Thursday, May 12, 2011
Most super hero movies have a very similar setting, the vast majority of them occuring in an urban setting with tons of city skyline shots and moving around within the city in question. This is all well and good and doesn't really detract from the great superhero movies like Spiderman 2 and The Dark Knight, but it is nice to see some variety once in a while. Thor embodies that sort of variety, the movie begins in Asgard, the Norse realm of the Gods wherein unique sets of golden armor and a shining medieval future city are proudly exhibited. The costumes look great when they're in Asgard and the art direction in this film is fantastic as a result. One of my favorite games exists in the Norse Mythos so I was pleased to find the same crystal bridge guarding the gates of Asgard alongside Heimdall.
Which brings me to my next point, the supporting cast in this film is outstanding, every Earthbound character is excellent (save possibly Kat Dennings) especially Agent Smith (of Shield and massive forehead pedigree) and the Norse scientist helper of Natalie Portman. Heimdall, Odin, Laufey, and Loki are all fantastic as well. Assuming you know Norse mythology at all you can probably figure out who the villain is, and he is outstanding in almost every scene. Kenneth Branagh, the Shakespearean mastermind, directed this film and it shows as the Asgardians all talk in pseudo-Shakes lingo and the villain is quite similar to the much beloved Iago. He is (for the most part) genuinely motiveless and acts simply to fuck with people, much like Anton Chigurh and Heath Ledger.
Thor winds up on Earth rather quickly in the film, having been cast out by Odin (pretty easy to gather this from previews) after he fucks up and starts a war with the Jotunheim, Frost Giants. There he meets Natalie Portman and goes to find Mjolnir. Now even without his powers Thor is basically a human Super Soldier and tosses around security like Arnold in Commando, thus making this part of the film highly entertaining. Chris Hemsworth has some humorous lines even though his character is essentially one dimensional (as are most super heros to be fair) and looks like 2001-2004 Barry Bonds. At one point he does find his now cratered Hammer Mjolnir and goes Metal Gear Thor for about 5 minutes, tossing around Shield security guards like mall security. I won't spoil what happens after that but suffice to say I like this scene quite a bit.
In general the film does very well when it's action scenes are either purely CGI or purely not, when it tries to blend them in one rather important scene the effect looks kind of silly and Michael Bayish, it's not exactly crippling to the rest of the film but they probably should have made that entire scene CGI so it doesn't look so incongruous with all the rapid camera cuts. Just a few random notes: The previews for this movie were amazing, it basically had every good action movie listed and avoided Transformers 3 like the plague, which makes me want to see each and every movie essentially. Even the X Men preview looked outstanding (though the movie will probably be meh at best) despite January Jones' robotic acting abilities.
Final Score: 8.5/10