Thor kicks ass by the hammer load. Lube up your jaw muscles for an impending smile attack.
Fear, anxiety, excitement, elation. These would be some of the emotions that I went through on a 2 year journey that ended last night with the opening night of Thor. I am pleased to report that having exited the movie theatre and had time for reflection, Thor can be proud to sit alongside Ironman as one of the better superhero adaptations. From the moment the film was announced back in 2009 through to the excellent additions to the cast over the past two years, the somewhat random choice of Kenneth Brannagh as director plus the exciting news about the Avengers movie, I was anxious as to how this movie would come together and fingers crossed, wouldn’t become a rambling shambling mess like The Hulk. We can rest easy now because it was awesome from start to finish.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the synopsis of the movie I shall attempt to condense into a bite sized chunklet. Thor played by Chris Hemsworth, is a powerful but arrogant warrior god type dude, whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war with some dangerously ugly looking ice giants. After Odin, played by Sir Antony Hopkins, loses his shit with Thor, he is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans and wear super tight t-shirts and fall in love with hot scientists (gutted). In this instance the hot scientist is played by Natalie Portman, who has a profound effect on Thor and much like a ‘man walks into a bar joke’ their story together unfolds with a rather tedious inevitability. It’s while here on Earth that Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth. Translated, basically means Thor kicks some ass with a large hammer (or Mjöllnir for those looking for a slice of historical referencing)
It’s a film that at two hours flies by and will have you generally entertained throughout. Let’s start with some of the things worth commending. The set design by Lauri Gaffin and the costume design by Alexandra Byrne are things that immediately jump out and could have been a massive flop and taken a wrong turn at fromage village, but despite the fact the gods wander around in capes and daft helmets, they create an overwhelming sense of honour and grandeur. Asgard is beautiful and probably as close to the way I would have imagined it as possible. Hats off to all.
The plot itself moves along at a solid pace and even for those not familiar with the Thor comics it’s not hard to pick up what’s going on. However, for the fan boys there’s little nudges and references throughout to previous and future Marvel studio movies. It’s all rather exciting really.
The performances are generally all round very enjoyable. Hemsworth of course is the show stealer. He takes to the role with real force and highly believable as the warrior god with a heart, He also has excellent coming timing too. It would be remiss of me not to mention the fact that he looks incredible. I’m not afraid to say it, but it just goes to show what you can achieve when you train with me. You’re welcome Chris. Natalie Portman, fresh from her Black Swan Oscar win is given little to do and some smelly dialogue, but thanks to her ability to smoulder along side Hemsworth her role in the movie is saved. Tom Hiddleston is good as Loki and plays off Hemsworth rather well. His classic theatre acting really shining through in certain parts, especially when raising his voice. Antony Hopkins, who can sometimes steamroller other actors around him, gives a much more restrained and subtle performance which is hugely refreshing. Kat Dennings and Stellan Skarsgård are given little do really. Dennings offers light comedy relief, but it’s Hemsworth who really steals that playing card. The only thing I wanted more of was Idris Elba who plays Heimdall a gate-keeper between the worlds. Not only does he look bad ass, but also only has one opportunity to kick ass. Maybe in the next instalment we can have more of him. Oh and even Jeremy Renner pops up for a small cameo as Hawkeye… more teasers for the Avengers no less.
Any points of criticism are minimal. If the film suffers from anything that is that the moments on Earth are significantly not as full of spectacle and wonder as the ones in Asgard. In Asgard Thor can fly and throw Mjöllnir around like an anorexic model. On Earth, he’s just a hot bloke with abs that you could cut cheese on. The second act lags a bit in pace and the final showdown with the weird metal looking transformer thing needed to be bulked out a bit. I would have liked maybe one more fight scene as the one on the ice giant home world is sweet as bro.
It is a bold film from Kenneth Brannagh who, despite being a massive fan boy of the comics, I still consider a straight-laced actor playing such characters as A.O. Neville in Rabbit Proof Fence. However, he’s come out guns blazing on this and quite frankly thank fuck. Marvel needed a win after Ironman 2 didn’t meet their expectations. It is going to do some damage this weekend at the box office. You can quote me on that.
Thoughts/feelings/emotions? Let me know if you have seen or are going to see it this weekend.
Thanks for reading.
p.s. FYI for the truly geeky, make sure you stick around for a very special cameo appearance in the post credit sequence… I shall say no more.