Review: THOR

THE SETUP: A race of aliens, mistaken by Vikings as Norse Gods, enjoy a truce with their enemies the Frost Giants…only to be manipulated into war. That manipulation includes punishing a young, impulsive heir to the throne (Thor played by Chris Hemsworth) by sending him to Earth powerless. While there, he better learn the error of his ways, convince his new love interest (Natalie Portman) that he’s not crazy and avoid government agents before he can return to his home and save his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) from treachery.

As you can tell from the setup, this is a pretty complicated movie. Gods, secret agents, other worlds, Rainbow Bridges, a merry band of warriors, a Shakespearean storyline, superheroes, a robot furnace and Natalie Portman. Dense material that somehow Kenneth Branagh and 8 (probably more) credited screenwriters manage to navigate through really well. Considering Branagh has a strong background in the Bard’s tales, he is able to get to the heart of the tale, share some humour and heart while filling in the background as it’s needed. Is it a lot. Yes. Might it get confusing if you’ve never picked up a THOR Marvel comic? There’s a good chance. But you’ll probably still leave entertained. The special effects and Asgardian set pieces are pretty impressive and the dialogue is either over the top or light and fun. As cheesy as this could have been, it wasn’t. For those comic geeks out there who are wondering if it meets with nerdtastic expectations…it does. This is as close to the source material as it could be and is even more faithful than I thought it would be.

How it could be better: It’s almost too much storyline for a summer movie. I don’t know how they could have done it differently but it might be too much for people that don’t have 60+ years of comics to refer to.

THOR Rating:
3 stars – good movie, take a friend. The summer continues with a Thunder God. A big, Shakespearean epic that might pull too much information from the comics to be totally accessible.

Random Recommendations
Dancer in the Dark (2000) – Like a little light-hearted musical with your soul-crushing, despair-inducing drama? Have I got a movie for you. Stellan Skaarsgard (Thor-connection) and Bjork in a movie about a woman who dreams of Hollywood glitz, reenacting in her mind big musical numbers…while her real life falls apart.  Certainly not for everyone but really good for those looking for something different.

Dead Again (1991) – One of those movies I really need to revisit. Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Robin Williams, Andy Garcia and a parade of actors you feel like you’ve somewhere before (yes, I mean you Campbell Scott) in a murder mystery that covers two time periods with the same actors play parts in both. Intense and intelligent, like a murder mystery should be.

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