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Thor (film)

A 2011 action/fantasy film directed by Kenneth Branagh.

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Entertaining but flawed Marvel superhero origin story.

  • Oct 9, 2011
**1/2 out of ****

Explosions, special effects, a sense of humor, and enthusiastic, dedicated leads. I'm getting tired of superhero movies; as 2011 seems to be a pretty big year for them, albeit a very mediocre one. You've got your good superhero movies and then you've got the ones that lack depth of importance. Chances are, I will forget most of the superhero movies I've seen including the ones that I simply liked. The ones that I loved shall get a much more appropriate treatment. "Thor" isn't much different from the rest of the entries in this long, exhausting wave of superhero flicks, but it's better-made than some and actually fairly entertaining. It's completely forgettable since it lacks depth and anything to truly be engaged in, sure, but it also has dazzling CGI effects, solid performances, and it knows what it wants to do. In spite of its flaws, it gets the job done and will impress some die-hard comic book/Marvel superhero fans. Those who aren't "fans" might find things to admire here as well; I just can't imagine those people loving it. But you never know.

If Hollywood can squeeze a film out of their excessive and typically up-tight assholes that manages to entertain and engage the audience in one way or another, it deserves some credit. "Thor" is goofy, silly, and whimsical in its own way; a pleasant movie-watching experience completely devoid of beauty, emotional resonance, or depth. I expected nothing more, or nothing less, so even with these flaws; I cannot say that "Thor" is problematic enough to be unwatchable or even "bad". It is what it is, and it exists in a world where, perhaps, films about Norse Gods acting as Superhero figures aren't always or almost ever great. I wouldn't even say that "Thor" is good. But it comes pretty damn close.

The film is constantly juggling two stories taking place in two separate worlds, which may have been part of the problem. For one of its stories, we are given a background and "origin story" to the film's titular character; a Norse God indeed, the son of Odin, and brother of Loki. Thor is played by Chris Hemsworth, Odin is portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, and Tom HiddlesTon plays Loki, the envious brother. Each of the three characters resides in a far-off land called Asgard; a fantastical world that is a creation of special-effects and outstanding production design, no doubt, and is thought by the rest of the universe to exist only in myth. Asgard has been at war with Jotunheim, home to the Frost Giants, for several years now. The war supposedly had ended years ago when the Asgardians defeated the Frost Giants in combat, thus taking their source-of-power, but there was always a new battle to be fought just around every corner. Thor makes the mistake of leading fellow comrades in a visit to Jotunheim in order to kill off the remaining Frost Giants; an action which gets him banished from his home-land and sent to earth.

Thor lands in New Mexico. Almost instantly upon arriving, some astrophysicists hit him with their truck. The group rescues the hero, taking him under their caring wing(s), and introduce themselves as Jane (Natalie Portman), Erik (Stellan Skarsgard), and Darcy (Kat Dennings). Thor has been separated from his signature hammer, which is reported to have landed not far from where he did. Nobody can make the thing budge from the spot in which it rests, so a research center is built around it so that the scientists working there can study the object. But we know that only Thor can move it, hold it, and use it; so when the climactic battle comes along, we know what will happen; and we anticipate it greatly.

The action sequences are thrilling and visually beautiful. One of my favorite scenes takes place somewhere near the beginning, during the origin story of the mighty Norse God, where he and his fellow Asgard warriors fend off the Frost Giants and one very large beast which they unleash. I liked the scene because it did its job very well. All it wanted to do was entertain and be "cool". I suppose that's the aim of the film, as a whole. If you're looking for substance in the way of characters or story, look elsewhere. "Thor" is nothing truly deep, but is entertainment, and amongst many of the other superhero films this year, it's pretty decent. If you remember Thor as a character that you liked more for his abilities and powers rather than his personality, then you'll have no problem with the fact that nothing has changed. Perhaps the director, Kenneth Branagh, was trying to be faithful and respectful to the source material. He does a good job at directing CGI; but there's nothing special going on as far as the more human, earth-bound scenes go. He overuses the Dutch Angle and lacks an artistic vision; as "Thor" cannot be viewed as art, but only another old creation of Hollywood that will soon be forgotten. While I thoroughly enjoyed and admired it, I took absolutely nothing out of the experience, as it lacked the element of surprise. Still, I'd say it's worth seeing for the sake of watching it, since it has an audience and I was not included in it. I would rather by superhoro movies come accompanied with emotional depth and memorability. "Thor" doesn't really have either. But its redeeming factor comes in its bright, humorous moments as well as what it DOES have. It makes use of most of the technology used and the actors involved. Why not just go with the flow and enjoy yourself?

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October 09, 2011
I liked the designs, some action, but this was so far away from becoming the definitive film about the Marvel character. Nice review.
More Thor (2011 movie) reviews
review by . May 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Whosoever Holds This Hammer If He Be Worthy, Shall Possess The Power of Thor!!
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 …
review by . May 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
The God of Thunder Finally On His First Feature Film...Hype On!!
It is pretty much to be expected that I will be reviewing the film “Thor” for Movie Hype since I am a Marvel comics nut and that I pretty much almost own (or owned, since I lost a small number in a flood) every issue of the comic series since Thor first appeared in “Journey Into Mystery”. I even used "Thor" as my profile avatar in this site for awhile (people asked me: "Is that He-Man?" LOL!). To hype up the film adaptation of Marvel’s own “God …
review by . May 06, 2012
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This S.H.I.E.L.D. movie neded more Thor
Remember the 80's with movies like Masters of the Universe, Beastmaster 2, among others that took it's far out fantasy characters from another world, took them from that other world and dropped them into modern day Earth?  How about other comic movies like Judge Dredd that remove the protagonist from his job and have him more down to earth or less fantastic?  Thats what sadly happens here to Thor but don't compare this completely to those I just mentioned as it's not that …
review by . May 07, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Most people would recognize Kenneth Branagh as one of top Shakespearean actors or more recently for his role as Professor Lockhart.  His is a brilliant actor in just about everything he does (even though sometimes over acted), and although this is not his first stab at directing it is his first take at a film of such "epic" proportions. I will however be completely honest with you, if you attempt to go see Thor in 3D you are wasting your money.  There is NOTHING 3D about this …
review by . December 06, 2011
'Thor' at first glance doesn't do anything new, but it's so well done, it absorbs for two hours and leaves one feeling entirely transported. The plot is hardly convoluted: Thor is groomed to be the next successor for his elderly father, but Thors headstrong, warlord character flaws get him kicked out of the galaxy (sort of a part Scandinavia in space) and sent to earth, almost powerless. The culture clash is like an alien pro wrestler caught in a web of our present, complicated society. Kenneth …
review by . May 10, 2011
   And so begins the summer; not with a whimper, but with a bang. Yes, Kenneth Branagh’s super-hero epic has arrived, and it’s… really quite good, actually, provided you just put your brain into neutral and let the sheer energy of it all roll over you. The story tells the tale of Thor (Chris Hemsworth, who is certainly not the worst-looking man ever filmed), a young Asgardian about to be made heir to the throne by his father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins). In the background …
review by . June 01, 2011
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 …
review by . May 20, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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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
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Director: Kenneth Branagh
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Marvel Studios, Paramount Pictures
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