THOR opens in theaters all over the country not with a whimper but with a roaring boom of thunder. Okay, maybe not the roaring boom that jolts you out of a deep sleep in the middle the night when you’re dreaming of steamy nights with exotic supermodels, but still that cackle of thunder that might catch you by surprise and pucker your cheeks a bit. Marvel Studios has delivered a superhero movie that people of all ages can have a good time with. I do not believe that THOR is on the same level of satisfying entertainment that IRON MAN is on, but it’s also not that far beneath it either.
Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior of Asgard who is next in line to inhabit the throne to become king after his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). When Thor goes against his father’s wishes and begins an act of war against, Jotunheim, the home of the Frost Giants, Odin is forced to strip Thor of his powers and banish him to Earth. Once there he is immediately on a crash course with Jane (Natalie Portman), who has been working her whole life to expose the existence of portals to new worlds. After Thor is banished, Odin falls ill and Thor’s brother, Loki assumes command of Asgard. Loki, always jealous of Odin’s favoritism of Thor looks to makes his banishment permanent so that he cannot become king of Asgard.
Wanna know how much I knew about the character of Thor before heading into the theater? Aside from the whole god of thunder and the fact that he wields a mighty hammer, I knew zilch. I come from the side of the audience where my feet are not firmly placed in the lore of Thor. I have to say that knowing almost nothing about the character or the comic did not hinder my ability to enjoy the movie. I didn’t view THOR as an unforgettable blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a ton of fun.
THOR is has that same sense of light hearted comedy that was present in a similar film known as IRON MAN. I happen to think that IRON MAN’s script and directing were much sharper than THOR, but that’s not to say that either of those things was horrid in THOR. The fact of the matter is that THOR looks good, it’s funny, the action is adequate but interesting enough the action and CG imagery were my least favorite aspects of the movie. The action is fun and the special effects look great, I just didn’t find much weight behind them. I preferred almost everything involving Thor’s time on Earth as a mere human with no powers, interacting with people as though he were still powerful, then dealing with the fact that he is not infinitely strong and other aspects of human drama.
One of my other problems with some of today’s modern superhero movies that don’t involve Batman are some of the dialogue. IRON MAN wasn’t a huge offender, but a movie like SPIDERMAN had that overly cheesy and maniacal villain with dialogue like, “I’ll get you next time Spiderman” followed by that terrible over the top villain laugh that’s suited for something out of an Austin Powers movie. THOR’s level of cheese wasn’t unbearable, in fact it often made it sort of charming, but the character’s style of talking on Asgard was suitable for a Renaissance fair and there’s a reason you won’t catch me dead at one of those.
THOR definitely has an impressive cast that’s lead by Chris Hemsworth. I was worried at the beginning because the Asgard dialogue was not jiving with me but it grew on me after a while. Anthony Hopkins is good as usual, Kat Dennings is good as the comic relief and Stellan Skarsgard is ok and I even kind of enjoyed Natalie Portman putting on her head over heels bumbling teenage crush hat. Won’t lie that I was a little disappointed there wasn’t an obligatory lesbian scene or a ballet dance to be found but not every movie can be BLACK SWAN. Tom Hiddleston gave the weakest performance for me; he was good as the quiet and passive brother that was still visibly upset by Thor’s favoritism and arrogance but as he went more over the top and maniacal it started wearing me down.
All the Avenger’s heroes have had their character tie in thrown in here and there and it’s no different here. It’s not near as heavy handed here, the Thor spoiler at the end of IRON MAN 2 is pasted in here and there’s a brief reference to Tony Stark and yes Jeremy Renner is tossed in there as Hawkeye as well. Then of course there’s the end credit spoiler/reveal and it might come as no surprise since I haven’t read any of the comics that end credit scene meant absolutely nothing to me. One thing is for sure, when THE AVENGERS is finally in theaters at least maybe we’ll be done with these.
Admittedly, the abundance of superhero movies is getting a little out of hand. I didn’t know anything about Thor as a character but I was really looking forward to the movie and while I didn’t love it at much as IRON MAN I still had a lot of fun with it. I found Thor’s integration into the real world as believable as it could be and I was quite impressed with the drama involved with sibling rivalries and struggling to find yourself. THOR is a thundering good time with lots of impressive and colorful special effects that is thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end. One thing is for certain, I can’t wait to see how a mix of Tony Stark and Thor is going to turn out on the big screen. That alone should make for some good cinematic thunder and lightning.