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Thor was much much better than I expected. I didn't know if they could
pull of the balance between the Norse mythology stuff and the real
world Marvel Universe. I should've known better because Marvel knows
their characters and knows what we want to see. Spider-Man set a new
standard for the superhero film genre back in the day. Iron Man upped
the ante. Thor takes the ball and runs with it and places that bar even
higher. I look forward to seeing it again and know it will do well
enough to be worthy of a sequel because word of mouth is going to be
great. Trust me when I say Thor REALLY IS as good as Iron Man and is
most worthy to be called one of the greatest adaptations ever.
Chris Hemsworth as the Norse god Thor, and Tom Hiddleston as his villainous brother Loki show they have the acting ability and star quality to become mega-marquee names in the future. Marvel found two absolute diamonds in the rough. Both actors make a HUGE impression and are wonderful on screen. You knew Acedemy Award winners Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman would bring it but these relative unkowns more than hold their own on screen. I know the script is written mostly for them but they carry it in a big way. From what I've read, Hemsworth and Hiddleston were cast almost a year in advance of filming the story so, they had time to get into shape and do character research. They certain did these long-time Marvel greats proud. Intelligent comic-book popcorn epics are rare and this one is definitely a cut above the usual fare.
The idea of a "classic" director like Kenneth Branagh making a
superhero film might initially sound strange, but in the case of Thor
that ended up being very appropriate, because the comic always used
Shakespearean drama and archaic language to tell the story of the God
of Thunder, the political/family conflicts in the Asgard kingdom and
its interaction with the universe of Marvel Comics. And Branagh's
competent direction, the excellent performances and the solid
screenplay make Thor to be a very entertaining movie.
I honestly had always preferred the character of Thor in small doses or as part of an ensemble, like he was on the beginnings of the comic The Avengers and in its modern reinterpretation The Ultimates. So, I did not have big expectations on a movie exclusively focused in that character; however, Chris Hemsworth brings a brilliant performance in that role, because he could perfectly combine the pompous and operatic "classic" Thor with the dynamic and unstable modern Thor. I do not know how the purist fans of the Kirby/Lee era will take that mash-up, but I think it was a very good decision, specially because Thor does not only work as an origin of that superhero, but also as an efficient preamble of the highly anticipated film The Avengers, which will be an unification point of Marvel's film universe.
For example, we also have the character of Agent Coulson conducting scientific investigations from S.H.I.E.L.D. with his accustomed astuteness and efficiency; we also have a cameo of one of my favorite Avengers (even though without his traditional uniform); and a post-credits scene where a few concepts we are surely going to see in that future movie are established. But well...it would not be fair to only consider Thor as an extra-large trailer of The Avengers. As I previously said, it is a very entertaining movie with various positive elements, like Branagh's efficient direction, which drives the movie at a perfect rhythm. As for the cast, besides of the previously mentioned Hemsworth, I think that the rest of the actors is also worthy of applause, starting by Natalie Portman, who can perfectly express her character's emotions. I also liked the work from Stellan Skarsgård; his participation is relatively short and it would seem irrelevant if it was not for the dramatic weight this actor brings to the character with his mere presence. And Kat Dennings is quite funny and credible as the comic relief.
As for the screenplay, it is very well written; the only thing I would say against it is that it makes a few "traps" which feel a bit forced. As for the action scenes, I found them to be well filmed, with the exception of a few excessive close-ups which made them occasionally confusing; I think that is the only thing I can say against Branagh's direction.
In conclusion, I took a very pleasant surprise with Thor, and I can recommend it as a very good re-invention of a difficult to handle superhero. It might not be a great film, but it definitely made me have a good time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Honestly, seeing that Branagh directed and J. Michael Straczynski wrote
the script is a large part of why I went to see the movie. Plus I'm
generally a big fan of Marvel and their movies.
Unfortunately it's one of the dumbest things I've seen in years, and is completely full of moronic clichés and the most superficial faux morals. Please do yourself a favour and spend your money on things that are more deserving of it, especially if you've worked hard to earn it.
Just in case you want to know what you'll be missing ---
* spoiler alert * (though really I'm giving this film a massive compliment by suggesting you could 'spoil' anything in it)
Thor's father takes his hammer away and sends him to earth for punishment. While there Thor literally changes overnight from being an arrogant, rash and violent idiot to a wise, humble and pacifist purveyor of all things noble, and the only possible reason for this that's presented in the movie is that he met Natalie Portman and was then told that his father died while he was gone. Once Thor the god of thunder completes this astonishing and instant transformation and sacrifices his life for others, his hammer flies back to him, revives him and he beats the bad guys with it.
If you really, really love Marvel movies and viking folklore (to the point where you don't mind these things being made a joke out of) and have 2.5 hours in which you'd otherwise be causing harm to humanity or this planet, go see it. Otherwise you might as well spare yourself from this glorious waste of time and brain cells.
I watched this last night at a preview screening in London.
I prayed that Kenneth Branagh would learn from his mistakes with handling a big budget movie, namely his Frankeinstein. Thankfully, I am glad to say he learnt a great deal from those mistakes. Of course, this is no Henry V, this is just pure popcorn entertainment but a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to Thor for the big screen. Chris Hemsworth played the part with a lot of energy, charisma and I have to admit from a bloke's point of view, annoying good looks. Anthony Hopkins added much needed heavyweight presence as Odin but its a role he has quite frankly played a gazillion times but I never tire of it, so I'm not complaining. In a year long span of brilliantly playing vastly different roles from psychotic to swashbuckling heroine, Natalie Portman this time plays the sweet determined scientist girl who falls for the strangely mannered good looking guy. Nothing too taxing for any of them but they do give a re-assuring aura about them.
The visuals were quite spectacular, mainly, the sweeping canvas of Asgard. The action scenes were also good though I thought could have been executed better with lesser use of the fast cut edit style that is too often the norm in action film these days.
There is plenty of humour when Thor is on Earth but not in a put-off way as there is a suitable contrast of a serious tone with everything set in Asgard. Even though the storyline was somewhat predictable, it was still a riveting one.
For those like me, who were concerned about how Thor fits into the established Marvel connected universe set by the Iron Man films need not worry. That is just another thing that Branagh and crew pulls off very well. We can now fully embrace the forthcoming Avengers where a God, a man who transforms into a giant green beast, and a man who flies in a hi tech amour suit can share the same screen. So its all coming together nicely.
And make sure you stay for the end credit scenes. In case you did not know of this before, I urge you to go back to the previous films (Iron Man 1 & 2, Incredible Hulk) and watch the end of credit sequences if you haven't already. They tell a separate story strand that will culminate to a certain upcoming Marvel movie. The end credit sequence of Thor is the most fascinating yet as it actually takes a major plot development in the story strand ;) And it was the longest bloody end of credit sequence I've ever seen in any movie! One last thing, the film I saw was in 3d and once again, it practically nearly ruined all the action scenes for me. In the non action scenes, it was pretty useless and just simply made the film much darker.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Did professionals write this film? Did Antony really read the script or
did he just see the figures in the contract? I think Nat and Tony need
new agents, because you do not go from Silence of lamb and Black Swan
*respectively* to this utter junk.
I do not know what other people saw but there is nothing good or unique in this film. The special effects actually made me tired. And lets talk about the story? My Lord, where was it and when did it begin. I got the feeling that the script was written after the action sequences were planned. They therefore said we want this effect and this effect now lets write a film around that. We need to use up Nat so lets force a romance into the script. We want jokes, so lets force a few of those in there. So much dead space in the film that doesn't arch into anything.scenes seem random and disconnected, like writing in junk to get it to a feature length time. drifting focus, drifting priorities. And no great moments that saved the film.
Also it is an overnight transformation from utter arrgoance to humility. Does anyone identify with any characters here? Did you understand the brothers motives? Makes no real sense in the real world. Did the film introduce anything for anyone to attach themselves to emotionally? No. Characters appear in odd order without any development. Actually while I am here typing I just realized something : This film is below the dignity of critique. It is so poor, so badly directed and written that to even point out the weak character development or random script turns give too much credit to it. I will therefore cease to add speak about it for fear of giving someone the illusion that there is anything to actually speak about in terms of artistic critique.
In the pantheon of Marvel Superheroes, from my vantage point, Thor is a
second-tier player. Even amongst non-obsessive comic aficionados, such
as myself, Thor doesn't quite have the readership draw or the common
familiarity in the public that heroes such as Spider-Man, Batman,
Superman, etc., have. However, that doesn't mean that Marvel Studios,
the filmmaking wing of the company, feel inclined to give the filmic
adaptation of Thor short shrift. The cinematic entry for this
character, titled simply Thor, is among the better of the Marvel
adaptations of recent years, mixing a good sense of fun, strong acting,
and some Shakespearian level drama that makes for an especially
entertaining time at the movies.
Liberally adapting portions of Thor comic book lore to fit in a more modern comic book film reality, Thor introduces us to a centuries old war between the Asgardians, beings that live for long periods of time and can travel through space from their home realm of Asgard to various other worlds, such as Earth, via the Bi-Frost bridge, and the conflict centric Frost Giants, whom the Asgardians conquered some time back. Odin (Anthony Hopkins), ruler of the Asgardians, is preparing to abdicate his throne to his son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), but on the eve of Thor's inauguration, agents of the Frost Giants infiltrate Asgard and attempt to steal back a device that is the key to their power, which had been taken by Odin at the end of their long struggle. When Thor disagrees with his father's desire to not to retaliate in order to not disturb the peace that currently exists between the Asgardians and the Frost Giants, he takes matters into his own hands, traveling to the Frost Giant's realm with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), and compatriots Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) and Fandral (Josh Dallas) in tow. When the encounter with the Frost Giants ends with tensions re-ignited between the two factions, Odin decides that his son is not prepared to lead his people, and exiles Thor, sans his powers, to Earth.
When he arrives on Earth, he is discovered by astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her associates Professor Selvig (Stellan Skarsgaard) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), who are convinced that he isn't a random homeless vagabond that they found in the middle of the desert. Thor must attempt to locate his power hammer, Mjolnir, from the government agents that have captured it, and attempt to reclaim his place in Asgard. However, he finds that, without his super-human abilities, and surrounded by humans, perhaps some of his previous attitudes were incorrect, especially when he connects romantically with Jane. Meanwhile, Loki, who turns out to have some ulterior motives, seizes control of Asgard following the collapse of Odin from strain, and begins to hatch a grand scheme involving the Frost Giants.
Thor, much like Iron Man before it, proves that, in the right hands, a comic tale that appears silly on the surface can have hidden depths when properly plumbed. Sure, Thor has elements that, on the face of it, may lead a bit to some audience snickers (Thor's ability to pick himself up and fly and defeat attackers with little effort are a bit cheesy at times), but the creatives behind Thor, including director Kenneth Branagh, manage to develop a story for Thor that deals with elements of tragedy, pathos, selflessness and, perhaps even more surprisingly, involving character development. Thor is more about the lead characters at its core, again akin to Iron Man, than some other comic book films and this draws the audience into its tale.
When it was first announced that Kenneth Branagh would be taking the reins of Thor as a director, it seemed something of an unusual fit for someone best known for his cinematic adaptations of the works of Shakespeare, but the final results of Thor bare out that Branagh was just the right man for the job. Considering the larger-than-life origins of the Thor comic, involving beings with the power and appearance of Gods and the various machinations of their story, the material fits fairly well with Branagh's body of work to a great extent. Especially strong is the development of Loki, who proves to be less of a traditional mustache twirling villain, and more of a misguided soul, trapped between revelations he makes about himself and his past and his respect in his father, making him more of a tragic figure than a black and white comic book antagonist.
Thor benefits from strong acting from its leads, Hemsworth and Hiddleston. Hemsworth embodies Thor, first as the brash, acting-before- thinking hero, and later as a man faced with the reality that some of his choices and attitudes were not becoming of a king. Hemsworth really makes you empathize with Thor, and gives you a reason to root for the character throughout the film. Hiddleston, working with the somewhat subdued (at first) Loki eventually transforms him from a seeming weak, malleable person into one who's penchant for vengeance and control is revealed in layers, peeling back one by one through the development of the narrative.
Thor isn't without its weak points, however. The romance between Thor and Jane Foster is practically and afterthought, rushed into the narrative at light speed and then not given any room to breathe or develop, it plays more as a requirement of adapting the comic story than something that works organically in the film. Portman is fine in the role, but the screenplay doesn't give enough to this relationship for it to be more than a bump in the road of the film's story.
Once again, Marvel has managed to take one of their lesser known heroes and make them the subject of an entertaining film version, with energy and depth that is a bit unexpected. May they keep on making comic book films of this caliber.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Though I'm old and did read some comics in my time, Thor was never one of them. I do teach some Norse mythology, though, so that aspect interested me. There was an odd steampunk approach to the mythology, which was OK, I suppose. I really didn't expect this movie to be War and Peace, and I was certainly right on the money with that. It went for the snarky Iron Man approach more than I thought it would. It's hard to pull off without veteran snarkmeister Robert Downey, Jr., though. Chris Hemsworth is impossibly charming and good- looking in the title role, and does pretty well, considering some of the lines he had to say. Anthony Hopkins is a safe choice for his patented Older Mentor/Authority Figure performance (enjoy that check, Anthony), and Tom Hiddleston is somewhat intriguing as Loki. Stellan Skarsgard is completely wasted in a role that could have been phoned in. But you know who really stinks up the joint? Natalie Portman. It was DAMN hard to believe she was an astrophysicist, but it was even harder to believe that THOR (god of thunder, possessor of unspeakable power) would find her even remotely interesting. All she does is whine. The alleged falling in love is quite unbelievable, BTW. Yeesh. I hope the inevitable sequel loses her character.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sorry, to all that have given this "movie" more than 1 out of 10. This
has to be one of the most sorry excuses for a movie I've ever seen.
Actually less interesting and more poorly written than Pokemon the
movie and even that was a new low for me... It cost me £10.00 to see
this (I had my own 3d glasses)!!! I'm considering asking for a refund.
What was the point of Natalie Portman or the other mortals presence and the 5 minutes we spent in their company?
This movie is nothing but a 2 and bit hour long trailer for the undoubted THOR 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 which will have all the drama and normally good content that Marvel based movies have (I can only hope).
More time is spent (nearly half) developing characters and giving us background information on how we've got to where we've got...rather than telling the story that we paid to see....
There's no depth of character, (Anthony Hopkins was the best actor in it and he spent most of his time in a coma, I'm guessing after he read the script !), there's no plot other than arrogant son, exiled to earth. He spends 5 minutes (yes 5 !) not understanding anything that's going on or how society works (despite him and his people being deified for at least 2,000 years) and then gets sucked back to his own "realm", there's little in the way of good dialogue, the special effects are Dr Who'esq and the 3D is forgettable.
There's no menace from any of the baddies, his "bad" half / non brother seems so nice that you think "ah it's all an act and something terrible is going to happen"... but no, he is quite a nice guy only really dabbles with naughtiness.....
This film was supposed to be in 3D yet I completely forgot that it was after the first 5 minutes and only at the end when I realised that I was wearing the stupid glasses did I remember!!
In a time where we have transformers, X-Men and the like, the special effects were weak and pretty poor. There's no humour no camping it up to rescue it either.
My worry is that if this is the best movie of the undoubted quadruology that we're about to be subjected to, then God help us.
I warn you we may have another Iron Man 2 (a movie I still haven't been able to stay awake all the way through yet!!) or Spiderman (anything other than 1) on our hands and can I bring myself to part with another £10 on the strength of that?... almost certainly not.
This could and should have been great, it wasn't and I'm left feeling cheated !
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Again we witness how you spoil a rather good movie. After 5 minutes I
was ready to stop it, and read a newspaper! WHY...please tell me WHY is
there Asians and Afro Americans in Asgard? I'm ABSOULTE NOT racist, but
I'm Danish, and when I watch a movie which should tell a story from the
Nordic mythology, It p..... me off that it has to be "sooo political
correct", no matter that it totally spoils the movie.
Could have been a rather good movie, but turned out trashy. No, I won't see no. 2-3-4-5-6 or 7 in the series. All this because Americans need to please the political crowd. That's just awful.
If toy want to make a movie like this, then please research, and cast as good as you can. This is just so wrong.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had heard a lot of good things about this film before I eventually
saw it. I had decided that I wasn't going to go and pay loads of money
to sit in noisy cinemas and be bombarded with disappointing
blockbusters this summer, but I figured that this had enough good word
of mouth to be worth seeing. After watching it I browsed through the
user comments here of writers I generally trust and found that most of
them had loved it too; so why did I find it to be all a lot of fuss and
nonsense that ultimately amounts to very little?
I came to Thor with some worries despite the good word of mouth, I never cared for the character generally and he always seemed a little silly to me, with the Nordic god dialogue just making it worse. As a result I guess the script could have been worse because it would have been bogged down in this stuff but it never was, however this is not to say that it worked well. What it does is take us from point A to point B without ever really doing a huge amount of interest. It has enough humour in to stop it being too serious, but not enough to actually be light and fun. It has enough character in it to avoid it feeling wooden, but not enough to make one care. It has enough drama in it to set up the action, but not enough to provide actual tension or a sense of danger. To me it didn't seem to do anything in particular. I was looking for more sport to be made of this silly God once he was on earth but it didn't happen. In particular I was looking for Loki to be a more interesting "baddie" since he could have been a tragic, haunted character but we don't see this outside of his actions.
This all came together for me to limit my interest in what was going on. The stuff in the heavens was all too full of mock Shakespearean shouting but without dramatic substance, while the stuff on Earth was too fleeting and lacking fun and entertainment value. For sure the film provides spectacle but again I just found it to be rather hollow as I watched it, enjoying it for the noise but not much else. The cast are varied. Although limited, Hemsworth is well-cast because he has the body and big voice to fill the character. He needed a good opposite number though and in Hiddleston he doesn't have it he doesn't have the presence needed or the depth of character. Portman has almost nothing to do and it shows in her performance, she is here for the sake of it and you could have digitally removed her from this film and made no difference to it. Ditto Skarsgård at least Dennings provided some light relief. Hopkins adds a bit of gravitas to proceedings, while Elba has the frame and voice for his character. Like everyone else it surprises me still to think this was directed by Kenneth Branagh, but it is a smart career move for him to show he can do big budget effects movies if it does nothing else, it shows that.
Thor feels like a film that had to be made rather than one that was created on its own merits. Of course, as part of The Avengers, this is true but it is irritating that you feel that way while watching it. It has noise and spectacle for those looking for that, but it lacks too much in the way of character, danger, humour and good old fashioned entertainment. You know when you buy a new product and the first few days it is shiny and great but then, in using it you spot lots of gaps and think "why didn't they do this?" and "why did they not expand this function?" well Thor is that product, shiny and noisy but ultimately one is left wondering why the makers didn't do a lot more in some regards and a lot less in others. Not an awful film but just a bog-standard one with a massive effects budget.
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