By now, even though it is Monday, most of you have probably already seen Marvel’s newest big-screen adaptation, Thor. I’m a huge Marvel fan and pride myself in knowing a great deal of the continuity, specifically from recent years, but Thor has always somehow escaped me. Regardless, I was psyched for the movie, and I’m just as psyched after watching it. Want to know what makes it an enjoyable and silly romp through the fantasy realm? Read on for the full Thor movie review.
I’m completely on board with the Avengers movie initiative that Marvel Studios has planned for next year, leading up to a culmination of Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, and Captain America intersecting as a movie series in one unified universe, something that hasn’t been done, frankly, ever. A lot of how people are seeing these movies then is not so much on their own merits, but rather as a massive hype train building towards that inevitable Avengers movie on the horizon. Therefore, can Thor stand on its own accomplishments, or is it completely hollow of personality?
Thankfully, what Thor does best is not become too worried about being anything but a silly comic book movie about the literal Norse god of thunder, Thor himself, as his father, Odin, casts him down to Earth from Asgard because he needs to learn a lesson about being more companionate and essentially just figure out how to grown up a little bit. The plot is all about dudes dressed in outlandish Viking-inspired armor smashing things with large and powerful weapons, spitting off snarky one-liners, and maybe getting a smooch or two from some nerdy science girls. And the great part is, that’s as complicated everything is. No harsh life lessons or massive character flaws. Just a good time had by all.
A lot of reviews started coming out weeks ago with the general theme that Thor is probably the most kid-friendly Marvel movie thus far, and I’m willing to agree with those insomuch as Thor allows itself to be a comic book movie, rather than trying to be a movie that just so happens to include things from a comic book. There is a rainbow bridge in this movie. There is a magic boomerang hammer. There is a mechanical guardian called The Destroyer. And none of these things need more explaining than, “Well yeah, these are the Norse gods, so they’ve got, like, the ability to create these things. Sure.”
It may just be the kid in me, but seeing Thor hurl around that boomerang hammer, Mjolnir, is a real treat to behold. It’s not campy, or cheesy. Nah, I don’t have the proper word for it other than simply “fun.” Seeing a super attractive actor dressed as a comic book god hurling a mighty hammer through dozens of giants made of ice just elicits a general feeling of enjoyment and simplistic fun.
Even though the tone is overwhelmingly lighthearted, the actors do a great job of injecting themselves into the roles. Chris Hemsworth makes a great lead actor, perfectly acting the part of the good-looking boyish warrior. And hell, dude looks cut. I caught my wife smirking like a schoolgirl during the scenes when he loses his shirt, but I couldn’t get mad because I was doing the same thing. Hemsworth is now Thor, just as Robert Downy Jr. is Tony Stark.
Natalie Portman as Jane the nerdy science girl love interest is charming as usual, but I’m skewed in that regard as Natalie Portman is probably one of the most attractive actresses who can actually act ever, Star Wars prequels not withstanding. Tom Hiddleston gets to have a lot of fun as Loki, Thor’s trickster brother, who actually gets to go through a lot of fun plot arcs of his own. Even though it’s implied Loki may be the real villain, something you’re never quite sure of (in an uncomplicated way), you still sort of want to root for him in his hornly snaziness.
I should note that Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Coulsen is quickly becoming my favorite part of these Marvel movies as he really does own every scene he appears in. He’s smooth and likeable, but most importantly he’s human. And I mean honestly human, as in you can tell he knows he’s not the most important character in this whole experiment but you can also tell that he’s comfortable with where he is. I just like Gregg’s Agent Coulsen, so I’m happy to know he’ll be appearing in more of this films.
The rest of the cast is just great. I can’t think of a single miscast role in the whole movie, partly because everything just fit. Those frustrated with Idris Elba, a black dude, as Heimdall? Yeah, brother rocked that part. Elba is now Heimdall and I’m more than happy with that. I’m especially hopeful that the entire cast of side characters, including Elba’s Heimdall, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Josh Dallas as Fandral, and especially Jaimie Alexander as Sif all reappear in the inevitable sequel movie as they all did a fantastic job with their respective characters. Oh, and Anthony Hopkins was great as Odin, so with that I think I’ve covered pretty much everyone, except maybe Kat Dennings (hottie!) as Darcy, another great role.
Lastly, Kenneth Branagh as the director brings the film together in a glorious package by adding a sense of classical, almost Shakespearean drama and direction to the mix. It was such a strange choice for directors, but Branagh is excellent, and apparently was a huge fan of the comics when he was a kid. Hey, everybody wins!
All that nicety said, how does Thor relate to the Avengers movie? Beyond the main character being a fourth of the group, tons of in-references are made both during and in the required PS after the credits. At this point I’m all for the crossbreeding of the Marvel movies. It’s how the comics play out anyway, so here is just feels right. It’s how the movies will become one-to-one adaptations of the comics, in spirit at least. Inner continuity and references for fans is how it’s done, hopefully allowing everyone, even those new to the Marvel Universe, a chance to become fanboys who know everything.
So should you go see Thor? If you like comic book movies, yes. If you like action movies, yes. If you like lighthearted movies, yes. If you like tons of great eye candy, yes. If you can’t stand this whole strange comic business, then no. Otherwise, full recommendation for Thor. Go check it out. And with that I’ll see you in two months when Captain America comes out!
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