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Thor (film)

A 2011 action/fantasy film directed by Kenneth Branagh.

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Whosoever Holds This Hammer If He Be Worthy, Shall Possess The Power of Thor!!

  • May 6, 2011
Rating:
+3
Those who follow my blurbs and/or write ups know that I have recently posted a sort of ‘guide’ to Thor since I think it is safe to assume that not that many folks have knowledge of the character and who he is. The character isn’t as widely popular as “Superman” or as familiar as Spider-Man. Well, after almost 50 years, the Marvel character known as “Thor” is finally being unleashed as a massive mainstream movie. When I heard that the first intended director had left the project and that its budget was cut by nearly half, I thought things looked dire for the “Thor” project and I immediately lowered my expectations.

Being a hardcore “Thor” reader, I knew I would have to leave any personal feelings and knowledge I have for one of my favorite comic book characters to enjoy this film. I know it would take an insane amount of time, research and money for a film to match the full majesty of the Thunder God. The good news is, director Kenneth Branagh’s Thor” isn’t a lost cause with writers J. Michael Straczynki and Mark Protosevich making up the core of the story. “Thor” is a film way better than the horrid “Fantastic Four” and the abysmal “Ghost Rider” flick. The bad news is: Hollywood reduces the character and the screenplay to a staple of what it sees as a superhero movie and falls so short of the epic goodness that is “The Mighty Thor”, and yet, it does prove to be entertaining because of its commercial sensibilities.

                              Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Thor."

                             Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in "Thor."

                             A scene from "Thor."
                            

965 A.D., Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and the forces of Asgard were engaged in combat with the Frost giants of Jotunheim led by Laufey (Colm Feore) to defend the realm of Earth. The battle came at a high price with the loss of Odin’s eye but the gods managed to capture the Casket of ancient winters from the hands of the giant race. Present day, Odin’s son Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is about to be declared the crown prince, when a group of Frost giants attempt to wrest the casket from the gods’ great hall. Angered, Thor with his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) are joined by Sif (Jaime Alexander) and the Warriors Three (Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun and Joshua Dallas as Fandral) to invade Jotunheim and insure the safety of Asgard. But things go awry and Thor is scolded for this action; Odin banishes him to Earth where he is found by a group led by a beautiful physicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). Thor is reduced to being a human and without his hammer and powers. This makes him an easy target as Odin falls to the “OdinSleep“….enemies are about to reveal themselves.

“Thor” is another launch pad for the upcoming “Avengers” film as with the new “Captain America” film later this year. As such, you cannot expect the film to be taken as a serious adaptation of the comic book character that should be filled with majesty, insane epic battles and fantasy sensibilities. This is the Hollywood rendition of what a comic book movie should be; light characterization, beautiful special effects, light PG-13 action and well, romance. The film plays it safe as it sticks to the cookie-cutter devices, the elements of mystery and betrayal, injections of humor and never does anything new to the genre of fantasy. It is fun, but it lacks an ambitious script. The direction does make it work but I just have one question: How come Hollywood always resorts to light comedy in place of solid characterization to develop a story?

                         Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson in "Thor."

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Thor."  Idris Elba as Heimdall in "Thor."

                        Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Thor."

                       Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Joshua Dallas as Fandral and Ray Stevenson as Volstagg in "Thor."

The story does carry enough tributes and references to the source material. There is of course the Father-Son relationship between Thor and Odin, the sibling rivalry between Loki and Thor and it’s always fun to see classic characters such as Heimdall the seer, the Warrior’s Three and the Lady Sif. References to Simonson’s “casket of ancient winters” storyline, the eight-legged steed, the great spear “Gungnir” and the “Reign of Loki” are rich in the film’s screenplay. The film has a lot of nods to the Thor storylines that may prove pleasing to “Thor” fans. As I’ve stated before, this “Thor” has heavy references to the “Ultimate” version and dispenses of the Donald Blake persona save as an element for humor (but only those who know the character will get it). This was a huge mistake as Blake was an important vehicle to the concept of a God stuck in a weak, handicapped body and his relationship to Jane Foster.

I also have a major issue with the way the script (by Miller, Stentz and Payne) has been structured; seems like Hollywood has reduced comic book movies to a degree where characters are supposed to be “cartoonish” whereas the highly successful “The Dark Knight” took the concept seriously and brought it to a degree that made it feel real. What was the harm in treating “Thor” as another EPIC story about gods and monsters, whose stakes are so high that it would shake the foundations of the world? Please don’t get wrong, the intelligence of the story was there and I liked its straight-forwardness, but I wasn’t too impressed as to how it developed certain subplots of that story. To make things even more 'cartoonish', it resorts to humorous one-liners. It seems like the scenes on Earth were minor “fillers” and it threatened to hamper the pace; I wanted to get back to Asgard to see more engagement and drama.

With the story’s execution lacking, “Thor” will have to deliver with the battles and designs, right? Well, there is a very cool scene where Thor and his friends invade Jotunheim and they are the film’s best battle sequences; the sight of Thor crushing giants and engaging in battle was real cool to see. It was a little light in violence and there was hardly any blood though; as cool as the fights were, it lacked the intensity of the action in the source material and of fantasy epics . The battle between Thor and Loki was a little too underwhelming, and while it held references to Loki’s tricks and I loved the way he was kept at bay, it wasn’t anything special. Real Thor fans will hate the way the Destroyer was treated in the screenplay; it felt so rushed and cheap that it made the character seem like another element that it incorporated just so it can have the “Destroyer“ in the film. The restraints in its budget truly played a factor in the film's execution.

                             Natalie Portman as Jane Foster in "Thor."

                           Jaimie Alexander as Sif in "Thor."

                           Tom Hiddleston as Loki in "Thor."

The costume designs were nicely rendered and Asgard does look like a ‘golden realm’. The images of Bifrost were quite nifty as did Jotunheim. Much as I didn’t appreciate part of the film’s mood and tone, I did have quite a few laughs. I thought some of the humor was nicely timed and as I’ve said, a god blundering on Earth can just make anyone smile. Hemsworth makes for a decent “Thor”, and Natalie Portman is, well, her usual self; Charming and easy to like. One noteworthy portrayal would have to be Alexander’s bad-ass “Lady Sif” as she presents the character with a lot of ‘zest’ and intensity. Nods to Shield and to the characters in Iron Man 2 also took some screen time. The creature designs were also quite good, but they are a little too short for a giant. They seem to have been inspired by the art in “Ages of Thunder”.

Ok, I guess I need to stop before this becomes another essay. I guess, despite some minor disappointments, “Thor” is a film that is easy to like and it is easy to be entertained by it. The childhood memories in me is just happy to see a movie for “Thor” has been made. It has enough references to the comic books and the story’s core does appear solid enough. There is a lot of potential missed, since the film felt rushed and a little too short. It does manage to come out with a coherent plot despite so many elements crammed into the screenplay since the direction was pretty straightforward and played it safe. It is like a god coming of age, and the film never takes risks, and perhaps this movie was just meant to be a part of the “Hulk-Iron Man-Thor-Captain America” stories that will have a finality in Avengers (see the guy with bow and arrow?) and was only made to promote that upcoming film. If this is so, then it would be a good film as part of a new franchise. But if you are expecting a definitive “Thor” film, then you should look to the future.

Recommended. [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]
Note: Stay after the end credits to see another "Avengers" preview.

Poster art for "Thor." Poster art for "Thor."
 

Whosoever Holds This Hammer If He Be Worthy, Shall Possess The Power of Thor!! Whosover Holds This Hammer If He Be Worthy, Shall Possess The Power of Thor!! Whosover Holds This Hammer If He Be Worthy, Shall Possess The Power of Thor!!

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May 15, 2011
Great review! When I was a kid I loved Thor, but never took the opportunity to delve into his comic books (was too busy reading Batman) I was kind of wary of this movie but my boyfriend insisted we see it (he's a Huge Marvel Fan). 36 hours for a change of personality and character? Ugh. I'm not one to encourage the bandwagon of trilogies, but if they're already planning on it (are they?) they should have established a solid back story-up-to-present-conflict of Thor needing to learn humility and the 2nd moving establishing his time on Earth learning said humility, third film Thor back into action ready to go head to head against Loki. Maybe I'm being too much of a girl who demands characterization? It was entertaining but vapid from time to time. (Not for nothing but since it seems to be the place to say it, I also really hated those posters with the words over their faces.)
May 16, 2011
Thank you for the comment. I could not agree more. They didn't establish how Thor became worthy or as you've said a more solid groundwork why he needed humility. From 900+ A.D. on, that was it? I was also disappointed with its lack of characterization and the Earth scenes bored me...felt like I was watching all the other superhero flicks. I am happy that I was not the only one who thought that it was vapid and a little dry.
 
May 09, 2011
Oh yeah, you save me all the trouble if I should decide to write a review on this one! Ha, I'd have to watch the movie first though, LOL...
May 09, 2011
heh. I have a feeling you'll like it more than I did. It is pretty fun, but not the definitive movie about the character.
 
May 07, 2011
Nope, I just don't think Marvel Studios is taking the right approach with these films. Honestly, with the exception of the first "Iron Man" in 2008, I haven't seen a good Marvel movie since "Spider-Man 2", which came out back in 2004. I'll probably skip this or wait for a more faithful reboot (which seems inevitable with Marvel characters these days, although the faithful part isn't a guarantee). Just give them 4 years and they just restart the franchise anyway.
May 07, 2011
I know what you mean. As I was telling Jay, this is the 'baby step' and the definitive Thor is still to be seen in the future. I appreciate what it tried to do, but there was just something missing. You know I am not the comic fan who'll like a comic film just 'because'. It is better than Fantastic Four (both movies) and a lot better than Spidey 3.
May 07, 2011
I thought Spidey 3 wasn't bad, it was just too crowded with villains and they should have just stuck with the symbiote suit and Venom and left out all the rest. Plus, as I pointed out earlier, I think the emphasis on comedy and romance when it's unnecessary to the story just cheapens the film in the end.
May 07, 2011
The first plan was to concentrate on Asgard and have the Earth scenes later near the end. The film's earth scenes hurt the film imho, and the cartoonish characters are starting to annoy me. They are all alike in the recent comic book movies. That poster on Sif is just proof that they didn't do their homework on promos. Sif is the goddess of time and space. She is a warrior, but not the goddess of war. Tyr is the GOD OF WAR.
May 07, 2011
I'm sure they did their research, but just didn't care.
May 07, 2011
that is a good point.
 
May 07, 2011
Oh Portman thou hast done it again. Will this is one helluva all-encompassing review right here and without a single plot spoiler. Very well done indeed. I am a little saddened that you conclude the definitive Thor film is yet in the future. I really thought this, if anything, would have been the one. But alas I do fully understand the money making machine potential of the superhero genre (how else does one explain the flood). I was looking forward to this along with Green Lantern but I do thank you for putting my expectations into a more realistic zone going in. Again great work.
May 07, 2011
My friends liked it (but didn't LIKED it) and they said I should just be happy that they made a Thor movie. I look at this film as a trial film same as with Burton's "Batman" until they finally reached perfection with The Dark Knight. I almost rounded down the 3.5/5, but I have to say the film's production values, visuals and set designs were good.

The problem that had plagued the comic genre is starting to show again, American filmmakers are starting to think that comic book movies have to be toned down and feel comical, so they cut the budget, and try to be more accessible to all viewers. I understand but in a way, it means quality will go down. It was no wonder the first director left when he said he wanted to make it ala-Lord of the Rings with a HUGE budget. This would've been worst if Straczynski wasn't around as story consultant. I guess being a huge THOR fan, I know the potentials for the character and it should be truly epic. I am reviewing my favorite storyline on Thor soon. Thanks for the read, Jay!!
May 07, 2011
I want more serious, mature, and darker comic book films. I'm sick of them (meaning the studios and film makers) treating these characters like jokes just because there are snobs who think comic books and the films that are based on them can only be for kids or childish geeks.
May 07, 2011
This movie was built for the mainstream and I do understand, I cannot complain about it but why fix something if there is no need for the concept to be fixed? I would think that they took the time, to research and read the bases of the story they would come out with a better, more marketable franchise. They are just in a hurry to capitalize on the comic book craze.
May 07, 2011
Exactly, why change the source material into something else if the source material is the reason that people are coming to see the film to begin with? This is my main issue with all American films that are adaptations of source materials (be they books, TV shows, video games or remakes of other films). Why mess with something that worked the first time unless you know that you can be as good or better?
May 07, 2011
Haste makes waste, my friend, money (Budget) and the promise of profit will always be the bane of creativity. You also have to consider the image comic books have gotten in the days where Batman and Superman were treated as jokes and that only kids and geeks like them. It also doesn't help matters when speculators and investors ruin the reputation of a comic book fan. (they cause the rise of comic prices)

The money men don't see Thor as a mega-marketable character I suppose, and a movie with a huge budget has to promise huge returns. I guess they didn't think Thor could get that much receipts (we'll see tomorrow). The deletion of the Blake persona bothered me. I mean a god in the weak body with a limp.....wow! Imagine the characteization on that one...
Plus, Thor is a warrior and a killer of monsters; his movie should be violent and epic in scope.
 
May 07, 2011
Sounds like it is good at least WP, can you imagine how great all these Marvel flicks would have been if treated with the proper respect that they deserve and told right.
May 07, 2011
Yeah, I think after Spidey 2, H-wood started seeing them as money-making machines and so the more the make, the more formulaic and simple comic books are going to be. Remember the success of Superman 2? After that, everything went downhill for the genre. Then after Batman, the genre went nowhere. I do think the comic book genre is suffering from overexposure and over-marketing, but then most people like it, so maybe as a true fan, I am just not their intended audience anymore. Hey, at least it wasn't horrible as Fantastic Four or Ghost Rider. It was a decent fun watch, but a movie like Thor should be able to awe and be memorable; no wonder the first director of the film left the project.
 
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More Thor (2011 movie) reviews
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review by . May 07, 2011
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Call Down Thunder!
I've waited a very long time to see a film adaptation of Thor hit the big screen.  I've always been a fan of Marvel's version of the God of Thunder, and I'm even a bigger fan of the Thor of Norse mythology.  When I heard that Kenneth Branagh would be at the helm of this project, I knew immediately that Marvel was doing something really special with the story, and I was right.      Thor opens with a description of the great battle between the Asgardians …
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The superhero movie has been a staple of the big budget studio blockbuster for a decade now. They always make it one of their tent pole movies; and even if it gets bad reviews the studio always gets their money back, and then some. Since movies like ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Iron Man,’ the bar is now so high it may not be possible to just crank these movies out. Unless you are looking to only use this plot as a jumping off point to a huge ensemble undertaking next year …
review by . September 17, 2011
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I wasn't expecting much when I saw this film. I was thinking that it would be worse than Daredevil. It was actually better. Asgard had been at war with the Storm Giants but a truce now prevails. Thor and his brother Loki are shown being tutored by their father, Odin who is also King of Asgard.    Odin decides that he will name Thor as his air and on the day he will make it public, some Storm Giants are able to sneak in to try to steal a casket that will give their realm great …
review by . May 23, 2011
The title to this post is in no way true... but it got your attention.      This  past weekend I happened to catch "Thor," the latest super hero movie destined to culminate in the fanboy joygazm that will soon be know as "The Avengers."  Now before I saw this movie I heard a great many mixed reviews from a great many people: "It's the greatest super hero movie ever," "It was totally gay," "The only thing redeeming was …
review by . May 18, 2011
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review by . May 10, 2011
FOR ASGAURD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Wiki

Poster art for "Thor 3D."
Marvel Studios expands its film universe with a new type of superhero: THOR. This epic adventure spans the Marvel Universe; from present day Earth to the realm of Asgard. At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth. Kenneth Branagh directs this fantasy epic which stars Australian actor Chris Hemsworth as the ancient Norse god, Tom Hiddleston as his evil brother Loki, Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, a young woman who befriends Thor on Earth, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Thor's father and king of Asgard. Expect to see agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., previously seen in ''Iron Man,'' to make an appearance, further forshadowing the coming of The Avengers!

Directed by Kenneth Branagh. With Natalie Portman, Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba.  Visit IMDb for Photos, Showtimes, Cast, Crew, Reviews, Plot Summary, Comments, Discussions, Taglines, Trailers, Posters, Fan Sites
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0800369/
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Details

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures
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