Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Let me just say right off the bat, that I was really looking forward to Thor. It not only looked like something I hadn't really seen before, but it was sort of kicking off a summer movie season that included huge franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter. Thor, though not nearly as well-known as some of his Marvel counterparts, stands on his own as a pretty unique and powerful super-hero that is poised for a big break-out summer. After hearing some interesting feedback from other online sources, I couldn't wait to go into the theater and see if Marvel could recapture some of the magic they'd achieved with Iron Man.

Thor is the tale of a young and arrogant warrior from a realm known as Asgard. Though positioned to take over the throne, the mighty son of Odin is banished to Earth by his father after reigniting an ancient war with the dangerous Frost Giants. Stripped of his power, Thor must learn humility (among other things) before he can reclaim the deadly weapon Mjolnir and return home to Asgard. However, things do not go according to plan as his deeply troubled brother, Loki, begins to interfere at every turn...

Led by a great cast as well as a surprising but brilliant choice to place Kenneth Branagh at the helm, Thor is a unique and thoroughly entertaining summer blockbuster. First off, the casting of Thor himself (Chris Hemsworth) couldn't have been better, in my opinion. Not only does he look formidable as the hulking warrior, but he has impeccable comedic timing as well as the acting chops to really sell the emotional turn his character has to take. Shakespearean overtones are woven throughout this film, helped hugely by the experience of Branagh, but also by the weight and gravitas of some of the supporting characters.

A perfect example of this is Sir Anthony Hopkins for his turn as Odin. He has a very wise, but somewhat forlorn demeanor that definitely brings the emotional weight to every scene in which he appears. Despite the family drama, this movie was actually much funnier than I expected. Particularly the moments of culture-clashing where Hemsworth and co-star Natalie Portman are interacting. With Thor being part of the Avengers team, there needed to be ties to some of the other Marvel franchises, such as Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and the yet-to-be-released Captain America: The First Avenger. To the film's credit, it manages to interweave the connective tissue of the Avengers pretty seamlessly and does a terrific job of building our excitement for the team-up next summer.

In case you couldn't tell, I really enjoyed Thor! In other hands this movie could have been disastrous. Elements like a "rainbow bridge" that connects other dimensions could be terribly corny, but the Marvel team managed to pull it off with flying colors (no pun intended). This film deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as Iron Man, and could even be better. Here's hoping The Avengers will deliver the goods as well!

THOR is rated PG-13 for intense action scenes and some violence.