Film Review: Thor
● By Wendy Sipple
Thor is the newest Marvel character to be adapted into a big budget summer movie. The film traces Thor’s origin, starting with establishing Thor’s father Odin siding with man and defeating the ice giants from taking over the Earth. In their defeat he takes their power and leaves them war ravaged on their home planet.
Thor and his brother Loki vie for the position of future king. Thor is a cocky and brash warrior while his brother Loki uses cunning and magic. Thor, just seconds from gaining the throne, gets sucked into a trap set by his brother who uses Thor’s impulsiveness and aggression to go against his father’s wishes. This in turn results in Thor’s banishment on Earth as a mortal. While on Earth Thor must learn wisdom, humility, and ultimately how to love. While back in Thor’s homeland of Asgard, Loki enacts a plan that has him ascend to the throne and the destruction of an entire species of beings.
I have never read a Thor comic book and knew very little about the character walking into the theater, so I can’t speak for the huge Thor fans as to how it relates to the books. There was a lot to like in the movie. The scenes in the god city of Asgard were done very well. The battle scene on the home planet of the Ice Giants was fun to watch. Thor’s arrival on Earth brought along a lot of humor. However all the scenes on Earth felt awkward and the movie seem to stall while it used Earth as it backdrop.
Kenneth Branagh was smartly chosen as the director. His wealth of experience directing films based on Shakespeare gave him a great skill set to direct the scenes among Gods. It was very easy to tell Branagh felt very comfortable with this material. However once on Earth the relationships never quite all clicked and the pacing seemed uneven in this section of the film. One reason is Thor felt much more epic taking place in the home of Gods so when the movie shifted to Earth it felt like the movie deflated a little bit. Also Thor was packed with so many characters and plot and there just wasn’t enough screen time to develop it all. This felt particularly true of the romance between Thor and Jane the astronomer (played by Natalie Portman). It was Thor’s love for Jane that was to alter his way of thinking and to help him become worthy of being a god. However nothing really transpired between Thor and Jane that would prompt me to believe their relationship was that strong. Plus because of all the competing plots and characters this relationship was developed over what appears to be a day or two. Not enough meaningful screen time was had between Thor and Jane to make their love for each feel real at all. This would be the undoing of most movies, but Thor manages to survive this weakness thanks in large part to Chris Hemswoth.
Chris Hemswoth was perfect in the lead role as Thor. He was completely likable even as he was a cocky kid with a nasty temper. Along with his swagger he knew how to hit the right notes to get a laugh. Just as Robert Downey owned his role as Tony Stark in Iron Man, Chris Hemswoth will forever be looked at as Thor. The supporting cast was strong as well led by Anthony Hopkins who brought an instant presence as King Odin.
The action was high octane and definitely delivered what people have come to expect in big action movies based on comic books. Thor has a bit of “Superman” in him, meaning that whenever he is fighting in his godlike form I got the feeling that he could never be beaten or even hurt for that matter. This could lead to boring action scenes, but fortunately the visuals during the fights definitely keep it interesting. The main problem with Thor was there were too many story elements for the amount of time they had in the movie. The good news is the movie still succeeds. It builds nicely for future installments that I imagine will flow smoother now the origin has been established. And if you have the patience to sit for 10 minutes there is a bonus scene after the credits that sets the stage for next summer's Avengers movie. If you are a fan of superhero films, you will definitely like Thor.
FILMS LIKE THOR : Clash of the Titans, Iron Man and Conan the Barbarian
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.