Friday, November 18, 2011

Thor Movie Review

Marvel Studios has been making a lot of Super Hero movies over the past couple of years. Hardcore Marvel fans are getting revved up for the Avengers movie; hints of this major crossover movie have been dropped since Iron Man (2008)But possibly the most difficult Avenger to make a movie for would be Thor; he’s not human, he’s a god, most of his story and adventures don’t take place on Earth. Thor is so far removed from these other heroes that doing his story justice would be pretty tricky. Fortunately, 2011’s Thor movie (directed by Kenneth Branagh) pulled it off well.
Many centuries ago, a race of Frost Giants tried to take over Earth. A powerful race called the Asgardians lead by their king, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), thwarted the Frost Giants. These events became Earth’s Norse Mythology. Years later Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the son of Odin is to be made king of Asgard. The Ceremony is interrupted by some Frost Giants in the castle. Thor gathers some friends to retaliate against the Frost Giants’ home world, demanding answers. In doing so, Thor violates a treaty between the Asguardians and the Frost Giants. King Odin puts a stop to Thor’s juvenile, violent tirade and as punishment for Thor’s arrogance and stupidity, banishes Thor to Earth in modern day New Mexico as a mortal, stripped of his powers and strength. Thor, assisted by an astrophysicist college student Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), must try to recover his powers, atone for his mistakes, regain his father’s respect, stop the Frost Giant’s impending attack, and reclaim his place as heir to the throne of Asguard before his manipulative brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) claims it for himself.
A big obstacle for the writers and film makers of this movie was that a majority of the characters are gods. Things could easily have gone overboard; making the characters so foreign to the audience that they wouldn’t be able to relate to the characters. But even the mortal audience can understand the sibling rivalry between Thor and Loki, being severely humbled, discovering what your limits are, and loosing the respect of someone you admire. Also, you get a sense of what each character is capable of doing or not doing. It was never remotely established that these characters can do anything at all; they do have the powers of gods, but they still remained believable within the context of their world setting.
The special effects and CGI graphics were stunning. Occasionally you get movies that are simply a display of visual effects with a weak storyline stringing them together like in Tron: Legacy(2010). The visual effects in Thor complimented the storyline so well that they simply blended together. Asgard was nearly completely done in CGI; it was pretty and sold the idea that here magic and science truly are the same, as Thor describes it. Traveling between worlds via the Bifröst was a colorful spectacle that was awesome to see, but still held to the movie’s color scheme and helped establish the power of the Asgardians.
The pacing of the movie was done well. The prologue, narrated by Odin, seemed a little bit rushed; similar to the opening prologue to The Lord of the Rings (2001). There was a lot of back-story to establish but it was important to the main events, and had they revealed the back story slowly over the span of the movie it wouldn’t have set up the main plot as well. It was important for the audience to be on the same page that Thor was from the beginning. During part of Thor’s duration on Earth the pacing slows down. But this, coupled with the far reaching expanses of desert, establishes the feeling of despair and of being lost. Aside from these two points in the movie, the pacing is fairly consistent and keeps the audience interested without allowing them to fall behind.
Thor was a well done film that was enjoyable to watch. Marvel fans will enjoy seeing it. Even those new to these Marvel characters will enjoy this film. Between Thor’s endearing dialogue, the stunning visual effects, and fun characters, Thor is certainly worth watching or adding to your home movie collection.

Who is your favorite superhero from The Avengers lineup? Comment below and tell me why!

1 comment:

  1. Like in the theme song to MST3K, "relax it is just a show", makes this an OK movie. Still trying to figure out things like black haired oriental Norse Gods. Why would the Feds take everything from Jane and not question her or detain her? How did the Evil Brother pop down Earth and appear inside the Feds tent? They released Thor why? The gatekeeper left his position at the lonely transporter room because? Nobody noticed that the two brothers were completely different; no one made jokes about the non-red-headed-stepchild? OK I should just relax and watch the show.