Marvel Picture’s Thor has been hammering out box office sales in the international market and it looks like it is in line to be another successful movie for the studio. Thor tells the story of the Norse God of thunder using Marvel’s comic book movie universe as a backdrop (Thor has been a big part of Marvel comics for decades). In this movie Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) is banished from Asgard (realm of the gods) by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Various events unfold, which leads Thor to a scientist named Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and his inevitable confrontation with his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). So does this movie blow people away or will it feel like electric shock therapy?
Acting: Going into Thor I was worried about the cast. The only thing I knew Hemsworth from was his brief appearance as Kirk’s father in Abrams’ Star Trek. I am a fan of Anthony Hopkins, but I didn’t know if he would be able to make Odin seem believable. Hopkin’s role feels artificial at times with an unnatural flow, which is mostly due to the some of the lines he was given in the movie. Hemsworth and Hiddleston were amazing.
Hemsworth is totally believable as Thor whether in his costume or walking around in normal clothes. Additionally, Hiddleston seems like he really enjoyed playing the role of Loki. Hemsworth and Portman have great on-screen chemistry, which helps sell the relationship between Thor and Jane Foster (even if Foster is pretty much just Portman playing her usual character). I’m happy to report that the main cast managed to pulled off an excellent performance.
Comedy: Before walking into the theater, I heard that the film tried incorporate a lot of comedic elements. I cringed at the thought that the movie would be ruined by unfunny gags and bad lines. There are some pretty bad jokes you will encounter throughout the movie. Specifically, Kat Dennings’ character, Darcy, spews out a series of these horrible one liners. Most of the comedy is situational, dealing with Thor getting used to life on Earth (frustratingly the gods don’t call it Midgar in the movie). While it is mostly comedy we have seen before in TV shows and movies, the actors managed to make it work.
Action: Thor is a movie about a god with a hammer that can do a lot of damage. That must mean the film is filled to the brim with action, right? While there is a lot of good action in the movie, it’s not as much as you might think. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it makes the large action scenes more impactful and entertaining. Thor is nearly two hours long and it only has four big action scenes, the rest is character or comedy driven. However, Director Kenneth Branagh succeed in creating awesome action sequences with astonishing visual effects.
Side Characters: Thor falls into the trap that you see in comic book movies often. There are way too many characters in the movie. Thor and Loki are given plenty of development and screen time, but the side cast is too large and at only 114 minutes long, there isn’t enough screen time for character development. We’re told Thor is friends with Sif and the Warriors Three in Asgard, but the movie only takes a couple scenes to establish them.
Jane Foster is defined solely by her job and relationship with Thor and Hemsworth and Portman’s relationship was believable. However, Jane Foster’s friends are just there to either provide some exposition or to be annoying (that would be Kat Dennings’ character). As a result of the movie’s heavy focus on comedy, there is not enough room left to effectively establish the other characters. When Thor is released on DVD/Blu-ray I hope that there will be a director’s cut which will add 5-10 minutes of character development to the movie.
Plot: The plot isn’t bad, but some elements of the story felt out of place. For example, the plot device that was used to get Odin out of the picture for a period of time did not work, it was poorly executed, and it was extremely ambiguous. On the other hand, Loki’s motives were clearly explained, but it was at the expense of what could have been a good villain (Frost Giants). If the movie was a bit longer some of the convoluted elements could have been cleared up.
So, is Thor a good movie? The answer is yes, but it is not as good as either of the Iron Man movies or WB’s Batman movies. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining experience despite its problems. The movie’s biggest flaw is that it wasn’t long enough to fully develop certain aspects of the plot. Thor needed an extra ten to fifteen minutes in order to further explain and clarify the story and its characters.
This film is the start of a summer that will be filled with comic book movies (Priest next week, X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern in June and Captain America in July). Thor really needed to start things off with a roar of thunder, in order to get people in the mood for the upcoming comic book based films. I believe Thor succeeded in that respect and it was a good way to spend a couple hours. I did not see the movie in 3D, but from what I’ve heard the 3D is not very good and not worth seeing. Save yourself a few bucks if you plan to see it in theaters and watch it in 2D.
Thor Movie Review by Derangel