I like the idea of checking out a film on Sunday night when the theaters are free and there’s plenty of elbow room. Families are having their Sunday dinners, kiddies are getting their last bit of TV in before bedtime and the general family household is in a relaxing mode. That means I can see a film without the Friday and Saturday crowds – I love it.
I knew Thor was going to be popular ($66M opening weekend, just shy of what was predicted), but I had no idea I would be forced into the front row, requiring me to need a neck massage after it was all over. There were only a few single seats here and there left in the house, so my Sunday night sneak-away attempt backfired on me in a huge way.
Was the neck pain worth it in the end? Oh yeah.
I’ve never been a huge comic book guy, I have really only owned a few here and there over the years, but I always liked the idea behind Thor and the age old Germanic mythology that builds up the character. Plus, it’s pretty damn cool to see Thor wield his hammer in his god-like armor on film.
A quick synopsis; Thor (Chris Hemsworth), son of King Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is the god of thunder and a very mighty and powerful warrior from Asgard, a world in another realm and galaxy. Thor challenges his father’s wishes regarding a standing peace treaty with a longtime enemy and is banished to earth as punishment with his powers revoked. Thor falls in love with the mortal Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), soon realizing the error of his ways. Thor must now defend himself and the people of earth after his troublemaker brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) betrays Asgard with intentions of keeping Thor on earth forever.
I suggest reading up for a more in-depth background before jumping right into the movie, since I’m just giving you a quick run through. Sure, the Marvel Comics version will be just fine, but I like the original back history, too much to ignore .
There are so many outstanding features in Thor that it is relatively impossible for an action-adventure fan to find anything wrong with the film. I was extremely impressed with Thor’s hammer-slinging special effects, plus the world of Asgard is something you really have to take in like you would a sunset on a cool summer evening. Just sit back, and enjoy. The CGI color effects that are put off by the quartz designed Bifrost Bridge, the bridge that connects Asgard to the worlds in the universe, are simply mesmerizing. When added in with the background gold and silver of Asgard, you realize that this was no easy feat for the visual effects team, IMDB lists hundreds of names as visual effects contributors, just incredible.
I always wondered what would take Director Kenneth Branagh (Henry V) to get behind the camera again, you too? It makes sense that Branagh would take the reigns on Thor, mainly because of the challenge that it created from a directorial standpoint. Branagh sure rocked it though, even with his own admitted difficulties connecting earth to the world of Asgard. I give a round of applause to Editor Paul Rubell (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) for helping Branagh connect the simplistic earth shots to the CGI world of Asgard. Branagh hasn’t directed since 2007, so it was refreshing to have him bring Thor to life.
So how is Chris Hemsworth do as Thor? Quite admirable actually, plus you women out there will surely love his “godly” body. Hemsworth plays the tough guy role well, but then softens up nicely on earth when he meets Natalie Portman’s (Black Swan) character, Jane. Who wouldn’t soften up for Portman though? Wowzers. I couldn’t get over how great Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris) is as Loki. As far as true acting and drawing you into the character, Hiddleston wins the award in Thor. Some other good bit players like Stellan Skarsgard (Angels & Demons) and Kat Dennings (The 40 Year Old Virgin) sure help the film as well, but again, Hiddleston nails it best. It’s funny to think that Hiddleston read for the role of Thor, but Branagh thought he’d play a better antagonist, and wow, he was right.
If I have to nitpick, there’s a scene that went a bit overboard regarding Thor’s hammer being stuck in the earth, where it played off King Arthur’s Sword in the Stone story. It was integral to the plot, but I think it could have been handled just a bit differently with the cheesiness involved. Call me a “whiner” over it I guess, but again I’m just nitpicking.
Overall, I’m pretty stoked that Thor turned out as well as it did. You comic book lovers will undoubtedly jump for joy over this one, unless you’re far too rigid with your expectations. The connection from CGI to standard camera shots will dazzle you, as well as the fine acting all around. Go see Thor, if you haven’t already. And if you have what are your thoughts?