Thor was never exactly at the top of my to-see list this summer. I had planned on waiting for the DVD for this one, but it was Saturday night and the people I was with wanted to see it (and I just so happened to be wearing my Marvel Comics pajama pants at the time) so I consented.
From what I had seen and heard about Thor, I thought it might be at least tolerable for a comic book movie. I’m not hating on comic book movies, but they tend to be pretty hit or miss in my book (pun intended?) with Fantastic Four and Iron Man at either end of the spectrum (I hope I don’t have to specify which end is which).
For those of you as unfamiliar with the story as I was, the god Thor is exiled from his home planet of Asgard (ass·guard) and sent to Earth, where he must defend the earthlings from his evil brother Loki. Insanity-slash-hilarity ensue.
We open in a remote New Mexico desert in present day, where meteorologist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her small team of researchers (Stellan Skarsgård and Kate Dennings) witness Thor (Chris Hemsworth) falling to earth. We then jump back in time and space to Asgard, where Thor is heir to the throne of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). Odin says to his two young sons, “Only one of you can ascend to the throne, but both of you were born to be king.” This line foreshadows the events which follow: Thor and Loki (Tim Hiddleston) battle to prove to Odin which of them is worthy of the throne. I don’t wanna give away too much, but let’s just say it follows your pretty standard plot structure: Good guy falls from grace, evil overthrows him, he encounters some problems along the way. In the end, good triumphs over evil. Oh yeah, and there’s a love interest thrown in there as well (see also Triumph Movie: A Screenplay).
Throughout the movie, we jump back and forth between Earth and Asgard. The world of Asgard is wrought with laughable dialogue, including possibly the worst motivational speech in cinema history, which almost had me leaving the theater before any of the action even started. But I stuck it out. I later realized that this was used as a device to create hilarious situations when Thor comes to Earth and interacts with the humans—sort of a fish out of water story. In one instance Thor goes to a petshop seeking transportation and demands a horse. Thor is told they only have dogs, cats and birds, to which he aptly responds, “Give me one of those large enough to ride.”
Helmed by actor-cum-director Kenneth Branagh, Thor is quite a departure from Branagh’s Shakespearean background. I can’t help drawing comparisons to fellow actor-cum-director Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame. Incidentally, the movie makes subtle reference to Iron Man. When Loki sends his robot monster to earth to kill Thor, someone says “Is that one of Stark’s?”
All in all, the action and CGI are average at best. There wasn’t much in the way of character development, but I’m not gonna complain about that. I guess 3D is all the hype these days, so you can throw story and character out the window. It’s no Fantastic Four, but it’s no Iron Man either.