Jeromy's Movie Review: THOR

Like many of the sequel and prequel films that will follow over the next few months, Thor has the burden of living up to a staggering amount of hype. In some ways, it succeeds. In several ways, it fails.

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Visually, the movie is beautiful; especially the stunning world of Asgard. When we are first introduced to it, an overwhelming sense of wonder and excitement exudes through the screen. Accompanying this opening salvo is Patrick Doyle’s lump-in-the-throat inducing score. The musical composition for Thor is spot on; part superhero fanfare – part medieval epic. Doyle has clearly outdone himself with this score. It is also my sincere hope for anyone who sees this movie is that you see it in a theater with good sound. The sound effects are incredible. You feel every unique blast, punch, window smash and hammer pound right down to your toes.

Moving from technical achievements to acting, all that can be said is Chris Hemsworth IS Thor. Tom Hiddleston IS Loki. Anthony Hopkins IS Odin. It's as simple as that. They were all a joy to watch. While the entire cast embodies their comic book counterparts to near perfection, for the shared cinematic universe that Marvel has created, they ARE perfection. One standout performance has to be that of Idris Elba as Asgard’s ever-vigilant gatekeeper, Heimdall. The intensity and quiet composure he brought to his role made it impossible to take your eyes off him whenever he was on screen.

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Another pleasant surprise was finding out that the S.H.I.E.L.D. elements which detracted from Iron Man 2 were not obstructive in Thor as some have speculated. S.H.I.E.L.D being incorporated into the story as an initial adversary made them relevant to the story rather than an addition to it. Happily, not much time was spent setting up future Marvel endeavors.

Once we're brought inside the world of Asgard’s gleaming spires and golden architecture we never want to leave. Unfortunately Thor, in his arrogance, had to go and accidentally reignite a war with the their old adversaries, the Frost Giants. In an intense scene, Odin banishes Thor to Midgard (Earth) in order to force him to prove his worthiness to wield the hammer, Mjolnir and lead Asgard as its king. It’s when we follow him to Earth that the film begins to fall apart.

The juxtaposition of the sci-fi fantasy realm of Asgard with the familiarity of plain old New Mexico, US of A is inherently amusing and a welcome respite at this point in the film. A superhero film surely needs several moments of levity to avoid getting bogged down under its own weight. Thor, as a misplaced god on Earth, will naturally produce these moments just by the sheer nature of their absurdity. The problem is that aside from a few action sequences, there is nary a scene until Thor’s return to Asgard in which that absurdity is not capitalized on. The comedic elements, while they do add to the fun, could have been dialed back a touch in order to give more gravity to the story elements.

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As for those story elements, this is where Thor’s shortcomings become more apparent. There is almost no depth to the plot at all. There are no surprises, no real subplots. Even the plot twist towards the end was foreshadowed early on rendering it a bit shock proof. There is one layer to this movie. True, it’s a great layer, but for those hoping for more than one continuous linear plot it’ll leave them short.

This brings me to Thor's one fatal flaw. The premise of the entire movie is that Odin banishes Thor to Earth in order to teach him humility, compassion, courage and all those other qualities which would make him fit to be king. Until then he is powerless and unable to wield his mighty hammer until he is deemed worthy. The impetus for him finding this quality comes in the form of a battle with the Asgardian war machine, sent by Loki, called the Destroyer. Without revealing too much, I'll say that this scene plays out as more of a "loophole" discovery for Thor than a dramatic -- and heroic -- character turn; the result of which undermines the entire premise of the film.

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The love story between Thor and Jane is a bit forced. The final showdown between Thor and Loki was surprisingly anticlimactic. Though there is no doubt in fans minds that Loki is ultimately the villain , it would have been nice to have that revealed towards the end of the film rather than the beginning. The effect would have been allowing us to see Loki manipulating and moving the chess pieces around the board which there really isn’t much of after the first half hour.

I guess the best compliment that I can pay Thor is that it feels like possibly the first real superhero movie I’ve seen. Moving between realms, in addition to Thor’s truly super powers, make Thor the first comic book movie that has felt truly fantastical. For that, the superb job by the actors as well as the sheer beauty of its production, it should be applauded. It boils down to this: If you want to like Thor, you will like it. The film will give you very little reason to dislike it. It's fun, entertaining and a treat for the senses. For those who require a little bit more depth and demand more than just visceral stimulation, you’ll probably find it lacking.

3.5 Stars

Comments

Interesting John  |  Web Developer

Interesting John's picture

Nice review. It seems the overwhelming response to the Earthbound sequences are "meh". I'm glad that Hemsworth really brought his A game for Thor, I was worried based on some of the clips that he might sound bad, though I loved him in his 5 minutes of Star Trek footage, so I'm glad that he did well.

Redbeard

Redbeard's picture

Great review. I'm a little saddened by the lack of plot twists. I would think the inclusion of Loki in a film would give huge opportunity for audience deception and surprise. Slightly disappointed that they did not take advantage of that.

Thanks Jeromy BLAM!

wheels1.5

wheels1.5's picture

C'mon on guys! It's an ORIGIN STORY, go look at the original Superman, Batman Begins, the Tim Burton Batman, Spiderman, Xmen, etc. Most of those don't have many original subplots (if any) and they're still often considered fantastic movies and often classics. If they'd gone for that with Thor, you'd be screaming that they #$%$%#$ up a classic character and you know it. An origin story has a LOT of information to cover and a LIMITED amount of time to do it. The freedom to be completely original comes in with the sequel, take another look at The Dark Knight, Superman 2, Spiderman 2, Xmen 2. I'm not knocking your right to express an opinion, but think about it. The good ones are often DIRECT interpretations of the source material.

Interesting John  |  Web Developer

Interesting John's picture
wheels1.5 wrote:

C'mon on guys! It's an ORIGIN STORY, go look at the original Superman, Batman Begins, the Tim Burton Batman, Spiderman, Xmen, etc. Most of those don't have many original subplots (if any) and they're still often considered fantastic movies and often classics. If they'd gone for that with Thor, you'd be screaming that they #$%$%#$ up a classic character and you know it. An origin story has a LOT of information to cover and a LIMITED amount of time to do it. The freedom to be completely original comes in with the sequel, take another look at The Dark Knight, Superman 2, Spiderman 2, Xmen 2. I'm not knocking your right to express an opinion, but think about it. The good ones are often DIRECT interpretations of the source material.

Actually, in my experience the best ones are an original take that draws inspiration from multiple comics. Which I'm guessing Thor does, but I don't know enough about the comics or the movies to say that definitively Tongue

BarbaricYawp

BarbaricYawp's picture

Nice job, buddy.

violetlight

violetlight's picture
wheels1.5 wrote:

C'mon on guys! It's an ORIGIN STORY, go look at the original Superman, Batman Begins, the Tim Burton Batman, Spiderman, Xmen, etc. Most of those don't have many original subplots (if any) and they're still often considered fantastic movies and often classics. If they'd gone for that with Thor, you'd be screaming that they #$%$%#$ up a classic character and you know it. An origin story has a LOT of information to cover and a LIMITED amount of time to do it. The freedom to be completely original comes in with the sequel, take another look at The Dark Knight, Superman 2, Spiderman 2, Xmen 2. I'm not knocking your right to express an opinion, but think about it. The good ones are often DIRECT interpretations of the source material.

I understand what you are saying when you talk about origin stories having so much to say and so little time to say it, so naturally the writer is going to only pick the most pivotal points to play out on screen, however, that being said, what i felt when I saw the film was lack of "build." It just felt rushed and I felt that they could have taken their time building the love between Jane and Thor, building the hate that Loki has for his brother. This movie should not be compared to ANY of the Batman movies i'm sorry. Those movies have so much build that THAT is why they are so good and THAT is why they are so popular. I get chills every single time i see Bruce training and building character and going from a childish anger with so much revenge in his heart to calm and centered in his hate for evil...and we see it's more than hate, but compassion for his enemies which is, to me..so much stronger, and we feel it when we watch it on screen. In Iron Man, they take time when he's captured to bring Tony down to a more human level. There was no time taken in Thor. That's why it's "linear", or rather feels like it is. But like he said in the review...if you want to like this movie, you will, so it doesn't really matter what he has to say or what I think. Smile

violetlight

violetlight's picture

Heimdall was so bad ass!

Samaritan

Samaritan's picture

The general consensus for this film has been positive. Almost everyone is hailing the film for its visual aspect and cast. Some think the story overall is good enough and some think it is great. All I have to say is that Thor is a success Big Grin It could've been one of the corniest cbms ever and thanks to Branagh and the awesome cast, it manages to surprise and shine.

fanboiii

fanboiii's picture

Good review! The tone was mostly light which pulled me back from feeling immersed although the humor was good. It would have benefited the movie to flesh out the drama and character development. Natalie Portman's engaging personality carried the first half of the movie well, and I liked how Loki was written sympathetically with good intentions. The Warriors Three should have been more proficient fighters and used more as individuals at times.

I found the plot too basic. They could have played with the science/magic idea further and introduced more plot elements when on Earth. That being said, I thought the third act of the movie unfolded really well even though I wasn't thrilled with the action or Thor's redemption.

I would rank Thor just under Iron Man, which had a story analogous to the real-world issues that gave it more depth. Thor wasn't as hard-hitting or interesting as I would have preferred. I don't think I'll be compelled to watch it again either. It was still enjoyable as a fun superhero movie with solid acting. And of course, it retained a lot of the qualities we love from the source.