Thor. This movie will make or break the possibility of more supernatural comic book movies. There is a lot on the line.
So far, all of the big blockbusters have been humans that become something more. Spiderman gets bitten. X-Men are born that way. Iron Man creates his abilities. Even Superman is raised on Earth so he doesn’t seem alien to us.
Thor is a straight up alien. That makes this movie an interesting meld of high fantasy battles and fish out of water comedy. Luckily, they manage to navigate the tightrope and avoid becoming over the top silly and without taking itself too seriously.
Let’s talk lead actor Chris Hemsworth. I’ve never seen this guy before but he pulled it off. I was a little annoyed at the start of the film because he was a huge jerk. But then I thought about it and it made sense for Thor to be a jerk. This is a story of humility and redemption. Hemsworth has the presence to feel like the true god of thunder but he also has that quiet subtlety of something stirring beneath the surface.
Is this a solid action movie? Yes and no. A lot of (could be) amazing battle scenes take place but the cuts are so quick and so frequent, I couldn’t see any of the action. I saw this movie in 2D, so I can imagine the 3D version will be even harder to comprehend, other loud sounds and flashes of steel. The effects are pretty stellar in most parts and there’s a battle towards the end (with a giant robot called The Destroyer) that is fantastic. I just wish the shots lingered a little longer and let us see Thor’s hammer smash into people.
Is this a solid comic book movie? Yes and no. I’m assuming that 95% of the audience for this film is unaware of the source material. This movie might still make them feel like a foreigner. Iron Man was such a success because everyone loved it. Tony Stark is easy to understand. A Norse god is a little harder to relate to. In that aspect, I feel like this movie may have failed and alienated (pun intended) its non-fanboy audience. It did succeed by sticking pretty close to the source material, though possibly jeopardizing the movie’s mainstream appeal.
In one way, I wish they strayed further. The movie features a ragtag group of other Asgardian heroes which are obvious nods to fanboys everywhere. I’m a fan and I still didn’t care about these characters. I didn’t even remember their names and they served little function in the movie, other than reminding us that other people live in Asgard.
Let me talk about the villain of the movie. Asgard is at war with this planet of Frost Giants. Unfortunately, these Giants are kind of lame.
This is Ivan Ooze from the Power Rangers movie. Put him in grayscale and you could hardly tell the difference. Plus, the Frost Giant effects were horrible. Almost all CGI and it looked extremely dated.
Luckily, Thor’s brother Loki serves as another villain and he fits in perfectly (and if you stay after the credits, you’ll get a glimpse of his role in the Avengers).
So, my verdict. I liked it. The effects were mostly good. Most of the acting was top notch. It made me more excited for The Avengers (especially with a cameo by another Avenger). So, I would recommend seeing it. It won’t be as easy to get into as Iron Man but if you generally like more fantastical films, this is right up your alley.