Archive for May 7, 2011

Thor

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2011 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 965 A.D., Odin (Anthony Hopkins), king of Asgard, wages war against the Frost Giants of Jotunheim and their leader Laufey (Colm Feore), to prevent them from conquering the Nine Realms, starting with Earth. The Asgardian warriors defeat the Frost Giants and seize the source of their power, the Casket of Ancient Winters.

In the present, Odin’s son Thor (Chris Hemsworth) prepares to ascend to the throne of Asgard, but is interrupted when the Frost Giants attempt to retrieve the Casket. Against Odin’s order, Thor travels to Jotunheim to confront Laufey, accompanied by his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), childhood friend Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and the Warriors Three; Volstagg (Ray Stevenson), Fandral (Joshua Dallas) and Hogun (Tadanobu Asano). A battle ensues until Odin intervenes to save the Asgardians, destroying the fragile truce between the two races. For Thor’s arrogance, Odin strips his son of his godly power and exiles him to Earth, accompanied by his hammer Mjolnir — the source of his power, now protected by a spell to allow only the worthy to wield it.

Thor lands in New Mexico, where scientist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), her assistant Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and mentor Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) find him. The local populace finds Mjolnir, which S.H.I.E.L.D agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) soon commandeers before forcibly acquiring Jane’s data about the wormhole that delivered Thor to Earth. Thor, having discovered Mjolnir’s nearby location, seeks to retrieve it from the facility that S.H.I.E.L.D quickly constructed but he finds himself unable to lift it, and is captured. With Selvig’s help, he is freed and resigns himself to exile on Earth as he develops a romance with Jane.

Loki discovers he is Laufey’s son, adopted by Odin after the war ended. When Odin, overcome with stress, falls into the deep “Odinsleep” that allows him to recuperate, Loki becomes king and offers Laufey the chance to kill Odin and retrieve the Casket. Sif and the Warriors Three, unhappy with Loki’s rule, attempt to return Thor from exile, convincing Heimdall (Idris Elba), gatekeeper of the Bifröst Bridge – the means of traveling between worlds – to allow them passage to Earth. Aware of their plan, Loki sends the Destroyer, a seemingly indestructible automaton, to pursue them and kill Thor. Sif and the Warriors Three find Thor, but the Destroyer attacks and defeats them, prompting Thor to offer himself instead. Struck by the Destroyer and near death, Thor’s sacrifice proves him worthy to wield Mjolnir. The hammer returns to him, restoring his powers and allowing him to defeat the Destroyer. Kissing Jane goodbye and vowing to return, he and his fellow warriors travel to Asgard to confront Loki.

In Asgard, Loki betrays and kills Laufey, revealing his true plan to use Laufey’s attempt on Odin’s life as an excuse to destroy Jotunheim with the Bifröst Bridge, and thus prove himself worthy to Odin. Thor arrives and fights his brother before destroying the Bifröst Bridge to stop Loki’s plan, stranding himself in Asgard. Odin awakens and prevents the brothers from falling into the abyss created in the wake of the bridge’s destruction, but Loki allows himself to fall to his apparent death after realizing that he disappointed Odin once again. Thor makes amends with Odin, admitting he is not ready to be king, while on Earth, Jane and her team search for a way to open a portal to Asgard so that she can reunite with Thor.

In a post-credits scene, Selvig has been taken to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, where Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) asks him to study an unnamed device, which Fury says may hold untold power. Loki, invisible, whispers to Selvig to agree, which Selvig does.

REVIEW:

Unless you’re a fellow comic geek, then your knowledge of Thor may be limited to Norse mythology, what you’ve seen occasionally in cartoons where he’s popped up spouting medieval lingo, or the little girl’s obsession in Adventures in Babysitting.

Well, the good people over at Marvel Studios have finally decided to bring Thor to the big screen, and they do so with a pretty big bang, if I do say so myself.

To my knowledge, Thor is the first feature film the Norse god of thunder has been featured in (excluding his segment in Hulk Vs.), so this is kind of a big deal, especially since this is supposed to be the first big film of the summer (no offense to Fast Five).

The plot of this film is basically an origin tale, because unlike Superman, Batman, Spider Man, etc., not may people are familiar with the history of the character of Thor. As we are getting to know Thor we learn that he is a kind of pompous jerk, who lets his ego go too far one day and not only threatens the lives of some of his friends, but also violates a truce, and subsequently gets banished from Asgard and stripped of his powers. Once he lands on Earth, he meets up with a trio of scientists who are studying something up in the sky (I can’t remember what it was exactly). After a few character development scenes, the film ends with some true kick-ass action scenes!

I’ve made the decision to basically boycott the use of 3D (I’m making an exception for Green Lantern, though). I mean, I have yet to see a film that makes good use of the technology, and I honestly think studios are just using it as a way to charge more money (as if ticket prices aren’t high enough).

Having said that, I think there might have been some pretty swell 3D scenes in this film, especially on Asgard, but still not enough to warrant the extra $$$.

The casting in this film really caught my attention. Let’s start with Thor, himself, played by Chris Hemsworth. Another Australian to follow in the footsteps of Mel Gibson (before he lost his mind), Heath Ledger, and currently Sam Worthington. This guy looks exactly like Thor, especially since he buffed up since he was last seen on-screen as Kirk’s father in Star Trek. On top of all that, the guy doesn’t do a bad job with this role.

Tom Hiddleston is another bit of brilliant casting as Loki. It isn’t very often that we see a villain become a villain before our very eyes and feel for him as we do here, and Hiddleston does a great job of bringing the audience to his side. I would have liked for him to have had more fun with the character. After all, Loki is the god of mischief!!!

Anthony Hopkins as Odin…do I really need to say anything other than genius?

Natalie Portman does a decent job as Jane Foster, but this isn’t really her movie, let alone anything for her to write home about. Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t bad, this was just a small role, and she’s just coming off The Black Swan, those two things coupled together caused a bit of confusion, but in the end, she did what she had to and owned this role.

Idris Elba was controversially cast as Heimdall. There was an organization who actually threatened to boycott this film because of his skin color? Can you believe that? After all that hullabaloo, Elba does what he does with all his roles, treats them very professionally and delivers a knockout performance. To those people who wanted to boycott because of his skin color…well, I won’t type what I want to say to them….just use your imagination.

The sets were fantastic. Wait, let me take that back. Asgard and the lair of the Frost giants are spectacular, while the little town in New Mexico (which is somehow directly beneath Asgard –scratches head–) looks like nothing more than an old set they dug out from the studio archives and filled with extras. Did they really spend all their money on Asgard, I wonder?

The special effects were awesome, but in a film of this genre and with this subject matter, would you really expect less?

I was especially impressed with how much this film kept close to the source material. The one thing I would have liked for them to have kept, though is Thor’s helmet. He wears it when we initially see him, but he takes it off and it is never seen again. Something tells me, that we’ll get something similar with the upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America. Something about wings on a person’s head just doesn’t work these days, I guess. No wonder Flash hasn’t been on the big screen, yet.

I do have a bit of an issue with the pacing of the film, mainly when it shifts to Earth. It seems that down here the film drags on, except for the S.H.I.E.L.D. tent scene and the appearance of the Destroyer. Without those, this film all but makes you hate living on Earth because it is such a bore down here, as opposed to the non-stop action that occurs in the other worlds.

The mixture of action and comedy really works here, even better than it did in the first Iron Man. This is what a comic book movie should be, not something all dark and depressing, if you ask me.

Thor starts this summer off with a bang, and the subsequent films that are set to come out between now and Labor Day have some big shoes to fill. No, this film isn’t perfect, but it was something even better…entertaining! They also snuck in a subtle hint towards the forthcoming Avengers movie (after which, I’m sure there will be a sequel to this film). Do I recommend this film? Yes, Yes, YES!!!! you should drop everything and see it right now! It is that good!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Advertisements