Confession: of all of Marvel hero’s, Thor is the one I am least familiar with from the comics. I knew it had elements of science fiction and fantasy as well as the typical super hero antics and I also knew that it is supposed to exist in the same universe as the more earth bound IRON MAN films, which left me curious as to how it would fit together.
I am happy to report that it actually works better than it has any right to.
Thor, the petulant and ego driven son of Odin, the AllFather of the universe (Stay with me….) breaks a centuries old truce with the evil frost giants and is cast out of Asgard and falls to earth where he meets the beautiful young scientist (are there any other kind in the movies?) Jane Foster and must learn humility if he is to regain his powers and return to Asgard and protect it from a threat from within.
That’s the basic premise of the film and re-reading what I just wrote, this sounds utterly goofy, and it is to a degree, but in the context of the film, it works.
The credit for this lays with the director, Kenneth Branagh, whose work I’ve been a fan of for twenty years now and who directed and starred in the single best version of Hamlet I’ve ever seen. He is known as an actor’s director and was an interesting choice for this film.
This is the biggest film he’s ever done, scale wise, and some people wondered how he would handle the action scenes, but he does an amazing job of staging some truly epic battle scenes in the opening sections of the film and never lets the effects get in the way of character, which often happens in a film like this.
Where he really succeeds is in casting. You should learn the name Chris Hemsworth, because this film has a star making performance from him as the title character. He holds the screen with just the right balance of bravado and humanity that is needed and keeps a playful sense of humor without ever winking at the camera.
Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgard and Idris Elba all do good and solid work, with Tom Hiddleston providing a subtle menace to Loki, who is the only real villain of the film.
In fact, that’s the one area where the film feels small: the villains. By now it is understood by anyone reading this that Thor is a set up to next summer’s Avengers film, and all accounts point to Loki as being the big bad in that film as well. It will be interesting to see how that works, but I can only hope that there is more to it than that, because he felt a little anti climactic in this.
I don’t want to do a blow by blow of the films plot and surprises, because the joy of a film like this is just sitting and letting the film wash over you.
The 3D is okay but not really needed and the score is suitably epic.
Considering how many ways this film could have went off the rails and been a complete disaster, it works amazingly well.
The highest praise I can give it is, it feels a part of the same world as Iron man and I am looking forward to hearing Tony Stark snark about the God of Thunder next summer.
For now, the God of Thunder Rocks.
4 out of 5 stars.
Until next time, keep the projector threaded.