This weekend Thor is the first in a slew of comic book movies this year. The others being Captain America, Green Lanter, and X-Men First class. Thor was also number one at the box office. It’s about a Norse god who’s banished to Earth to learn humility and in doing so regains his powers and returns to Asgard. That’s the ultra simplified version. *SPOILERS AHEAD*
The good; the good can be listed even before you’ve seen the movie. It’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, story by J. Michael Straczynski, stars Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Chris Hemsworth, who really looks like Thor. The deck is stacked high enough. If you don’t know the credits of these people (excluding Hemsworth) you should definitely check them out.
The movie is told in the flashback nature, much relate this to JJ Abrams, which in Thor’s case works. Cause we get hooked with Thor falling to Earth and then the question pops up, “who is he? and how did he get here?” Flash back to Anthony Hopkins as Odin, the leader of the Norse gods. This to non-comic readers is Thor’s/Asgard’s origin. There are Frost Giants that the Asgardians subdue and drive out of Earth to allow the humans to live. An uneasy truce is made between Odin and the Frost Giants.
Thor is head strong and eager to fight, Odin wants to “fix” this in him, so he banishes Thor to Earth and takes away his powers, and his Hammer. Which is supposed to have an inscription that reads, “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” But in the movie, Odin speaks these words to the hammer (Mjolnir) and a symbol is in the place of the writing. Not bad, I like. Sidenote, when Kat Dennings hears Thor say Mjolnir, she repeats it as, “meow, meow,” that’s funny.
The visuals of Asgard are amazing, they make the capes and viking like costumes work. Anthony Hopkins as Odin is great, he really gives it that whole tired warrior burdened with ruling a kingdom feel. And there are a lot of comic book easter eggs for all the geeks sprinkled throughout the movie. Here are most of them; Hawkeye makes an appearance, Straczynski and Stan Lee have cameos, and SHIELD with Nick Fury as present.
The bad; my main problem with this movie is the story. Typical stories are constructed with a character arc, in this case Thor’s. If that’s the case, then the arc would look like a bell curve or a mountain, but in this case, it’s more of a mole hill. Thor goes from being an arrogant prince, to a human and back to a prince. I realize that he does learn what it is to be without powers, but there’s not a real sense of humility and appreciation for his powers.
Then there’s the supporting cast, which is my next biggest problem. There’s Thor’s entourage in Asgard, all warriors similar to him. And there’s Jane Foster and her scientist people on Earth. Why are any of them needed in Thor’s journey? They don’t have a purpose, except to deliver information to and fro to Thor. His Asgard chums aren’t as strong as Thor… and they’re almost useless in stopping The Destroyer. Thor then gives up his life thereby learning humility and regaining his powers, sounds good right? But no, it’s too easy. His friends (Asgard or Earth) should’ve seen the inscription and brought Thor’s dead body to the hammer, it would’ve given them purpose for being there, but no… the hammer flies to his dead body.
And why all the dutch angles? Thor is Norse…
To sum up; A movie like Thor is meant to introduce the non-comic book reading audience to an established property, so there’s a built in audience. But the major studios want to attract the mass public as well. They should then tailor the movie to the first audience, because they know that those seats are already purchased, then go for the non-comic people. I wanted more, I wanted Thor to work for his powers to come back. The journey was easy and effortless. Thor was a middle movie, being a two hour trailer for The Avengers movie coming up, when it should’ve stood on its own.
So in short, I would recommend this movie on DVD as a rental. I personally do not see myself purchasing this DVD in hopes of it accumulating a protect layer of dust, thereby preserving the integrity of the disc. Am I being too harsh on this movie? Am I expecting too much? Was I setting myself up for a disappointment from the beginning? What is the meaning of rhetorical?
Oh and stay till the end for an extra scene, and read the names of all the people who worked hard on this movie.