Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Forget The Royal Wedding, all the romance, drama and fancy clothes you can handle are in Thor.

Forget The Royal Wedding, all the romance, drama and fancy clothes you can handle are in Thor.

Well I've been waiting about, oh 30 years or so for this film and I finally got to see it a few days ago. IF you're one of those people that believes someone looking forward to a movie for a long time means you will automatically love it when it comes out need to see my reaction to films like Clash of The Titans (2010), Tron Legacy (yawn) Star Wars Ep II and many more, like Fantastic Four (pick one they both suck ****) and Ghost Rifer to pick just a few. 

That said boy did I love this film. It's had some pretty decent reviews (currently at 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, it'll go down as more cynical, super hero hating American reviews kick in, but it is impressive never-the-less, especially when you consider this includes reviews from the likes of The Daily Mail. (Wait a sec, a good review from The Daily Mail isn't a good thing, is it?) Anyway here's my summary of the plot followed by a review..

da Plot....

A team of scientists, Professor Andrews (Stellan Skarsgård), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and her friend Darcy (Kat Dennings) rush to investigate a strange atmospheric disturbance when they hit Thor (Chris Hemsworth), with their van. A misunderstanding leads Darcy to taze him, even though she was thinking of ways into his pants seconds earlier, and as they take him to hospital they wonder who he is.

Jumping back in time we see Odin and his powerful race of Asgardians come to save the human race (circa around 935A.D) from the terrifying and powerful Frost Giants and their Casket of Winters. Hence we learn why the Asgardians were previously worshipped as gods by the Norse. (The Frost Giant Invasion begins in Viking lands). Odin takes the Casket and places it in his vault, where similar, end of the Universe capable, objects are stored. Frost Giants attempt to steal back an immensely powerful artefact from Odin’s Vault. The, DESTROYER guarded, vault contains artefacts from around the universe capable of bringing about Ragnarök, including the unspeakably powerful Infinity Gauntlet. Although the theft is thwarted Thor demands retribution; but Odin, who has laboured for centuries to achieve and maintain peace, forbids it. 

Thor and friends, warrior woman Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and The Warriors Three, Fandral (Joshua Dallas), Volstagg (Ray Stevenson) & Hogun (Tadanobu Asano), head off to the Frost Giant’s realm of Jotunheim, on a jolly frat house, giant bashing revenge trip; but their actions enrage, Frost Giant, King Laufey (Colm Feore) and Odin. Angered by his son’s arrogance and stupidity, Odin banishes Thor to Earth, powerless until Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) senses he has learned responsibility and Humility.

On Earth Thor and Foster grow close, S.H.I.E.L.D agents Coulson (Clark Gregg) & Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) grow interested and The DESTROYER arrives with the command to, well destroy, everything it comes across. Meanwhile Heimdall’s (Idris Elba) role as Guardian of The Nine Realms is being severely tested and Thor will be needed to save Asgard as well as Earth.

The review...

What’s this? Shakespeare via Superheroes? Arthur C Clarke’s science as magic! This is no ordinary Super hero movie and the most risky stop on the road to The Avengers has is a genuine winner and a not like any superhero film we’ve seen before. Branagh promised us “Mind bending visuals” and he delivered! This film has some truly awe inspiring visuals and some genuine, screen bursting drama. Hemsworth and Hiddleston will be major stars after this film; more than holding their own against a perfect Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Odin. Hiddleston’s Loki is simply excellent. He’s layered, nuanced and not two dimensional. Like Sif you may not be sure what he’s up to all the time, but he is compelling and in no way is he left out a little so Thor can be centre stage. There’s a real sense of raw emotion here too, you feel that the family drama, the conflict of desires, emotions and responsibilities weighs heavily in Odin and his two sons. The scenes with any of these three, especially when all three are together, fairly sizzle and they are played out with every bit as much seriousness as if they were performing Hamlet at the Old Vic.

Hemsworth is instantly likeable but portrays his Shakespearian hero’s flaws well. He needs to be banished and the film does an excellent job of showing us why. Coriolanus, King Lear, Henry V there’s bits of Shakespeare all over the place and we all know that, short of bringing The Bard back from the dead, Branagh is the man when it comes to Shakespearean drama and comedy. He was simply the perfect choice for this film, the dramatic scenes in this film are first class and it holds the whole film together. But the real joy, apart from the humour that fills the film and makes it such fun to watch, is the vision he has brought to the look and style of Asgard and the other realms. They are simply stunning and 3D must be the way to truly experience Asgard and Jotunheim are true Marvels, with some parts of them floating and some serious, defiance  of our laws of physics going on. I can’t really say more without spoiling the movie.
The bad guys are genuinely threatening. Frost giants may come in many sizes, but they are deadly whatever their size and some of them were impressively gargantuan; although that was nothing compared to their giant pet!
“We’ve got Xena, Jackie Chan and Robin Hood!” advises a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. He’s not quite right. Warrior goddess Sif, and the legendary Warriors Three are giving sufficient screen time to let us know we want to see  a lot more of them. Fandral “the Dashing” is perfectly realised, it just evokes Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood. Whether helping Thor in Jotunheim or attempting to slow down The Destroyer on Earth you really find yourself wondering when there will be more of these.
Finally to Heimdall: Idris Elba is perfectly cast as the guardian of the 9 realms. At one point he is asked if Odin feared him. You can see why, he’s a very imposing figure and his voice, slightly augmented, is again 100% perfection. The white supremacists who are organising their boycott of Thor, because Elba is black and Heimdall is white, have no leg to stand on. The character is an alien and regardless Elba nails the part and Branagh has made another excellent, non PC, casting choice.
This is a great 2 hour of fun and the only fault is the film isn’t long enough. We wanted more, but the end credits did promise us Thor will return in The Avengers!
Stick around for an excellent after credits scene that sets up both The Avengers AND Captain America. Both of those films have a lot to live up to!



  1. Well despite the obvious deviation of the nordic mythology I quite enjoyed myself seeing this movie, usually i feel that marvel comics don't translate so well to on screen adaptations but this one I liked. The favourite character is of course Loki, or Loke as we say here up in the cold north.even Portman was endureable in this produstion. (Has never been quite able to overlook her Amidala portrayal).

  2. Well I read Thor for years (along with my sister) so I'm already fine with it being a different take on Norse Mythology. I liked the alien angle and all the Arthur C Clarke stuff.

    I like that it was so much fun, and the trinity, Odin, Thor and Loki was really well handled.

    Did you stay to the very end and see what happens after the credits?

    Also I'm ok with Natalie, Ever since Leon we've just been massive fans. I can't blame her for Padme because, like many of the others in those films, I knew she could act before I saw the films and it became pretty clear that the problems she had were to do with the script and, more importantly, the performances she was directed to give.

    How are you? It's been forever! :)

  3. Hey man, it's good wiyth me. Like you say- it's been forever. You had a long break when you didn't post any stuff so after a while I forgot to check, but I did a random check now and was happy seeing your thoughts in print again : D

    Well I got to admit that Portman was good in Leon, I'll give her that. And I have not seen her in Black Swan, so...
    However I was really upset when I read that there was some action after the aftertexts. You know, I always tries to stay to the VERY end, but my homie (my eight years old daugter, yes I'm irresponsible bringing her to action movies I know ; P)and I asked the guy in charge of our cinema if there was anything happening afterwards and he said NO. But no worries, Idid not read much of what you wrote since you put up spoiler alert.
    And yeah, I like the modern touch in Thor as well. In fact I think that old mythology ia at its best when blended with modern ideas. That's why I love Neil Gaiman. Have you ever ever American Gods or Anansi Boys, they are good examples of what I mean.
    It's nice to read your stuff again mate !

  4. I know it was ages. You know I couldn't even read for most of that year I was away, let alone concentrate long enough to write. I'm still ill, but that really dark period is over now (I hope).

    I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. I have lots of ideas for things to write about, but for now my imagination still outstrips my capability, my health.

    It's a shame you missed it, If you're not going again you read the post about the end, it only spoils things if you haven't seen the movie, or are going back. It was a cool ending. :)

    Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer and those are 2 of his most interesting works for sure.

    I'm glad you checked in on me Met, there's more to come this week too. Did your daughter enjoy the film?

  5. My daughter enjoyed the movie very much. She is a real good kid to watch these kind of movies with. Do you know what her favourite of all times is ? Well, it's AVATAR. she has seen it several times, but her dream is to see it in 3-D, which she hasn't.

    I really hope that you can feel that there is progress going on for you. Yuor remark about not being able to write reminded me of what a friend of mine said not so long ago. See this guy has re-ocurring depressions and he said that a sure sign of him starting to feel the blues coming was that he could not read books or watch movies. And he's a avid reader and watcher of movies when he's feeling ok. My sister agreed with that as a sign of how she felt as well, she also sings the blues at times.

    I'm just pleased to see your texts again since I enjoy your work !
    Cheers Met

  6. Thx Met.

    Good to see your girl is such a good movie companion for you too. My girls like a lot of my favourite movies too. Olivia's (11) fav film is Avatar too.