Friday, May 6, 2011

Movie Review: Thor

I sat in my basement, dutifully wrapping up the last stages of the game Marvel Ultimate Alliance. I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to see these Marvel comic characters come to life on the Big Screen, moving past what we had already seen in the X-Men and Spiderman films.

That was 2006. My hopes weren't very high, after all, all we had were franchises owned by corporations that knew nothing of the Marvel comics, and we were only 2 years removed from Ang Lee's horrible rendition of The Hulk.

But 2008 was just around the corner, with solid performances by Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man and Ed Norton in The Incredible Hulk. Marvel had a plan at that point, as both films hinted with post-credit sequences towards an incredible event, the culmination of these heroes in one movie, The Avengers.

Which finally leads me back to the purpose of this review, my review of Thor.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Odin (Anthony Hopkins)
The film follows a fairly traditional plot line: young and arrogant youth on the cusp of reaching his ultimate glory is cast down through a series of events, must prove himself worthy of said glory, regain it and save a lot of people. Predictable? Of course. But director Kenneth Branagh achieves incredible heights in the journey that you don't feel cheated in the slightest.

Chris Hemsworth plays the title character, Thor, and does a fantastic job displaying the heroes journey. He's witty, but not overtly funny; he's charming, but not sappy. His on-screen chemistry with Natalie Portman is strong, aided even more by Portman's natural grace.

Tom Hiddleston plays Loki, Thor's brother. Hiddleston, in my opinion, stole the show with his portrayal of the God of Mischief. His screen chemistry with Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins (Thor and Loki's father, Odin) sold those heavily-rendered CGI scenes.

The Asgardian scenes were downright beautiful, even for CGI. Each of them were rendered with breathtaking details, and the scenes were acted straight out of a Shakespearean play. Love? Check. Betrayal? Check. Jealousy? Check. Loss of innocence? Check.

I've read some dissatisfaction with the scenes on Earth, the whole "fish out of water" element to them. I personally enjoyed them. I didn't think the humor elements were overboard by any means, and the characters' portrayals of what would happen if this really did occur in real life was believable and plausible. I also didn't think the film was trying too hard to point ahead to The Avengers, though one scene featuring Hawkeye doing absolutely nothing was somewhat puzzling.

Now to my favorite part: the score. Patrick Doyle's music was incredibly moving, making you swell up inside with something I can't even describe. Music touches us all in a very special way, and this film is no different.

The only criticism that I had of this film was the length: I felt it was 15-20 minutes too short. Rene Russo had 2 lines that I remembered. I imagine that the 15-20 minutes I'm seeking is on the cutting room floor, with many of those being character-driven scenes involving Hopkins and Russo. Hopefully we get to see those on the DVD.

Overall, I give this movie a solid "A," an incredible way to start the 2011 summer movie season. And if this film is any indication on what we're to expect going forward, not only will Captain America be a treat, but The Avengers is going to be a smashing success.


  1. Nice work Matt! Good to see you writing. Keep it up.

  2. Hawkeye was in there to show his involvement in SHIELD and probably to give more weight to the government agent guy. since that guys role in Iron Man 2 wasn't that (or didn't seem to me) he was high on the shield totem pole. thus giving reason as to why he was one of the main characters in the movie. sorta like how agent Smith took on the large then life persona post Matrix pt 1. However, i don't foresee anything similar occurring with future Marvel flicks.

  3. Trust me, I get the whole "Avengers" angle; it's just that Hawkeye didn't do anything there, and the average movie goer was probably saying "Why is there a muscle-laden guy running perimeter security for this agency armed with a bow and arrow?"

    The average person wouldn't make the connection. At least with the first Iron Man, even the average movie watcher could understand from the post-credit scene that Sam Jackson's character, Nick Furry, was talking about a secret organization. Without any knowledge, you'd have to really suspend disbelief and stretch your imagination to think that in this movie if you didn't know who Hawkeye was.