If you were looking to get your summer movie started with a comic book movie, well, your wishes have come true. Not that it was any big surprise that one of the at least FOUR comic book movies this summer was going to be on May 6, I mean, Hell, it was a statistical impossibility to go any other way.
If you were looking to get your summer movie started with a comic book movie, well, your wishes have come true. Not that it was any big surprise that one of the at least FOUR comic book movies this summer was going to be on May 6, I mean, Hell, it was a statisical impossibility to go any other way. But thankfully, it started with a fun one.
Oh, sure we all know the story; chiseled blonde Norse God, Thor, gets cocky and so his father banishes him to Earth to learn some freakin’ humility. In the meantime, back in his home of Asgard, his brother Loki causes some serious mischief (look up the name), and things go from bad to worse. Now Thor has to learn a lesson and save TWO worlds.
I had some reservations about Thor. How do you make a comic book movie about Thor without it seeming, I don’t know, silly? I can’t really explain it much more than that – obviously any movie about comic book superheroes is already pushing the ‘silly’ envelope in the context of any film based in reality, so what the Hell am I talking about, right? I know, I know. But there you have it.
Despite my doubts, some of which came from the fact that Kenneth “crappy Frankenstein” Branagh directed this, it’s pretty good. Hey, he’s amazing when it comes to Shakespeare, no doubt, but Mary Shelley must surely have rolled over in her grave after his portrayal of his “Thunder From Down Under” version of Victor Frankenstein. Thankfully, nothing so gratuitous is unveiled to the audience here. Though there is one brief shirtless scene of Thor, but hey, the ladies will be happy for that.
Frankly, Branagh handles the tone nicely here, keeping well within comic book fare. Chris Hemsworth turns in a fine performance as the Norse God, and he handles the character arc pretty well, even though it’s not written too deeply. He’s quite a formidable – and likeable, Thor. Natalie Portman is Jane Foster, the astro-physicist something or other scientist researching wormholes. That becomes rather convenient, just take my word for it. But she’s Natalie Portman, how bad is she gonna be? Not very bad at all. Skellan Skarsgard plays Erik Selvig, perhaps the only true person of Scandinavian in the film. Hmmm. Strangely, Anthony Hopkins doesn’t annoy me in this, except for one weird gutteral noise he makes in one scene. Yeah, it was kinda weird. Otherwise, you get Kat Denning who is awful pretty but is kinda the comic relief and has the dubious honor of dating this film by making a reference to Facebook, which I could have done without. Tom Hiddleston plays Loki, and he gets to have some fun and I certainly have no complaints. Everyone is pretty good here.
Although, Thor’s group of friends in Asgard; Sif, Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg, are a little, well, goofy. I can’t quite get on board with some of them. Particularly Ray Stevenson os Volstagg. He just doesn’t work has a mythical Norse warrior. Make him The Punisher again, please.
I still have to say I had fun, though. Even though the first three quarters of the film are pretty predictable, almost like paint by numbers. You kinda know where it’s all going to go, but Thor has some great action sequences and humor that keeps it from being to heady or serious. Perhaps my expectations were low enough to find this more enjoyable than it should be, but I’m giving it a competent three kittenhands. It didn’t blow me out of the park, but it’s a fun summer popcorn movie and I had a good time. And yes, stay to the end of the credits, people. You will indeed see Sam Jackson as you expected.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, not loving, but certainly not hating, Thor.