Thor (2011)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

It makes sense in a way that Kenneth Branagh should be the director tasked with helming this ship, because there is something distinctly Shakespearean in the circumstances found within. The longstanding undercurrent of sibling rivalry, Loki’s sundry machinations all for the benefit of his father’s love, Thor’s arrogance and resulting comeuppance…well, I don’t know if this is weightier material than gets covered in other comic book films, but just the same, it’s all covered here with a certain earnestness that is either overdone in some of these genre films or not quite taken seriously enough in others.

While this was not a perfect movie–and perhaps not even a perfect Thor movie–it nevertheless captures the sense of wonder and imagination that have been the hallmarks of this character when he has been at his best over the many decades of his existence as a Marvel Comics character. It sounds like a simple thing, but what I appreciated the most about this film is encapsulated in the fact that Loki wears a helmet with bag-ass antelope-like horns on it, if you know what I mean. The filmmakers aren’t embarrassed about the source material as is sometimes the case–they embraced it, and the film was better for it.

Anyway, just a few comments before I close this thing up.

Chris Hemsworth: who is this devilishly charming bastard? Stellar casting. I think I’ve got a bit of a man crush on him. Random aside: I just looked into it, and he’s a full foot taller than Natalie Portman, which is probably why most of the scenes between them are played sitting down.

On the topic of Natalie Portman, am I the only one who has difficulty buying her as an astrophysicist? I know she went to Harvard and everything, but I don’t know…

I was very pleased in general with the film’s casting. Ray Stevenson (Titus Pullo from Rome) as Volstagg; Anthony Hopkins as Odin, giving a real performance instead of a “comic book movie performance”, the way a lot of guys in his position might do; and Tom Hiddleston–whom I’d never seen before, but who positively embodies the trickster god, Loki. No complaints about anybody else–they’re all well matched to the roles they play, but those were a few of my favorites.

So yeah…Thor. It won’t change your life, but it’s a lot of fun. I actually wound up watching it twice. I had nothing better to do while making dinner today, so I put it on for background noise and wound up watching it through to the end again. Suffice it to say, I liked it.

Second Opinions