JT Film Review

Thor (2011)

Thor Review
Review # 150

3/5 stars

Director – Kenneth Branagh

Cast – Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard

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– followed by The Avengers

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Thor continues Marvel’s journey to the intensely awaited The Avengers. Directed by Kenneth Branaugh (of all people), the movie follows the titular arrogant supernatural being/god as he finds himself banished on Earth after a brash attack on a similarly supernatural group of beings called Jötunn (or “Frost Giants”). To regain his superhuman abilities and the respect of his father, Odin, Thor must find humility and lose his arrogance. Or something like that.

Anthony Hopkins appears as Odin, Colm Feore plays the Frost Giant King, and Stellan Skarsgard mentors Natalie Portman’s young and ambitious scientist. I get the feeling that a cast like this would not have been possible without Kenneth Branaugh’s involvement as director. And seriously, how the hell did they get Mr. Shakespeare to do a superhero movie? In interviews Hopkins and Branaugh constantly mention the “Shakespearean themes” in the story. Well, there is a squabbling royal family, I guess that counts.

Released just months before Captain America, there was a lot riding on the success of the two films. Imagine if they both tanked and hadn’t found an audience, especially as The Avengers had already been started. Hundreds of millions of dollars would have been lost. But it wasn’t that likely, was it. The question remains though, could they find a way to make the films work?

They did, for the most part. Thor finds himself mingling with already introduced characters such as Agent Coulson, numerous references are made to Iron Man and other future Avengers, and the tone (on Earth anyway) is kept as realistic as we have come to expect. There may not be a huge amount of chemistry between Hemsworth and Portman, and the script gives them even less to work with, but it does get by, and in a fairly pleasant fashion.

Thor is best looked at as a part of a whole, that whole being the Avengers franchise. It serves to introduce both the character of Thor and his villainous brother Loki, and also the concept of supernatural beings as superheroes. Up to this point in the Marvel-verse superheroes are the result of serums (The Incredible Hulk and then Captain America), or super-suits (Iron Man), so to introduce gods into the equation seems a little off. All in all the movie meshes itself in well to the established continuity, and that is really all it wants to do. A more unique story would have been welcome, but what we have here is done well.

OVERALL

Thor is fairly unremarkable, though the special effects and most of the visual design is great. The script holds back the movie, which, while solid and workmanlike, likes to dips its toes in the pool of cliché once or twice too often. It is best seen as a build up to The Avengers, and as such it does what it is expected to.

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TRAILER

“Thor” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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April 5, 2012 - Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Superhero, Year - 2010-2019 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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