Monday, July 18, 2011
4 Color Cinema: Thor
The story is straightforward (as befitting a film version of Thor): After an ill-thought out attack on the Frost Giants leads to a declaration of war, arrogant Thor is cast out of Asgard by Odin. Trapped on Earth, Thor is unable to stop the machinations of his devious brother Loki, who plots threaten Asgard, Earth, and all of the Nine Realms. Thor must prove himself worthy and reclaim his power to save the day.
I'm not a Thor fan by any means. I have read lots of him in Avengers, but I have never read his solo series. My brother read him some as a young man but moved on to The Punisher early on. So I am going in with only the barest of non-blank slates on the character. I know the basics but the details are an unknown for me. So, coming from that background, this film really delivered the goods. It set up the backstory without bogging everything down, brings some awesome action sequences, and brings the grandiose operatic style appropriate for the drama of the gods on Asgard. We get everything from the Marvel version of King Lear to Thor walking into a pet shop in New Mexico demanding a horse, plus a cameo from Hawkeye. This is a grand film on many levels, which left me very satisfied as a viewer.
The cast didn't have any real weak points that I could find. Chris Hemsworth did a fine job as Thor, showcasing both his youthful hot-bloodedness as well as noblity and even a little humility. Natalie Portman's Jane Foster was a good supporting character, and she's as cute as ever. Loki was played by Tom Hiddleston with a very strong sense of conviction of actions, and really shines. And Anthony Hopkins as Odin seems pretty obvious but it works very well. There's some overacting in there, but as I said this is operatic, so that's alright. It helps to differentiate the tone from the Asgard scenes and Earth scenes. This is a solid cast and hopefully at least some of them will make a reappearance in The Avengers (besides Thor of course).
As far as complaints, I don't have many. The film lacks any of the real world relevance of Iron Man, but then again, this is Thor, and I am not expecting real world relevance from a Thor story. But still, it does not have the same gravitas of Iron Man, which remains the best of the Marvel films, nor Incredible Hulk, which is very near the top. But that doesn't mean it doesn't hit all of the right notes and come off pretty dead-on to what I want from a Thor movie.
Now, which did I like better, this one or Green Lantern? Sorry to give a cop out answer, but I thought these two were pretty close to each other. Thor was the better movie overall, but Green Lantern was a lot of fun, so that's sort of a wash. With a gun to my head I would say Thor was better. I don't consider this a problem, though -- two awesome superhero movies in one summer is never a bad thing to me.
In closing, Thor scores another big hit for Marvel. It's no Iron Man, but it's certainly right up there with some of the best superhero movies I have seen.
(For those who are curious: The little guy slept through most of it (though he did like watching the trailers and opening credits), but he did get upset about 30 minutes in and required some TLC. Luckily the theater had a nice vestibule in the back so I could calm him down while still seeing the movie. And I am now considering buying him that semi-soft foam Mjolnir toy!)