Review: Thor by Jamie
06/05/2011, 7:45 am
Filed under: Review

There is a certain ranking I have for superheroes in my head when it comes to the degree with which I care about the films that are going to be made about them. Certain characters such as Batman and Deadpool (Fuck you X-Men Origins: Wolverine) rank very highly on this list. Others such as Aquaman and Hawkeye don’t rank quite as highly. Thor was definitely on the lower end of the scale. I’ve never really read any Thor comics and find the actual Norse mythology far more interesting than modern adaptations or interpretations of it.

Add to that the fact that during it’s production all I really remember hearing was problem after problem after problem. Reports of bickering between cast members and the fact that the rumour that Brian Blessed would be playing Odin turned out not to be true left me not really expecting much. I was also concerned with just how they’d manage to mix the seemingly magical elements of the character with the seemingly scientifically-based (admittedly comic book science but still) universe that had already been established. Still, it was part of the Avengers experience as a whole and therefore I had to see it.

Well, when all’s said and done I have to admit that I massively, massively underestimated this movie. I don’t know if my low expectations somehow increased my enjoyment of this film but I have to say that enjoy it I did. In fact, I enjoyed it immensely.

The film manages to weave the elements of the Immortals on Asgard and, after Thor’s banishment, the mortals on Earth incredibly well. In fact I remember whilst watching this film, enjoying the opening sequence on Asgard that leads to the Thunder God’s exile, thinking that things would probably get disappointing once the focus shifted to Earth but to my surprise they didn’t. There was a definite shift with the film becoming a lot more comedic with all kinds of misunderstandings stemming from the fact that Thor doesn’t know how things work on Earth but it’s still very, very enjoyable.

What was perhaps the biggest relief was that this film managed to avoid falling into the trap that ‘Iron Man 2‘ fell into which was sacrificing an actual decent film in order to just cram as much setup for ‘The Avengers’ as possible. S.H.I.E.L.D. are back and serve as, well, not villains per se but they are certainly an obstacle for the heroes of this film. They actually advance the plot to some degree in this film rather than just get in the way of the actual story as they seemed to do in ‘Iron Man 2’.

Perhaps what surprised me the most was just how much was drawn from Norse mythology. I was expecting Asgard and the Immortals but I certainly wasn’t expecting things like the Frost Giants, the Bifröst or Yggdrasil to be mentioned or just how well they were turned into believable concepts within the Marvel universe. I’m assuming this all comes from the comics and, if so, I might have to give ’em a read.

The casting for the film was well done, especially Chris Hemsworth (though I felt there were occasions where his accent slipped a bit though not terribly so) who was incredibly likeable as the exiled immortal and manages the transition of his character from one state of mind to another very well. The scenes between him, Anthony Hopkins as Odin and Tom Hiddleston as Loki are really, really good. In fact after watching the film I can’t help but wonder if that previously mentioned on-set bickering, apparently between Hopkins and Hemsworth with Hopkins saying the young actor wasn’t very good, wasn’t just Hopkins being a bit method becasue I found the interactions between them to be some of the most believable interactions in the whole film.

All the other actors turned in good performances especially Natalie Portman as Thor’s love interest Jane Foster who manages to balance being a serious scientist who’s just a little bit ditzy and clumsy around her affections quite well and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Stellan Skarsgård who comes of as very likeable as the scientist looking out for Jane and who teaches a valuable lesson about trying to keep up with a Norse God whilst drinking.

Christ, this is getting long, isn’t it? Well, I’ll just end off with some notes about the visual effects and the 3D. ‘Thor’ is a very good looking film. There are shots of Asgard and space which just look incredible and left me a little awe-struck. Hell, the end credits just has shots of the camera moving through galaxies and nebulae and it looks incredible. Not often can that be said about a credits sequence… Maybe J.J. Abrams ‘Star Trek’… I digress. Speaking of the end credits, make sure you stick around after them for another quick scene building up to ‘The Avengers’.

If there’s one complaint I have about the visual effects, it’s the scenes of Thor flying. I can’t quite put my finger on why but for some reason it just looked a little silly. Maybe it’s because Thor’s feet seemed to be sticking out like he was still standing on solid ground and at this point, thanks to things like ‘Iron Man’ I’ve gotten used to more streamlined flying effects I dunno, it just seemed a little ridiculous. As for the 3D, well, I actually kinda enjoyed it for the most part which is odd for me to say. For the first time I actually saw the benefit of it being used to give just a bit of depth to the world, something I didn’t see in ‘Avatar’. That being said I still recommend seeing it in 2D. The reason is simple. There are some scenes, namely anything involving the realm of the Frost Giants, that are so dark that you sometimes find yourself straining to figure out what is going on thanks to the darkening effect of those fucking glasses.

So overall I shall give ‘Thor’ 4.5 pints out of 5. I honestly think I enjoyed it even more than the first ‘Iron Man’ by just a little bit. It wasn’t as action packed but I really didn’t mind that and the action that there was was solid unlike the disappointing “Hero versus Enemy with similar or identical powers” battles at the end of ‘Iron Man’ and ‘The Incredible Hulk’. So yeah, go see it and that. Laterz.

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