Still catching up, still got to post my reviews of Arthur, Rio, Sucker Punch and Hanna– but again- Thor‘s in cinemas at the very moment. You should go and see it if you haven’t. Fuck Rio, but especially fuck Sucker Punch.
Confession time. I didn’t know much about Thor beforehand. I knew the traditional Norse myth but wasn’t familiar with the Marvel incarnation, which as it turns out, is basically the same. 2011, despite what D.C. would like you to think with the release of Green Lantern, is the year of Marvel with this, Captain America and X-Men: First Class all out this Summer. Of the three, Thor was the one I had the most reservations about. It seemed like just a live action feature they had to get out of the way to justify his appearance in Joss Whedon’s 2012 superhero clusterfuck The Avengers. I’m happy to say I was proved wrong. Thor is a lot of fun. See below for details and attractive people naked.
The story goes thusly: Thor, God of Thunder (played by Star Trek‘s Chris “Tiberius?… That’s the worst!” Hemsworth) is banished from glittery, stellar megacity Asgard by his father, the Norse head honcho Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and ends up on Earth, stripped of his powers and his trusty hammer Mjolnir, where he is rightfully dismissed as a babbling mentalist by all apart from cosmic scientist Jane (Natalie Portman) and her team (Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings). Meanwhile, back at Asgard, Thor’s snidey little brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) takes advantage of his father’s weakened state and seizes control. I thought Chris Hemsworth was great as Thor, spouting some genuinely funny lines and approaching the role with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek. Tom Hiddleston was excellent as Loki and reminded me a lot of Brad Dourif’s turn as Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings films. I’m also feckin’ excited that he’s confirmed to appear in The Avengers. The guy’s great and I can’t wait to see more of him. Fans of The Wire can also look forward to the sight of Idris Elba in spangly gold disco armour. Character wise, my main gripes were with the two female leads, who, whilst played perfectly well by Portman and Dennings, were underdeveloped. Dennings’ character Darcy especially seems to only exist to say unfunny, sarcastic things and appeal to da yout’ by mentioning things like Facebook.
The thing I really liked about Thor was the fact it makes no concessions about its comic origins. It’s unapologetically fantastical. Everyone talks in deep Shakespearian tones and wears armour that looks like it weighs about the same as a Fiat Punto with heavy shopping in the boot. It’s also interesting to note that Thor is a God and has therefore not been bitten by a radioactive Viking or anything like that. Magic, rather than pseudo science is the basis in this flick.
The initially baffling choice of Kenneth Branagh to direct really pays off and no matter how space opera everything gets, Branagh keeps it on the straight and narrow and focuses on the main story of redemption and lesson-learning. That’s not to say things don’t go boom though. Thor has some really impressive, fun action sequences too. All the nerds who stayed after the credits for Iron Man 2 will recall that SHIELD have custody of the hammer Mjolnir and the stripped down, fists to faces sequence that takes place in the SHIELD compound is really good. There’s a nerd bonus in the form of a Hawkeye cameo too. I’ve said it elsewhere on this blog, but I fucking love how all these films are linking together. OK, Iron Man 2 went overboard with the Avengers foreshadowing, but it was a genuine thrill to see Agent Coulson from the Iron Man films show up. The climactic action on Earth is also amazing- fighting a space Viking robot flamethrower thing powered by magic? FUCK YES.
It’s nice that in a time when superhero movies feel the need to be dark and gritty to be taken seriously, a slice of escapist fun like Thor can exist. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Drop your cynicism (or should that be “Don’t be Asgarded”?) and you might too. Also, as always, stay after the credits- the little post credits scene is really worth staying for.