Movie Review: Thor

This morning I went out and spent $7.75 on a matinee ticket to see the new summer blockbuster Thor.  I suppose I could, quite rightly, gripe about the price of the ticket but maybe I’ll save that for another writing.  I’ll get to the movie in a moment but first I wanted to comment on some of the trailers that came before it.  This will add to the comic book meets movie tie in for Thor, and help pad out the
“pre-spoilers” section of this review. 

First off we had Green Lantern.  After the initial teaser trailer left geekdom feeling somewhere between whelmed and under, we’ve had quite a bit more of the actual CGI actiony bits released.  With each new trailer it looks less like another samey superhero movie, and more like the CGI wonderfest we always thought a GL movie should be.  Less of the wild boy Hal Jordan, more of the planet OA,  and the Corp with it’s technicolor dreamcoat pallet of members.  Looks great, can’t wait to see it, and Ryan Reynolds still really needs to do Deadpool.

The next few of note were Cowboys & Aliens, and Captain America.  Both left me unmoved as they were the same trailers which hit the web a few weeks ago with no new content.  Cap in particular is a bit of a puzzle for me as I can’t tell whether they’re being vague because they’re still putting the finishing touches on it, or vague because they know that just by paying money to see Thor you’re almost certain to line up to see the “Star Spangled Avenger” take to the silver screen.

Now on to Thor.  It stars newcomer Chris Hemsworth as the titular beefcake Thor Odinson.  Chris only really know to me for his performance as George Kirk in the newest Star Trek .  Hemsworth is sure to get much more work after this, and is likley to become one of the next hunky male leads in Hollywood.   If you don’t believe me just Google, “Chris Hemsworth Thor shirtless”, and see what your wives or girlfriends think.

Thor is your typical spoiled prince who oversteps his bounds and his banished powerless to earth to learn the true meaning of being a “hero”, and to find love.  It is well directed by Shakespearian legend Keneth Branagh, who does an admirable job of allowing the charecters to wear their costumes without it seeming too silly.  The Norse Force look a bit out of place when they come down to earth in full costume, but I think when Thor is side by side with Iron Man, Captain America, and the rest of the Avengers next summer it’ll work just fine.  There is a good supporting cast of multi-ethnic friends of Thor who are good helpers to move the story along and provide some anchoring of humanity for Thor himself.

Since the move is directed by Branagh it has a bit of a Shakespeare as written by Stan Lee kind of feeling to it.  This includes bad almost British accents from several actors, most notable Rene Russo.  I guess she figured that she had nothing else to do in the movie so she might as well be memorable for something. The action is your standard far to close-up battle that we’ve come to expect.  Visually it is a beautiful movie, and really brings both worlds to life.

The only other awkward part of the movie is the forced love angle.  Naturally the minute Thor lands on earth he meets Natalie Portman who is playing not only the damsel, but an astrophysicist.  Not quite as big a leap as accepting Denise Richards as a “rocket scientist”, but in the same ballpark.  She’ in no way bad, it just feels like they had to shoehorn in the love aspect for the sake of filling all the boxes on the blockbuster checklist.

It is by no means either as great as Batman Begins, or as poor as Fantastic Four 2: Electric Bogeloo.  It knows what its job is, to act as Thor’s introduction, and it does it quite well.  We all will walk into the theater knowing that this is really just a 2 hour long trailer for The Avengers, and that is fine by me.  It gives a fair number of winks to the audience, and gives us our first glimpse of Jeremy Renner as everyone’s favorite second rate Batman, Hawkeye.  We see the return of our favorite SHIELD agent, and a quick visit from the one eyed wonder after the credits.  There are references to Thor’s alter ego, and the expected cameo from Stan Lee.  It keeps the ball rolling towards next summer very nicely.

Summary: Solid effort, great introduction to the charecter, 8 out of 10

Can’t wait for the inevitable big Bluray box set of all of the lead up Iron Man, Cap, Hulk, and Thor movies to come.

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