At the Movies: Thor

Yeah, I probably should’ve gone to see that new romantic comedy with the guy from “The Office” whose last name I can’t spell, and I probably should’ve gone to that movie about jumping brooms, but neither one of them had Thor in them and, well, it’s Thor Week and the rules are the rules.

Thor

Boy, if this movie sucked I would be in a really awkward position right now, having dedicated the past five days to hyping it. Fortunately, it doesn’t suck. In fact, “Thor” ranks among the top comic book movies.

Oh, and it would have been so easy to make a sucky Thor movie (The Sci-Fi Channel people are probably working on one right now). The whole god among men thing, the way they talk, the costumes — there’s a reason there’s never been a Thor cartoon or TV series.

But director Kenneth Branagh has artfully combined Norse myth and Marvel comic into a fun and satisfying action-adventure romp.

The only thing about “Thor” that sucks is the 3D. Save your money — the 2D version will be just as good and you don’t have to bother with the dumb glasses. A shame they couldn’t do it right, because the hammer of Thor coming right at you would’ve been a sight to see.

So, at last, the movie: Chris Hemsworth stars as Thor, an arrogant warrior god and son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of Asgard. On the day Thor is to be crowned Odin’s successor, the ceremony is interrupted by a sneak attack by  a small band of frost giants — Asgard’s ancient enemies.

The intruders are quickly dispatched by Odin’s all-powerful protector, a metallic creature called The Destroyer. Outraged, Thor demands to go to the giants’ homeland and confront their ruler. Odin doesn’t want to upset the truce and tells his favored son to go chill.

Subtly manipulated by his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor gathers his fighting buddies — Sif (Jaimie Alexander), Fandral (Josh Dallas), Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) and Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) — to storm the  frost giants lair. To get there, they must go through Heimdall (Idris Elba), guardian of the rainbow bridge and the gods’ teleportation chamber.

When Odin learns of this misadventure it’s his turn to be outraged — and you wouldn’t like Odin when he’s outraged. Thor is stripped of his power and exiled from Asgard to Earth. His hammer is also cast down.

Thor is befriended by a trio of mortals — Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) — while his hammer is taken into custody by Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) of the spy agency SHIELD. Meanwhile, Odin has taken ill, which leaves Loki free to engage in all kinds of mischief.

“Thor” features a near-perfect balance of action, humor, special effects and a dash of romance. An early fight scene with the frost giants was at times a chaotic mess, but that seems to be the style these days. Otherwise there’s little to find fault with.

The sets are impressive — Asgard looks like it was taken straight from a Jack Kirby drawing. The costumes are majestic — even Loki looks godlike despite those ridiculous horns on his head. And the actors — from the Godlike Hopkins to comic relief Dennings — manage to bring these larger-than-life characters to life. Despite his Shakespearean background, Branagh wisely leaves the flowery dialogue out.

While the movie ties into the other films in the Marvel Studios lineup, it doesn’t let that linkage become too much a part of the story, as was the case with “Iron Man 2.” You can see this film with no knowledge of the previous movies, although you might be confused by what SHIELD is since they don’t bother to explain it here.

Also, as is the tradition with Marvel movies, expect a brief, fun cameo — this time from a new player in the series — and an important scene following the closing credits.

Did it work for me? I say thee yea.

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2 responses to “At the Movies: Thor

  1. So…todays our annversary. Any good movies playing right now?

  2. Great movie! I was going to check out the new 3D system on the Mega Screen, then I remembered the Mills has an Imax that I couldn’t pass up. I thought the 3D enhanced the scenes, especially in the fantasy, Asgard dimension. I especially enjoyed the closing credits in the 3D-Imax format. It was almost like you were actually flying. Now, if they could get the seats to move it would be similar to Star Tours at Disney World’s movie theme park or the Back to the Future ride at the Universal theme park.

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