Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review: Thor the Movie

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Based on Thor by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Jack Kirby

Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Natalie Portman as Jane Foster
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Anthony Hopkins as Odin
Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig
Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis
Idris Elba as Heimdall

Now here is a bit of a mixed bag of a movie. Lots of the same ingredients that drives any movie, that of the family dynamic - Strong patriarchal presence, rebellious son both envious of his Father's influence and driven to prove himself an equal. A younger son driven to power mixed with either envy or hatred of either or both, is bent to play one against the other.

No matter if the tale is ancient or contemporary, the story wends its way to the son either cast out or proving his merit on quest. During this venture he invariably meets someone or the very quest itself forces him to rethink his values. Invariably the treachery is discovered, the older son must choose between duty / family and that of love /comfort - and so on. I am sure you have seen a plethora of this type of film and Thor is an excellent example of this ancient of all moral plays. Of course if this was all the film had to offer, the audience cross section would be very narrow indeed. But if you are Kenneth Branagh, every plot device is punctuated with large colorful fight scenes. Ice Giants, fire breathing robots, S.H.I.E.L.D. commandos.

Thor is nothing if not action packed, but it seems those packages are served up in easily comestible portions. Which is a bit annoying when the film takes off into a sub-plot that looks interesting, it’s all for naught when a few moments later the main plot reasserts itself. So not only is Thor based on a comic book, but is paced very much the same way. All is the pity because the film is richly appointed when it comes to graphics. the action is well choreographed, but if you were hoping to gain some insight into Norse Mythology or as a fan of the Marvel comic line hoping for a fan fix, I think you would be equally disappointed. But if you are not a big Thor fan or the mythology behind the characters, you will find the blu-ray / dvd version of Thor diverting. I think an 8 is fair. Some off just for really not going anywhere, and taking very little chances going that!

As for disk extra? Excellent comment track by the director that really gives you an idea on what Branagh had in mind and I was floored by the inclusion of so many out takes. Some very striking and beautiful scenes and action sequences that if we don’t see a directors cut for this film I would be shocked! 9.5 just because I get the impression that something is missing...but just can not remember what! so that gives us 8.75 which is a bit low, so take that with a grain.


Blizno said...

I agree.
I was never a great fan of the Thor comics (I was a web-head) but I enjoyed the vastness of Asgard, the might of the gods and the contrast with the puny Earth which Thor came to love.

I thought the movie did 80% justice to the comics. The movie gods needed to be even more inhumanly muscular. They needed to swagger and boast much more (they are gods, after all).

Thor needed to be 20% more muscular and 20% more unconsciously boastful.

Mjölnir was perfect.

I very much enjoyed the movie. I have seen it twice and will probably see it again.

Beam Me Up said...

I think you hit it right on the head. I was never a big Thor comic fan and really got into spider man and that ilk maybe a bit to far towards Iron Man. What impressed me the most was the dedication to Asgard and the god mythology. I think that is why I enjoyed Thor was that I feel that the research was so good that I was able to enjoy the correlation between the myths and the movie. So I agree, they did well by the comics and in the end the Norse mythology.

Thanks for the note Blizno.