, and the events taking place on Earth, while somehow still making it seem possible that these two places could exist in the same universe.
Hemsworth and Branagh do a great job of capturing Thor's brash and arrogant personality, including the delight he takes in battle (not to mention Thor's patented spinning hammer strike). While taking the character seriously, Hemsworth truly appears to enjoy the role of Thor (much like Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man), and he brings a true sense of fun and adventure to the character.
Hiddleston nearly steals the show as the deceitful god of lies, Loki, who, appropriately, is not set up as a one-dimensional villain. In fact, much like Magneto in Marvel's X-men films, Loki's character is somewhat sympathetic (especially after he uncovers a deep dark secret about his true lineage), and doesn't see himself as evil. Hiddleston's portrayal of the trickster is spot on, and I look forward to Hiddleston, as Loki, playing a large role (presumably) in the Avengers film, and any "Thor" sequels.
Hopkins is perfectly cast as the powerful all father, Odin, and delivers his usual impressive performance. Portman is believable as Jane Foster, and shows she has a lot more range than she was able to show in the limited material she was provided in the "Star Wars" prequels. Kat Dennings brings some comedic relief to the film as Foster's quick-witted intern, Darcy Lewis, and Stellan Skarsgard, as fellow scientist to Foster, Dr. Erik Selvig, does well with the little screen time he is given. The performances of the actors playing the "Warriors Three" were also on the money, and Idris Elba is great as the intimidating and all seeing Heimdall, sentry of the bi-frost bridge.
Action & Effects
As far as action and effects, "Thor" delivers and earns first-rate marks in both departments. Thor's first battle against the Frost Giants in Jontunheim fantastically demonstrates the scope of his power, while still allowing Sif, and the "Warriors Three" to shine, and leaves the audience thirsting for more.
At this point (after seeing movies like Avatar and Transformers), it is getting more and more difficult for me to be awed with anything that movie-makers can seemingly accomplish with CGI anymore. However, the shots of Asgard, Jontunheim, and the final battle scenes between Thor and The Destroyer, and then Loki, were still impressive and exciting to watch.
Finally, I enjoyed the continued establishment of a shared Marvel movie universe. I'm not sure if the general audience realizes, appreciates (or even cares) about the lengths Marvel is going to set up this shared universe among all their movies since the release of "Iron Man," but as a comic fan, I for one love it (and can't believe no one thought of doing it before). It's just a shame that the licensed out "Spiderman" and "X-men" properties will probably never be able to join in the fun.
"Thor" acts as a further stepping stone in this shared universe, with references being made to Tony Stark, as well as a certain scientist with "an expertise in gamma radiation," who, apparently disappeared after being investigated by S.H.I.E.L.D. There is also a great (but too short) cameo appearance by "Agent [Clint] Barton" (Jeremy Renner), setting up his future debut as "Hawkeye" in the upcoming "Avengers" film, as well as the continued and welcomed appearance of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson. There is also the now obligatory, post-credits, scene that, in this case, foreshadows the threat that the Avengers may be dealing with, and is worth waiting until after the credits to see.
THOR MOVIE - THE BAD
As with most of the recent movies being released in 3D these days, I did not think that the 3D effects were needed or added much to the film. Although, I did not necessarily think it detracted from the movie either.
While well put together, the story did have some fairly predictable moments, including the usual humorous "fish out of water" gags as Thor adjusted to his new and unfamiliar Earthly surroundings. Also, as with any superhero origin story, the film dragged a bit through the middle while the hero comes to understand himself and learn the errors of his prior ways. It also would have been nice to see Thor in action a little more, and for The Destroyer to offer him a little more challenge in battle, after Thor finally regains his powers.
Further, while Skarsgard could have used a few more scenes, Rene Russo's acting talents seem to go completely to waste in her role as Thor's mother, Frigga, as she is given only two or three scenes and not very many more lines to work with. I have also heard some complaints that there was no mention of mainstay "Thor" characters like "Balder the Brave," and the "Enchantress," of course, all of that is why they make sequels.
In sum, "Thor" stands as another feather in the cap of Marvel Studios, and is a fine addition to the recent wave of successful Marvel films. If "Captain America" can even come close to delivering the same quality of action and storytelling, then Marvel should have two home runs on their hands this Summer.
Four out of Five Stars.
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE THOR MOVIE?
How Many Stars Would You Give The "Thor" Movie?
THOR SEQUEL DATE ANNOUNCED!!
It was announced that the "Thor" sequel date has been rescheduled for November 8, 2013, and will be called "Thor: Dark World." I am not sure why they moved the sequel to a fall release date, rather than a summer date. Marvel Studios had already previously announced May 3, 2013, as the tentative release date for "Iron Man 3." So maybe they wanted to spread them out more.
CHECK IT OUT!!
First Movie Poster Released For "Thor: The Dark World"
Just a little something to get everyone pumped for the much anticipated Thor sequel, which is still a few months from release!!
Here is a summary of the film so far: "Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World" continues the big screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel's "Thor" and "Marvel's The Avengers," Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos...but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all."
The first trailer for "Thor: The Dark World" has premiered and can be seen here.
THOR VILLAINS FOR THE SEQUEL
Which one of Thor's enemies do you most want to see him battle in the sequel?
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Thor Related Sites
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Thor Review is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.