Written by Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz
and Don Payne
Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Running Time: 1:54
for sequences of intense
sci-fi action and violence.
Thor was a decent action flick but ultimately the story let it down.
In the realm of Asgard, Odin is King. Throughout the ages, the people of Asgard have protected the humans from the Frost Giants. Now, a millennia later, the Frost Giants may be breaking the peace they have with Asgard. Thor, son of Odin is in line to become King, but he makes an ill-advised trip to the realm of the Frost Giants and his banished to Earth by his father. This leaves Loki as the next in line to be King, and Loki likes that. On Earth, Thor falls for the lovely scientist Jane who, along with her partners Erik and Darcy, have been looking for a way to travel through the Universe. Thor, though falling for Jane, must fight to keep the realm of Asgard safe from the treacherous Loki, but will he be able to return to Asgard and fight? And if he does, will he ever see his precious Jane again?
I don't know much about the origins of the character of Thor since he wasn't one of the superheroes I paid attention to growing up. That might have been one of the reasons I wasn't a huge fan of the movie, but I tried to go in with an open mind. I think my biggest problem with the movie was the pacing. The movie takes place half on Asgard and half on Earth and it kept cutting back and forth between the two worlds without and sense of timing. Just when the story would get going on one place, it would cut back to the other. So in that sense, the movie never got into any kind of rhythm. I liked the actors and the characters and I would have loved to see an entire movie take place on Earth like the big battle sequence towards the end, but too much of it took place in a fantasy world that I didn't care about. I think one of the reasons superhero movies of recent memory have done so well is because in some way, we can relate to them. Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man... they're all normal people with extraordinary powers. They're human, like us, so we can understand what they feel and how they react. Thor on the other hand, has God-like powers and lives in another part of the Universe. I have no connection to him and setting half the movie in his world didn't help. I'm hoping that when he teams up with the rest of the Avengers, I'll appreciate him more since presumably, they'll be fighting some kind of evil on Earth.
Chris Hemsworth is an absolute beast in this movie. He wouldn't look out of place in a WWE ring going one-on-one with The Rock. But as big and ripped as he was, he had a very soft side to him and that's not easy to pull off when you look like a monster. Natalie Portman may be the only actress I can think of that looks hotter as she gets older. Sadly, because a lot of the movie took place on Asgard, she wasn't in the movie quite as much as she could have been. Kat Dennings provided some nice humor though she was in the movie even less than Portman. The rest of the cast was fairly strong as well. I thought the special effects were decent, but not great. Creating an entire fantasy world is always problematic because most of the time it can't be constructed in the real world, it has to be all CGI and there were quite a few moments that looked really cheesy. I saw the movie on (fake) IMAX 3D and what I've found with 3D is that it makes things look tiny at times and when you add tiny to gigantic CGI creations, you get cheesy. But then some of the action sequences were rather well done, like when Thor tries to go get his hammer and has to run a gauntlet of agents. And it was fun to see one of the agents was none other than Hawkeye making his first appearance in one of these Marvel films in the run-up to The Avengers. There were a couple of references to other members of the team and of course, there's an additional scene after the credits that hints at the future. I kept thinking that maybe Kenneth Branagh wasn't the best choice to direct this. He's known (directing-wise) for doing more Shakespearian films and with this particular story line perhaps the producers felt he would be a good choice. But this was never meant to be a Shakespearian tragedy - it's a popcorn film and Branagh didn't feel like he had the chops for it. Studios have taken a chance with letting more serious directors take on these films and sometimes they hit (hello Christopher Nolan) and sometimes they don't.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I thought Thor was so-so. I liked the characters and I liked the actors. Some of the special effects were good and others were cheesy. I think the setting, story and pacing of the film is what hurt it because it never quite got going. I'd be open to a sequel if they came up with a story that took place here on Earth, and not in the heavens.