Thor kicks off the summer movie season in mighty fashion.
Finally, I see Thor. It's been a while since I hit the theater, and I apologize to my fans. But the summer movie season has officially started for me, and I don't think I'll be slowing down anytime soon. Anyway, I had my doubts about Thor. He's not exactly a marketable super hero and the guy playing him is pretty much unknown unless you can pin point exactly who Chris Hemsworth portrayed in Star Trek. It seemed like Thor had more going against it than for it leading up to its release. Early photos recieved criticism for the costumes looking too fake and "plastic." The 5 minute trailer leaked from Comic Con wasn't received much better.
While none of these things really got me as worried for the picture as some, I still wasn't all too excited for the movie. In fact, if it wasn't related to the Avengers, I probably wouldn't have given two sh*ts. Like I said, Thor isn't the most marketable character. But it had Natalie Portman, and I love her. If I was given the choice between marrying and having babies with Natalie Portman, and saving the world from utter destruction, I would say "I do" and bang her into next week. Not to mention Anthony Hopkins was cast as Odin, which is perfect casting. Then the reviews started coming in, and I thought "well hey, maybe this movie has more going for it than I thought." And it does...albeit a few faults.
Story wise, the movie has little going for it. While it's a fun ride from beginning to end, when you add in the fact that the movie is paced like a guy with too much caffeine in his system made it, there's little room for character development. I don't know if it was an editing problem, running time problem, or if Kenneth Branagh just likes his movies to have little to no breathing room, but the movie moves at a cheetah's pace: takes a little time to stalk it's prey, but once it gets running there's no slowing down. For instance, the banishment of Thor scene seems like it happens in an instant. Boom, boom, boom. I'm surprised Thor even had time to call his papa an old man and fool.
But who needs character development when you have so much action? Well, it might have helped a little to get to know Natalie Portman's character, Jane Foster, beyond her obsession with work. While that may be all there is to know about the character-that she's always working on research, so there's not much else to the character, anyway-I still can't help but think Natalie Portman's talent is wasted. Perhaps I'm bias because I'm in love with her, but Foster doesn't seem like the ideal love interest for a god. Compared to other love interests in the Marvel movies, like Pepper Potts and Betty Ross, Foster doesn't seem to offer much to the movie as a whole.
While Potts is able to hold her own against a man like Tony Stark and Ross is able to calm the beast within Bruce Banner, Jane Foster finds this guy named Thor in the middle of a desert and falls in love with him faster than you can say "this is madness!" I can get past the unbelievability of Asgard and frost giants, but I can't get over how unrealistic the relationship between Thor and Foster was in this film. The only time I actually cared about the two of them was the very end, when Thor is longing for his "love" and Heimdall assures him that there is always hope and that he can see her. It's a touching scene, and I actually felt bad for Thor...despite how unbelievable that relationship is in the first place.
While Thor and Foster seemed like the odd couple throughout the film, the relationship between Thor and Odin is presented refreshingly, mainly due to Hemsworth and Hopkins' performances. The little time they have on screen together adds some much needed humanity to the film, especially their final exchange. It's a father-son relationship on a god-like level. In fact, where Thor's Earthly allies fail in development, his Asgardian associates feel more human than the actual humans. Thor's arrogance and eventual redemption, Loki's jealousy and envy, Odin's love for his children and leadership, and even Haimdall's willingness to disobey orders in the name of what's right are very human characteristics in a godly setting, and thank God for that.
Despite it's unfamiliar territory, Thor still fits nicely into the Avenger universe Marvel has created over the past 3 years. There's plenty of little easter eggs fans will enjoy and probably even general movie goers at this point, as well. Selvig accounts an expert in the field of gamma radiation he knew but hasn't heard from since the government came looking for him-a Hulk reference; you have the Hawkeye cameo, and I cannot wait to see more of Jeremy Renner in the Avengers; Agent Coulson refers to Stark in a funny bit, and I'm starting to enjoy that character; and the after-credits scene may confuse people not familiar with the comics, but us fans know sh*t is bound to go down. The movie makes plenty of Avengers references and lays some easter eggs, but never gets bogged down by it (like Iron Man 2). It's still a Thor movie.
It's unfamiliar territory because unlike Iron Man or The Incredible Hulk, a lot of Thor takes place on Asgard, a setting far different from the concrete jungles of the other aforementioned Marvel films. As stated, the citizens of Asgard feel more human than the actual humans of the movie. Asgard is a beautiful place, a city that's part science-fiction, part fantasy, and feels like a character itself. The visuals are eye capturing, and while the fight scenes move at a breakneck pace, they still look good; the fight scene between Thor, Loki, Sif, the Warrior's Three, and the frost giants benefits from this fast pace.
Despite my gripes with the movie, it's only after analyzing the movie that I had complaints. While watching it, I was completely immersed in that world and just how damn entertaining it was. Thor is completely far fetched, but it works. It's often funny, but never too cheesy. And did I mention it's entertaining as f*ck?
Thor works as more build up to the Avengers film and as a good action/super hero flick in its own right. I don't know where I would rank it in the list of Marvel studios films, but it's better than Iron Man 2. At this point, I'd say Iron Man, TIH, and Thor are all equally good in their own way, and this gets me more pumped for Captain America. I say see Thor if you want a good start to the summer movie season and if you're planning on seeing Cap and the Avengers next year. So, in other words, see it...just leave your brain at the door.