Saturday, May 7, 2011

Movie Review: "Thor"

The God of Thunder storms into theaters, starting off the 2011 Summer with some action, but not very much substance. In Thor, up and coming star, Chris Hemsworth portrays the title character as an arrogant young man, who still has much to learn before he can become king of Asgard (the realm of the Gods, where his father Odin, resides over the throne). When Thor decides to fight the evil Frost Giants, against his father's wishes, Thor is banished to Earth, and he must embark upon a quest to reclaim his mystical hammer in order to return to Asgard and stop his evil brother, Loki, who manipulated all of the events so that he could take Thor's place and become the next king of Asgard.

Hemsworth is charming in the role, and really shines in the Earthbound sequences when he plays everything straight while still acting as if he is a God amongst Men, even though he is just flesh-and-blood. However, Thor lacks any real substance. The characters are never given time to fully develop, and it is partly because the movie is constantly switching back and forth between Earth, and what is happening on Asgard.

We spend the first thirty minutes in Asgard, then Thor spends about thirty minutes on Earth with Jane Foster (played by Natalie Portman), and then about thirty minutes dealing with S.H.I.E.L.D., then he returns to Asgard for the finale to fight with Loki. The movie just had too many irons in the fire for any single character to be developed, so when director Kenneth Branagh tries to cash in and show a romance between Foster and Thor, it just does not ring true, seeing as how Thor acted like a psycho for most of the time they were together, which was ultimately just one Earth day! Not enough time to develop a star-crossed romance.

Regardless, the actors do their best and give it their all. Anthony Hopkins adds a sheen of sophistication as Odin, and Tom Hiddleston knocks Loki out of the park (even if his character is never given the time to develop fully, as it should). As well, the movie is full of Marvel Easter Eggs, such as the Cosmic Cube, and an early appearance of Hawkeye in an action sequence near the middle of the movie. Speaking of which, the action is extremely well done, and definitely scratches that itch that only a Summer movie can, but what previous Summers have proven, is that a Summer movie nowadays cannot rely on action alone and must also have a fantastic story to go along with it, and Thor often slips in that area.

It feels like a sculpture that has rough edges and still needs to be smoothed out. The story does not flow as freely as it should, with myself wondering if the story would have been better served if the entirety of the film had taken place on Earth and save Asgard for a sequel, or perhaps simply save Asgard for the finale, rather than jumping back and forth as they do. The film lacks character development and relationship development, but it manages to still tell a story that makes sense, though it doesn't necessarily feel like a smooth ride.

I give Thor a D!

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