I’m a bit late with this one, and I know that three other reviewers have already covered Thor but after all the crap that I’ve seen, I wanted to review a movie that I genuinely liked.
Thor is the latest Marvel comic adaptation, and one of the few remaining back-stories in the lead up to the super superhero-group, The Avengers (with Captain America soon to follow).
It tells the story of Thor (Chris Hemsworth), son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and heir to the throne of mystical land Asgard. After a selfish act risks the safety of his realm, Thor is banished to Earth without his power or treasured weapon Mjolnir (pronounced myol-neer).
On Earth, he befriends a team of scientists (including Natalie Portman) and learns the value of selflessness, love and blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, back at Asgard, things begin to fall apart, with Thor’s brother Loki is causing mischief and threatening to destroy the balance of peace created by their father.
As the God of Thunder, I was curious as to how Marvel were going to tackle the ‘fantasy’ aspect of his back-story, while making it possible to relate to the science-based logic behind Iron Manand The Hulk. Luckily, the script balances it out perfectly.
Director Kenneth Branagh tackles the matter head-on, making an effort to explain the link between science and magic, instead of brushing over it in the hope that it would explain itself later on in the franchise.
The best thing about Thor (in geek terms anyway) was that it made multiple references to other characters within the MarvelUniverse and sets up the story for The Avengers, due in 2012.
Most notably, The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner makes his debut as the marksman Clint Barton, a.k.a Hawkeye. While I haven’t heard any plans to develop a spin-off movie for his character, it is interesting that they have him working with S.H.I.E.L.D already (similar to his comic-book love interest Black Widow).
Throughout the film, Stellan Skarsgard’s scientist also speaks about an old-friend who experimented with Gamma Rays and was taken by S.H.I.E.L.D – of course referring to Bruce Banner (The Hulk), and when agents are confronted by a massive, fire-breathing robot, they immediately suspect the involvement ofTony Stark (Iron Man).
The biggest revelation comes long after the credits roll. For those of you who are willing to sit until the end, will get potential clue as to the story behind The Avengers movie. I won’t give it away here, but it basically reveals who the villain is likely to be, and features Samuel Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D coordinator Nick Fury.
Chris Hemsworth is awesome and carries himself well as a God amongst men, without being too outrageous or conceded. The Aussie accent actually made all the difference in that respect, as an American forcing the same dialogue would have been off-putting.
The support cast here is amazing, with Hopkins playing the admirable king who reveals moments of weakness, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, who establishes his own motives but is later confronted by new information that influences his decisions.
Natalie Portman just keeps getting hotter and cooler (bit of a contradiction), which makes it perfectly believable that even a God would fall for her. I also thought it was good that Kat Dennings provided most of the comic relief, in a part which is usually handed to nerdy-looking males like Justin Long. I can’t believe Rene Russo went for such a small role, as it was basically a nothing-part (unless it’s a role that carries on with the franchise).
It seems that Marvel Studios is yet to stumble since they started producing their own movies. While failures like Daredevil, Elektra, The Punisher, Fantastic Four and Ghost Rider were helmed by other studios, Marvel has built a credible resume, including both Iron Man films, the reboot of The Incredible Hulk(not that incredible), Thor and the upcoming Captain America.
To be honest, I can’t wait to see how it all comes together with The Avengers. I guess we’ll have to wait an see.