I finally got a chance to see Thor! Here is my non-spoiler review:
History has a way of repeating itself. Around a year ago I was sitting in a movie theatre wearing a pair of uncomfortable 3D glasses, watching some talented actors deliver some equally uncomfortable performances. Liam Neeson missing the mark as Zeus, Ralph Feinnes hamming it up as Hades, and Sam Worthington looking lost and confused without the direction of James Cameron.
The visuals fell flat, the dialogue was dreadful, and the costumes were laugh-out-loud bad.
With Clash of the Titans a faded memory, this weekend I once again donned the plastic spectacles to watch a tale of gods quarreling amongst each other, and the mayhem that ensues when their conflicts spill over to earth.
Bracing myself for an epic fail
I have to admit that when I heard Thor was coming to the big screen I was more than a little skeptical. Bringing the fantastic world of Asgard to life is a daunting task in itself, but populating that world with gods dressed in some pretty strange looking costumes, and giving them a compelling story, could be nearly impossible.
I was pleasantly surprised that Thor went way beyond all my expectations, and worked for me on every level. This is one of those rare comic book adaptations where everything just fell into place. Like Jon Favreau deftly did with the Iron Man franchise, director Kenneth Branagh struck a near-perfect balance between action, humor, and drama.
Seamless special effects. Incredible art direction. Well-directed action. Costumes that were true to the source material but actually came across well on the screen. The list goes on and on…
And of course plenty of creatures getting smashed with a huge hammer.
The casting was spot-on. Playing Odin, Anthony Hopkins turned in a crackling performance that was larger than life when necessary, but just restrained enough to avoid going over-the-top. Natalie Portman breathed life into the non-descript physicist Jane Foster, giving her some much needed texture. And Tom Hiddleston was creepy, yet masterfully understated as Thor’s conniving brother Loki.
But relatively unknown Aussie Chris Hemsworth stole the show for me, and held the film together as Thor. Much less experienced than many of his on screen counterparts, Hemsworth was able to navigate a difficult character with multiple layers – crafting a convincing transition between a brash entitled jerk, to a lovably clueless outsider, to a hero searching for redemption.
Thor gets knocked out one too many times in a comedic manner, which was just a tad more humorous that it needed to be – especially given the tone of the rest of the film. This, however, is a minor quibble, and it’s completely forgivable.
If you’re not a hardcore Marvel fan, you will likely be scratching your head at the ‘bonus content’ that appears after the credits roll. But stick around anyway…it will get you pumped for The Avengers in 2012.
Should you see it?
Yes. Hell yes. This was the most purely entertaining film I’ve seen since Iron Man 2 over a year ago, and I would recommend it to comic fans and non-comic fans alike.
Thanks for reading!
As always, I love you guys…
– Blake xox