Review of Thor (2011)

10 Dec

Thor (2011) is an action/fantasy/drama film, based on Marvel comic books and is one of the movies leading up to The Avengers (2012), where the title character teams up with several other comic book characters.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh (Henry V (1989), Dead Again (1991)), who is best known for starring and directing William Shakespear’s play adaptations.

Written by Ashley Miller (Agent Cody Banks (2003), X-Men: First Class (2011)), Zack Stentz (Andromeda (TV), Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TV)) and Don Payne (Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006)).

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård and others.

I love comic books, some of them less than others. Thor is one of those characters I don’t find interesting. While in comics he had this alternate personality, which gives his personality another dimension, but this movie version disregards that and makes Thor just this powerful guy with some family issues, so he doesn’t fit in with the idea of Marvel characters being relatable, unlike DC characters.

However, despite my opinions on the character, maybe influenced by my lack of knowledge about him, I thought this movie did a good job of making him very likable, by not overcomplicating him. Chris Hemsworth’s charisma also helps that significantly. Thor is almost as cheesy a character as Captain America and they succeed in making him more or less fitting in a realistic world.

Speaking of acting the stand-out is definitely Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s brother who is the main antagonist, because he’s pale, slim and has black hair. Seriously though, he does a great job and totally rocks that ridiculous helmet he wears later on in the movie. Anthony Hopkins is Thor’s very Shakespearian father and does it just like you expect him to. Natalie Portman tries to do this quirky Jodie Foster-like scientist, but the script doesn’t do her justice and throws her in as a love interest for Thor, who develops the hots for him very quickly. With the Asgardian characters, I think that Scandinavian accents would’ve been more suiting than the British ones they use.

It felt like the script asked for a lot longer movie and to get it into the 2-hour frame, they cut a lot of it short, so they had to force some points, take some shortcuts and rush some of the character developments.

Some of the CGI looks pretty awful, but some was quite impressive, like that rainbow bridge in Asgard and I found that robot thing (Destroyer, was it?) cool and something about how it moved made it  was just right.

I was pleasantly surprised by Hawkeye’s (Jeremy Renner) cameo.

Their choice of director is very odd. Hearing Kenneth Branagh’s name doesn’t really make me think of action oriented comic book movie. I guess they really squinted and saw the Shakespearian drama of the Nordic mythology in the source material, so to add some gravitas they got a “classical” director like Branagh. He does a good job aside from the damn dutch tilt‘s (slanted camera angle) all the time. Seriously, there’s no need to turn the camera every third frame, it starts feeling like watching Battlefield Earth.

My favorite part was definitely when Thor arrives on Earth and the movie turns into this fish-out-of-water type of comedy, where Thor is funny and Kat Dennings is cute.

Overall, it’s a solid, good movie. My least favourite of the big comic book movies of 2011, but that just means it’s been a pretty good year for them. Recommended, if you want to catch up for The Avengers, it’s fun and all, but not great.

"Hey guys, I'm one of those very prominent Asian characters of Nordic mythology."

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