Friday, May 6, 2011

Movie with Abe: Thor

Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Released May 6, 2011

For the past decade, Marvel Comics has been churning out film after film bringing back each of its token superheroes to the big screen in the run-up to its “Avengers” project slated for next year. The latest in that series is the Norse god Thor, making his first live-action cinematic appearance in the form of actor Chris Hemsworth, whose future flourishing career will no doubt date back to this as his first big hit. Like the recent “Iron Man” movies, “Thor” is a loud, modern take on a classic story that manages to incorporate mythology and tweak it just the right amount to play out in the present day.

As a loyal “X-Men” fan and Marvel adherent in the timeless Marvel-DC debate, I can’t profess to having much knowledge about the character of Thor. That’s not a problem, however, since the film provides a comprehensive crash course almost immediately in the history of Asgard and the Frost Giants, full of dazzling visuals. Fast-forwarded to the present, Thor lands right in the lap of a curious scientist in New Mexico, and his story begins. The film shares equal time between Thor’s homeland and Earth, as two very different worlds converge in one blockbuster of a movie.

Hemsworth, who stole the first few minutes of the “Star Trek” reboot as George Kirk, is a fantastic choice to play Thor. He seems designed to be cocky, confident, and kindly all at the same time, and Hemsworth does a marvelous job of conveying that through his charisma. He understands the need for comedy, as well, in order to merge his ancient regal world with modern-day New Mexico, and Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kat Dennings help to ratify that notion on the ground by appearing both starry-eyed and shocked at the wonders produced by and around Thor. Anthony Hopkins continues his trend of playing mentors to the young kids as Thor’s wise, all-powerful father, and Idris Elba stands out in an unrecognizable role as portal guardian Heimdall.

“Thor” starts strong and loud, providing several enthralling action and battle scenes within its first half-hour to hour. Unfortunately, the film is rather top-heavy, lacking in similarly thrilling events for the remainder of the film. Its ending comes as somewhat of a surprise, almost right in the middle of the action, as it seems ready to move on to its next plot point or villain. Like “Sherlock Holmes,” this serves as a promising reboot of a franchise that simply starts without presenting the best entry-specific plotline. It’s also not nearly as entertaining in its references to other “Avengers” members as some of Marvel’s other films have been, which is hardly a fair requirement. Regardless, this film is wildly enjoyable and considerably captivating, particularly when it features Thor’s awesome hammer, blending all-out action with light comedy for an exciting if incomplete experience.



Unknown said...

It's funny, I felt exactly the opposite way. I was itching for Thor to land on Earth, I felt like all the Asgard stuff was just a really long intro. Interesting difference in opinions for sure! And I approve of your grade.


Movies with Abe said...

I'm so glad! Thanks for commenting Elly!