was always one of the goofier Marvel Comics superheroes – a loud, vain,
self-absorbed Norse God who vanquishes his foes by throwing a magic hammer
at them – so it’s no real surprise that his is one of the goofier Marvel
strangely enough, Thor plays like two separate movies smashed
together. One of those – a fish out of water tale in which the superhero
and villains land in the middle of a small desert town and nearly lay waste
to the place – is actually extremely entertaining, despite the fact that it
is just a bit too reminiscent of similar scenes in Superman II. The
second story – about politics, intrigue and treason in the royal house of
the God’s city Asgard – is much less interesting and borders on ridiculous
Still, Thor is filmed with gorgeous grandeur by an unlikely director
– Kenneth Branagh, who has always seemed much more comfortable with the Bard
than with Marvel – and he has sculpted a very good piece of escapist summer
fluff, despite the inherent limitations of his main character.
Besides, who knew ancient Norse Gods had giant killer robots?
Chris Hemsworth makes a likable and impressively buff action star. Tom
Hiddleston makes for a weasel of a bad guy. Anthony Hopkins over emotes
like no one’s business. Natalie Portman – continuing her quest to be in
every movie released in the past year – does just fine in a part that is
mostly decorative. Kat Dennings nearly steals the film as a slacker
scientist. And finally, finally, the severely underemployed Rene Russo gets
another job, though honestly she gets less than nothing to do as Thor’s
Unfortunately, Thor’s background story is pretty uninteresting as Marvel
superheroes go. He was born a king and a God, and...
well that’s about it. All sorts of claptrap about an attempted coup of his
world strains to be interesting, but never quite becomes intriguing – though
it is all, admittedly, spectacularly filmed.
mentioned, his banishment on Earth is much more entertaining, in a
fish-out-of-water sort of way. Sadly, not enough of the storyline focuses
on this aspect of the film. This section of the storyline should have been
beefed up (any pun regarding Mr. Hemsworth’s physique was unintentional).
Thor would have been much more entertaining if the entire
Asgard section was jettisoned – or at the very least severely pruned down.
However, the Asgard stuff is there and looks sharp, feels overwrought and
sounds a little ridiculous. (The Asgard dialogue is almost comical in its
Hopefully by the second Thor film – and it is nearly inevitable – the
backstory will calm down and the filmmakers will focus on the more
interesting aspects of Thor’s life and his world. Also, hopefully,
they will spend much more time in the real world rather than the bizarre
mash-up of mythical Gods and space aliens which appears to be Asgard.
fact, we won’t have to even wait that long, as with most of the recent
Marvel films (including Iron Man 2 and the upcoming Captain
America), other Marvel superheroes make little cameos here. This is
obviously trying to whip the fan boys up for the upcoming Avengers
movie, which will essentially be a Marvel all-star game – Iron Man, the
Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury,
The Thor film seems to be particularly setting up the movie,
because not only is Thor going to be in The Avengers, but his evil
brother Loki (Hiddleston), one of the scientists (Stellan
Skarsgaard) and the government agent tracking Thor (Clark Gregg) will
also be a part of the imminent film.
Truth is, the character of Thor will probably work better in that context.
He seems more like a supporting character than the centerpiece of a
franchise. And his film, despite trying gallantly to hide the hero’s
limited appeal, can’t completely change that fact.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: May 1, 2011.